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Re: Jail Bait (1954) and blackface "humor"
Posted by Solomon on 2/19/2016, 5:05 am, in reply to "Re: Jail Bait (1954) and blackface "humor""
There's one line in which sister Marilyn tells brother Don that carrying the gun is jail bait. Craig has a long paragraph about the minstrel show that I can't copy as ctrl c doesn't work on book excerpts. He says the scene shifts "radically", and it's "anachronistic". He says it wasn't filmed by Wood but by Houck and company. He says the comedy is "sorry" and the tap dance "archaic". (The steps date from the 20s at a minimum.) He goes on to say that minstrel shows had declined in the 50s and "could be considered surely out of place and ill-advised, if not outright racist." He hypothesizes that it's there to "please the distributors" because the film was released "primarily in the deep rural South". He guesses that on the coasts, the scene was or could be edited out.
At no point does he make a case that it reveals anything despicable about Ed Wood. Is there some evidence to the contrary? Would we find it in his other movies? I did a little search on "Ed Wood + minstrel scene". The first result is a Youtube video of it. No other pertinent results.
The theater that's robbed has a vaudeville component, I believe. These were still around in the 40s and 50s in a few places.
"Amateur minstrel shows continued to be performed in the 1960s and high schools, fraternities and local theater groups would usually perform the shows in blackface. The amateur minstrel shows in blackface finally died out in the US in the late 1960s as African Americans asserted more political power, but even today minstrel shows are still used as a theme for amateur productions."