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Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat

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Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat
Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat title card.jpg
Behold, a classic cartoon that is even more racist than "The Censored Eleven" of Looney Tunes, coming from the studio that brought Woody Woodpecker.
Running Time: 7 minutes
Release Date: March 28, 1941
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Starring: Mel Blanc


"Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat" is a 1941 cartoon produced by Walter Lantz Productions and is based on a hit boogie-woogie popular song written by Don Raye. A bawdy, jazzy tune, the song describes a laundrywoman from Harlem, New York, United States, whose technique is so unusual that people come from all around just to watch her scrub. The Andrews Sisters and Will Bradley & His Orchestra recorded the most successful pop versions of the song, but it is today best recognized as the centerpiece of an eponymous Walter Lantz Studio cartoon from 1941. It was released on March 28, 1941. It was written by Ben Hardaway and directed by Walter Lantz.

Plot

The black residents of Lazy Town are bored one day until a sultry light-skinned woman shows up to teach them what rhythm is.

Why It's No Boogie Beat

  1. This cartoon is so racist, deeply offensive for African-Americans (and black people in general), and overly politically incorrect today that it was banned by the NAACP since 1949.
    • The very fact that this cartoon got banned from distribution really quickly as early as 1949, even earlier than Looney Tunes' infamous and notorious Censored Eleven and World War II cartoons, Tom and Jerry's Mouse Cleaning, Casanova Cat and His Mouse Friday, Tex Avery's Blitz Wolf, Uncle Tom's Cabana and Half-Pint Pygmy, or any other Golden Age era cartoon with racial stereotypes in general, just highlights further how incredibly racist this cartoon really is.
  2. Lazy Town (not to be confused with the The 2004-2014 Icelandic show of the same name) was called "The laziest town on earth", with the entire town literally depicted as lazy, meaning that all of the people living in this town are deemed lazy as they are also African-Americans. This joke of the cartoon is clearly the writer mocking African-American people as lazy idiots, which is also counted as racist.
  3. The characters are portrayed with offensive African-American roles.
  4. Most of the characters are annoying and ugly looking, mainly because of they have huge lips or resembling monkeys or apes.
  5. The quote, "Listen, Mammy. That ain't no way to wash clothes! What you all need is rhythm!" is so laughable, it's uncanny and cheesy.
  6. Even leaving aside the racism, it's a dull cartoon with no real plot and animation that's pretty mediocre by 1940s standards.

Redeeming Qualities

Note: This does not excuse this cartoon, except for reasons #3 and 4.

  1. It was never distributed on television although it was broadcast in several European countries such as: Ireland, France and Spain and even once on Boomerang in the United States in 2000.
  2. The song itself was catchy.
  3. Following this cartoon's ban by NAACP in 1949, Walter Lantz promised never to add any racial or ethnic stereotypes in his cartoons ever again after this.
  4. Good voice acting by Mel Blanc, as always.

Reception

It was considered one of the most controversial cartoons in the golden age. It has a 4.9/10 on IMDb.

Videos

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