Jungle Jitters

“Oh, for goodness sakes!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Story by George Manuell; Animation by Phil Monroe; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on February 19, 1938.

It’s only number three of the censored 11 that we’ve covered, and this one just might be the most offensive. I’m getting ahead of myself, so lets take a closer look.

The picture takes place in some sort of tribal village. The natives here are black, so that means:

A.) Their lips are grotesquely huge and the whole concept is rather disgusting

B.) They have nose rings that are large enough to jump through, and that is distasteful

C.) The rings around their neck actually ARE their neck, and that’s (admittedly, kinda cool but…) ultimately, rather insensitive

D.) It’s the 1930’s so how about ALL OF THE ABOVE!

We’re just in that sort of era, I get it. Doesn’t make it any more okay.

Enter another character. A salesman of some species. (I…think?) I can’t tell what this guy is! As offensive as the tribals are, I can at least tell they are humans. This guy… Well, he kind of looks like Goofy combined with some sort of dinosaur. We’ll call him Doofy.

As stated, he’s a salesman. Selling (and I quote) “Assorted, useless, utensils.” (At least he’s honest.) If their door slamming wasn’t indication enough, the natives aren’t interested in his wares. Still, they could get SOME use out of the guy. He does look… delicious? (I’m not agreeing, but maybe whatever this guy is, is their natural prey. I seriously doubt eating him counts as cannibalism.) They place him in a cooking pot, and (giving another point to  the humorous, here) he looks less afraid, (or relaxed, which has also been done to death) and more, confused. In the meantime, the locals are absconding with his merchandise. (Dinner and toys? Christmas reaches all corners of the globe!)

News of the upcoming feast, reaches the queen. I would like to know how she got the position. Not only is she white, but she too is some sort of humanimal. Instead of a proper mouth, she has what looks like some sort of pelican beak, but unless it matches her skin color, than it’s inside of her lips? Excuse me, Mr. Freleng? What are you letting your unit put to screen? It’s unholy! Unnatural! I would even be inclined enough to suggest it as evil! I’m scared, and I don’t scare easily. (Unnerve, sure. But not scare!) And to make things even more disgraceful, one of her black guards has a bad, offensive, over the top, Asian accent. (It’s the culmination of unfunny stereotyping! All that’s missing is a big-nosed, Jewish, witch doctor! Which probably was included in the first draft.)

(Wow. That’s off topic, even by my lax standards.) Queenie asks to see the meal, and Doofy is brought before her. As much as her people see a roast bird, she only sees celebrities. Even ignoring his toaster that butters the toast for you. (It’s every American’s dream! Gimmee!) She decides that they are meant to be, and organizes a wedding that would even be a record by Disney movie standards. Doofy, (still keeping that clueless look about him. It’s starting to get old.) agrees, but the deal breaker is being told he has to kiss THAT face. I don’t blame him for hopping back in the pot. He ends his life with the hope that they’ll all get indigestion from him. (I’m sure that’s fairly apt to assume.)

Personal Rating: 1. (Yeah, this might be the low point of the series.

Favorite Part: To be fair, there was one point that I found enjoyable. A bunch of the natives start riding a makeshift merry go round. As to be expected, some of the others actually whistle “The Merry-Go-Round broke down.” Always a pleasure to hear.

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