Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow

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Jon Cooke has compiled an online guide "to the cuts and edits which have been rendered to the classic cartoons of Warner Brothers, MGM, Paramount, and other studios when broadcast on television." Among the recovered moments: gags deemed too racist, too violent, or just not right for the kids.

[Via The Shrubbloggers.]

NEXT: The Assassination of Big Jim McLain

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  1. Hmmm. As a kid I never drew the line, made the connection, between the cartoon characters and real people, nor cartoon violence and playground play. That was another age. Running with scissors was rampant. Drive bys were not.

    Some things are not remotely defensible, even as the product of the time (except the WWII propaganda reels).

    Most of it is genius, the like of which we will never see again. I’d rather they were all shelved than sliced up by… however one cares to characterize those doing the slicing.

    The last ‘stereotype’ WB cartoon I saw involved a caricature of the miserly Scotsman. Here is an edit reported on the toonzone web site:

    “My Bunny Lies Over the Sea” (Jones; 1948):
    CBS: McCrory shoots his rifle at Bugs, but the CBS censors removed the scene of the bullet stopping in motion, McCrory grabbing it, and saying that it has been in his family for years.

    I dunno. Maybe I would be more sympathetic if they didn’t sell “South Park” T-shirts in child sizes. Probably I’m just feeling that they’re screwing around with my childhood. Breathe deep. Let it go. Bless you, Chuck Jones, wherever you are.

  2. The most degrading stereotypes of black people in the history of media can be found in hip hop videos on BET and MTV. So, every black person is a subhuman thug or hoochie? Maybe I’m just old or something. They airbrush offensive stuff out of cartoons but this month’s thug of the moment is given heavy rotation.

  3. ^”in the history of media?” Um, “Birth of a Nation?” “Amos and Andy?” Minstral Shows?

  4. Well if Warner Bros. is going to really play it sharp they’ll see that they’ve actually created two markets where before they had one. One new market for the politically corrected cartoons, i.e., television, and another for all the geezers that want to see the cartoons in all their original glory.

  5. Apparently, dude, there’s no outrage at folks who denigrate themselves. You just can’t do it to other people.

    I’ve noticed that Cartoon Network will sometimes show stuff on at night (past the kiddies bedtimes) that you don’t generally see anymore, but I think the cartoons and/or edits they are talking about aren’t available at all anymore. For those that want to see that stuff (out of historical interest) it can’t be found. This can be blamed on the fact that copywright law gives corporations or authors unlimited control over all copies of their works. But that’s another story for another thread…

    I remember seeing some of the ‘edited’ cartoons as a kid. Some networks cut out the violent scenes and others did not. Thus I remember seeing cartoons where the coyote was about to fall off the cliff, and then it just jumps to another chase scene and the cartoon makes no sense. Even as a kid I knew something was missing, and of course it made sense when I saw the real version. This type of editing bugs me. Kids miss a lot of stuff that would be considered offensive anyway. Ever see the cartoons showing comical versions of the ‘future’ (like the House of Tomorrow) that were made back in the 1950’s? They have horrible stereotypes of women. They still show these on TV today.

  6. Doug,

    What you say makes sense on the surface, but if the perpetually indignant crowd ever found out about it, there would be huge protests against Warner Brothers and many People of Color or People of Gender would boycott even their editted cartoons. Truly, for public relations purposes, their only option is to cast them aside to the dustbins of history to show that they are now a ‘good corporate citizen’.

    As I alluded in the prior post, it can only be done by a third party, but that third part is not legally allowed to distribute (even for free, even for educational or historical purposes) due to the nature of copywright law.

  7. Posting again (sorry, I’m really opinionated today) – I know that many people would find a lot of the racist stuff offensive (including myself) but I think seeing it has value – lest we forget how things used to be and how far we’ve come. Not showing it to children, but for adults to view (or older children who now have some knowledge of race and gender fairness issues). Seems to me trying to eliminate stuff like that entirely would be like trying to erase records of slavery or the holocaust.

  8. I’m interested in thoughts about what makes something racist and what is just offensive. Or are those the same thing. In one cartoon listed Jerry and his nephew disguise themselves as Indians to get by Tom. Is that really racist? Seriously?

  9. Some of those violent gags, especially the suicide ones, shouldn’t have been cut. And what’s up with cutting smoking gags? So sick of this P.C. crap.

  10. “My Bunny Lies Over the Sea” (Jones; 1948):
    CBS: McCrory shoots his rifle at Bugs, but the CBS censors removed the scene of the bullet stopping in motion, McCrory grabbing it, and saying that it has been in his family for years.

    A miserly Scotsman eh? Well I for one am glad we won’t have to see this type of offensive stereotypic drivel anymore. Now I can feel safe letting my nephews watch cartoons unsupervised.

  11. I can remember seeing more than half of the offensive cartoons uneditted when I was young. Booze, cigarettes, guns, knives, explosions, beatings, hangings, stereotypes, and misogyny. Thank god they cut these things or today’s kids would grow up to be racist, sexist violent criminals just like me. Well, at least they can avoid the horrors of occasionally stopping off at the bar for a beer and a smoke. It will be a brighter future.

  12. Cutting the cartoon violence just seems goofy. But the deliberately racist gags just aren’t funny anymore.

  13. dude,

    That’s as historically innaccurate as Horowitz’s claim that the first American terrorist organizations were the SDS and the Weather Underground. Somehow he forgot the Knights of Magnolia and the KKK, not too mention certain elements of the Masons (who committed political murder from time to time) from an earlier period. And somehow you forget films like Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With The Wind,” or the Bob Hope “On the Road” films, not to mention the racism that was part and parcel of Hollywood films from the 1930s-1960s (just think of how one of the dominant film genres of that period – the Western – protrayed Native Americans for example). It was only films by the likes of Oscar Micheaux that were created specifically for black audiences using all black actors (called “midnight rambles” because they were generally show after hours) that worked against this pervasive tide.

  14. Yes, it’s better to just ignore our history than to actually acknowledge it.

  15. BTW, if you folks ever get a chance you should watch Micheaux’s “The Unconquered” (1920), a film featuring a self-reliant, proud black man who moves West to better his life. BTW, it was only in the late 1930s that H’wood started to nake films with all black casts, but these tended to perpetuate stereotypes more than anything, though admittedly such actors as Lena Horne and Herb Jeffries (the first black singing cowboy) had their careers launched with these films.

  16. Do we need to acknowledge it at 8:30 on a Saturday, with 6 year olds watching?

  17. Posted by Joe; the deliberately racist gags just aren’t funny anymore

    Oh, come on ! Some of them were hysterical, offensive, but still funny.

  18. ^OK, some were amusing, despite the racism. But most get the entirety of their “humor” from their racist content. “Ha! The cat got shot, and now he looks like a black guy! Look at the size of those lips!”

    This is funny?

  19. Why don’t you ask Whoopi Goldberg?

  20. Joe, I’m going to guess that you didn’t like Blazing Saddles.

    In response to you previous 2 posts. I’d also agree that some of the humour might not be appropriate for kids any more. The problem is that they’re also being censored for adults as well.
    They’ll never be shown on the air again & you simply can’t get hold of legal copies of these caroons in an unedited form at all.

  21. Blazing Saddles was hilarious. Making fun of racists is good times. “Oh boys!” “Where da white women at?” He he he.

    But it’s probably not appropriate for 6 year olds, either.

  22. Well, companies, ideally, respond to their customers, and I doubt there are a great big supply of customers (including viewers and advertisers) which will really be up in arms about censoring violent and “racist” content (getting shot and looking like a black man is racist? is that it? jeezus, the bar on racism is damn negative at this point).

    Markets deliver, at best, proportionately. That means that when something falls out of favor it begins to disappear, and when something comes into favor it ends up all over the place. But so long as something has some popularity at all, a working market will produce at least a little of it (as witnessed by the various trading in products where thousands of dollars and modern equipment is put into rebuilding a 1965 Comet – go figure), in accordance with the demand.

    The only problem I’ve much ever had with appropriateness for children is that children tend to have no tact and repeat whatever they hear – as such, for your own good rather than theirs, it would behoove one to keep children from hearing and seing certain things until they have more fully developed an understanding of what not to say and do, when and where. You know, because making a black-face joke at the wrong time can get you killed, or a pig joke can get you a mighty nasty ticket, etc. It’s all about knowing what not to say in certain situations, and even adults tend to have trouble with that.

  23. He didn’t “look like a black man.” He looked like a racist characature of a black man. Frankly, he looked like an ape. That was the joke; black people look funny, like apes.

    Yes, that’s racist.

  24. I hear black people talk funny, too.

  25. Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fud are RACIST characatures of whites. Let’s not forget Speedy Gonzalas is offensive to all Mexican mice.

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