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Tin Pan Alley Cats
Tin Pan Alley Cats is a 1943 animated short subject, directed by Robert Clampett for Leon Schlesinger Productions as part of Warner Bros.' Merrie Melodies series. A follow-up to Clampett's successful Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs, released earlier in 1943, Tin Pan Alley Cats focuses upon contemporary themes of African-American culture, jazz music, and World War II, and features a caricature of jazz musician Fats Waller as an anthropomorphic cat. The short's centerpiece is a fantasy sequence derived from Clampett's black and white Looney Tunes short Porky in Wackyland (1938).
Like Coal Black, Tin Pan Alley Cats focuses heavily on stereotypical gags, character designs, and situations involving African-Americans. As such, the film and other Warner Bros. cartoons with similar themes have been withheld from television distribution since 1968, and are collectively known as the Censored Eleven.
The cartoon opens with a cat who resembles a Fats Waller caricature going out for a night on the town. He is about to go into a club when a street preacher warns him that he will be tempted with "wine, women and song" if he goes in. This, however, only excites the cat ("Wine women an' song? What's de matter wid dat?") who immediately runs in. At first, he enjoys the club, but he becomes so immersed in the music that he is carried "out-of-this-world" to a manic fantasy realm filled with surreal imagery. This world frightens him so much that, when he wakes up, he gives up his partying ways and joins the religious music group singing outside, much to their surprise.