The Eggcited Rooster

“Me, last of mo-hawk-ans.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, Herman Cohen; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on October 4, 1952.

Foghorn’s gotten married at some point! (Poor Prissy, she drank herself into a stupor upon hearing the news) However, like all marriages, the good times only lasted so long before the two began to argue more and love less. Such as today, the Mrs. (who I’ve decided to name Pressy) is off to play some bridge with her pals, and that leaves her dear husband with child duty. In other words: egg sitting. And woe betide him should he not be incubating at all times.

All this greatly amuses the local Dawg. B.D. takes great delight in heckling his nemesis and reminding him that he can’t retaliate. If the egg isn’t being warmed every single, solitary, yoctosecond, the wife will be let known, and he’s going to be very sorry. The cards are all against him, so Foghorn is stuck. If only there was someone else he could burden with the responsibility of his unborn child.

Henery is also in this short, playing the role of stereotypical Native American. Got his feathered headdress, got his bow and arrows, all he needs to win this game is some chicken. Naturally, he goes after Foghorn. Maybe he could use this little bird as a solution to his problem? He announces himself as too tough, and not worth a meal. Young chickens. That’s what makes a good meal. You can’t get much younger than freshly hatched, so why not take a risk and let the hungry predator potentially kill your unborn child? At least it will give him a chance to get a little payback on the hound.

With his trusty plank, Foggy paddles the dog’s rear before sticking him in some stocks. Add a live wire to his tail, and some light bulbs to his mouth: Voila! The first Uncle Fester cosplay! (The best part of being the first? Gives everyone else a chance to improve your work) That’s taken care of, time to see how the kids are doing. Just in time no less! Henery got tired of waiting and tried to do a c-section on the egg. (With a mallet instead of a scalpel, because that’s how it’s done in the bird world)

Okay, so if the kid is so impatient, then maybe Foghorn should give him a different type of egg to hatch. He has quick-hatching one that just needs a little heat source. Like that dog? (If he wasn’t already busy, I’d point out that Foghorn would be a better choice. It’s common knowledge that chickens have a slightly higher body temperature than dogs. No, really. Everyone knows this.) Henery doesn’t see that the egg in question is really a grenade, so he slips it under the dog, and eagerly awaits the hatching.

One explosion later…(Weird. The grenade actually had some albumen and a yolk in it? Hen grenades: “They’re nutritious and deadly!”) The dog informs the kid that they have both been played, and now its time for revenge. (Always been my favorite time.) The plan? Henery tells Foghorn to come look, and then he takes the egg when he goes to see. (It’s simple, but it works.) Foghorn doesn’t notice until the egg is gone, and by that time, the dog has already phoned the Mrs. and told her of her husband’s child abandoning ways. She comes with rolling pin in wing. Foghorn, Henery, and the dog all have a small fight over the egg, but in the end, Foghorn gets it. (Just as his wife gives him the pin) Adding injury to injury, Henery also scalps him.

Favorite Part: Foghorn describes egg sitting akin to walking into a spinning drill, It bores you.

Big Hearted Bosko

“Bruno, where are you?”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Rollin Hamilton. A Looney Tune released on March 5, 1932.

Really, that doesn’t sound too healthy. Is it like a tumor? Or maybe he just has bad cholesterol or-OH! It’s meant figuratively! And here I thought it might be a clue as to why we don’t see Bosko much anymore.

As I’ve stated many times before, I don’t get the love for the cold. So I really can’t fathom why Bosko would want to be outside in it. (I guess it really doesn’t bother him any. He’s not wearing anything different than his usual get-up.) Bruno has tagged along for this trip, and the two spend some time skating on ice. (They have the whole pond to themselves as nobody else seems to want to skate on ice that has large holes in it. Cowards.)

Okay, sure. Bruno nearly falls in a couple of times, but that doesn’t mean he will-oh, d*mn it. Bruno! How are we to enjoy your escapades if you end up in the death water? I suppose you best be saving him, Bosko.

Bosko is afraid he is too late, as his dog doesn’t surface. He’s fine, though. He comes out via a frozen log. Angry that his dog could have actually died, Bosko throws a stick in frustration. A stick? Bruno loves those! He goes to retrieve it. The stick landed next to a basket, and there must be something inside because noise is coming from within. (It’s a little known fact, but baskets don’t make noises.) This is clearly a job for a man! Or better yet, a talk-ink kid! We’ve got one of those! Bosko is hesitant, but he takes a peek. Why, it’s a baby! Whoever left it out here to die is long gone, but Bosko won’t be viewed any better if he just leaves it. Better adopt the child. It’s what Jesus would do.

At home, the baby continues to wail despite Bosko’s violin playing. (Yeah, I’m not surprised this kid was left to freeze.) The only thing that seems to cheer it up ever so slightly, is a frustrated Bruno being unaware that the seat he is taking is a hot stove. (Clever way of dousing the flames. Pouring the water IN his body. Haven’t seen that method. I should try it on this spare cat I have.) Obviously, burning dogs is something even Satan wouldn’t stoop to, so we need an alternative plan. Music didn’t work before, maybe we should try it again.

Hey, what do you know, that seems to be working! (I guess the child just hates violins and flutes. All the cool babies listen to piano music.) Bruno even decides to keep being entertaining, and puts a lamp shade on like a skirt. Even Bosko’s dinner squawks a note. (Chop the freaking head off, man. What’s the matter with you?) Yes, I think this family just might work out after all. Even if Bosko’s dancing has ended with him getting his head stuck in the fish bowl.

Favorite Part: When Bosko asks the kid what the matter is. Surprisingly, the kid responds. It’s “Crying for the Carolines.”

Buddy the Gob

“I’ll save you!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Jack King and Ben Clopton; Music by Norman Spencer. A Looney Tune released on January 13, 1934.

“The gob of what?” you might be saying. I can’t blame you. You have a habit of cracking awful jokes. (Which is my job.) Gob means sailor, and that’s because they are full of phlegm. (I hope you aren’t taking me seriously.) This might be one of Buddy’s better pictures, but that isn’t saying too much. We start up with some basic early thirties fare: things bouncing to music.

Buddy (the gob) is just doing some laundry. (Nice of it to help out by drying itself) What’s on the horizon? China! I guess Buddy is allowed to go visit, but I think he’s just shirking his duties. Why wash clothes when you can go gawk at a culture that isn’t your own? Isn’t everyone strange? All this stereotyping sure makes Buddy’s lack of a personality seem great by comparison, huh?

There’s a local that is reading a sign out loud. (In painfully bad fake Chinese. I don’t care how many decades later it is: on behalf of my country, I’m so sorry!) Being a simple gob, Buddy can’t make out what is written there. Lucky for us, the sign briefly translates. Looks like it’s the 150th birthday of THE sacred dragon! Wow! That IS reason to celebrate! What are the plans? A parade? Sounds good. Music? It wouldn’t be a party without that. Human sacrifice? Ummm… Is that a metaphor for anything by chance?

Nope. It’s really part of the celebration. The girl who is set to be food doesn’t seem too excited, but everyone else is all smiles and cheering. Who am I to question someone else’s culture? I’m just visiting. Buddy doesn’t share my mentality and tries to rescue her. He is easily detained. However, he finds another way to get in, and it is pretty clever. He takes a gate, see? And he pulls back like it was a bow, launching the rungs into a wall, making a staircase. Pretty cool. Makes my jackhammer look barbaric in comparison.

Buddy has arrived in the nick of time. The girl is chained to a wall, the guard has swallowed the key and left, and there is a dragon just waiting to be let out of its cage. (Wait, that’s THE sacred dragon? What a letdown. He doesn’t look like anything I imagined. He’s too fat.) Buddy’s got a plan. Since he isn’t strong enough to rip a chain off of a wall, he’ll knock on the door to get the guard back in, slam a barrel over him to keep him contained, and kick the key out! It works, but the dragon is let loose, forcing the two to escape out the window. (I guess it HAS to be a female sacrifice? THE sacred dragon doesn’t seem too interested in eating the guard)

Buddy and (forgive me for this name, but the pun is too perfect, if not accurate) Fortune Cookie flee via rickshaw. The rest of the population isn’t pleased with this, and gives chase. (The guy pulling their ride is cool with it. His mother was probably the last sacrifice)  With a bridge to cross, Buddy cuts it away so they can’t be followed. He still gets a spear thrown at his butt, though. (The short just ends here, and that’s probably good since Buddy just started a war. We need to get these guys in our good graces. They’d make great allies, and it seems like there’s there’s some other war coming up.)

Favorite part: While the two flee, they lose their rickshaw at one point and have to ride their driver as a horse. He even whinnies! (It’s not much, but this IS a Buddy cartoon.)

Hocus Pocus Pow Wow

“The president of the railroad will hear about this!”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on January 13, 1968.

Merlin (the magic mouse, not that wizard guy) and Second Banana are on their way to Pow wow city to perform. Shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Then the conductor asks for some tickets. Merlin tries to oblige, but the only thing his hat chooses to produce is flowers. (You know, I don’t think they actually HAVE any tickets.) The conductor doesn’t put up with the shenanigans for long before kicking the two off the train. Seems like walking is their best bet. But first, why not kick back and relax with one of Merlin’s patented magic hat dinners? Featuring great choices such as: Beef Wellington, Pumpkin soup, and the featured attraction: Turkey for two.

Eating all alone in the middle of a desert? Hungry eyes are going to be able to find you easily. It’s not vultures that are eyeing the dead animal on which the mice munch, but a Native American. The credits have credited him as Lo, the poor Indian. (He’s clearly not Indian, and I can’t say that he’s poor, but one CAN greet him with “How, Lo.” It’s not very PC, but in 1968, what Caucasian would care?)

If he really is poor, that might be why he wants Merlin’s hat so much. Or maybe the thought of a never ending food vessel would entice anyone. Regardless, Lo takes the hat and tries getting some food. He actually is able to bring some animals out, but doesn’t manage to take any bites before they flee. Merlin takes the hat back and runs. Lo, in turn, tries firing some arrows at the two, but only manages to hit himself.

Merlin tries a couple tricks to help himself and sidekick escape. Conjuring up a railroad crossing with an actual train attached, wearing a disguise, (Lo isn’t fooled. He can tell mouse feet from human.) and taking the man’s tomahawk and making it disappear. (He can bring it back. But one should really know better than to say “Give it to me!” in  a cartoon. Lo brought that pain on himself) Still, he is insistent that Merlin relinquish the hat. Merlin agrees, but figures they should smoke a peace pipe first. Said pipe is a firecracker, and Merlin is able to escape at last.

Making it to their destination, the mice are all set to perform at the local theatre. So, what are the locals like? Actually, they are all Native American, and I don’t think they are taking too kindly to all the racial stereotyping this cartoon contained. Maybe they just really liked Lo? Whatever the reason, they chase the mice out of town. (Drat. I was really looking forward to the show)

Favorite Part: How Merlin greets the audience. “Greetings ladies and gentlemen! Or whatever the case may be.” It’s always a good idea to put the theatre-goers in their place.

The Slap-Hoppy Mouse

“You and I are going mouse hunting.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, George Grandpre, Keith Darling, and Russ Dyson; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on September 1, 1956.

Wouldn’t it be great to be a pet? (Assuming you don’t have a neglectful owner of course) You could sleep all day, eat without using hands, be adored constantly, and just when the monotony starts getting to you, you die thanks to your shorter lifespan. (Certain animals withstanding. I’d hate to be a tortoise) It’s a nice life. An easy life. And that is bothering Sylvester’s son.

In this picture, the two live in a mansion. Sylvester Sr. is quite content with the way things are going, but Jr. isn’t enjoying himself. (If my nose turned black for a brief second, I might be a little grumpy. Unless I could do it at will. That would be sweet.)  Mostly because of the other cats in the area that we don’t get to see. But according to Junior, they don’t think so highly of the his father. Seems he’s soft. Weak. A has-been. That’s all it takes. Sylvester promises to show the lad the art of the hunt, and prove that he still is a great mouser.

Donning some dapper caps, the two make their way to the best kind of habitat to find a mouse in: a derelict dump of a building. That’s right next to some railroad tracks. Why is that important? Well, a circus train passes by and a crate that isn’t secured at all tumbles off and ends up in the basement. Out of the rubble comes Hippety Hopper. (You like the inconsistencies? This little guy has one in this short. One of his eyelids is white at one point. Can you find it?)

Sylvester, meanwhile, has found an actual mouse, and prepares to strike. The main problem with hunting in these crummy old places, is that the loose boards can send you down to the basement. Creepy things live in basements. Like gargantuan mice! Sylvester runs back upstairs in a panic. Junior believes his dad’s claims as the suspected mouse followed him up. Sylvester is all set to run, but his boy reminds him that cats shouldn’t fear mice. (Sweet and all, but the fact that I shouldn’t fear fish doesn’t help me any.)

The hunt begins, and Sylvester is pummeled. It’s not long before he is grabbing some firepower to aid him. Unfortunately, he can’t seem get the right order of powder, shots and wadding in the gun, and he is constantly fired up to the higher floors. (The smaller mouse from earlier even comes back to the pull the trigger once.) Ultimately, Sylvester puts some glue down to catch his target. All the joey has to do is give him a light tap to foil this plot. (He even gets some buck teeth for a moment. Nice bit of zoological accuracy) With his father out of commission, Junior has to cut the floor out from under him, and carry him home.

Favorite part: After Sylvester calls himself “broken down” at one point, Junior instead claims that he is “a real, cool cat.” Really, it’s funny the way he says it. Even his dad doesn’t quite know how to respond.

The Mouse-merized Cat

“Sleep! Sleep!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Don Williams, Richard Bickenbach, and Cal Dalton; Layouts and Background by Richard H. Thomas and Cornett Wood; Effects Animation by A.C. Gamer; Voice Characterization: Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on October 19, 1946.

Remember Babbit and Catstello? Even if Tweety managed to get their fame, the two still managed a couple more pictures as mice. (Thus making them the only Warner Bros. characters to change species.) It’s clearly them and not just some lookalikes, the names are the same, the appearance is familiar, and they are still voiced by Pierce and Blanc, respectively. Still, for whatever reason, they only got two shorts as rodents, with this being the last of them.

Catstello, (which is a rather odd name for a mouse, but not THE worst. That distinction goes to Mortimer.) is excited to see us, the audience, but Babbit has more important matters to attend to. He’s reading a book about hypnotism, and he plans to entrance the chubby mouse, so said mouse will forget any fear of a cat, and get food from the deli in which they reside.

Naturally, the loss of free will is not something that Catstello wants any part in, and refuses to participate. Starting out by simply pretending it worked. He gives himself away when he refuses to mallet his own hand. Babbit refuses to accept that either hypnosis doesn’t work that way, or that his little pal could just be immune. (And why should he accept either one in a cartoon?) Still, Catstello tries to avoid the powers, protecting his eyes, and ducking. It’s no use though, Babbit finally gets him and now its time to test these powers.

It wouldn’t be a Warner Bros. Picture if they didn’t caricature some of the most popular people of the day, so Babbit starts by making his pal be Crosby, Sinatra, Durante, and Rochester. But any Warner character could do those, so the real test is to become a chicken. Sure enough, not only does Catstello cluck, but he even somehow lays and egg. (Or he just took it off a shelf. They are in a deli.)

Okay, how about we see this cat that’s in the title? Catstello is commanded to be a dog, and sent out to get the cat. His barking sends the cat into hiding, but upon seeing its just a mouse, the feline loses any and all fear. He even snaps Catstello out of the trance. The mouse flees in fear back to the hole, but Babbit rehypnotizes him out. In turn, the cat studies some hypnotism of his own and tries sending him back again. (He doesn’t just eat him because fat mice are high in cholesterol)

This goes on, but somehow in between the dueling hypnotists, Catstello is able to get his own will back and holds two mirrors out. Now they’ll see how funny hypnosis can be! With them caught in their own trances, Catstello can get them to do anything. He decides on the cat being a horse, and Babbit being a cowboy. With that done, he sends them out to hunt some varmint, and he is finally rid of them. With the whole place to himself, he does what anyone would do with an empty deli: eat.

Favorite Part: One of the ways Catstello resists the hypnosis. He reads a book entitled: “How to resist hypnotism.”

Brother Brat

“The situation is supernatural!”

Direction by Frank Tashlin; Story by Melvin Millar; Animation by Art Davis; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on July 15, 1944.

By this point in history, the U.S. has been part of World War II for a while now. All the men are off fighting, so it’s up to the women to make the weapons we need. Being just as capable (if not more so) then males, the women of the country have a solution for nearly every problem. The big one at the moment that still needs some answering: who will watch my child while I work?

Such a conundrum is a problem of some large woman. She answers it pretty quickly: the one guy who children adore and as such, didn’t go to the war: Porky! (Of course, she kinda guilts him into it. Saying this is the only way the planes are going to keep being produced.) Still, being the swell guy he is, Porky isn’t all that upset and prepares to be the best sitter he can be. Should be a cinch since she lent him a child psychology book. First step is easy: ask the kid his name. (Why not? Babies are people too.)

I take it back. This probably isn’t going to go too well, since the first time we see the kid he is playing solitaire. Well, he’s got to have a name at any rate. Fittingly, it’s Butch. (He also mocks Porky’s manner of speech. Keep it up, ugly, and I’ll murder you in your sleep. Don’t tempt me, how do you think George Carlin died?) Butch also hands Porky an anvil, and the pig ends up in the basement. So far so bad, what’s the book’s next suggestion?

Give the kid a cat? Oddly specific, but unless you’re me, it might be able to melt his heart’s rough exterior. (And immature it may be, I can’t help snickering when Porky tells the kid to play with a pussy.) I guess Porky already had a pet? I hope he didn’t go buy one just for this kid. (He’s so generous! It gets me right here.) Hey, maybe Butch isn’t so bad a kid after all, he’s playing jump rope with the cat! (Ah, the fun I had when I did that as a child. It’s probably why I had to see a psychiatrist.)

Butch also reads Esquire Jr. (Plenty of (literal) babes in there) He also does not want to be told that he is too young for this. When Porky makes this mistake, the kid bites a finger and holds on tight. The book is being no help, so Porky has to shake the little terror off. Seems that was the tipping point, as he declares war and chases my amigo with a cleaver. (You know how parents tend to defend their kid’s actions? I wonder how she’d talk her way out of this one) We won’t get any answers to that, but she at least does come to the rescue and ask why he didn’t use the book. Obviously, he did, but she shows that he was using it wrong. She meant it to be used for spanking. (No pity for Butch. He’s earned this)

Favorite part: Butch wolf whistling at his magazine. (Because a baby being horny is funny.)

The Miller’s Daughter

“Hiya, Big Boy!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Charles M. Jones; Music by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on October 13, 1934.

Two little statures decorate a room. It’s not the most exciting job, but with a lovely (whatever gender you, the reader, is attracted to) by your side, things can’t be all bad. Wait, there’s a cat in the house? Okay, things CAN be all bad. My proof? The cat tries to get at the bird in the room, (Okay, that one’s on the owner. Never put predator and prey together unless you WANT one to die. ) but he misses and ends up breaking the female figurine. The lady of the house isn’t pleased, but there’s no use in crying over split statues, so she scoops up the pieces and takes them to the attic. (I guess she intends to fix her. She just leaves, though)

Little boy shepherd statue (and sheep) do not like to be separated from their soulmate, and head off to rescue her. She’s found and the damage doesn’t look that bad. Just a couple of broken legs. The common procedure is a little glue, and who better to perform the operation than your boyfriend/husband/brother/best friend/co-worker/neighbor to help you piece your life back together after a break-up? This is a couple who sticks together! (Ever the gentleman, he averts his gaze when she glues her rump back in place. Maybe someday she’ll let him touch it.)

Well, I think we’ve gone long enough without the title song playing. The duo dance while other attic dwellers provide the music. A spider on the piano, the three (monkey stooges on vocals) and some pretty silhouettes on a lampshade. The girl statue starts getting a little more frisky and does some conga dancing, while the boy conducts a bunch of clocks. (Why are their so many clocks in this attic? One or two, sure, but eleven? Are clock fetishes real? I’m staying away from this lady’s house.) There’s even a rotoscoped couple in a picture. Fascinating.

Remember the sheep statue I’ve barely mentioned? She (I’m just guessing, but the lack of horns point toward the fairer sex) has disturbed a lion statue, and is now on the receiving end of a hunt. (Hold everything! This cuckoo clock lady knew not to keep the artificial predator/prey  apart, but leaves the ones capable of bloodshed together? I’m sending the ASPCA to this lady’s house) The resulting chase has the sheep going through a pipe and coming out black, and they resist the temptation to have it call for “mammy.” Impressive. (Although, is it wrong that I feel they should have made it cry “lammy”?)

Boy statue fires an arrow on loan from a cupid statue. (Why are there so many statues in the attic? Because they are clearly seasonal. Cupid for February, Angry Lion for March, etc. I have SOME answers) It gets the felines attention, (although, do ceramic lions feel pointy objects?) and it gives the trio a chance to make a get away. (The lion crashed into the door and crumbles.) They get back to their spot, but break a lamp in the process. The clock fetishist is not pleased. (And doesn’t notice the repaired statue or the black sheep.)

Favorite Part: The lady blames the cat for the lamp assault, and chases after it broom in hand. Sooooo…maybe I’ll wait a bit before calling those authorities.

Sunday Go to Meetin’ Time

“Get your hands off me.”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Bob McKimson and Paul Smith; Music by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on August 8, 1936.

Here we go. The first one of the censored 11 I’m featuring here. Is it worthy of that title? In some spots, yeah, but there’s SOME good things in here.

As it is Sunday, (as I type this and in the short) it’s also time to go to church. Everyone in the community puts on their finest clothes and heads for some sweet, sweet, gospel. (I won’t lie. I’m a little uncomfortable seeing young children having their heads shined like shoes. Luckily, that’s probably the worst this picture has to offer. The big lips hardly phase me after witnessing that.)

One lady is set to go, but has misplaced her husband, (Or he could be her son. It’s never established.) Nicodemus. Since he’s black, the cartoon thinks that he’d most definitely rather be playing craps than going to church. (I’ll just pretend that it just happens to be his favorite game.) He’s found and dragged off to the building. (Talking in that kinda dopey tone of voice Hollywood was fond of having black people use. The tone that I doubt was ever THAT noticeable? Okay, okay. I’ll stop. )

Once there, he of course ducks out. All that talk of the bible can make a guy hungry, and since everybody is at church, nobody can catch him trying to take a chicken. (I love how he tries to prove to the bird that he isn’t holding anything in his hand. The bird ain’t fooled.) Giving chase, he hits his head on a fence post and Nicodemus begin to see things that will scare him straight.

Now standing before a judge, he has his life history looked over. Seems he sinned plenty. All stereotypical sins no less. (The craps, and chicken snatching weren’t obvious enough. That’s why he was also had to be guilty of watermelon theft.) Fate’s sealed, he’s going to hell. Satan and his demon minions are quite happy to have a new soul to torture. (Satan and his followers also have uncomfortably large lips. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Isn’t making fun of Satan totally fine? Then again, those lips aren’t really funny on anybody. I’m conflicted.)

As the imps began his torture with some pitchfork pokes, he wakes up to find the chickens pecking him. With the threat of hell fresh in his mine, Nicodemus repents and heads back to church without further hesitation. I knew he was a good guy, deep down.

Favorite part: Say what you will about the visuals in this cartoon, but the music is awesome! Very catchy and a treat for the ears.

 

The Censored Eleven

When you watch as many old cartoons as I do, you notice that like many things, they are a product of their times. From referencing the biggest stars of the silver screen at the time, to making mention of a war that has been over for nearly 75 years as I type this. However, the biggest change (at least to me) is how the cartoons represented African-Americans.

Remember, at this time in history, many people of different races were still seen as different. Were they people now and not slaves? Sure, but they still looked different to white folk, and you know how society treats what is different. Either with fear, or mockery. In this case, mockery was what was considered the appropriate response.

Is this appropriate today? F*ck no! Get away from me if you think that! Was it appropriate then? No, not really. So why was it so commonplace in American culture? Simple, it was just how the world worked. Were black people offended? No doubt the majority of them were, but what were they to do about it? Society said it was okay, and that was enough fort the whites. I’m sure many of them weren’t entirely comfortable with these things, but if everyone is doing it, surely it must be fine. (And again, it isn’t.)

So that is why many of these older cartoons can seem a tad racially insensitive at times. Because they are. Now, what if society’s opinion on these “harmless” drawings were to change over time? No worry, we have editing for that. Just snip out that little bit of offense and none will be the wiser. Everyone can laugh at the slapstick and puns, and nobody need be upset. Unless of course, the cartoons in question were built upon this form of “comedy”…

Thus, we have what is known as “The Censored Eleven.” These cartoons have so much racist stereotypes in them, that you couldn’t edit them and still have any cartoon left. What’s the solution here? Well, I suppose you could put one of those “viewer discretion is advised” signs and- NAH! There’s only one thing to do to protect the easily molded human mind. Just flat out pretend that they never existed! Never let them grace the television screen again, or for that matter, any licensed home media. Do this and all will be right in the world. What a good idea!

Except… no. That’s a terrible idea. Okay, these probably aren’t the best things to allow children to view, but flat out refusing to acknowledge they exist? So, what are we supposed to take from this? That there was never animosity towards different races and we got along great after slavery was abolished? That the white man saw the black man as his equal and treated him as such? That’s insulting to history! Why can’t we take responsibility for our actions? We can’t look at these and say: “Wow. That wasn’t funny. Good thing we don’t do this kind of crap anymore. Interesting what jack@$$es we used to be, huh?”

Keeping these off of networks that children may watch, and DVDs that they might want to view? Again, probably for the best. Children are impressionable and it is possible they might think these things are still socially acceptable. (Though, I would like to point out that I saw a few of these cartoons as a kid, and I never thought they were accurate. In fact, I asked the adults in my life why the black people were talking and acting in such a way. Was it supposed to be funny because that’s not how anyone acts?)

However, banning these cartoons outright from adults? I think that’s a little extreme. Why not just add one of those disclaimers that preface other DVDs that portray earlier time periods. Give the whole “It’s wrong and always has been, but many people didn’t intend to offend as the world was messed up, and ignoring it is worse, so we are flat out showing it. Be an adult and learn from this.” spiel.

Honestly, is it so wrong to view these? What about “South Park?” A show that at least offends one type of people with every episode. It’s lauded as one of the greatest animated series to ever be created. (I myself, have watched very little of it, as it offends me.) However, that doesn’t mean I actively try and get it removed from the world. I don’t like, I don’t view. Simple. Besides, doesn’t all humor have to offend at least a little? Slapstick humor derives from anothers physical pain, puns tend to be funny when they are used to annoy someone else, and these cartoons… honestly, really DO go a little far. But they still are animated wonderfully, have some voice talent that is still really quality stuff, and still can have a joke or two that can be funny. Heck, two of these cartoons are considered to be part of the eclectic “100 greatest” and one of those two even managed to earn a spot on “the 50 greatest cartoons of all time.” (And it wasn’t near the bottom of the list either. It was in the top half, thank you very much. At number 21)

All in all, I’ll say it again: These were wrong, and they probably should never have been made. Still, what’s done is done and we should stop pretending we have nothing to be ashamed about. Making mistakes helps us grow as people, and sets examples for us to learn from. (And boy, are these some big mistakes.) As long as you are an adult, (or if you are underage, if your parent thinks you can view these) then I don’t see why we can’t re-release these on DVD. It probably won’t ever happen, so it’s a good thing you can view these online. (Crappy quality, but that’s fitting for the crappy stereotyping)