If you’re human- and I assume that you’re all human- then you’ve almost certainly seen some Looney Tunes cartoons, Warner Brothers’ beloved animated series featuring the wacky antics of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety, and the like. But there are some Looney Tunes cartoons you probably haven’t seen. They’re known as the “Censored Eleven”. They’re the eleven animated shorts that United Artists kept out of syndicated rotation starting in 1968. This is because “the depictions of black people in the cartoons were deemed too offensive for contemporary audiences”, per Wikipedia. Personally, I think it’s important to raise awareness of these animated shorts.
Specifically, I think it’s important because all pop culture content, even the offensive stuff, provides a snapshot of society at the time the content was created. It’s a learning tool. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, and so forth. To be fair, I appreciate that Warner and United Artists had their heart in the right place in 1968 when these cartoons were removed from rotation. I’m sure they had their own corporate image in mind when they did it, but I’m sure they also realized the offensiveness of these cartoons. More than forty years later, I think we can look at these objectively, and recognize them for what they are- a historical artifact of a time we’d rather not revisit. Here are the Censored Eleven. I’d proselytize about how offensive these are, but it goes without saying. See for yourself.
Hittin’ the Trail for Hallelujah Land (1931)
Sunday Go To Meetin’ Time (1936)
Clean Pastures (1937)
Uncle Tom’s Bungalow (1937)
Jungle Jitters (1938)
The Isle of Pingo Pongo (1938)
All This and Rabbit Stew (1941)
Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943)
Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943)
Angel Puss (1944)
Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (1944)