This evening, we sat down for a little quality family time. The goal was kicking back and watching a Christmas movie of some sort on Netflix.
Rather than starting a whole movie, we decided to watch a collection of old cartoons, labeled Christmas Classics, Volume 1, from 1952. The headliner, if you will, was the original Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. That one wasn't half bad, even though I missed Herbie who wanted to be a dentist. However...
The 2nd cartoon was called Santa's Surprise, and it was about how a bunch of kids from around the world snuck home on Santa's sleigh, and helped clean his house while he was sleeping. That's all well and good, except, the cartoon was made back in 1947, and well...it might go without saying, but the cultural sensitivities were different then than they are now. There was a scene in the video, starting at 12:19, that made me gasp out loud.
I think what they were going for was United Colors of Benetton....but that's not how it comes across 65 years later. What was even funnier was that my daughters didn't see anything wrong with it. They didn't find it funny, but they didn't know any of it was supposed to be offensive either.
Me? I don't know...I've never thought of myself as overly PC, but I was blown away...and it didn't get any better. During the singing, dancing, cleaning montage, they had the little African American kid SHINING SHOES, and the Chinese kid doing the laundry. And that was OKAY!!!?!?!?!??!
Yes, I know...it's a cartoon, and not a documentary....but, my gosh...it drives home the enormity of the whole Civil Rights battle, which was fought barely 20 years after this cartoon was made.
I think next Christmas movie night, I'll have the kids watch Die Hard instead.