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Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land
Httfhl
Directed By: Rudolf Ising (uncredited)
Produced By: Hugh Harman
Rudolf Ising
Leon Schlesinger (associate producer)
Released: November 28, 1931
Series: Merrie Melodies
Story:
Animation: Isadore Freleng
Paul J. Smith
Layouts:
Backgrounds:
Film Editor: Bernard B. Brown (uncredited)
Voiced By:
Music: Frank Marsales
Starring: Piggy
Fluffy
Uncle Tom
Preceded By: Bosko's Soda Fountain
Succeeded By: Bosko's Fox Hunt
Hittin' The Trail For Hallelujah Land

Hittin' The Trail For Hallelujah Land

Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land is a 1931 Merrie Melodies short directed by Rudolf Ising.

Plot

The plucky Piggy's must rescue his girlfriend and a doglike Uncle Tom from perilous predicaments and villains. A singing steamboat dances down a river while, on the deck, three blackface caricatures play the song for which the short is named on the harmonica, banjo, and bones. Meanwhile, Uncle Tom drives Fluffy toward the boat by donkey cart. The scene shifts to Piggy the riverboat captain in a sequence reminiscent of Disney's 1928 film Steamboat Willie. Fluffy joins the frolicking steamboat passengers and reunites with her boyfriend, but during the revelry, Piggy falls overboard. The pig has a run in with an alligator, but he makes it back to the boat. Meanwhile, Uncle Tom's donkey bucks him into a cemetery. There, in a variation on a stock gag featuring a superstitious black man,[1] he is scared by three dancing skeletons reminiscent of those in Disney's 1929 short The Skeleton Dance. Tom escapes to the middle of the river, but a shoddy boat leaves him stranded and drowning. Piggy saves the day but not before a vaudevillian villain kidnaps his porcine paramour. Piggy captures the villain on a passing mail hook, leaving the villain tortured over a buzz saw.

Distribution

"Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land" was released in American theaters on November 28, 1931 by Warner Bros.. The cartoon's copyright expired in 1960, making it go into public domain. However, the cartoon has been withheld from USA television distribution since 1968. At that time, United Artists owned the rights to most Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. "Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land" and ten other cartoons were deemed to feature racist depictions of African Americans that were too integral to the films for simple cuts to make them palatable for modern audiences.[2] Because of this, the cartoon has never been released on laserdisc, home video, or DVD. This cartoon, along with ten others, make up the Censored Eleven.

Availability

Due to being part of the Censored Eleven, this short has never received an official video release. A DVD with the Censored Eleven was planned, but was shelved indefinitely.

Notes

  • The stereotypical portrayal of black characters prompted United Artists to withhold it from syndication in 1968, making it one of the infamous Censored Eleven.
  • This was the final appearance of Piggy until 1936 which Friz Freleng revived Piggy and redesigned him by giving him a lighter, more Caucasian-like color with distinguishing birthmarks as well as making him into a gluttonous child that lives with a large family of pigs until officially being discontinued in 1937, to which some of his character traits transferred for a time to Porky Pig.
    • Although Piggy did frequently appeared in the outro of the Merrie Melodies shorts throughout most of 1931 to 1932.
  • This is the final appearance of Fluffy, however unlike Piggy, Fluffy did not make a comeback years after this short was released.

Gallery

References

  1. Lindvall, Terry, and Ben Fraser (1998). "Darker Shades of Animation: African-American Images in Warner Bros. Cartoons". Reading the Rabbit: Explorations in Warner Bros. Animation. Rutgers University Press. page 128.
  2. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1995/did-bugs-bunny-appear-in-a-racist-cartoon-during-world-war-ii Did Bugs Bunny appear in a racist cartoon during World War II?, The Straight Dope, February 5, 2002

External Links

Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land at the Internet Movie Database


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