Thursday, 14 March 2013

Stereotypically Tex

Blackface transformation gags wound up in several Tex Avery cartoons, mostly at MGM (“Droopy’s Good Deed” being a good example). But he put one in his very first official directorial effort, the Warners cartoon “Gold Diggers of ‘49” (1936).

Generally with Avery, an explosion turns someone into a minstrel show stereotype. In “Gold Diggers,” it’s the exhaust from Porky and Beans’ car.

We start with a pair of Chinese dogs (from a laundry, where else?)

Along comes the car and the smoke.

And, now, they’ve become Amos and Andy, complete with “awa, awa” catchphrase.

Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones receive the animation credits but we know Tex’s unit originally included animators Virgil Ross and Sid Sutherland, plus Bobe Cannon, Cecil Surry and possibly Elmer Wait. I don’t know who did the backgrounds, but the cartoon opens with a pan over a very long background, another Avery staple at Warners.

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