Can you imagine this job?
You work at Turner Broadcasting and you come in one day and your boss tells you to review more than 1,500 Hanna-Barbera cartoons — the Flintstones, Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo — to look for and expunge scenes that glamorize smoking.
Click HERE for an old TV ad featuring the Flinstones smoking Winstons….
In 1968, United Artists deemed 11 specific Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons so offensive they were withheld from syndication entirely, including:
In the 1990s cartoon libraries were expunged of other offensive racist imagery from the early-20th century toons.
HERE’S A WEBSITE that keeps track of such edits…Ferris State University’s "Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia" (CLICK HERE ) does a pretty good job of cataloguing some of these ugly images as well.
In 2001, Cartoon Network said it was showing every single Bugs Bunny cartoon in a "June Bugs" marathon…but they didn’t show 12 Bugs Bunny cartoons Warner Bros wouldnt let them show because of concerns the ‘toons would be deemed offensive to blacks, native Americans, Germans (?) and others.
One of these cartoons, "All This And Rabbit Stew" is now in the public domain and can also be seen BY CLICKING HERE at YouTube.
It’s pretty racist.
But back to the health issue…which might seem a bit more ambiguous than the blatantly racist images of "Golden Age" cartoons….
In the U.S., there isn’t much of the work of Belgian cartoonist Maurice de Bevere and his famous "Lucky Luke" cowboy character…but de Bevere won an award from the World Health Organization in 1988 when he replaced Luke’s omnipresent cigarette ….
…with a blade of grass.
What do you think?
And if we’re going to take the pipe out of Popeye’s mouth, is it time for the cartoon world to finally do something about Olive Oyl’s apparent eating disorder?