“Minnie the Moocher” is a 1932 cartoon starring two of Fleischer Studios’ most famous characters, Betty Boop and Bimbo. It heavily features the music of Cab Calloway, including the eponymous song, as well as a short live-action sequence of Calloway and his orchestra performing “St. James Infirmary.”
Consists of: 16mm Film (a), Original 400 foot Film Reel, and Original Cardboard Box (c).
2015.218.104.22.168a: 16mm film. The film begins with a wide shot of Cab Calloway and his orchestra performing an instrumental version of “St. James Infirmary” as the opening credits appear. Calloway performs an elaborate dance as he conducts the orchestra. In the cartoon’s first scene, Betty Boop is castigated by her parents for refusing to eat. Betty’s father’s head turns into a cylinder phonograph and her mother changes the cylinder from his voice to one that plays music when Betty leaves the table in tears. In the next scene, Betty sings “They Always Pick on Me” as she decides to run away and makes preparations to do so. She calls her friend Bimbo to inform him of her departure and he agrees to accompany her. As they make way, Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher” begins to play. They enter a dark cave and encounter a walrus who sings (With Calloway’s voice) the lyrics to the song. While the song plays, Betty and Bimbo see many fantastical and terrifying images, such as skeletons, ghosts, and ghouls. When the song ends, all of the creatures inside chase Betty and Bimbo out of the cave and all the way home, as “Vine St. Blues” plays in the background. The Film concludes with Betty’s note to her parents tearing up to reveal the phrase “Home sweet home.”
16mm silent color film shot by Cab Calloway during his 1951 tour in Haiti. This film features footage of Cab Calloway and his band performing on an outdoor stage, the local townspeople, a local Haitian pottery market, and the Presidential Palace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince.
This 16mm, silent, color, film was shot by Cab Calloway while on a music tour in Haiti in 1951. The footage features Cab Calloway performing and touring the local markets.
Consists of: 16mm Film (a), Original 100 foot Film Reel (b), and Original 100 foot Film Box.
2013.237.20.1a: 16mm film. The film begins with footage of Cab Calloway and his band onstage playing. The band consists of a piano player, a brass section, a bass player, and a drummer in addition to Calloway. They appear to be ending a performance. The next scene shows the same stage, but a different band is playing. This band has a percussion section with maracas, a drum and two other percussion instruments. There is also a guitar player. The next scene is underexposed, making it difficult to make out what is being filmed. The next scene shows three people in front of a stage with a colorful background. The woman in the middle appears to be Nuffie Calloway, Cab Calloway's wife. The camera then pans a seating area and some men setting up tables. The next scene is shot from a mountain overlooking a city, probably Port-au-Prince. There is footage of four children and a man in front of a building, and footage of a marketplace with people selling objects carved from wood. The next scene shows a bust of Toussaint L'Ouverture on a column with another statute below the bust reaching up to it. The next scene shows the exterior of the Presidential Palace in Post-au-Prince as well as a busy street scene. The film concludes with footage of the exterior of Holy Trinity Cathedral, and the sign with the name of the church and schedule of services in English and French.
2013.237.20.1b: Original 100 foot film reel.
2013.237.20.1c: Original 100 foot cardboard film box. The cardboard box has a handwritten address and a postal stamp on the back.