Re: "Plain Vanilla" Entertainers

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Posted ByDavid M. Lynch on July 24, 2002 at 00:14:17:

In Reply to: "Plain Vanilla" Entertainers posted byGerry O. on June 30, 2002 at 22:58:54:

: During the 1930's and 40's, while racial and ethnic stereotypes were rampant in various forms of entertainment, most of the big-name superstars DID seem to be "neutered" when it came to their national and/or religious origins.

I have a couple of the late 1930s Jell-O magazine ads which feature Jack and Mary in little 6-panel comic strips. The so-called "likenesses" of Jack and Mary are so WASP-ish, it's frightening! If one didn't know who the characters were, you'd be hard pressed to identify them! However, what strikes me as truly odd about this is that, although these ads obviously pre-date Jack's TV years, his face was quite well-known due to his movie and magazine appearances. Maybe Jell-O just couldn't find an artist who could do good likenesses of Jack and Mary, but I doubt it; more likely, it was due to that era's "neuturing" which you refer to!

As far as the stereotypes go, one needs merely to point at the exaggerated ethnicity of Artie Auerbach's "Mr. Kitzle," as opposed to Jack's non-religious -- or, more specifically, non-Jewish -- on-the-air persona.

Personally, I'm not offended by such stereotypes, IF they're placed in their historical context. I'd be apalled if mainstream entertainment tried to get away with things like that today.

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