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The Censored 11
The CENSORED Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Guide|
The Censored 11 are eleven Warner Bros. cartoons that are considered offensive or politically incorrect by today's standards because of their depictions of African-American racial stereotypes. This list was created in 1968 by United Artists (then owners of the A.A.P. library) and is of cartoons withheld from distribution by the current distributor. After obtaining the rights to the pre-1948 Warner Bros. cartoons in 1986, Ted Turner refused to allow any of these films to be transmitted on television or released on videocassette or laserdisc. This policy was maintained by Time Warner after purchasing Turner Broadcasting in 1996 and continues to be upheld to this day.
"Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land" (Harman and Ising; 1931)
An early Merrie Melodie featuring Piggy as a river boat captain whose boat is the stage for a band of black musicians and dancers. Piggy's girlfriend is assisted by reliable servant, Uncle Tom.
"Sunday Go to Meetin' Time" (Freleng; 1936)
Nicodemus' woman tries to show to him the virtues of righteousness, and drags him away from his dice game to the Lord's house, but he is soon again stealing chickens. A hit on the head by a farmyard fence helps him to see the error of his ways.
"Clean Pastures" (Freleng; 1937)
Caricatures of popular black musical stars of the day (Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Jimmie Lunceford) are seen as angels in heaven, where they "liven things up" by playing "Swing For Sale".
"Uncle Tom's Bungalow" (Avery; 1937)
An early Tex Avery parody of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Uncle Tom: "My body may belong to you, but my soul belongs to Warner Brothers."
"Jungle Jitters" (Freleng; 1938)
A dopey traveling salesman knocks on the door of the hut belonging to a group of cannibal African natives, who would love to have him for dinner.
"The Isle Of Pingo Pongo" (Avery; 1938)
Tex Avery's (and Warner Brothers') first travelogue parody. An ocean liner leaves port in New York for Pingo Pongo ("the pearl of the oyster islands"). Several Zulu native caricatures. Egghead is the running gag and in the finale shoots down the Sun!
"All This and Rabbit Stew" (Avery; 1941)
Yes, even a Bugs Bunny cartoon is on the Censored 11 list. In this cartoon, Bugs is being hunted by a Stepin Fetchit-esque black hunter with a weakness for gambling.
"Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs" (Clampett; 1943)
Bob Clampett's jazzy parody of Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" with a cast of black characters.
"Tin Pan Alley Cats" (Clampett; 1943)
A Fats Waller cat goes into the Kit Kat Club for some wine, women, and song ("What's de motta with dat?") and is blasted out of this world by a wild trumpet solo. Fats lands in a Technicolor version of Porky Pig's Wackyland.
"Angel Puss" (Jones; 1944)
A black boy is paid to drown a cat, but the cat has other plans and, as a "ghost", heckles the boy.
"Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears" (Freleng; 1944)
Freleng's version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with an all-black cast. The Three Bears are now jazz musicians.
In October 2010, Warner Home Video announced that all of these films will be released on a special DVD compilation through the Warner Archive Collection sometime in 2011. Previously, only a few of these shorts were available on bootleg VHS and DVD releases from small distributors. Most of those, however, were discontinued due to a crackdown on illegal bootlegs by WHV during the mid-late 2000s. It should also be noted that three of these cartoons – "Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land", "Jungle Jitters", and "All This and Rabbit Stew" – have fallen into the public domain and have, thus, appeared on several public domain VHS and DVD releases as well as online video websites such as YouTube and Dailymotion.
All images © Warner Bros.
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