FYC: BANNED & CENSORED 'TOONS IN AMERICA
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: BANNED & CENSORED ’TOONS IN AMERICA is a work in progress.
Through banning and censorship of propoganda and stereotypes, the Hayes Office (7/1/1930) decided to make the screens safe for America in the ’30’s and ’40’s… among the general principles of the code was the requirement that “no picture shall be produced which will lower the standards of those that will see it. Hence the sympathy or the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin”… the specific regulations included the following typical examples:
- “Revenge in modern times shall not be justified”
- “Methods of crime shall not be explicitly represented”
- “Illegal drug traffic must never be presented”
- “The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld. Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationships are excepted or the common thing”
- “Scenes of passion shall not be introduced when not essential to the plot”
- “Excessive lustful kissing, lustful embracing, suggestive postures and gestures are not to be shown”
- “Seduction or rape should be never more than suggested. They are never the subject for comedy”
- “Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden”
- “Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races) is forbidden”
- “Sex hygene and venereal diseases are not subjects for motion pictures”
- “Children’s sex organs are never to be exposed”
- “Pointed profanity (this includes the words God, Lord, Jesus, Christ – unless used reverently, Hell, S.O.B., damn, Gawd), or other profane or vulgar expressions, however used, is forbidden”
- “Indecent or undue exposure is forbidden”
- “Ministers of religion should not be used as comic characters or as villans”
As America moved forward after the war, public opinion and the way we could and were willing to portray people changed, forcing the studios to re-consider these cartoons and remove them from circulation primarily because they were insensitive and insulting; what was once funny became taboo… the following animated shorts are historical in nature and portray American morality and culture as it was at the time of their production… portions of these cartoons may offend viewers (that is NOT the intention), so be forewarned… they’re considered to be of a mature nature and not appropriate for children; hell, there’s plenty of adults that shouldn’t see them either!… i will attempt to list the reasons for banning and censoring each cartoon.
- BOOBY TRAPS
1) Snafu plays with the breasts of a German spy
2) German girl spy is really a bomb
3) Multiple sexual images
4) Obvious anti-German stereotypes
- DER FUEHRER’S FACE (’43) – Donald Duck
- BLITZ WOLF (’42)
- ALL THIS AND RABBIT STEW – early depiction of an African-American as Elmer Fudd
- EDUCATION FOR DEATH (’43)
- THE SPIRIT OF ‘43 (’43) – Donald Duck
- JUNGLE JITTERS
- CLEAN PASTURES
- ANGEL PUSS (’44)
- THE ISLE OF PINGO PONGO
- TIN PAN ALLEY CARS
not in the ‘mubi’ database:
- BE HUMAN (‘36) – Dave Fleischer – Betty Boop is incensed at her farmer neighbor’s cruelty to his animals. But the inventive Grampy knows how to teach him a lesson.
1) Man brutally whipping a dog and a horse
2) Man punches a cow
3) Man wrings the neck of a live chicken
4) Later, abusive man is horse-whipped as retribution
5) Man laughs while animals suffer
- HA HA HA! (‘34) – Betty Boop and Koko dabble in dentistry, complete with laughing gas.
1) Betty’s short dress, exposed garters and ample cleavage
2) Use of Nitrous Oxide to get high, laughing gas is portrayed in a positive light
3) Making it appropriate and portraying positive the drugging of the entire city of New York without their knowledge or approval
- LITTLE BLACK SAMBO (‘35) – Ub Iwerks – Mammy warns Little Black Sambo about the tiger’s appetite.
1) The title itself was banned in schools in its book form
2) Mammy dressed in typical southern slave attire washes Sambo in clean water which turns inky black
3) Mammy uses black talcum powder
4) Sambo is outsmarted by a dog
5) Even though they live in a jungle in Africa, they still dress like the deep south stereotypical blacks
- CHRISTMAS NIGHT (’33)
- EASY DOES IT (‘46) – Hugh Harman – Pop’s grocery store is about to be shut down. The banker promises not to foreclose if Pop’s daughter will marry him.
- MAKING STARS (’35) – Dave Fleischer – Betty Boop emcees a stage show presenting “future stars”…performing infants.
- SPIES (‘43) – Chuck Jones – Private Snafu has a secret: his ship leaves for Africa at 4:30 and the details end up on Hitler’s desk.
1) Half naked female spies
2) Drinking of alcohol to drunkenness
3) German and other ethnic stereotypes
4) Booze and girls equals trouble (personally, i’ve got no problem with this one!)
- FRESH VEGETABLE MYSTERY (’39) – Dave Fleischer – After a series of vegetable disappearances, a potato policeman goes out to catch the kidnappers.
- SUNDAY GO TO MEETIN’ TIME
- IN A CARTOON STUDIO (aka MAKING ‘EM MOVE) (’31) – Harry Bailey and John Foster – “In a Cartoon Studio” is a pastiche on how cartoons (and movies) are made.
- CUPID GETS HIS MAN (’36) – A look into the whole cupid operation. We see how the process is supposed to work, with cupids practicing their archery, and the couples handed off to the storks.
1) Army of naked little boys
2) Male and female sexual stereotypes
3) Violent arrow attack by Cupids
- OPENING NIGHT (‘33) – Mannie Davis – Cubby the Bear sneaks into the Roxy Opera House on it’s opening night and ends up conducting an epic, animal-enacted version of Faust.
1) Male character bounces off female singer’s breasts
2) Heads are violently chopped off in fight scene
3) Jewish stereotype ‘Schmuel’ in the opening scene
4) Fat, loud and sloppy character swears in Italian and is thrown out
5) Ample cleavage displayed on the female Opera Singer
- SCRUB ME MOMMA WITH A BOOGIE BEAT (‘41) – Ben Hardaway – When a riverboat arrives at Lazy Town (pop. 123 1/2) with a red hot mama on board, she quickly has everyone moving to a Harlem boogie beat and dancing.
1) Big fat mammy in opening sequence
2) All black community called ’Lazy Town’
3) Portrayal of black man with large lips getting stung by mosquito and he remarks with a delayed ‘Ouch!’
4) Black males depicted as monkeys with missing teeth
5) Picking cotton very slowly
6) Hands are drawn with white palms
7) Uncle Tom-like character is captain of the river boat
8) Eating of lots of watermelon
9) A black man shining another’s foot because he’s too poor to own shoes
10) Little black girl with red bows in many pigtails
11) Little black baby wearing flour sack diaper
- TOKIO JOKIO (’43) – Norm McCabe – A “captured” Japanese newsreel
- YOU’RE A SAP, MR. JAP (’42) – Dan Gordon
- SEEIN’ RED, WHITE ‘N’ BLUE (’43) – Popeye
- TOKYO WOES (’45) – This cartoon (along with other “Hook” cartoons) was found by accident in the garage of a former soldier who had saved them, thinking they were “Private Snafu” shorts. The cartoon was finally discovered in the mid-1990s when an A&E documentary on war cartoons began production. It turned out that Warners made these shorts for the US Navy and because they wanted to keep this a secret, all original negatives were destroyed shortly after release. The “Hook” shorts that were given to the cartoon researchers had “vinegar syndrome” and have deteriorated, but fortunately before that happened, they transferred them to video. – IMDB
- COMMANDO DUCK
- A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (’10) – Michael Moore
- UNCLE TOM AND LITTLE EVA (’32)
- DOWN IN DIXIE (’32) – Harry Bailey and John Foster
- PLANE DUMB (’32) – John Foster and George Rufle – After crash landing in Africa, Tom and Jerry masquerade as Africans in a futile attempt to adapt to a strange environment.
- CHOP SUEY (’30) – Frank Moser – Stereotypical Chinese abound in this Terrytoon.
- THE LION TAMER (’34) – Vernon Stallings – Amos and Andy cartoon.
- SEVEN WISE DWARVES – Walt Disney
- THE DUCKTATORS (’42) – Norm McCabe – Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito are portrayed as ducks taking over a barnyard.