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Sunday Go to Meetin' Time (1936)

A black man sneaks out of church and tries to steal a chicken, but gets a taste of hell when he's accidentally knocked unconscious.

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(as I. Freleng)

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Storyline

It is Sunday and black families are getting ready for church. There are mammies who put shoeshine on their son's heads, and pappies who polish their head to be all shiny and new. On the way to church, a lady who has twin sons uses a brassier as a baby bonnet for them. Then a lady who is ready to go finds that her husband Nicodemus is busy shootin' craps. She pulls him by the ear and heads for church, but Nicodemus sneaks out and finds a chicken-yard. He chases a chicken and gets hit on the head by a fence. He finds himself in the devil's court. Written by Steve Siegert <nsiegert@remc8.k12.mi.us> (Corrected by Anonymous)

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Release Date:

8 August 1936 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the "Censored 11" banned from T.V. syndication by United Artists in 1968 (then the owners of the Looney Tunes film library) for alleged racism. Ted Turner continued the ban when he was hired and stated that these films will not be re-issued and will not be put on Home Video. These cartoons will probably never air on television again, and only non-Warner Bros. licensed public domain video tapes will probably ever have these cartoons on them. See more »

Goofs

When the devil opens his ledger to look at Nicodemus' account, in close-up Nic's sins are listed on the right-hand page while the left page is blank. In long shot the left-hand page is filled with writing. See more »

Connections

Featured in Animation Lookback: Top 10 Controversial Cartoons (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

You Gotta Give the Devil His Due
(uncredited)
Music by Norman Spencer
Sung by the Devil
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User Reviews

 
Decent premise executed pretty forgettably
27 October 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Most notable for being one of the cartoons from the group "Censored 11", cartoons withheld from syndication for being deemed as having offensive content, 'Sunday Go to Meetin' Time' is not one of the worst, being better than 'Angel Puss'.

It is also not as racist as 'Jungle Jitters', 'Angel Puss' and 'All This and Rabbit Stew', in fact apart from one bit, the portrayal of its stereotypes and the character designs 'Sunday Go to Meetin' Time' is one of the tamer ones from the group. However, it takes a decent if very familiar premise of a character going to hell but executes it in a less than memorable or imaginative manner.

Not as dull as 'Angel Puss' or 'Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land', but when it comes to the "Censored 11" cartoons there are a few that still entertain hugely such as 'Goldilocks and the Three Jivin' Bears' and 'Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs', a level that 'Sunday Go to Meetin' Time' never quite reaches.

The best thing about it is the music score, it's not Carl Stalling but it's still lively, characterful and beautifully orchestrated stuff that fits very well. Most of the animation is also very fluid and detailed with lovely use of colour. There are a few amusing moments, such as the citing of the charges, which is the most imaginative the premise gets.

On the other hand, the premise could have been more imaginatively and energetically handled. It just lacked zip and doesn't do much new with a premise done to death in cartoons and much more memorably, not enough stands out here. There are amusing moments certainly, but they come sporadically and sharper timing generally would have helped to make it more consistent. While it has been said that there are far more offensive cartoons in the "Censored 11" group, it is easy to see why 'Sunday Go to Meetin' Time' is seen offensive enough to withhold it from being distributed.

There is one scene that is racially offensive, which involves shoe polish, that scene was just not in good taste not just for now but back then too. The very exaggerated character designs are grotesquely and unnecessarily ugly, and the characters are stereotypes not painted in a good light, if nowhere near as objectionable as the likes of 'Jungle Jitters', 'Tin Pan Alley Cats' and 'All This and Rabbit Stew' as prime examples of the "Censored 11" cartoons.

In conclusion, forgettable cartoon with moments but could have done much more with a decent if familiar premise. 4/10 Bethany Cox


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