David Breneman wrote:
> "Whoopie!" has been shown occasionally on TCM.
It occurs to me that there's one really offensive section in that movie, but
it was a sign of the times (Vaudeville) and the fact that Eddie Cantor, like
Al Jolson, often appeared in blackface. As others have said already, such
offensive bits of ephemeral culture need to be preserved and seen, rather
than denied. The fact that Cantor's blackface in this movie results from an
exploding gas oven is, of course, absurd, and the fact that nobody
recognizes him once his face is black might even be seen as a commentary on
common racial attitudes of the time. However, it does take a leap of faith
to believe that the writers were sending a secret message.
> The films
> produced eyestrain, and soon black and while was a selling
> point for films.
However, the public didn't have to wait very long for three-strip
Technicolor to appear. The three-strip process was being experimentally
phased in via Disney cartoons while the two-strip process was being phased
out (this would be about 1932). By 1934 the first Technicolor live shorts
were being shown, and these are truly eye-candy: awful plots/subjects, but
beautiful colors! In 1935 Becky Sharp was released, and the rest is history.
Granted, the color spectrum attainable from two colors was limited, but I'm
still astounded by how many shades of color were preserved in Whoopie!. I
don't care all that much that the sky is greenish, or that the King of Jazz
features Rhapsody in Chartreuse. It's still exciting to see what could be
done back then!