I have seen this picture before but I don’t recall investigating it. It’s quite unusual, to say the least, because it shows a large number of black cats on leads and the date is 1961. The cats look well-behaved. You might have thought that there would be some difficulties but it appears not. They behaved themselves which makes me ask myself why we don’t take cats down on leashes more often especially in the modern era of full-time indoor cats. It is probably because of the effort required.
They were auditioning for the title character in Edgar Allen Poe’s 1843 short story The Black Cat. The film adaptation of the short story appeared in the 1962 horror compilation Tales of Terror. The storyline was adjusted by including elements of another Edgar Allen Poe story.
The slightly sad part about the story behind this photograph is that although 152 cats showed up for the audition, the lead role of the black cat had already been taken by a “well-known professional cat”. So, all the cats that you see in this photograph didn’t get the job which I find a bit disturbing to be honest.
However, seven of them were lucky enough to be cast as extras because they had the meanest looking faces and apparently, they acted as understudies to the unnamed professional black cat.
I suppose that it is fair to say that none of the owners in the photograph were superstitious. This is not the sort of situation that you want to find yourself in if you believe that black cats bring bad luck!
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