James Baskett originally auditioned to play the butterfly. Not only did he play Uncle Remus, he played Brer Rabbit for the "Laughing Place" scene and sang the "Laughing Place" song after Johnny Lee was called away to do promotion for the picture. Baskett also played the butterfly.
According to page 93 of James Snead's book, "White Screens/Black images", "At the film's New York premiere in Times Square, dozens of black and white pickets chanted, 'We fought for Uncle Sam, not Uncle Tom,' while the NAACP called for a total boycott of the film, and the National Negro Congress called on black people to 'run the picture out of the area.'"
In an article titled "Disney's Laughin' Place," Frank Stephenson said "Following its debut, the NAACP registered its official displeasure of what it called the film's 'racial stereotyping', a charge echoed by the National Urban League."
Disney first re-released the film in 1956. In 1970, Disney announced in Variety that the film had been "permanently" retired. The studio changed its mind and re-released the film in 1972, 1981, and 1986.
On May 8, 2007, the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, which includes representatives from the Los Angeles Civil Rights Association, the NAACP National Board, and the Youth Advocacy Coalition, sent out a press release denouncing Disney's rumors to re-release the film again.
The complete film has never been released on DVD in the USA, but extensive clips appear on the Alice in Wonderland (1951) Un-Anniversary Edition DVD (2010), in the special feature One Hour in Wonderland (1950).
Widely regarded as the "black sheep" of the Disney family, the bastardized film has been primarily disowned by the company. However, the classic music can still often be heard throughout the theme parks and other various outlets - unknown to most younger generations who have no association with it.