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Jungle Jitters is a 1938 Merrie Melodies short directed by Friz Freleng.

Plot

In an African jungle, the natives are going about their day, with the jungle elements being intertwined with modern-day elements, like the people dancing around a tent when it turns into a makeshift merry-go-round, to the tune of "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down".

A traveling salesman comes by to offer them the latest in "assorted useful, useless, utensils." The natives capture him, throw him into a pot of boiling water, and ransack his goods. They proceed to familiarize themselves with vacuum cleaners, batteries, light bulbs, etc.

When the salesman is introduced to the village queen (depicted as a white woman, possibly to avoid any problems with the Hays code over the issue of miscegenation), she takes a liking to him, imagining the cartoon dog as none other than Clark Gable and Robert Taylor. The salesman finds himself with the choice between a forced marriage with the homely queen, or the boiling pot of water. He chooses the pot.

Caricatures

Availability

  • (2017) Blu-ray - All Scrappy, All Warners

Notes

  • This cartoon has never received an official video release due to it being part of the infamous Censored Eleven. Warner Bros. planned to release a DVD containing this cartoon and the rest of the Censored Eleven, but such a release has been delayed indefinitely. However, the short is in the public domain in the United States and can be found on DVD and VHS releases of varying quality. It is one of three not to be shown at TCM festivals for reasons unknown, perhaps due to time issues with the event.
  • Two years after falling into the public domain, United Artists removed "Jungle Jitters" from the airwaves in the United States due to its racial stereotyping of black people. It is one of the Censored Eleven cartoons. Despite the controversy, the cartoon was seen on television in Costa Rica in the early 1990s. Other countries continue to air the cartoon quite often, despite bans.[citation needed] (September 2017)
  • This cartoon is referenced in the 1950 Daffy Duck/Porky Pig Looney Tunes cartoon "The Ducksters," via Daffy mentioning that Miss Shush is Mamie, a 600 pound gorilla who appears in Obnoxious Pictures' "Jungle Jitters". Both the character and film are fictitious; since the original cartoon did not feature a gorilla.
  • As evidenced by a model sheet, the working title for this cartoon was "The Fulla Bluff Salesman", a play on the Fuller Brush salesman.
  • It is one of three cartoons from the Censored Eleven to enter the public domain. "Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land" and "All This and Rabbit Stew" are the others.
  • Alongside clips from "All This and Rabbit Stew", clips of the cartoon appear in the 2000 film Bamboozled, a Spike Lee movie about black stereotypes.

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