Sunday Go to Meetin' Time

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Sunday Go to Meetin' Time
Nicodemus steals a chicken.png
Nicodemus tries to steal a chicken. Sunday Go to Meetin' Time features African American characters who look and act like blackface minstrel show and coon song stereotypes.
Directed byFriz Freleng
Produced byLeon Schlesinger
Story byAllen Rose
StarringGus Wickie
Music byNorman Spencer
Animation byRobert McKimson
Paul Smith
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date
August 8, 1936 (US)
Running time
7 min (one reel)
LanguageEnglish

Sunday Go to Meetin' Time is a 1936 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Friz Freleng.

Plot[edit]

Ringing bells in a lazy town announce that it is time to go to church. A black preacher with caricatured enormous lips greets his parishioners as he sings the song for which the short is named. A minstrel show dandy and his gal jazz up the song as they dance their way to church. A succession of gags featuring stereotyped black characters follows: a mammy and old uncle shine the heads of pickaninny children; a woman takes a bra off a clothesline to use as a bonnet for her twin children. Lindvall notes that mammies were "ubiquitous in films dealing with black culture".[1]

Freleng introduces the cartoon's protagonist, Nicodemus, when Mammy Two-Shoes finds him playing dice. She exclaims, "You good fo’ nothin’! Get yo’self to dat church. De Debbil’s gonna get you sho as yo’ born!" and drags him off by the ear. Nevertheless, Nicodemus slinks out the door, opting to steal some chickens instead. Unfortunately, a knock on the head sends him to the "Hades Court of Justice", where a demon reviews his crimes and sends him deeper into hell. Big-lipped demons carry him to the Devil himself, who sings to Nicodemus that "you've got to give the Devil his due." The boss orders some demons to "give 'em the works," but Nicodemus wakes to find the prods of pitchforks are nothing but the pecks of chickens in the land of the living. He hears the church bells and makes haste to the meeting house.

Notes[edit]

  • Because of the racial stereotypes of black people throughout the short, it is withheld from circulation, one of the "Censored Eleven" shorts.
  • This cartoon was re-released into the Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies program on October 28, 1944. Because the short credits Leon Schlesinger on the original release, the original closing title card was kept. Though the short was re-released, the original titles are known to exist.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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