The 'censored eleven' is a group of eleven Warner Bros. cartoons produced from 1931 to 1944 that haven't been officially broadcast on television or released in any format because of their questionable and offensive content involving racist depictions of African Americans.
The eleven cartoons were originally pulled from sydication in 1968 by United Artists and they haven't been aired since. You can, however, find most or all of the eleven on bootleg video and two of the cartoons ("Jungle Jitters", "All This and Rabbit Stew") are now in the public domain.
Have no fear though, Cat Eats Coyote is here. Using all my cunning and genius (i.e. bittorrents) I've managed to track down the eleven banned cartoons and I've decided to upload them to the glorious YouTube
Why am I uploading them you ask? I'm uploading these eleven videos because they are of historical importance. To often people, groups of people, even whole countries give their best efforts to forget, ignore, or hide their pasts. Why would someone hide their past? Because they were in prison when they were younger? because they were in rehab for a whole year? because they enslaved, looked down upon, and generally treated a whole group of people horribly for nearly 200 years just because of the color of their skin?
Now, I'm not saying these cartoons should be aired on the Cartoon Network or anything. These aren't exactly cartoons that children should be watching or learning from. But to not release them in any form is simply a way of forgetting they even existed. A way of ignoring the fact that racism was once so prevelant in this country that even animated shorts, typically specifically made for children, were poisoned with these stereotypical views. So, watch them, think about them, and don't forget about them.Hittin' The Trail to Hallelujah Land
(1931, directed by Rudolph Ising
I'm not really even sure if this one has a plot as it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. I guess they're going to...Hallelujah Land, by boat it appears. This short also features 'Uncle Tom' who gets harassed by a troup of singing skeletons. Of course, it features stereotypical black caricatures. The characters have abnormally large lips, inky skin, and walk in a goofy way. If you watch all eleven of these videos you'll notice they all feature these types of caricatures, sometimes even more exaggerated than here.Sunday Go to Meetin' Time
(1936, directed by Friz Freleng
This short is about a man named Nicodemus who misses church and as a result is sent to hell, or so he thinks. He is really just imagining the whole scene, but it's enough to convince him he should be in church. All the characters in this are even more exaggerated versions of the African American caricatures you just viewed in the first short and there's also a (written) reference to Nicodemus 'stealing watermelons'.Clean Pastures
(1937, directed by Friz Freleng
This short is about an all black heaven and an angel who comes down to earth to recruit members. The main character's design in this is somewhat shocking, frankly. His caricature is nearly ape-like.Uncle Tom's Bungalow
(1937, directed by Tex Avery
This one is a simple and rather unexciting Uncle Tom parody. Not much to say here.Jungle Jitters
(1938, directed by Friz Freleng
'Jungle Jitters' is one of the two shorts that are already in the public domain. It features a cannibalistic African tribe. A saleman (presumably white) arrives and unpredictably the tribe wants him for dinner. He's saved by the queen (also white for some reason), however, who wants a man desperately. Not only does this one have the stereotypical caricatures, but they are all cannibals as well.The Isle of Pingo Pongo
(1938, directed by Tex Avery
This is a spoof of travel shorts that feature exotic locales which were apparently popular at the time this was made. The Isle turns out to be inhabited by a stereotypical African tribe. Regardless of it's seemingly offensive content, I found that this one actually does have several gags including a running gag featuring the character Egghead.All This and Rabbit Stew
(1941, directed by Tex Avery
The only of the 'censored eleven' to feature good ol' Bugs Bunny. It's pretty much the same old Bugs story, but in place of Elmer Fudd is an amazingly exaggerated black hunter who Bugs obviously fools time and time again. This is the second of the two shorts that are now in the public domain.Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs
(1943, directed by Bob Clampett
This is the only short I didn't upload to YouTube myself simply because it
had already been uploaded by about five different people. This might be the most interesting of the eleven animated shorts if only because it's wide defended by film and animation scholars and even considered one of the greatest cartoons ever made. The short is a jazz-based parody of Disney's Snow White. The cartoon is defended because Clampett was actually friends with many in the L.A. Jazz scene and the characters featured in this short are caricatures of real muscians he hung out with. He also insisted that some of these musicians be on the soundtrack recording, which they were.Tin Pan Alley Cats
(1943, directed by Bob Clampett
'Tin Pan Alley Cats' is a jazz re-interpretation of Clampett's 1938 short 'Porky in Wackyland'. This short falls in the same boat as Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs. Many real jazz musicians were used in the soundtrack recording of this one as well and many defend it.Angel Puss
(1944, directed by Chuck Jones
Angel Puss is the only Looney Tunes short included in the censored eleven, the other ten are Merrie Melodies. 'Angel Puss' is about a character who was given four bits to drown some lady's cat, but the cat escapes. He paints himself in white and pretends to haunt the character who 'drowned' him. This would be a solid short if not for the (surprise, surprise) stereotypical black main character.Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears
(1944, directed by Friz Freleng
The last of the censored eleven is a jazz take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears which features the 'jivin' bears' as a jazz trio and infuses both the three bears story and Little Red Riding Hood. I don't know that there's much here that could overtly offend anyone, but to each his own I suppose.
So there you have it. The censored eleven. Thanks to Wikipedia
for much of the information (including the picture) included in this post.
That's all folks!