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Karie's Blog
Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Apr. 25, 2010





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TCM Film Festival-Out of Circulation Cartoons

Out of Circulation Cartoons
I was so curious about this program, that my attendance felt mandatory.  Several years ago a former theatre owner here in L.A. tried to screen The Birth of a Nation.  He received death threats and bomb threats and cancelled the event.  In my opinion, the problem was that he was simply planning to show the film—-and nothing more.  That is not a wise approach.  When showing material that is racist, offensive and upsetting the crucial thing is to put it into proper historical context.  TCM asked African American historian Donald Bogle to host the evening.  They screened about eight short films and Mr. Bogle gave a detailed talk and analysis before each set of shorts.  He explained the reasons for the racial stereotypes, what they meant and how they were perceived.  I found his presentation to be intelligent and enlightening.  There were many African American attendees in the audience, so people obviously wanted to learn more about these films and their content.  All of the shorts were pulled in 1968 and haven’t been seen since.  They featured work by legendary animation directors including Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones and Rudolf Isling. The cartoons included: Titles include: Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943), Clean Pastures (1937), Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (1944), Hittin’ the Trail to Hallelujah Land (1931); Isle of Pingo Pongo (1938); Sunday Go To Meetin’ Time (1936), Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943), and Uncle Tom’s Bungalow (1933).


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These cartoons were an interesting glimpse into the past and an educational comparison at how far we have come ever since. Donald Bogle has written numerous books including “Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies & Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films”, “Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood”, “Brown Sugar: Over 100 Years of America’s Black Female Superstars”, “Primetime Blues: African Americans on Network Television” and “Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography”.  After hearing him speak, I am very eager to read his books and learn more about African Americans in film history.


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