Western Animation / Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs

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"Well, hallelujah!"

Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs is a controversial 1943 short directed by Bob Clampett for the Merrie Melodies series. It is a retelling of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" with a modernized setting (for the 1940s) that uses an all-black cast and a hot jazz soundtrack—as well as a lot of outdated racial stereotypes and wartime references.

Animation historians (as well as general fans of animation) consider this short to be one of the finest cartoons ever made—but they also acknowledge that it is one of the most racist cartoons ever made. It remains part of the so-called "Censored Eleven", and you will probably only ever be able to watch it through bootleg releases (and YouTube).


Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs includes the following tropes:

  • The Big Damn Kiss: This not only brings So White back to life, but turns her hair ribbons into little American flags.
    Prince Chawmin': Man, what you got / that makes So White think you so hot?
    Dwarf #7: Well, dat is a military secret!"
  • Chewing the Scenery: This is done—literally—by the Queen after she gives the order to "black out So White". Specifically, she rips off the phone bit with her mouth and chews on it like mad.
  • Christmas Cake: "That mean ol' queen, she sure is a fright..."
  • Cinderella Circumstances: This is implied, as So White is seen "washing all day" for the Queen. However, it is unclear if So White is the Queen's stepdaughter or her actual maid.
  • Deranged Animation: This is typical of Clampett's work. The most notable example in this short comes from the scene where Prince Chawmin steps out of his limousine and walks around very oddly.
  • Evil Laugh: The Queen does one when she thinks she has "blacked out So White".
  • Girlish Pigtails: So White
  • Ironic Name: So White, for obvious reasons.
  • Literal Metaphor: When So White is abducted by assassins and Prince Chawmin' does nothing to help, he develops a broad yellow streak down his center, marking him as a "yellow-belly" (i.e., a coward).
  • Magic Skirt: So White's micro-mini, with the slits up each side, certainly counts. She also spends a lot of time bent over a washtub or a cooking stove.
  • Ms. Fanservice: "...but her gal So White is dynamite!"
  • Murder, Inc.: This is literally used in the short to "black out So White".
  • No Sparks: Prince Chawmin' tries to apply his dynamite kiss to So White, but it does nothing. (The Dopey expy does the trick.)
  • Recycled INSPACE: This is "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" with AN ALL-BLACK CAST AND A JAZZ SOUNDTRACK!
    • This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight thanks to Disney's The Princess and the Frog. That movie featured a majority-black cast (some white people are there to keep the racial balance in check) and used hot jazz music for its soundtrack.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: All of the dialogue follow this rule, save for the last line.
  • Sex for Services: Implied—when the hitmen drop So White off in the woods unharmed, they are all covered in lipstick.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The short has many parallels to Walt Disney's take on the tale, notably the scene where So White stands over a well and says, "Some folks think I'm kinda dumb / but I know some day my prince will come."
    • When Prince Chawmin' arrives for The Big Damn Kiss, he declares, "I'll give her a kiss and it won't be a dud / I'll bring her to life with my special..." It then cuts to a black screen with the Prince's disembodied lips exclaiming, "Rosebud!"
    • So White sings, "I work all day, and I get de bluuuuuues in de night." This was because Bob Clampett was a fan of African-American jazz music.
  • Silly Walk: Prince Chawmin' does one during his introduction.
  • Something Else Also Rises: The Dopey expy kissing So White has a stronger reaction than the Prince's attempts.
  • The Speechless: Averted with the Dopey expy, who even has a line in their introductory song.
  • Stock Yuck: A worm living in the apple poisoned by the Queen complains that the poison smells like Limburger cheese.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "Man, what you got that makes So White think you so hot?!" "Well, dat is a military secret!"
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Prince Chawmin' turning completely pale (save for most of his teeth), due to his attempts at reviving So White with his rosebud kisses literally taking the life out of him in the original, freaky version of that part. In the alternate version, his face turns gray as he tries in vain to awaken So White by kissing, then his hair turns gray, stands back and becomes wavy, then white and receded, and his face is now a high-yellow shade in lieu of his normal, darker complexion.
  • Visual Pun: The part where the queen is eating "Chattanooga Chew-Chews" is a Shout-Out to the classic big band tune, ''Chattanooga Choo Choo."
    • And she has a bottle of "Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin".
  • Wartime Cartoon:
    • When describing how rich Ol' Queenie is, they show her with piles of gold and jewels...and tires, sugar, and coffee—all of which were strictly rationed during wartime.
    • The "Murder, Inc." van advertises: "We rub out anybody - $1.00 / Midgets - 1/2 price / Japs - FREE"
    • The dwarfs themselves are all U.S. Army soldiers. So White becomes the cook for their platoon.


Alternative Title(s): Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs

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