Episode #2: Cut and Drawn (#9 to #1)
Last time on Saturday Morning Hangover, I vowed to take a look at 18 cartoons that have had parts cut on television (and some that have had parts cut courtesy of the Hayes Office), but only got up to number ten, since the cuts to the cartoons listed weren’t that egregious (some were, but only if you’re an eagle-eyed purist for all things uncensored).
This time, we go through the cartoons that have suffered major cuts and turned your favorite shorts into incoherent short-shorts (and not the kind women have to starve themselves to fit into either…but like seeing a morbidly obese woman in skintight short-shorts, these cuts will turn your stomach and make you wanna puke):
Director(s): William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Writer: (not credited)
Release Date: July 7, 1951
Summary: Tom is stranded at sea, and washes up on the shore of a (seemingly) deserted island. He goes after Jerry (also stranded), but gets scared when he confronts a tribe of savage black cat cannibals (one of which is a disguised Jerry).
Scene(s) Cut/Altered: Much like the Tom and Jerry cartoons featuring that sassy black housekeeper, Mammy Two Shoes, this cartoon has not been (and probably never will be) shown uncut on television due to its racial stereotypes (this time, centered on blacks being savages who feast on human flesh, though Tom is a cat and Jerry is a mouse). It has been shown on the cable channel, Turner Classic Movies, albeit in brief clips (possibly for that anthology show, Cartoon Alley).
Now, the good news is, this cartoon is available for viewing on home video (Tom and Jerry on Parade) and DVD (Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection vol. 3).
The bad news is both the video and DVD are edited.
“What exactly is edited?” you may ask, as you wipe your weepy eyes from your ten-second sobbing.
Well, if you watch the version on the Tom and Jerry on Parade VHS, you’ll notice that no scenes are cut, but you’re scratching your head and wondering why all the savages (including poseur Jerry) moving their lips and not saying anything. That’s because the VHS version has muted out all the black savage dialogue (including what Jerry says).
If you watch the version on the third volume of the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection DVD, you’ll notice that, huzzah, the black savage dialogue has been reinstated.
BUT…in exchange for letting the savage dialogue go, a shot of the pygmy savage that corners Jerry just before Jerry runs away has been cropped out (in the same way that the black girl centaur from Fantasia was cut or how Cartoon Network edited that infamous sequence from the Cowboy Bebop episode “Jupiter Jazz, part one,” where Faye Valentine corners a man named Gren in the shower and discovers that he has breasts).
So much for home video being the respite for cartoons that have been banned and censored by mainstream media.
How Does It Play Without the “Offensive” Part: For the VHS cut, it plays like a silent cartoon…which isn’t really much of a stretch, considering that the Tom and Jerry cartoons are famous for having little to no dialogue (except for the occasional lines from Mammy Two Shoes [or whoever is Tom's master/mistress in the short] and, of course, Tom’s screaming in pain). In this case, however, that dialogue was sorely needed, stereotypical or not. I mean, you don’t see rap videos censoring out dialogue that’s vile and degrading to the African-American communi–oh, wait. Bad example.
As for the DVD version, not too bad, but I am taking points off because post-production pan and zoom looks awkward as hell. As someone who does video editing as a hobby, I can vouch for this.
Egregious or Not: For the DVD version, no (barring the awkward crop job). For the VHS version, it’s borderline. On the one hand, it’s still watchable, but on the other (as I mentioned earlier), the dialogue was sorely needed.
Where Can I See It Uncut: Your best bet is to scour Internet video sites and tape trading sites for an uncut bootleg, but beware! Some sites and tape traders may have the edited version. Do NOT, repeat, DO NOT settle for an edited print.
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Chuck Jones (credited as “Charles M. Jones”)
Writer(s): Michael Maltese
Release Date: November 12, 1949
Summary: After two previous failed attempts (not counting Arthur Davis’ Odor of the Day) at romantically pairing a horny French skunk with another animal who makes the mistake of disguising himself/herself as a skunk, Chuck and Mike finally get it right by having a common, female black-and-white cat get a white skunk’s stripe down her back (courtesy of an angry French parfumerie shopkeep and an upset bottle of hair dye) and proved to a skeptical studio producer that mangled French puns, good, old-fashioned sexual harassment, and twist endings where the protagonist gets his comeuppance make for an award-winning combination.
Scene(s) Cut/Altered: Gather ’round, kiddies, because this is a sad story about what was cut:
Once upon a time, ABC was the only American television channel known for removing the entire sequence where Pepe tries to coax the nameless painted cat out of a glass display case. Why? Two reasons:
1) ABC didn’t like scenes where characters locked themselves in closed spaces that can only be opened from the outside due to semi-substantiated fears that kids might want to try it, only to pass out from suffocation or realize that they’re claustrophobic, and,
2) Near the end of the sequence in question, Pepe puts a gun to his head and pretends to commit suicide when the cat mimes that she doesn’t like him because of his stench (only to be had when she runs out the case and finds that Pepe “meesed”).
Another part that ABC removed was when Pepe attempts to rescue the cat from jumping out the window, but she slips through his libidinous fingers. Before Pepe drops as well, he turns to the camera, salutes, and announces, “Viva l’amour! We die together!” While the rescue attempt and Pepe’s drop were left intact, the line was shortened to “Viva l’amour!” Judging by these cuts, ABC has direct references to suicide (like the gun to the head and the declaration of dying together) on its list of what can and can’t air on children’s TV, though the censors didn’t seem to notice or care that they let Pepe’s line about the cat committing suicide to prove her love for him slip through the cracks like a scrawny starlet replicating Marilyn Monroe’s subway grate flash from The Seven Year Itch.
Over in the Cable TV Kingdom, Cartoon Network left “For Scent-imental Reasons” uncut for many years, despite that the short in question had references to suicide (which Cartoon Network is not a fan of in any way [particularly when said suicide involves guns to the head or nooses around necks], evidenced by edits done in other animated shorts that made light of “ending it all”), making many a cartoon fan (at least one that didn’t have access to home video, laserdisc, or DVD cuts of the short) very happy.
That changed (for the worse) on a cold December Saturday morning in 2003 (if memory serves, it was on the unlucky 13th day of the month) when Cartoon Network aired “For Scentimental Reasons” as part of their weekend installment of The Looney Tunes Show. The once untouchable-on-cable-TV short was, once again, violated. Not only was the glass case suicide sequence sequestered from sight, but the line ABC let slip (about the cat committing suicide to prove her love for Pepe) was also removed, leaving the other line ABC cut (“Viva l’amour! We die together!”) to be spared from censorship.
The bitter irony of it all is that a similar line about committing suicide for love was used in the penultimate Pepe cartoon “A Scent of the Matterhorn” (1961, story and direction by Chuck Jones), and was it ever removed on Cartoon Network or, for that matter, ABC? NO! (at least on Cartoon Network. I don’t think ABC ever aired this cartoon because their Warner Bros. library only had shorts from late 1948 to 1957, or what the really anal animation buffs call, “The Golden Age of Animation.” Everything before that was an experiment, and everything after was a mistake, as far as they’re concerned).
To top it all off (and prove that fairy tales don’t always end with “happily ever after”), this cartoon has been shown edited across the pond (in the UK, to be exact). American censorship may be arbitrary and taxing on one’s sanity, but censorship in UK is even worse. It’s pretty much the same as American censorship, only theirs is bound by law (while America’s is bound by studios, corporations, and media watchdog groups who only tone down so as not to offend sponsors and bitchy soccer moms [the hockey moms are okay with it]) and have harder rules on what is and isn’t allowed in children’s programming. They don’t just edit out violence or dangerous stunts that stupid kids will try at home; UK censoring also goes after scenes that glorify weapons (especially Japanese weapons, like nunchucks and those metal throwing stars), glorify tobacco smoking, and scenes that may traumatize the emotionally frail (such as vivid, grotesque scenes of transformation, vivid, grotesque scenes of death, and any scene where a child is in danger and chances of rescue are slim to nil). The BBFC doesn’t fuck around, which is why every allusion to suicide (the glass case and the two lines implying that killing oneself for love is the only way) was removed from “For Scent-imental Reasons.”
How Does It Play Without the “Offensive” Part(s): Not well, I don’t care which edited version you watch. The whole thing about “suicide for love” (even if it’s unrequited) in this cartoon is probably the only venture into dark comedy that Chuck Jones got right (Jones tried with the Censored 11 short “Angel Puss,” about a black boy paid to drown a cat, only to be tricked into thinking the cat’s ghost is haunting him, and it met with the same contempt that Troy Steele had for the Goosebumps book “Chicken Chicken”)–besides the underlying references to sexual exploitation (and the dog getting his gravy-pumped comeuppance) seen on the 1951 one-shot short, ”Chow Hound”. Without it, the cartoon is just an empty, amorous shell of its former self.
Egregious or Not: Egregious. Plain and simple.
Where Can I See It Uncut: If you’re done weeping or loudly cursing the name of all humanity, I have some good news: “For Scent-imental Reasons” is available uncut on the Golden Jubilee videos “Pepe Le Pew’s Skunk Tales” and “A Salute to Chuck Jones” and the first volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set.
Director: Jack Hannah
Writer(s): Roy Williams and Nick George
Release Date: January 15, 1954
Summary: Donald’s nephews (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) keep abandoning their chores to LARP (live-action roleplay) in the backyard. Donald is torn between losing his temper or using child psychology by playing along with them, which goes to hell when a real band of pygmy cannibals escape from the circus and Donald thinks they’re his nephews (who dressed up as African cannibals after skipping out of their chores).
Scene(s) Cut/Altered: Everything after the title card, “But the Worse Was Yet to Come,” has been put through the censorial shredder because of the three pygmy cannibals (including the part near the end where Donald takes all three cannibals into his shed and whales on them for trying to roast him in a black cauldron).
How Does It Play Without the “Offensive” Part(s): Since I haven’t seen this one edited, I’ll let someone with experience (reviewer Jerry Edward from http://www.disneyshorts.org) explain:
“Disney completely botches the censored version of this short – deleting all scenes of the cannibals and making the short impossible to follow [...] reducing a 6 minute short (not counting credits) to a 2.5 minute disaster…”
So, it’s just as bad as the cut version of “For Scent-imental Reasons,” or even “Bacall to Arms” (which, not only had the ending cut when it aired on TNT, but also had scenes missing because Bob Clampett left Warner Bros. Studios before he could complete the cartoon and no one bothered to step in and finish what Clampett started).
Egregious or Not: Totally egregious, not because of how badly it’s edited, but because it never occurred to Disney Studios to just not air the short if they felt the presence of African cannibals would be offensive. Other studios have done it, and, in most cases, made up for it by having the banned cartoon(s) appear uncensored on a home video/laserdisc/DVD collection.
Where Can I See It Uncut: Like “For Scent-imental Reasons,” this victim of extreme censorship is available uncut on the Disney Treasures DVD set (“The Chronological Donald Duck” volume, showing Donald Duck cartoons from 1951 to 1961). If you’re strapped for cash for luxuries (and who isn’t these days?), there’s always YouTube or friendly tape/DVD traders.
Director(s): William Hannah and Joseph Barbera
Writer(s): (not credited)
Release Date: January 14, 1950
Summary: While Mammy Two Shoes goes out to play bridge, Tom invites his alley cat buddies to play raucous jazz music in the house. Naturally, there is a neighbor complaint lodged — by Jerry the mouse.
The short version: since this is a Tom and Jerry cartoon with Mammy Two Shoes in it, Mammy Two Shoes’s appearance has been altered on American TV.
The long version: This cartoon exists in several altered forms:
- There’s the common redubbed version where Lillian Randolph’s voice is redubbed with a less stereotypically black female voice (provided by either Thea Vidale or June Foray). This was the version that aired on Cartoon Network and on the second volume of the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection DVD set.
- There’s a version (done by Gene Deitch during his brief stint at MGM) where Mammy Two Shoes has been reanimated as a white, teenaged girl stepping out to dance with her boyfriend at his house (instead of playing bridge with the Lucky Seven Bridge Club) with June Foray voicing her.
- There’s a third version (which resulted from a highly amusing dubbing error) combining the reanimated version with the white teenaged girl with the original audio (meaning that whenever the white teenage girl speaks, she sounds like a stereotypically black housemaid).
How Does It Play Without the “Offensive” Part(s): I can take or leave the versions where Mammy Two Shoes’s voice is redubbed or even the version with the white teenage girl with June Foray’s voice, but the version with the white girl speaking like Mammy Two Shoes is a joke (or some vague satirical statement about race in the media).
Egregious or Not: The versions where Mammy Two Shoes is replaced by a white teenaged girl (with and without the vocal mistake) is plenty egregious (if you’re an animation buff) because the Tom and Jerry cartoons didn’t have white people as heads of the house until after “Push-Button Kitty” (which was made the year Hattie McDaniel, the real-world incarnation and inspiration for Mammy Two Shoes, died). If you’re a casual viewer and you watched the original and edited versions, it’d be like watching the original version of a movie vs. a cheap remake.
Actually, it would be like that, regardless.
Where Can I See It Uncut: Since the DVD version doesn’t have Mammy’s original voice, Internet video sites, bootlegs, and scouring eBay for an old home video compilation are your friends.
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Robert McKimson
Writer(s): Tedd Pierce
Release Date: June 28, 1952
Summary: The Big Bad Wolf’s nephew comes home from school, angry that his uncle is the same Big Bad Wolf who attacked the Three Little Pigs in the fairy tale of the same name. To cover his ass, the Big Bad Wolf pulls a one-sided Rashomon and tells his side of the story (with no one else to counter it with corrections), where the Big Bad Wolf is a naive schoolboy and the Three Little Pigs were a bunch of porcine pricks who cut the Wolf’s tail as part of a game warden-commissioned bounty.
Scene(s) Cut/Altered: On the FOX Network’s “Merrie Melodies Show,” the brief shot of the Wolf pouring bootlegged alcohol into a jug just before his nephew comes in the house was cut. On the WB version, the bootlegged alcohol part is left in, but not one of the Pigs dissing the Wolf with, “Ah, go blow your brains out!” after the Wolf gets slingshot in the butt and the Wolf effeminately asks, “Why must you torment me when I pas your houses? Why?”
How Does It Play Without the “Offensive” Part(s): Since it’s a jump cut from one inoffensive scene to the next, it plays like there’s something obviously missing (for both the FOX and WB versions).
Egregious or Not: I can tolerate a network like the WB (or even ABC) cutting out a suicide reference (the “Ah, go blow your brains out!” line). I may not like that they did it, but I can live with it and I least know why the edit was done. What I can’t tolerate (or live with) is a network like FOX (notorious for thumbing its nose at censorship in with such raunchy, groundbreaking comedies as Married…With Children, Titus [the short-lived sitcom based on comedian Christopher Titus's darkly humorous life with Ken; his hardassed father, Juanita; his schizophrenic mother, Dave; his idiot half-brother, Erin; his loving girlfriend, and Tommy; his effeminate best male friend], The Simpsons [at least up until season 9], In Living Color, and the trinity of Seth MacFarlane-created sitcoms: Family Guy, American Dad, and upcoming spinoff, The Cleveland Show) editing bootlegging from a cartoon they’re airing to kids. Why? Because I find it hypocritical. Sure, FOX can have Martin Lawrence feeling rather “randy” and making some lewd remark about a butt (and I’m pretty sure they did), but showing a wolf making beer at his house — unacceptable! And they still do it to this day, with editing Family Guy for a fart joke, but letting MADtv and post-Golden Age Simpsons make unsubtle (and unfunny) references to sex.
So to answer the question: The cut on FOX is not egregious, but the network that cut it is.
Where Can I See It Uncut: This cartoon is available (with all the bootlegging and suicidal chiding intact) on the fifth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set (on the second disk, which features fairy tale parodies done WB style).
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Robert McKimson
Writer(s): Warren Foster
Release Date: October 9, 1948
Summary: After his father gets booted out of a henhouse by the always bombastic Foghorn Leghorn, Henery Hawk takes it upon himself to go after chickens. Foghorn Leghorn offers himself to Henery, but the chickenhawk thinks Foghorn is a “loud-mouthed schnook,” according to his father.
Scene(s) Cut/Altered: I could talk about ABC shortening the part where Barnyard Dawg climbs out of the trunk and gets whacked on the head and face as Foghorn is wildly gesticulating while telling Henery Hawk that he got a trunk instead of a chicken or how ABC also shortened the part where Barnyard Dawg slams Foghorn to the ground several times and calls him a “good-for-nothin’ chicken,” but that’s not egregious; it’s standard.
What I will talk about is how CBS took it a step further for editing the end…by cutting the entire part after Henery doesn’t believe Foghorn Leghorn is a chicken (even after seeing Foghorn put himself in a roasting pan), then resuming the cartoon on the scene where Henery is dragging Foghorn and asiding to the audience, “He talked me into it.” For a clear, detailed version of what was missing, here’s the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Foghorn_Leghorn#Censorship (I wouldn’t trust the Censored Cartoons Page entry since their explanations of how the Warner Bros. shorts were cut are needlessly formal to the point that they’re as incoherent as the edited short itself).
How Does It Play Without the “Offensive” Part(s): Like Henery easily got what he wanted without any struggle or comic misunderstanding leading to it. Are the censors not familiar with screenwriting (Don’t answer that!)?
Egregious or Not: Very egregious, because the part where Henery says, “Still tryin’ to prove you’re a chicken, eh? Schnook!” was left in while the part where Henery finally realizes that Foghorn is a chicken is cut. How could Henery simply be “talked into it” if he came off as totally skeptical? That ending was the beat that led to the plot point where Henery sees the light (and Foghorn sees stars after getting hit with a shovel), and without it, there’s a continuity error as large as the freshly-made hole in the wall you punched your fist through when you saw this cartoon and realized it was cut.
Where Can I See It Uncut: This cartoon can be found uncut on volume one of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set (fourth disc) — with the original title cards and credits. No “Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodie” crap, like on TV (or that Golden Jubilee video dedicated to Foghorn Leghorn).
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Bob Clampett (uncredited)
Writer(s): (not credited)
Release Date: August 3, 1946
Summary: A zoot-suited wolf goes crazy for sultry femme fatale Laurie BeCool during a screening of “To Have…To Have…To Have…To Have…” (that’s the title of the movie; I haven’t gone into Porky Pig mode), but does he lust for her or…something else?
Scene(s) Cut/Altered: Which do you want to talk about first: the ending cut by TNT where the Wolf happily puffs Laurie BeCool’s cigarette, only to get shot by Bogey GoCart, who takes the cigarette for himself, smokes it, and becomes blackfaced, or how choppy and incomplete some of the wolf’s reactions to Red Laurie BeCool are (according to Jerry Beck on his audio commentary for this cartoon)?
How Does It Play Without the “Offensive” Part(s): Much like “Red Hot Riding Hood” and its deleted scenes of the Wolf reacting to a sexy female performer, I can’t say much about “Bacall to Arms”‘s similar predicament because, unlike Red Hot Riding Hood, the original scenes were lost to time, due to Bob Clampett leaving WB Studios in 1946. Arthur Davis (who was hired to complete the cartoon) could have drawn the scenes himself (or have someone do it for him), but the studio was probably running on borrowed time and couldn’t do it, though I’d like to think that, in a true case of “Take this job and shove it”-itis, Clampett probably made off with the scenes that were supposed to be in the cartoon when he left. Why? Who knows? Maybe the scenes were so spicy that there was no way in Hell the Hayes Office would approve of them. Maybe Clampett needed them as portfolio samples for his next animation job. Maybe they only exist in Clampett’s now maggot-filled skull since he’s been six feet under since 1984 and were never put to paper or celluloid.
The part TNT cut (and Cartoon Network left uncut when they ran their short-lived anthology The Bob Clampett Show, featuring Clampett’s best work with no edits whatsoever) is another story. Personally, I’ve never seen the edited version of the cartoon (nor did I know it existed until I was in my mid-teens and spending much of high school looking up classic cartoon trivia), but I can imagine that the cartoon ended with the Wolf bolting to the ceiling of the (now empty) theater and about to come down, but the cartoon blacks out like a drunk and when it comes to, it’s over.
Egregious or Not: On a scale from 1 to 10, its egregiousness ranks at a 7. You know there should be more to the cartoon, and it’s very easy to chalk it up to the fact that Clampett never completed the short and Davis couldn’t come up with a funny ending if you’re a casual viewer, but once you discover the true reason why the ending was never shown on TV, you’ll kick yourself for not seeing it sooner and wonder why TNT couldn’t just shelve the cartoon rather than hack the ending.
Where Can I See It Uncut: The fifth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set (disc three).
A.K.A: “The Hunting Trilogy” (or “The Hunter’s Trilogy”)
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Chuck Jones (credited as “Charles M. Jones” for all three shorts)
Writer(s): Michael Maltese (for all three cartoons)
Release Dates: May 19, 1951 (for “Rabbit Fire”); September 20, 1952 (for “Rabbit Seasoning”); and October 3, 1953 (for “Duck! Rabbit! Duck!”)
Summary: Elmer goes hunting, Daffy tricks Elmer into going after Bugs, Bugs and Daffy get into a verbal war, and Daffy ends up getting shot several times (applies to all three cartoons).
Scene(s) Cut/Altered: Daffy ends up getting shot several times. With the exception of the Ted Turner-owned channels that aired WB cartoons in the past (TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and Turner Classic Movies [probably]) and local network affiliates in other countries, the Hunting Trilogy was itself, the hunted. Its predator, however, wasn’t a bald, moronic man with a rifle; it was tribes of rabid censors whose only weapons were college-aged interns having second thoughts about majoring in videography. Several tribes had their own ways of cutting these cartoons to remove the many times Daffy gets shot.
- ABC and “The Merrie Melodies Show” (the syndicated version) would cut to a freeze-framed shot of Bugs looking off-camera while the audio of Daffy getting shot was still heard.
- CBS and the WB, however, chose not to give young viewers the satisfaction of using their imaginations and edited audio and visual of Daffy getting blasted.
- Nickelodeon actually left “Rabbit Seasoning” and “Duck! Rabbit! Duck!” alone in the editing department, but “Rabbit Fire” wasn’t so lucky. The famous “no more bullets” part (where Daffy looks down the barrel of Elmer’s rifle and gets shot through his scalp) was cut. Okay, so maybe “Rabbit Fire” was lucky (in that the “no more bullets” scene was the only part cut), but still…
How Does It Play Without the “Offensive” Part(s): The ABC, “Merrie Melodies Show,” and Nickelodeon cuts you can tolerate. The CBS and WB versions aren’t recommended for theatrical cartoon lovers with short tempers. Either way, the point of these three cartoons is to introduce Daffy Duck as Bugs Bunny’s greedy, bloodthirsty foil and how said greedy, bloodthirsty foil ends up getting his in the end (though “Rabbit Fire” ended with Elmer getting his) through violence. Without it, they just lie there, like an unsatisfied wife waiting for her husband to finish penetrating her when really he’s just humping a blanket fold.
Egregious or Not: Only the CBS and the WB cuts will drive you up the wall. The ABC and “Merrie Melodies Show” versions aren’t too bad (as they keep in the audio and the results of Daffy getting shot). Ditto with the Nickelodeon version.
Where Can I See It Uncut: These three cartoons are available uncut almost anywhere. The Turner cable channels aired them uncut. The Golden Jubilee VHS set featured them uncut on the following videos: “Bugs Bunny’s Wacky Adventures,” (“Duck! Rabbit! Duck!”) “Daffy Duck: The Nuttiness Continues…,” (“Rabbit Fire”) “Elmer Fudd’s Comedy Capers,” (“Rabbit Seasoning”) and “A Salute to Chuck Jones” (“Rabbit Seasoning”). Most important of all, all three of them made it to the first six volumes of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set (“Rabbit Fire” and “Rabbit Seasoning” are on volume one, while “Duck! Rabbit! Duck!” is on volume three).
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Isadore “Friz” Freleng (credited as I. Freleng)
Writer(s): Warren Foster
Release Date: June 20, 1953
Summary: It’s Yosemite Sam vs. Bugs Bunny in a wooing match over Granny’s heart (yes, the same Granny who is often seen as Tweety’s master in the Sylvester/Tweety shorts) and her $50 million inheritance.
Scene(s) Cut/Altered: For anyone who grew up watching ABC’s The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show (1986-2000), seeing egregious cuts to cartoons was a common occurrence, like living in a war-torn country or in a country with an oppressive government (PLEASE, no jokes/comments about the U.S.A over the latter comparison. This is not a political blog; it’s an entertainment blog). There were a lot of WB shorts that were slashed to bits, haphazardly pieced together, and tossed aside for innocent bystanders to see (like victims of a serial murderer who liked puzzles and uses that as his signature to screw over the police force), such as “Hare-Less Wolf,” “Hillbilly Hare,” almost every Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoon, “Apes of Wrath,” and “A Mouse Divided.” “Hare Trimmed” was no exception.
Everything after the part where Bugs (dressed as Granny) pushes a piano down the stairs and Yosemite Sam gets flattened by was cut on ABC: Granny thinking Sam is “looped,” “Granny” Bugs reprising his “one lump or two” gag from 1952’s “Rabbit’s Kin” twice (once with coffee and again when Sam begs for it upstairs), Sam’s playful “I can see you through the keyhol-l-le!” – and getting shot for that, and Sam getting shot again after climbing a ladder to the top window of Granny’s bedroom door and begging, “Aw, come on, Emmie!”.
How Does It Play Without the “Offensive” Part(s): If you’re like me and saw this short ad nauseum for the time that ABC aired The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show on Saturday mornings, then you already know how it plays without the offensive parts. For those who don’t know or don’t remember, here’s a re-enactment of how ABC cut said sequence that I personally created. You can download and see for yourself (http://www.filehosting.org/file/details/40796/Hare_Trimmed_Sequence_(ABC_Cut).mpg)
Egregious or Not: After reading the “Scene(s) Cut/Altered” and seeing the video evidence in the “How Does It Play Without the ‘Offensive’ Part(s)”, do I really need to spell it out?
Where Can I See It Uncut: Since this is one of many Warner Bros. cartoons that has yet to be released on a DVD set (and not just on a DVD release of an old Warner Bros. movie, complete with the pre-feature film entertainment, such as coming attractions, a short live-action film [the B-movie, if you will], and an animated short), your best bet is to search the Internet for it and pray that Warner Home Video revives its project to release all the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies on DVD in the near future (since WHV stopped the Golden Collection at volume six and there’s a lot of uncertainty about whether or not the DVD releases will continue).
Well, that’s it. Eighteen cartoons that have been cut eighteen ways from Sunday on and off TV. I think the moral of this story is that whether it’s a theatrical cartoon cut or an edit to a live-action TV show, all cuts (be they for time or content) are egregious. In this age where almost anything can be found online or released on DVD, the only solution to bucking the system is to go underground and dig for your uncensored treasure.
That’s it for this installment of Saturday Morning Hangover. Tune in next time when I take an Auteur Detour and look at the running themes, gags, and quirks of different animation directors.