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Mickey's Mellerdrammar

by Nicholas Sammond

In this cartoon short, we see Mickey literally "blow" himself into blackness, as Mickey, Minnie and Horace Horsecollar put on an adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Offstage, Goofy operates a bit of stage machinery that moves a minstrelesque cut outs with exaggerated lips, standing in for plantation slaves singing as they pick cotton. We see the slaveowner whipping Mickey in blackface, only to be bashed by tomatoes and fruits thrown by the audience for these actions. Like many adapatations 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. In one scene, for instance, Mickey (dressed in drag) attempts to put a cat into a dog's stage costume, only to have all the other dogs—who are also all dressed in "dog" costumes—chase after the cat. The short cartoon ends with Horace as Legree being buried in the vegetables thrown by audience members, and we hear Goofy's chuckle....

Mickey's Mellerdrammer

This short animated cartoon is based on Harriot Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, and the characters Mickey, Minnie and Horace all dress up in an adaptation of the novel in the format of an old-time minstrel show.

from "Mickey's Mellerdrammer" (1933)
Creator: Walt Disney
Distributor: United Artists
Posted by Nicholas Sammond