12 July 2007 | thomasrosales
A Jazz/Swing session is held by the old mill pond...
I just saw this cartoon for the first time and recognized the caricatures of famous black entertainers... Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith, (not Josephine Baker or Sophie Tucker, who was white), Thomas "Fats" Waller, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Stepin Fetchit (notwithstanding) Louis Armstrong and the chorus girls are out of the famed "Cotton Club" in Harlem. True... stereotypes are there, but this was the way it was... and these cartoons were meant as adult entertainment at your local cinema before the main feature.
Harmann & Ising cartoons tended to be more "cutesy" and more upscale, (after all... we are talking about M-G-M) than the standard animated short done over at Warners, Paramount, Universal, Fox, RKO or lowly Columbia. Even Disney's very early Mickey Mouse had loads of barnyard humor before Uncle Walt cleaned him up just before he went "Technicolor".
Disney had some cartoons with caricatures of black entertainers as well... for example, 1937's Silly Symphony "Woodland Cafe". But we have to remember that these films are part of a certain time and place. 50 years from now... clips of the Simpsons, Family Guy, and South Park will be also scrutinized, analyzed... and even vilified by future viewers.