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Jungle Jitters (1938)

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Starts out with a tribe of African cannibals imitating Native Americans. After this, they do the new Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theme "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down." Then a sloppy ... See full summary »


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Title: Jungle Jitters (1938)

Jungle Jitters (1938) on IMDb 5.2/10

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Uncredited cast:
Natives / Guard / Preacher (voice) (uncredited)


Starts out with a tribe of African cannibals imitating Native Americans. After this, they do the new Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theme "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down." Then a sloppy stuttering salesman knocks on their doors, and they bring him in and put him in a pot of boiling water. The queen of the tribe wants to see the man. She falls in love with him. They get married, but when the salesman sees he has to kiss the bride, he decides he'd be better off being dinner for a tribe of hungry cannibals. Written by Steve Siegert <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

19 February 1938 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Clark Gable and Robert Taylor are caricatured when the queen imagines the salesman as being these two stars. See more »


Preacher: I now sentence you t' be man and wife, kiss the bride, that'll be two dollahs, please.
See more »


Referenced in The Ducksters (1950) See more »


The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down
Written by Cliff Friend and Dave Franklin
Played during the merry-go-round bit
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Dorgan's Syndrome meets Elmer Blurt
25 June 2007 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

I'd heard no end of horror stories about how 'Jungle Jitters' is allegedly so mind-bogglingly racist that it has been banned from polite society for all eternity. It turns out that this cartoon's major crime is that it isn't very funny. The single most racist gag involves a black man who looks like Stepin Fetchit but with enormous lips. He eats a persimmon, and his lips pucker until they're normal size. Elsewhere there are moronic gags involving African natives (all male) with nose rings and metal bands elongating their necks. (Apparently the gang at Termite Terrace have got African men confused with Burmese women.) I was surprised that there weren't any plate-lip gags ... but, really, most of this toon is just so stupid and unfunny that it's not worth the credibility of being called racist. Some other Hollywood toons from this same period are far more racist, maliciously so. Step forward, Chuck Jones's Inki.

After the initial gags, we get two interesting examples of Dorgan's Syndrome, a term I invented. Dorgan's Syndrome (named for comic-strip artist Tad Dorgan) is when a comic-strip character or cartoon character (almost invariably male) is drawn to look like an exaggerated human (fully clothed), but very minor details -- such as floppy spaniel ears or a black button nose -- indicate that he's actually a humanised animal, nearly always a dog. (Tad Dorgan drew comic-strip dogs who were so completely anthropomorphised, you have to look carefully to see they aren't comic-strip humans.) Into this cartoon jungle comes a commercial traveller who appears to be a white man, except that he has a dog's nose. The African natives (who are clearly human beings, at least by cartoon standards) want to put him in a big cauldron and eat him. Before anybody cries 'cannibalism', how can they be cannibals if they're humans eating a dog? The talking dog's flesh tones resemble a caucasian human's, so I guess he's 'white'.

Now we veer into H. Rider Haggard territory, as it turns out that all these black men are ruled by a white queen ... a very old queen, in fact, wearing Mammy Yokum high-button shoes. She too appears to suffer from Dorgan's Syndrome, as she looks nominally human but her mouth and nose are drawn to resemble a chicken's beak. (An old biddy?) She takes one look at the dog and starts screeching 'A man!'. She's surrounded by black men, but apparently she's been waiting for a talking dog with caucasian flesh tones. While the dog is talking, the hen imagines him morphing into Clark Gable (very unpleasantly drawn) and Robert Taylor. It shows how defeatist the makers of this Warner Brothers cartoon were, that they had to invoke two MGM contract actors as examples of male sex appeal. Couldn't they have used Warners actors Cagney, Raft ... even Dick Powell?

This whole toon is too dumb to bear much scrutiny. When the African men look at the dog, he morphs into a fried chicken. But their queen IS a chicken, so why don't they eat HER?

A previous IMDb reviewer, Randy H Farb, observes that the travelling salesman in this cartoon is a parody of a radio character named Elmer Blurt. He's correct, but Mr Farb has misspelt the name of the radio actor who invented the character: that would be Al Pearce, not Pierce. Al Pearce's radio character Elmer Blurt was nicknamed 'the Low Pressure Salesman'. As Farb notes, quite a few Warners toons featured parodies of radio or movie actors. Which brings me to the one good thing about this cartoon: the dog character (an imitation of Blurt) is actually fairly interesting in his own right, and could have been quite effective in a funnier cartoon. It's a shame that Warners never used him again. Maybe he'll show up in a Tiny Toon. I'll rate 'Jungle Jitters' just 2 out of 10. That's all, folks.

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