Rufus Jones, a black child, is elected president of the USA in this short musical comedy. Features song and dance numbers by a seven year old 'Sammy Davis Jr.'. Written by
Thomas McWilliams <email@example.com>
What a shame to see such great talent squandered in this offensive, degrading short subject!
While it is almost impossible to endure the horrible script, viewer patience is advised, because it's a thrill to see the wonderful Ethel Waters reprising her hit "Am I Blue?", then doing a segue into "Under a Harlem Moon." Her live singing, her concentration and empathetic interpretation gives one a sense of what it was like to have seen her on stage.
This short was made in 1933, the same year Ms. Waters starred on Broadway in "As Thousands Cheer" - introducing Irving Berlin's "Heat Wave," "Supper Time" and "Harlem on My Mind." It was also just after she played the Cotton Club with Duke Ellington's orchestra, introducing another of her signature songs, "Stormy Weather." If only Vitaphone had filmed those performances instead of this racist stereotype garbage.
(To give an example, the "Harlem Moon" number contains a lyric that goes, "That's why schvartzers were born.")
The 8-year old Sammy Davis Jr. is nothing short of phenomenal, giving everything he's got in several song and dance routines. It's sad to realize that racism kept him from attaining the early stardom he so clearly deserved.
TCM shows this short from time to time. If you chance upon it, try to ignore the stereotypes and enjoy the warmth, talent and dignity of two great African-American performers.
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