Fact Check

Pics Show 152 Black Cats in Line for Movie Role Audition?

More than 150 felines – and their owners – were said to have been vying for their chance at stardom when this photo was taken.

Published Oct 23, 2023

Image Via Screengrab/X
Black-and-white photographs genuinely show black cats queued in line for a movie role audition.

Ahead of the Halloween holiday, photographs claiming to depict a line of black cats waiting to audition for a horror movie circulated online in October 2023, with one such post on X having received more than 22.6 million views:

Snopes determined through a Google Lens reverse-image search that the photographs had appeared on social media platforms, including Facebook, Reddit, and Pinterest, since at least 2018 when Life.com posted the image on Facebook on April 13 of that year:

The image above is authentic and, as such, we have rated this claim as True.

According to Google Arts & Culture, an online database of high-resolution art imagery housed at cultural institutions worldwide, the pictures were captured in 1961 by German LIFE photographer Ralph Crane in Hollywood, CA.

From a full-grown cat adorned in sunglasses to a small kitten being carried in a purse, LIFE magazine published more than a dozen photographs of the “black cat audition” in an article titled, “Scary Movie? 152 Black Cats at an Audition.” The event was described, in part, as:

Exactly 152 cats showed up for the audition, all of them “considerably less nervous than their owners.” Several were disqualified thanks to white paws or noses, but even for those left in the running, the day left dreams largely dashed. The lead role, it turned out, had already been filled by “a well-known professional cat.” Seven lucky extras, selected on account of having the meanest looking faces, were chosen as understudies.

The coveted role was for the title character in Edgar Allen Poe’s 1843 short story, “The Black Cat,” which was included in the 1962 film, “Tales of Terror.” To see the cats in actions, check out the film's trailer below:


“Black Cat Auditions: 1961 Try-Outs for Title Role in a Movie.” LIFE, 13 Mar. 2015, https://www.life.com/animals/black-cats/.

“Black Cat Auditions In Hollywood - Ralph Crane.” Google Arts & Culture, https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/black-cat-auditions-in-hollywood/LQF6c3pfk4rAYQ. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

“Black Cat Auditions In Hollywood by Ralph Crane, 1961 [399x600] | Black Cat, Cats, Crazy Cats.” Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/black-cat-auditions-in-hollywood-by-ralph-crane-1961-399x600--13299761369070619/. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

Evon, Dan. “Snopes Tips: A Guide To Performing Reverse Image Searches.” Snopes, 22 Mar. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/articles/400681/how-to-perform-reverse-image-searches/.

Google Lens. https://lens.google.com/search?p=AbrfA8ruQ5sP0ep_F-hzr-aZaXxJ_rTrvmt8zyZUrQAnIFMHizn2teTG_T9ROurJAQ7cxotsqDLl-nKitUh1tlfcG4LFVsIFhgy61PGpjkRreuGi7wYcpfLLuehvG35c0t_DsRdmNFmXjd_hC0zm7JqSfC7ppufsvzj7EwsaY7ohxKkOi5KzXMwDCkZBZFEQMZ72IZxCay5TW62JO4xXgX0Zn5ioYvkFj_i12Qu_CTb-E4--OOSqxBVxUOHx0GcZe3dvyfGRPLJ-nt-oX54EBzSXfBN_6MkRN_BveiF5RkCPT8kQ3F6jzZNdZ3QqkuJFouW25SdZpPQa1dvR&plm=ChAIDxIMCJrvu6kGEMic5MUBChAIFxIMCJrvu6kGEOiv6MUBChAIGBIMCJrvu6kGEODQ/OABChAILRIMCJrvu6kGEMjV/eABChAILhIMCJrvu6kGENjz%2BpACChAIEBIMCJrvu6kGEOirqZICChAIGRIMCJrvu6kGEICVrpICChAIGhIMCJrvu6kGEJC8u5IC. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

“Https://Twitter.Com/CatWorkers/Status/1708826638987743264.” X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/CatWorkers/status/1708826638987743264. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

Log in or Sign up to View. https://www.facebook.com/login/. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

mrose9999. “‘Owners Waited in Line with Their Black Cats to Audition for the Horror Movie “Tales of Terror” in 1961. 152 Black Cats Auditioned for the Role. Some Were Disqualified for Having White Paws or Spots of White on Them, but in the End One Cat Was Chosen, and 7 Others Were Hired as Understudies.’” R/WitchesVsPatriarchy, 17 Nov. 2019, www.reddit.com/r/WitchesVsPatriarchy/comments/dxj9ax/owners_waited_in_line_with_their_black_cats_to/.

Tales of Terror. Directed by Roger Corman, Alta Vista Productions, 1962.

The Black Cat. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/POE/black.html. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

“The Photography of Ralph Crane.” LIFE, https://www.life.com/photographer/ralph-crane/. Accessed 17 Oct. 2023.

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.