The Remix That’s Actually a Remix of a Remix… of a Remix?

I’m taking this opportunity to let everyone know that I liked The Princess and the Frog before it was cool. How is it possible to like a Disney blockbuster before it’s cool? Well, back in fourth grade, one of my favorite books was The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker. According to the credits of The Princess of the Frog, the movie is actually based on Baker’s book, though you’d barely be able to tell by comparing the two. Unlike the movie, the book isn’t set in New Orleans, and it has no shadow man, no crocodile, no firefly, no jazz, and no restaurant. Pretty much the only similarity between the book and the movie is that the girl turns into a frog when she kisses a frog-ified prince. The Frog Princess, is of course, based on the classic Grimm fairytale “The Frog Prince,” which, according to Wikipedia, is a retelling of folktale that has existed in various forms since at least Roman times. 

“Everything is a Remix” immediately reminded me of this favorite childhood movie/book combo, especially when it discussed “multiple discovery,” or the way our culture often independently produces similar works or ideas. Of course, I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes at Disney, but, according to the Wikipedia article on The Princess and the Frog, at one point, Disney originally had two different films in development based on “The Frog Prince” story, and only one was based on Baker’s The Frog Princess. Those two ideas were combined, leading to the production of The Princess and the Frog we know today. Is it possible that “multiple discovery” applied to E.D. Baker and Disney? We’ll never know, but judging from the examples in “Everything is a Remix,” it’s highly likely that this classic fairytale resurfaced in two independent imaginations around the same time, and then, once Disney saw Baker’s work, it decided to just skip ahead and remix her remix (of a remix). After seeing so many examples of blatant cinematic borrowing and repurposing in “Everything is a Remix” (Looking at you, Star Wars!) I’m just impressed that E.D. Baker got any credit it all. 

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3 thoughts on “The Remix That’s Actually a Remix of a Remix… of a Remix?”

  1. I just have to take this opportunity to share that The Frog Princess used to be my favorite book too!! Wow! I haven’t thought about it for a while and so many memories are flooding back now. I remember loving that book so much that I asked my mom to only get me “other books like it”. For the next couple years I only read books like Goose Girl, Fairest, Ever, Enna Burning, and Princess Academy. Even those books in the same genre were quite remixed, although I loved them. There was always the same set of characters with different names on different, but similar quests.

  2. I am also a huge fan of the E. D. Baker “The Frog Princess” series. Have you read all of them? The plot and character development is A+. I particularly liked your last comment on how surprising it is that E. D. Baker was given any credit in the Disney film. I’ve often thought that since they changed almost everything the film was no longer based on the book. This is where the other reading about the relationship between remix and plagiarism and where to draw the line. From your post, I think that Disney gave credit to their inspiration and made extra sure that no lawsuits were to follow.

    1. I read all of them, but it’s been so long that I don’t remember too much. I do, however, remember intensely shipping Emma and Eadric (they were probably my original otp)

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