Where Native America meets pop culture
re: "Last month I listed all the Disney movies featuring Indians"You might want to include in this list "Little Hiawatha"http://www.toonopedia.com/hiawatha.htmYes, it is a short film, but it might warrant inclusion due to stereotypes and Hiawatha in general, and the fact that Disney milked this one out for quite a while, with many apperances in book and comic form. The above web site's illustration even features the eastern (quasi Ojibwe / Iroquois) character with totem poles.Sorry if you've addressed him before, but if you haven't, "Little Hiawatha" is an important figure concerning Disney in animation and print.
Writerfella here -- And you might want to include wALT Disney's THE LIGHT IN THE FOREST (1958), which starred Fess Parker, James MacArthur, Carol Lynley, Jessica Tandy, Wendell Corey, and Herschel Daugherty. The story was about a white child captured and then raised as one of their own by the Delawares in pre-Revolutionary times. By treaty with the British, the tribe has to surrender the young man back to his white family and he fights to return to the Native people he calls his real people. Anadarko being a mostly-Native town, the population here would not let that movie leave the theater for two months, with a full house almost every night. It struck a chord especially with Kiowas because of Kohl-Ah-Khoy, my great-great-great grandfather, the white captive who was raised a Kiowa and remained a Kiowa after the tribe was captured by the Army (see DREAMKEEPERS). There may be other Disney films, as well, and I don't mean the Davy Crockett trilogy.All BestRuss Bates'writerfella'
I modified the posting to say recent Disney movies. I don't claim to know the entire catalog of Disney movies featuring Indians.I hadn't heard about the Hiawatha cartoon and comic strips. I wouldn't include the cartoon in a list of Disney movies, but I will post it as a future blog entry.
Yes, "Little Hiawatha" sounds like it is a good candidate for a blog entry. There's enough discussion about the stereotype issues involving it. I remember reading the comic pages in "Walt Disney Comics and Stories". I'd pretty much forgotten about him until the "complete" list of Disney efforts jogged my memory.Disney's "Zorro" TV series is a possibility. However, I am not familiar with it enough to know if it had Indian characters. I just finished reading Isabel Allende's recent "Zorro" novel, and that book had major Native content to the point of making Zorro himself half-Native. This in itself is probably worth mentioning here: it's an "official" novel about a character who is arguable the one of the first superheroes (in print and film anyway) and bore strong influence on characters that followed, such as Batman.
I doubt the old Zorro TV show had any Indians in it, but I don't remember.I haven't read Allende's book yet, but I plan to. I mentioned it in Indian Comics Irregular #134. Incidentally, if you haven't subscribed to my ICI newsletter yet, you should. If this blog is like the daily newspaper, ICI is like a monthly news magazine. The coverage overlaps, but ICI has more of a long-term perspective.
Writerfella here -- Back in the late 50s, I was an avid fan of Walt Disney's ZORRO and I don't remember a single episode involving Natives. There were a lot of homages to movie serials and some of the movies about Zorro in the series. But mostly the plots were Zorro versus Capt. Monastario, the Alcalde who had displaced Don Diego's father, Don Alejandro de la Vega. And there almost was too much byplay between Zorro's comic mute servant Bernardo and the bumbling fat Sgt. Garcia, sort of a Laurel and Hardy offshoot. Not classic TV, but still fondly remembered.All BestRuss Bates'writerfella'
Thanks, Writerfella. I was wondering about this, and could not readily find "Zorro" shows on TV to check. Allende's novel does not mention Monastario, but Bernardo (a full-blood Indian) is a major character in the novel, and fat bumbling Garcia figures into it as well. (I'd remembered Garcia from what little I saw of the TV show years ago). I take it that Bernardo in the TV show was NOT any sort of Native character or you would have noticed it. In the book, Bernardo was not comic at all, and (IMHO) even though there was a lot of him in the book, there should have been more.
Writerfella here -- No, Bernardo was given no back history, save for his family having served the de la Vegas for decades and that he had been Don Diego de la Vega's manservant since Diego was a child. And Zorro himself became a fictional icon and archetype as a hero who totally is mortal and has no powers save for his wits, training, and prowess. Batman, Green Arrow, The Cisco Kid, Sky King, The Copperhead, The Green Hornet, Commando Cody, Buck Rogers, and even Indiana Jones all owe a creative and inspirational debt to the Spanish pulp hero first launched in 1919 by Johnston McCulley.All BestRuss Bates'writerfella' mcCull
Thanks for explaining this. I hope the new Zorro book becomes a blueprint for future interpretations of the character.
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