Monday, September 20, 2010

Scrub me mama with a boogie beat (1941)

Ok. This is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Walter Lantz headed Universal Studio's animation department and is best known as the creator of Woody Woodpecker but he's also the creator of a series of musical cartoons called Swing Symphonies. And the music here is fabulous, with naughty suggestive lyrics! Unfortunately, it's bad, bad, bad when it comes to stereotypes. Here the black folk look like minstrels and are all bone lazy. If you're a black woman you're a mammy or a sexpot (though most young cartoon women end up in this category, regardless of colour, and boy, did they sizzle!)

Can't tell you who the singer is (though the Andrews Sisters did a famous version) and can't tell you much about the animators. Cartoon credits are famously brief and generally allow for only one of the animators to be named, which they did on a rotating basis.

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