Br'er Fox is the main antagonist in the animated sequences of the 1946 feature film Song of the South. He is a crafty fox that is in constant pursuit of his tricky nemesis, Br'er Rabbit, whom he wants to eat. Br'er Fox is always accompanied by his dim-witted partner, Br'er Bear.
Br'er Fox is a character from the Uncle Remus folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris. In contrast to the Br'er Fox in the earlier illustrations of Frederick S. Church, A. B. Frost, and E. W. Kemble, the Disney animators depict the character in a more slapstick, cartoony style.
Brer Rabbit Runs Away
Br'er Fox first is introduced in his lair when Br'er Rabbit gets caught in his snare trap; due to the trap being equipped with a bell, it rings loudly as Br'er Rabbit struggles to free himself, alerting Br'er Fox to the trap. The fox gloats in joyous victory upon seeing his prey captured before pulling out his axe. As Br'er Fox sharpens it in whetting excitement, Br'er Rabbit spots Br'er Bear passing by and manages to trick him into taking his place in the trap and hide, just seconds before Br'er Fox arrives. Upon seeing Br'er Bear in the trap, the confused and exasperated fox cuts him down and tries to tell him that Br'er Rabbit has tricked him, though Br'er Bear retorts that he was "making a dollar a minute", resulting in a brief argument between the two villains. The spat excites Br'er Rabbit into cheering the two on into fighting and accidentally blowing his cover, confirming Br'er Fox's claims. The fox and bear then rush towards Br'er Rabbit and fight over who gets to kill him. Br'er Rabbit slips out of the fight and leaves Br'er Fox to be beaten by an oblivious Br'er Bear.
The Tar Baby
Later in his cave, Br'er Fox concocts another plan to capture Br'er Rabbit, this time by creating the tar baby, a humanoid-like being made entirely of tar. While the fox gloatingly assures Br'er Bear of his plan's success, a doubtful Br'er Bear points out that the tar baby lacks eyes and hair and will not fool anyone, much less Br'er Rabbit. Taking Br'er Bear's suggestions, Br'er Fox snags the buttons off of Br'er Bear's coat to create eyes, uses his pipe to create a nose and rips the fur off the bear's rear end to give the baby hair. The two then carry the tar baby out into the forest and place it next to a dirt path. As Br'er Fox contemplates whether or not the baby should have a hat, Br'er Bear puts Br'er Fox's hat on the baby, leading to a brief scuffle until they eventually they hear Br'er Rabbit whistling. As the two rush to hide, Br'er Bear, miffed at seeing his own hat on the baby, accidentally removes its head when he puts his hat back on. The gleeful Br'er Fox doesn't notice this until he sees the headless baby and hastily rushes to put the head back on. The two then watch as Br'er Rabbit then comes by and greets the baby but becomes offended when it doesn't respond, culminating in a one-sided fight that ends with the rabbit completely stuck in the tar. The pair then casually prance towards him and taunt his tendency to meddle in other people's affairs, which led to his downfall.
After their brief victory dance, the two then fight over what is to be done with Br'er Rabbit; Br'er Fox wants to kill him in several savory complex manners before eating him, while Br'er Bear wants to simply pummel him. Br'er Rabbit takes advantage of the predicament by tricking Br'er Fox into throwing him into a thorny brier patch, using reverse psychology to do so. Unknown to Br'er Fox, due to being born in the brier patch, the thorns have no effect on Br'er Rabbit. Br'er Fox's brief glee turns to shock and eventually defeat and self-loathing upon seeing Br'er Rabbit alive and well before hopping away in the brier patch. Br'er Bear hits the defeated Br'er Fox in the head in disappointment before leaving him.
Br'er Rabbit's Laughing Place
In this final segment, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear are seen in the former's cave, have finally caught Br'er Rabbit and are preparing to eat him. Br'er Fox briefly jokes with Br'er Bear about Br'er Rabbit's situation before turning his attention solely on the bunny. He immediately holds him over the fireplace to cook him, intending to not give the rabbit time to think of another trick (unaware that Br'er Rabbit had already thought of one before then). Br'er Rabbit suddenly bursts out laughing, confusing Br'er Fox. The rabbit tells the two of his "Laughing Place", piquing Br'er Bear's interest. Br'er Fox, fully aware that this is another trick, tries to resume cooking Br'er Rabbit but is halted by Br'er Bear, who forces the fox to release Br'er Rabbit so that he could show them his "laughing place". They then go into the forest, with Br'er Rabbit leading the way and merrily singing with Br'er Bear "Everybody's Got a Laughing Place", much to Br'er Fox's displeasure and impatience. Finally having had enough, Br'er Fox tries to alert Br'er Bear to Br'er Rabbit's ruse when Br'er Rabbit calls out that they found the laughing place, pointing to nearby bushes and a tree with a beehive. Br'er Fox is then shoved out of the way by an excited Br'er Bear, who jumps into the bushes. As Br'er Bear subsequently howls in pain, Br'er Fox looks on in curiosity, though it does not keep him from noticing Br'er Rabbit trying to escape. Br'er Bear then reemerges with the beehive caught on his nose, causing Br'er Fox to laugh at him. In response, the angry Br'er Bear then shoves the hive over Br'er Fox's head, who throws it back at Br'er Bear's head, causing him to run around in pain with a swarm of bees chasing him. He runs by Br'er Fox, causing the bees to chase after him as well, and the two desperately flee into the forest to escape the bees.
Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear were not seen at the ending.
Br'er Fox made recurring appearances in the live-action wrap-around skits alongside the other costumed characters and celebrity guests.
Br'er Fox makes cameo appearances in several episodes of the Disney's House of Mouse television series and in the direct-to-video release Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse. In the episode "The Stolen Cartoons", Br'er Fox is seen preparing to catch Br'er Rabbit, but stops when he learns the rule of no villainous schemes. In "Ask Von Drake", he was amongst the guests featured during "The Ludwig Von Drake Song".
Br'er Fox appeared primarily in the Uncle Remus Sunday comic strip which initially adapted the stories used in the films before going into other stories of the Br'er Animals. Outside these particular strips, he has also worked with the Big Bad Wolf, and along with Br'er Bear, matched wits with Chip and Dale, and have made attempts in hunting Bambi and his friends.
Br'er Fox appears as a meet-and-greet character near Splash Mountain in Critter Country. He even gives the player a megaphone as a gift.
Br'er Fox also plays a role in the Splash Mountain mini-game. Br'er Rabbit and the player pay a visit to Br'er Fox's house, where Br'er Rabbit tricks his foes into believing that he tripped and fell and is now helpless in front of their door. Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear rush out only to find a "present". Ignoring Br'er Fox's warnings that it's most likely a trick, Br'er Bear eagerly opens it to discover a beehive, although he doesn't realize it's a hive until the bees come out and attack. Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear then start chasing after Br'er Rabbit and the player, but the two villains are ultimately foiled.
His prominence in the park saw an uptick with the opening of Splash Mountain in Disneyland and later Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland. In the attraction, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear serve as the antagonists as they make numerous attempts to capture and eat Br'er Rabbit. Br'er Fox's attempt to kill Br'er Rabbit by slinging him into the briar patch acts as the climax of the attraction, in which guests plunge down a 50ft drop. At the end of the ride he is seen with his tail in the jaws of Br'er Gator as he tries to rescue Br'er Bear.
Br'er Fox previously appeared in both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World versions of Fantasmic! during the finale, but disappeared from them in 2001. However, he returned to the Disneyland version for its special 20th Anniversary performances in May 2012.
- J. Pat O'Malley was briefly considered for the voice of Br'er Fox.
- His voice isn't entirely in sync with the animation as a result of James Baskett's quick-paced delivery.
- In some countries, like Italy, Br'er Fox is female due to "fox" being a word of female gender.