Concerned that his movie about a former slave devoting his life to a white child’s emotional needs might be perceived as racist, Walt Disney hired known Communist Maurice Rapf to rewrite Song of the South. Rapf, the son of an MGM exec, was radicalized as a college student and, shortly after Song of the South was released, he was blacklisted. Today we’ll discuss Rapf’s life and career, and talk about how white leftists in Hollywood tried to subvert the industry’s racial status quo--and how their mission to “make movies less bad” led to their own persecution.
Sources for the whole season:
Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films by Donald Bogle
Joel Chandler Harris: A Biography and Critical Study by Bruce R. Bickley Jr.
Sources specific to this episode:
The music used in this episode, with the exception of the intro and outro, was sourced from royalty-free music libraries and licensed music collections. The intro includes a clip from the film Casablanca. The outro song this week is “Jesus Was a Communist” by Reagan Youth.
Excerpts from the following songs were used throughout the episode:
Whimsicality - Laurent Dury
Illustrious Prince - Laurent Dury
Serene Pastoral Folk Blues - Alexandre Stephane Rusian Toukaeff, Baptiste Vayer
Lazy Pastoral Folk Blues - Alexandre Stephane Rusian Toukaeff, Baptiste Vayer
Blue Moan - Keith Charles Nichols
Dance Of The Peasants - Keith Charles Nichols
The Iron Curtain - Anthony J K Hymas
Solutions - Anthony J K Hymas
Ambitions - Anthony J K Hymas
Disney Land - Johnny Pearson
Gumshoe Blues - Paul Martin Pritchard
Cotton Flower - Paul Martin Pritchard
Hanging Tree - Wayne Anthony Murray, Tobias Macfarlaine, Elmore King
Crime and Danger Sign - Hans Conzelmann, Delle Haensch
Prologue Of A Drama #1 - Hans Conzelmann, Delle Haensch -
This episode was written, narrated and produced by Karina Longworth.
Editor: Jared O'Connell.
Research and production assistant: Lindsey D. Schoenholtz.
Social media assistant: Brendan Whalen.
Logo design: Teddy Blanks.