Clean Pastures
Directed By: I. Freleng
Produced By: Leon Schlesinger
Released: May 22, 1937
Series: Merrie Melodies
Story: Sid Marcus (uncredited)
Animation: Paul Smith
Phil Monroe
Film Editor: Treg Brown
Voiced By: Mel Blanc
Danny Webb
The Four Blackbirds
The Sportsmen Quartet
The Basin Street Boys
Music: Carl W. Stalling
Starring: Fats Waller
Cab Calloway
Louis Armstrong
St. Peter
Stepin Fetchit
The Heaven All-Stars
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
Al Jolson
The Mills Brothers
Preceded By: Porky and Gabby
Succeeded By: Uncle Tom's Bungalow
Clean Pastures (1937)

Clean Pastures (1937)


Lobby Card

Clean Pastures is a 1937 Merrie Melodies directed by Friz Freleng.


The Lord sees that the stock value of "Pair-o-dice" is dropping on the exchange so he dispatches a slow-witted and slow-talking angel to sinful Harlem to recruit new customers. When this fails, God finds success sending a group of musical angels with a little more swing in their style, so much so that even the Devil wants to join up!

Home Video

None, but bootleg VHS and DVD sets have this cartoon, obviously unrestored and in low pitch, as no such restored print has ever been released on home video.


  • The cartoon is a parody of Warner Bros.' 1936 film, The Green Pastures.
  • Schlesinger and Warner Bros. had problems with the cartoon from the start. Hollywood censors alleged that the film ran afoul of the Hays Production Code because it burlesqued religion. Later commentators surmise that the censors also objected to the portrayal of a Heaven run by African Americans. As such, the short's stereotypical portrayal of black characters prompted United Artists to withhold it from United States television in 1968, adding it to a collection known as the infamous Censored Eleven.
  • Modern critics have been no kinder to the short and cite its portrayal of black characters as offensive and reliant on negative stereotypes.
  • Musicologist Daniel Goldmark interprets the film as a send-up of black religion and culture and the increasing identification of 1930s white audiences of jazz music with black culture.[citation needed|date=]

  • Religion scholar Judith Weisenfeld sees "Clean Pastures" as a metaphor for the replacement of rural, minstrel show stereotypes of blacks for modern, urban ones.[citation needed|date=]

  • This cartoon and "Uncle Tom's Bungalow" were released before and after each other, respectively.
  • Scenes from this short were reused for the Frank Tashlin cartoon "Have You Got Any Castles?" Despite airing the reissue version with all of Alex Woolcott's appearances removed, Cartoon Network and Boomerang have aired this with the "Swing for Sale" part uncut, making this the closest that a Censored Eleven cartoon has ever aired on an American TV channel.
  • Waller's line, "That's all, that's all," would be reused in "September in the Rain" and later in "Tin Pan Alley Cats".


  • Oscar Polk
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Cab Calloway
  • Fats Waller
  • Stepin Fetchit
  • Jimmie Lunceford

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