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Cab Calloway & Band Perform in Pajamas! (1933)

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Uploaded on Feb 27, 2011

Early musical shorts such as this were made to be shown as filler for theater film programs. Because of this they were never widely seen. They frequently depicted subject matter that would be considered taboo in the ensuing Hays/Breen Code years, such as interracial romance. I initially thought this video was an example of this, until someone pointed out that the woman playing the porter's wife was Fredi Washington, a light-skinned black woman. Washington can be seen playing Duke Ellington's wife in another early soundie.

I've come across several songs and soundies from this era that revolved around the theme of the randy wife of an absent Pullman porter. It almost appears as though this scenario was as much a part of humor culture as the traveling salesman/farmer's daughter routine.

Now fire up your Homefire Radio and enjoy Cab and the gang!

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