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the princess and the pauper (1939) – chevrolet ad

In this 1939 cartoon produced by Chevrolet, the hero Nicky Nome rescues a pauper from the “Valley of Jewels”. He takes him to the princess on a magic carpet, which then transforms itself into a new Chevrolet. Typical of many cartoons of the time, the ad portrays a host of stereotypical and caricatured depictions of the Arab world and Arab peoples.


What caricatures of the Arab world does this cartoon depend upon in order to construct its narrative? Do you recognize any of these from more recent cartoons or other media productions? If so, why do you think these caricatures have endured for so many decades?

What was the interest of the Chevrolet Car Company in producing a cartoon like this? Would a corporation produce something similar today? Why or why not?

The children who would have watched this cartoon in 1939 would be in their 70s or 80s today. Do you think cartoons like this played any role in shaping this generation’s perceptions of the Arab world?

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