Disney launched its streaming service to much fanfare earlier this month, gaining 10 million subscribers in the first day.
Despite promising it would open its vault and release the entirety of its expansive collection; however, there are a number of titles omitted from the media giant’s digital offerings.
Sure, some are under distribution agreements to other streaming services, such as “National Treasure” and “The Last Jedi,” and will eventually join Disney Plus.
Others, however, are missing without such contractual obligations.
Among them is “Song of the South,” which brought Uncle Remus stories to the big screen in a film that blended animation and live action.
For anyone familiar with the flick, its omission is likely obvious. Its portrayal of African Americans was heavily criticized when it was released in 1946, and the years have not been kind.
For those unfamiliar, the movie has the delightful song, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” which rightfully earned Disney an Oscar for Best Original Song. It also portrays African Americans as happy, singing farmhands who spoke broken English and loved to work for white men in the years following the Civil War.
Needless to say, Disney has put this film under the vault.
While I understand their decision, I think we’d be better served if the film was available. We have a habit of blotting out unsavory portions of our history, especially when it comes to race, and it means there are Americans who don’t know their own past.
This was on display recently when the HBO series “Watchmen” portrayed the Tulsa, Oklahoma, massacre of 1921, which leveled the prosperous Greenwood section of the city — it was actually called “Black Wall Street” because it was believed to be the richest African American community in the nation — and left as many as 300 dead.
This ranks as one the deadliest episodes of racial violence in our nation’s history — it’s difficult to identify one as being the deadliest when we have poor records of how many actually died in these episodes — but there are people living in and around Tulsa who didn’t know this happened until they saw it in a TV show about comic book heroes.
Some even thought it was fiction.
“Song of the South” isn’t the only film missing. There are scores of others, including the made-for-TV Star Wars movies, such as “Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure” and the Christmas special.
These films were widely panned for a different reason: their poor quality.
While I have not seen the holiday special, some have described it as unwatchable. Still, there are hardcore Star Wars fans who would love to watch it once. Each Christmas.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand why Disney would want to keep these titles locked away. Maybe there’s a good reason to keep this stuff off their streaming service.
But what if they found another home for it, perhaps on a separate streaming service?
They could call it Disney Minus, or maybe House of Discount Mouse.
It’ll be the low-cost streaming service to give you questionable and second-rate flicks from the conglomerate’s many holdings.
Want to see Air Bud? It’ll be there.
What about the Mighty Duck movies? Yep, they’ll be there too.
And if Disney is afraid of tying its name to outdated pictures, maybe they can toss the name of another of their holdings on it. Like Fox.