Sign in or register
for additional privileges

Birth of An Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation

Nicholas Sammond, Author

This page was created by Patricia Hill.  The last update was by Alice Xue.

You appear to be using an older verion of Internet Explorer. For the best experience please upgrade your IE version or switch to a another web browser.

Introduction, Page 2

Mickey’s Mellerdrammer (1935) is one of many cartoon adaptations of the classic abolitionist tale Uncle Tom's Cabin.

In this cartoon interpretation of the Stowe tale, set in a converted barn, Mickey uses a firecracker to blow himself up into blackness. Offstage, Goofy operates stage machinery that moves minstrelesque cutouts who stand in for plantation slaves, singing as they pick cotton.

Like other adaptations of the Stowe melodrama, this one confuses a sincere depiction of the horrors of slavery with blackface minstrelsy, and the categories just keep on slipping, as the cartoon drifts toward vaudeville: the short ends with Horace Horsecollar as Simon Legree being buried in the vegetables thrown by audience members.

Dan Emmett's "Dixie" is perhaps the best-known song to emerge from blackface minstrelsy. Shorthand for the antebellum South, Dixie plays in the background of Mickey's Mellerdrammer discreetly signifying plantations, slavery and the minstrel shows that were popular well into the early twentieth century.
Comment on this page

Discussion of "Introduction, Page 2"

Add your voice to this discussion.

Checking your signed in status ...

Previous page on path Introduction, page 2 of 17 Next page on path

Related:  Performance, Page 70Space, Page 194Space, Page 162Introduction, Page 21Labor, Page 119Space, Page 182Space, Page 195Race, Page 206Labor, Page 122Space, Page 172Performance, Page 52Space, Page 184Space, Page 193Conclusion, Page 275Labor, Page 129Space, Page 181Race, Page 219Conclusion, Page 304Introduction, Page 29Race, Page 239Labor, Page 132Space, Page 152Race, Page 254Conclusion, Page 298Space, Page 155Race, Page 220Space, Page 187Introduction, Page 1Labor, Page 128Labor, Page 88Introduction, Page 6Conclusion, Page 284Race, Page 258Labor, Page 101Conclusion, Page 286Space, Page 177Performance, Page 50Space, Page 150Space, Page 188Introduction, Page 14Race, Page 221Conclusion, Page 302Performance, Page 43Space, Page 175Race, Page 230Space, Page 138Performance, Page 47Race, Page 247Space, Page 163Labor, Page 123Space, Page 165Performance, Page 82Introduction, Page 16Space, Page 143Labor, Page 109Conclusion, Page 300Space, Page 183Space, Page 191Conclusion, Page 273Race, Page 224Labor, Page 110Race, Page 204Performance, Page 72Performance, Page 42Performance, Page 60Space, Page 190Performance, Page 54Labor, Page 131Conclusion, Page 289Race, Page 261Labor, Page 133Race, Page 251Space, Page 146Space, Page 141Conclusion, Page 290Performance, Page 34Race, Page 225Performance, Page 77Race, Page 253Conclusion, Page 292Space, Page 178Space, Page 189Conclusion, Page 291Race, Page 229Performance, Page 84Race, Page 232Space, Page 197Race, Page 248Space, Page 148Labor, Page 112Race, Page 213Labor, Page 98Conclusion, Page 296Race, Page 252Race, Page 231Performance, Page 74Performance, Page 41Performance, Page 46Introduction, Page 30Race, Page 235Performance, Page 45Conclusion, Page 303Performance, Page 35Conclusion, Page 278Space, Page 171Labor, Page 102Introduction, Page 23Labor, Page 113Space, Page 170Space, Page 137Performance, Page 44Space, Page 196Introduction, Page 4