Saturday, May 18, 2013

"The Dixie Fryer" - Foghorn Leghorn (1960)

When I was a kid Foghorn Leghorn was my favorite Merrie Melodies character. Well, actually, they all had their good points, but perhaps it was because Foghorn seemed emblematic of what was happening in America at the time in regards to Civil Rights. It was also the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. So, to me, Foghorn Leghorn “was” the Southern Dixiecrat; and although in reality his ilk would repulse me; as a cartoon there was an attraction borne of having seen this guy on the evening news.

In this 6 minute cartoon I’m not really sure who gets lampooned the most; the Southerners or the “Hillbillies” who are represented by chicken hawks, but are probably supposed to be African-Americans. But, at the same time, they bear all of the trappings of the stereotypical “Hillbilly.” 

So, if you are offended by this type of humor, remember that this cartoon came out just 2 years BEFORE “The Beverly Hillbillies” appeared on CBS, and which would run for 7 more years after. The Andy Griffith Show had already begun its classic run, and “Green Acres” wasn't even on the drawing board yet. At the same time, most television shows were white, and shows like “Julia” were still almost a decade in the future. And, it would be a full 10 years before Archie Bunker made a fool of himself each week in your living room.

The voices in this cartoon are, of course, Mel Blanc. Foghorn is hitchhiking south; presumably from D.C.; to spend the winter, being pulled by a flock of birds. When he catches scent of the magnolias, he knows he is back down South. Unfortunately for him, just as he is finished setting up camp for the winter, “Elvis” and “Pappy”; the aforementioned chicken hawks; catch his scent, and the race is on to see just who will be having who for dinner.

Forget the political correctness, and enjoy this cartoon for what it really represents. What is that? I’m not sure, but it looks an awful lot like most of us to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment