High Barbaree

In High Barbaree (1947) we see the nose art on a PBY. It’s a banner that reads ‘HIGH BARBAREE’, with a painting of a pouncing cat above it. I know that the Barbary Coast is along North Africa, and there’s a sea chanty in which it’s spelled ‘Barbaree’. What is the significance of the cat? Is it simply because Van Johnson is in a Catalina? Or is there something I’m missing?

Well, The Barbary Coast used to be a San Francisco cathouse.

Nah, I got nothin’.

Because the Catalinas were called theBlack Cat?

“US Navy Catalinas used in the Pacific against the Japanese for night operations were painted black overall, and as a result were sometimes referred to locally as “Black Cats”.”