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Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943)

So White flees from the wicked Queenie, wins over the thugs from Murder Inc. and meets her overrated Prince Chawmin'.



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We see the various birds, mice, and bats that have moved into an old windmill, followed by the frogs, crickets, and fireflies making their music in an adjacent pond. Then a storm comes, ... See full summary »

Director: Wilfred Jackson
Stars: Marie Arbuckle, Jean MacMurray, Louise Myers


Uncredited cast:
Ivie Anderson ...
Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Dwarfs / Worm in Apple / Honey Chile (voice) (uncredited)
Ruby Dandridge ...
Queen's Sweet Voice / Queen's Laugh (voice) (uncredited)
Vivian Dandridge ...
So White (voice) (uncredited)
Mammy (voice) (uncredited)
Zoot Watson ...
Prince Chawmin' (voice) (uncredited)
Danny Webb ...
Queen (voice) (uncredited)


Spoof of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)' with an all-black cartoon cast. Many WWII references, including rationing (the evil Queen is a hoarder of sugar and rubber tires) and Jeep vehicles (the Sebben Dwarfs come to the rescue in three of them). Also spoofs the extreme close-up of Kane's lips uttering "Rosebud" in 'Citizen Kane (1941)'. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dwarf | u.s. army | tire | sugar | queen | See All (68) »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 January 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

So White and de sebben dwarfs  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Among the items around the Evil Queen in her throne room are a bottle of Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin (the name belongs to a machine that removes seeds from raw cotton), and a box of candy labeled Chattanooga Chew-Chews (taken from "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," the title of a song popular for that time). The crest over her head on the throne includes two dice and a pair of crossed straight-razors. See more »


Dwarfs: Who goes there friend or foe?
So White: You're with the seven dwarfs? That's what I want to know
Dwarfs: [singing] We're in the army now!, we're not behind the plow!
'Dopey' Dwarf: [singing] It takes us cats to catch them rats, we're in the army now!
So White: [singing] Well look who's in the suits and the suits share the zoots, and wacky off the khaki now!
See more »

Crazy Credits

A unique "That's All, Folks!" card features an animated shot of Mammy and a little girl rocking in an armchair. See more »


Red, White and Blue
Written by Thomas A. Beckett
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

3 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

Coal Black's obscurity helps cartoon buffs to describe it in gushing terms. Animation historians call it one of the greatest cartoons that Warner Brothers put out. It's a product of its time, they write—it came from an America that still enjoyed a minstrel show. Hollywood was giving the public black mammies, Steppin Fetchit, shucking and jiving, Amos and Andy. We can view those live-action films with a sense of historical distance— the film stock looks ancient, the acting looks hammy, and the actors themselves are generally dead. However, cartoons don't age like that. Though the film needs restoration, Prince Chawmin' looks to be as ludicrously vibrant today as he was in 1942— just more shocking.

To those who say, "The film exists and it's wrong to deny that…" Well, yeah. That doesn't mean we should put this into rotation on Cartoon Network. Your average viewer doesn't know or care about context. Coal Black provokes a visceral reaction. It churns up the ugliest parts of American history, reminding us that we're still a long way from having racial inequities worked out. Maybe Clampett was just having fun, but in today's climate and without commentary (i.e., without couching it in a documentary), Coal Black can look degrading.

Bob Clampett's style was to exaggerate, stretch, distort, and rubberize. Applying this style to the racial stereotypes of the day—even if he did so in fun, or even in admiration—Clampett produced some truly grotesque character designs. It makes Coal Black hard to reconcile. Freeze-frame it at some points and it looks like racist propaganda. Watch it as a cartoon, however, and it rollicks along good-naturedly.

Coal Black is Clampett's celebration of black culture and jazz, and to make it he fought with the studio to bring in as many black musicians and voices as he could. It's a jubilant film, and to watch it ignorant of race is to enjoy a bunch of rubbery cartoon characters in a twisted, high-speed parody of Snow White (there's even a jab at Disney's overuse of rotoscoping—check the beginning of the dance number). Jazz and action bounce along in wonderful syncopation, and seven minutes fly by so fast that they feel like two. Rod Scribner's animation is often astounding.

It's worth hunting for, it's worth talking about, and in ten years maybe it'll be time for Cartoon Network to dust it off, restore it, and put it on an official DVD. In the meantime, enthusiasts can have the satisfaction of tracking down a rare, paradoxical cartoon made by a brilliant collaboration.

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