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)

Termite Terrace Gag Reels

“You’re the god-damnest thing!”

I don’t know about you, but I for one am not too fond of work Christmas parties. Too much unwarranted joy for my tastes. (I can’t fathom the idea of being happy while cold) But say you worked at Termite Terrace back in the day? If these two glimpses into their place of employment were any indication, these people were a blast to work with. Both of these films were shown at the Christmas parties that were held there. Our first one comes from 1939.

Things start off great! Schlesinger himself is having a grand time with a Porky doll. (NEEEEEED!) For all the horror stories I’ve heard about Mr. Schlesinger, it seems that he was quite the ham and loved to be part of all these. Everyone was a ham! (Which means they have to eat kosher, lest they be labeled cannibals) Next is a shot of the happy employees coming to work. (Treg Brown, Chuck Jones, Ben Hardaway, among others) You might think they aren’t pleased to be there, because of the grumbling. That’s just because Henry Binder is marching them in with a rifle. When it’s time to leave, they sadly do. (They mask their pain well) And yes, this part is seen in “You ought to be in Pictures.” 

Binder does a bit dressed like Groucho, Carl Stalling plays a clarinet (or maybe it’s an oboe.) in his head, and one man asks another a question. He in turns asks a woman. She asks another woman, who asks another man, who asks Leon. He knows the answer to this question we weren’t allowed to hear: “yes.” The answer travels back to the original asker who is pleased to hear it. He heads to the restroom.

I guess Dave Mohannan isn’t too pleased with his job, as he tries to escape to Fleischers. Henry and his gun keep him on the winning team. And Tex Avery drinks too much. In the Inking department, the ladies are hard at work. They look a bit like men in drag to me, but then, I hardly have conversations with women. Maybe they all look like this up close? The one who looks like Tex thinks he is cute, and the one who looks like Bob Clampett drinks paint. (And Binder comes around to check their rears out)

Speaking of Binder, he is also in charge of interviewing potential new talent. One woman comes in to show off some of her stuff. By which I mean what the job actually calls for. Binder keeps looking down her blouse. Eventually he pulls her into his lap. Seeing as how she was a married woman, he soon gets reacquainted with his gun pal.

Personal Rating: 2 (Unless you are a Looney-tic, then it’s a 4 for letting us see these nuts in action.)

“Gwate stuff!”

This next reel came out a year later. And everyone here is playing themselves, so apologies in advance if you thought you were being made fun of. (Believe me, if we WERE making fun of you, we’d make sure you’d know) Those rascally employees are still at it. Can’t go wrong with giving each other a hot foot. (Even Leon joins in this game) Stalling composes music for upcoming “Merrie Melodies” and we get another glimpse at the ladies of the place. (The year has been kind to them. They look a lot more hot! The downside is they cluck now)

Binder still takes care of interviewing. He’s really reeled things in since last time as he hardly reacts to the woman stripping for him. (This woman was rotoscoped and her likeness would be used in Avery’s “Cross Country Detours.”) When her butt is revealed, Binder finally pays attention. (He has a lot of tongue. I knew non-toons could do that) 3:00 is relaxing time for the employees. Some play ball, others fence. (Don’t worry about the sword in his chest. I’m sure he can still work) But most of the employees play a game that everyone can play: face sucking. (Mel, I love ya, but fake kissing noises REALLY irritate me. Knock it off.) And in case any of you are trying to play “shipping” with these people, just know that couples one, three and four did actually end up married. So you can take the the holidays off.

The film is so self aware, that it can show the viewers footage of themselves at the actual party. Many people are dancing. (Poor Ted Pierce. He loses his pants) And they couldn’t resist having people of varying heights dance with each other. (Friz Freleng makes up what he lacks in height with his future Oscar wins) Someone tries to flirt with Tex, but the poor guy just can’t give in to temptation. (But he will abandon us for MGM.) And in the true meaning of Christmas, those who refused to actually give gifts, still at least wish some season greetings to everyone.

And of course, we end on the most tasteful joke ever imagined. Leon says he is off to the bowl. By which he meant the toilet. (Judging by the sign he puts up, I think it’s best to put the commode out of its misery.) Enjoy your holidays!

Personal Rating: Ditto as above

Double Feature! Unpublished Frank Tashlin books!

I’m sorry that I didn’t update last week. I was having personal problems; but that is no reason to shirk on my duties. So, to make up, I will post last week’s entry along with this weeks. Also, we’ll be switching to updates every Wednesday. (It’s easier for me) So let’s take a look at a couple of books, that Tashlin wrote, but never did anything with.

“Little Chic’s Wonderful Mother”

This story takes place in two yards. In one, there is a chicken coop full of chickens naturally. The other yard contains an incubator that has only one egg inside it. (Seems like a waste of money) When the egg hatches, a black chick is born.

The chicks in the next yard ask him where his mother is. He points out the incubator. It hatched him, naturally it is his mother. The chicks laugh at him. Heck, even the full grown hens and rooster laugh at him. (This is where we get jerk chicken from) Getting an idea, the chick somehow gets ahold of many objects and makes his “mother” look the part. Painting a face, giving her a broom as tail feathers, a poinsettia as a comb, and a corn cob beak. (Wait, she has a beak AND a mouth? That’s not scientifically correct. Talking poultry however, is fine) Still, the birds laugh. The chick is sad, but promises “her” that no matter what the others might say, she is his mom and he loves her. Later, a rain storm rolls in and the henhouse begins to flood. Being the hero of the story, the chick has all the other chickens climb onto his mother as she floats. They are saved and admit that she IS his mother. The rooster then forces the other hens to look like her. (Um, I don’t think that’s necessary)

Tony and Clarence

I like this one a lot more. It doesn’t need a moral. Tony is an organ grinder. His monkey (Clarence) is very efficent at his job. He collects many pennies and thanks the donators for every one. Being a monkey, he can climb anywhere in the city. This way the lazy citizens don’t even have to get up to pay. At the end of every day, Tony and clarence go home and have dinner and go to bed. (Sleeping in a bed with an animal is cute.) But one day, Clarence falls ill. (Sleeping in a bed with an animal is also not very clean) He is taken to the hospital and Tony asks the doctors to do all they can, and he will pay whatever they ask. But how will he do it without his monkey? Well, the animal kingdom is full of options! Too bad his subs all have their little hiccups. Dog: chases cats. Elephant: falls through the hole in the street it made due to its weight. (Really? Several cars won’t do that, but one elephant will?) Giraffe: gets it’s neck tangled in the clotheslines. Beaver: chews the telephone poles. Pelican: goes fishing. Goat: eats buttons off of people’s clothing. (Maybe if you fed it, Tony…) Ostrich: doesn’t eat the coins like it would make sense to do, but rather does the old hiding in hole cliche that is not true. Tony is sad and the other animals feel bad they let him down. Then the doctors call Tony with news about clarence. Is he worse? Is he dead? Actually, he is not himself anymore. SHE is a mother. (Really Tony? You had this monkey for how long and you never could tell it’s gender? And how did she get preg…OH NO!) Now named Clarice, the monkey goes back to work with Tony. And he is now 6 times richer as all the young monkeys join in. (Monkey’s don’t have that many babies at once you know)

Hope that makes up somewhat for dissapearing last week. It’s great to be back.

Personal Rating: It may not mean much, seeing as they never got past the draft stage. But I’ll give them both a 2.

Cartoon Music Videos (Merry Christmas SuperJNG18)

This shoutout goes to a good friend of mine.

How do you make awesome cartoons even greater? Put them together! With awesome music! That is just what some people do! They take a song, put cartoons to it and there you have it. A cartoon music video. My favorite person who does these, is the maker of the clip you see before you. (Unless he wants me to remove it. then you’ll have to find him yourself) He is my favorite because he uses the most Looney Tunes out of all others I have seen. He also chooses the best songs so says me. Heck, he even uses some of my favorite live action stars, like Kermit the frog, and the Nostalgia Critic. Go check his work out. He is not getting the respect he deserves.

Merry Christmas Pal. This is why it took so long, for me to post this. I wanted to wait and make it a Christmas gift. Keep up the great work. I’ll keep rooting for you.

Personal Rating: It varies from person to person, but I always thought this guy never did anything less than a 4. If you don’t like this kind of video, though. I sad to say, don’t think any of them are good enough to sway you.

Oragne Blossoms for Violet

“If Violet’s marrying anybody, its gonna be me!”

This isn’t really a looney tune. So why am i reviewing it? Well it was made by WB and it has voices and sound effects from the looney tunes in it. Besides i think its a stellar bit of work. The entire cast is animals. In a town there is a monkey named violet and she is going to marry another monkey named Fred. (Bea Bennederet and Mel Blanc respectively) Another monkey named Harvey is angry as he wishes to marry her as well. (while he is getting his shoes shined there’s a black-faced monkey, is that racist?” Harvey decides to kidnap her and its up to fred to rescue her. Harvey stuffs her in a bag and takes off with Fred following on a goat. The chase ends up on a hot air balloon where they guys fight, eventually leaving Fred as the victor. Fred and Violet go get married and i guess they are really happy because they fly away. (?)

Personal Rating: 3 (The story is basic, but the animals were really well trained. Humanely, I hope)

Super Smash Bros. Looney Tunes

Now then, my favorite video game of all time is Super Smash Bros. Brawl. So what do you get if you combine that with my all time favorite cartoons? You get awesome to the extreme, that’s what! This series is created by a very talented person who goes by “HotCheetoVidoes.” (Or as I like to call her, the  cheetowoman. ) Luckily for me, even though we barely know each other, she was willing to let me feature her work on this site. I would rather not spoil these for you. So,watch and enjoy, then go to her channel and watch more! Dr. Foolio demands you! It’s pure art! Pure genius! A true masterpiece!

Personal Rating: 2 (Well, they aren’t perfect)

Merrie Melodies

I have no idea how these are classified. I have read many differnt interpretaitons. One said these contain minor characters who do not appear again. Another said they are just music. I have found neither to be true. In my opinion they are exactly the same as their Looney counterparts, just a bit more Merrie. (Yeah, that’s the ticket) At one point, they were the cartoons that Warner Bros. released in color, but that eventually became every picture. I however, am a fan of Looney Tunes to such an extent that I do not care. They are wonderful and every bit as enjoyable as the others. However if anyone can tell me a difference that i have not mentioned then I would love to hear it.

Crying for the Carolines

I am quite sure this is the first Spoony Melody made, and if you watch it you can easily see why they never made any more. It starts with some guy singing, and we see some woods. A boat FLIES by, and we see the moon. After that, we see a city and the boat returns. That’s it, the end. Now it is not really bad, but it is just freaking weird. This is the kind of thing that would have messed me up as a child. Then again I have seen weirder things in my time. These are just the kind of things we have to put up with.

Personal Rating: 1

Spoony Melodies

Looney Tunes did so well that Leon Schlesinger thought that these would be a good idea. What they would do is replace the real organist with a musical short in live action. Needless to say, this was not a good idea because only four of these were ever made, and none of them were any good. Although today you can not really find any of these I was lucky enough to find one, and tomorrow, I shall talk about it. See you then.