Thursday, January 21, 2016

Original Production Animation Cel Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit From "Song of the South," 1946

Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit from "Song of the South," 1946; Set on a custom hand prepared background; Size - Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit: 5 1/2 x 7 1/2", Image 6 3/4 x 8", Frame 14 x 15 1/2"; Framed using a wood frame, two acid free mats, and plexiglass.

"Maybe I better 'splain something to you. I said, I'se gonna roast you... on dat fire!" - Br'er Fox

"Song of the South" from 1946 is a live-action/animated musical film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It was based on the Uncle Remus stories collected by Joel Chandler Harris. Harris created the character of Uncle Remus in 1876 and began writing the Uncle Remus stories as a serial series to, in his words, "preserve in permanent shape those curious mementoes of a period that will no doubt be sadly misrepresented by historians of the future." President Teddy Roosevelt said of Harris, "Presidents may come and presidents may go, but Uncle Remus stays put. Georgia has done a great many things for the Union, but she has never done more than when she gave Mr. Joel Chandler Harris to American literature."

"Song of the South" was Disney's first feature film using live actors, who provided a framework for the animated segments throughout the film. The character of Uncle Remus, who was presumably a former slave, was played by James Baskett. The film includes several folk tales of the adventures of anthropomorphic Br'er Rabbit and his enemies, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear. The film's song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" won the 1947 Academy Award for Best Song and is used often by both Disney and in popular culture. The film also inspired the Disney theme park water log attraction, "Splash Mountain."

Because of the film's depiction of black former slaves and of race relations in Reconstruction-Era Georgia; the film has been controversial since its original release. A number of critics, both at the time of its release and in later decades, have described the film as racist. Consequently, "Song of the South" has never been released in its entirety on home video in the United States.

Framed production animation cel of Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit.

Br'er Fox is the fast talking sly fox who is always trying to trick and trap poor Br'er Rabbit. Br'er Fox has red fur, sharp teeth, a yellow-green hat, pale white shirt, and a forest green vest over a pair of green pants. Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit were animated by the great Walt Disney animators Marc Davis and Ollie Johnston. Johnny Lee (an African-American singer, dancer and actor) provided the voice of Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox was voiced by James Baskett; who also was the star of the film portraying Uncle Remus. In recognition of his warm portrayal of the famous black storyteller, Baskett was given an Honorary Academy Award; making him the very first black male performer to receive an Oscar.

This is an extremely rare original production cel of both Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit from "The Laughing Place," segment of "Song of the South." The story of "The Laughing Place" is that  Br'er Rabbit has been caught by both Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear. Br'er Rabbit escapes by agreeing to show his captors his 'laughin place,' which turns out to be a bee hive. This is a great cel of Br'er Fox telling Br'er Rabbit (who is tied and roped onto a roasting skewer) "Maybe I better 'splain something to you. I said, I'se gonna roast you... on dat fire!"

To view the scene which this cel was used to create, click on the short video below: