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Jungle Jitters (1938)

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 »

Director:

Friz Freleng (as I. Freleng)

Writer:

George Manuell (story) (as Geo. Manuell)

Star:

Mel Blanc
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Mel Blanc ... Natives / Guard / Preacher (voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

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 <nsiegert@remc8.k12.mi.us>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 February 1938 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Leon Schlesinger Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in That's Black Entertainment (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Goombay Drum
(uncredited)
Written by Charles Lofthouse, Schuyler Knowlton and Stanley Adams
Played at the beginning, when the Queen is introduced, and after the wedding ceremony
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
If it weren't for the controversy, I doubt too many people would be talking about this cartoon anymore
9 December 2007 | by Electrified_VoltageSee all my reviews

"Jungle Jitters" is one of the eleven cartoons, all from the 30's and 40's, that were put on a list in 1968 called the "Censored 11", and banned from television, as they were considered too racist. Nonetheless, I was born eighteen years later, and I remember watching this one a lot on video as a kid, and enjoying it. However, I was entertained by just about everything I saw on TV or video at the time, and I no longer find this animated short very amusing.

The cartoon begins with an African tribe doing various things, including dancing, drumming, and riding on a merry-go-round. However, their fun is interrupted when someone comes to their doors. It turns out to be a silly door-to-door salesman (one with a dog's face) on the other side of the wall. As this salesman waits for someone to answer, members of the tribe look down at him from above, and he doesn't realize that this is a tribe of cannibals who want to eat him for dinner!

When I watched this cartoon as a kid, I obviously never thought of it as racist, as that word wasn't even in my vocabulary at the time. Right now, I can understand the controversy, but that's definitely not my main problem with the short. Yes, it does portray Africans as cannibals, but it has been nearly seventy years since it was made, and I don't think there's any point in getting worked up about it now. What is my main problem with "Jungle Jitters"? Well, if you ask me, it's simply not very funny. The only part that makes me laugh is when the salesman knocks on the doors, and tribe members keep opening and closing them. I probably don't get a lot of the gags simply because they are out-of-date, and I would probably have a better understanding of the cartoon if I knew more about the era in which it was made.

Nowadays, this 1938 animated short can cause different reactions from viewers. Some could find it appallingly racist, while others may think those people are overreacting, and defend the cartoon by saying it's not THAT offensive, and/or that the stereotyping is not all that one-sided. So, there's obviously a lot of controversy among those who are familiar with "Jungle Jitters" over whether banning it was a wise decision or not. However, if the cartoon were 100% politically correct, I don't think too many people would be talking about it anymore, as I don't think it has anything else that could give it much recognition these days. While some could still find it amusing, I would say it's probably too dated to have wide appeal today.


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