I enjoy watching old favorite movies on cable TV channels. There are no annoying commercials nor ear-damaging music. It’s like sitting in the neighborhood theater after you bought your 25¢ ticket. A favorite old Garland and Rooney musical, Babes On Broadway, was shown the other day.
The movie was released at Christmas 1941, just two weeks after America was shocked into war by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The movie featured many still-familiar songs. Two musical numbers featured the all-white cast in blackface were Franklin D. Roosevelt Jones and Waiting For The Robert E Lee.
The exaggerated singing and dancing were enthusiastic and, at that time, not considered offensive. However, the same staging, especially the make-up, today would be deemed extremely racist. I enjoyed the movie, but at the time was 16 and had other thoughts. As with millions of other teenagers, it would be just a matter of months before I’d enlist in World War 2.