The Censored Eleven (Looney Tunes)
The Censored Eleven is a group of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons originally produced and released by Warner Bros. that were withheld from syndication in the United States by United Artists (UA) in 1968. At the time, UA held the distribution rights to all the Warner Bros. pre-1948 cartoons, and pulled the shorts from airing on television for their racist and offensive content.
List of Censored Eleven Cartoons
- "Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land" (Ising; November 28, 1931; with Fluffy and Piggy; premiered with Local Boy Makes Good)
- "Sunday Go to Meetin' Time" (Freleng; August 8, 1936; one-off)
- "Clean Pastures" (Freleng; May 22, 1937; one-off; premiered with The Go Getter)
- "Uncle Tom's Bungalow" (Avery; July 12, 1937; one-off)
- "Jungle Jitters" (Freleng; February 19, 1938; one-off)
- "The Isle of Pingo Pongo" (Avery; May 28, 1938; with Egghead)
- "All This and Rabbit Stew" (Avery; September 13, 1941; with Bugs Bunny; premiered with Navy Blues)
- "Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs" (Clampett; January 16, 1943; one-off; premiered with The Gorilla Man)
- "Tin Pan Alley Cats" (Clampett; July 17, 1943; one-off)
- "Angel Puss" (Jones; June 3, 1944; with Claude Cat)
- "Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears" (Freleng; September 2, 1944; one-off; premiered with Janie)
Why They Were Censored
- In addition to the cartoons littered with vulgar themes like smoking and drinking, all the black characters are drawn in blackface, which is offensive to African-Americans.
- The majority of these cartoons are so offensive that no selective editing would be able to make them acceptable for distribution since racial stereotyping dominates each of these shorts to the point that editing would have rendered them laughably nonsensical and unintelligible. As a result, WarnerMedia and its predecessors (a.a.p., United Artists, MGM, and Turner) refuse to re-air or release these cartoons on DVD (a DVD with the Censored Eleven was planned, but probably won't be released, due to declining sales of DVDs alone). They are also permanently banned from streaming services such as HBO Max (in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Brazil), Amazon Prime Video, iTunes Video, and WarnerMedia RIDE, as well as Memorable Entertainment Television (MeTV).
- Even though it's considered one of the better ones on this list, "Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land" borrows ideas from classic Disney cartoons such as "Steamboat Willie" and "The Skeleton Dance".
- "Tin Pan Alley Cats" consists entirely of reused animation and gags from "Porky in Wackyland".
- Dark and mean-spirited cartoons like "Sunday Go to Meeting In' Time" and "Angel Puss" have dark and mean-spirited imagery and premises.
- In "Clean Pastures", "Uncle Tom's Bungalow" and "Jungle Jitters", there is a lot of padding and filler.
- Speaking of "Clean Pastures", the humor heavily poked fun at religion via parody heaven called "Pair-O-Dice" and the term "De Lawd" (or "The Lord" in African-American dialect), which even caused Leon Schlesinger and Warner Bros. to get in trouble with the Hays Code because of how it burlesqued religion, which was considered a serious taboo in films by the Hays Office at the time.
- "Jungle Jitters" features a dark and horrifying concept of cannibalism, in which a salesman vows to marry a white cannibal queen or he will be eaten by the native cannibals.
- Among all the eleven cartoons on this list, fans and critics consider this one as the worst and most offensive due to how it portrays African Americans as cannibals, as well as portraying white people as greedy, as well as women as male-crazy perverts.
- In addition, "Angel Puss" also counts as one of the worst Censored Eleven cartoons, as it is horribly racist and one of Chuck Jones' lowest points in his career, as well as being filled with dark imagery and mean-spirited humor that is on par with that of "Jungle Jitters".
- The vast majority of cartoons don't contain any jokes and aren't humorous.
- Many of the cartoons feature grotesque and ugly designs for the African-American characters.
- The shorts do not show any respect towards African-Americans.
- In general, the cartoons are slow-paced and tiresome, which kills the comedic timing.
- Some of these shorts would be dark and frightening for younger audiences.
- "Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land" and "Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs" are the only good/decent cartoons from the Censored Eleven, with "Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs" being in the 50 Greatest Cartoons book and The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes Cartoons book along with "Tin Pan Alley Cats".
- Although their not the best cartoons, "Tin Pan Alley Cats" and "Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears" are still passable at best.
- The animation and music are still good for their time.
- Mel Blanc still does a good job voicing most of the characters, as usual.
- Though still offensive, "Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land" is often cited as the least offensive out of the main eleven.
- "The Isle of Pingo Pongo"'s racial stereotypes didn't come in after four minutes, meaning the first half of the cartoon was decent.
- "Tin Pan Alley Cats", "All This and Rabbit Stew" and "Goldilocks and the Jivin Bears" could've become decent cartoons if we remove the racist stereotypes (i.e. replacing the black hunter from "All This and Rabbit Stew" with the usual Elmer Fudd).
- Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng (albeit with the exception, "Which Is Witch"), Tex Avery, Rudolf Ising, and Bob Clampett all learned from their mistakes and never made cartoons like these ever again.
- Because of their wacky humor and jazzy music, Bob Clampett and Rudolf Ising are the only good directors who made enjoyable "Censored Eleven" shorts.
- Few of the designs for the African-Americans like Goldilocks and Coal Black wasn't that bad.
- 10 words. The famous rubber band gag in "Tin Pan Alley Cats" (which is originally re-used from "Porky in Wackyland").
- Three cartoons from the Censored Eleven have fallen into the public domain due to United Artists' failure to renew the copyright, which are "Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land", "Jungle Jitters," and "All This and Rabbit Stew".
- "Angel Puss" is the only Censored Eleven cartoon that was directed by Chuck Jones, as well as the only one in the Looney Tunes series. The others were in the Merrie Melodies series.
- "Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land" is the only cartoon to have been made in black-and-white, the only Censored Eleven short from the Harman-Ising era, and the only Piggy cartoon in the list.
- Likewise, "The Isle of Pingo Pongo" is the only Egghead cartoon in the list, while "All This and Rabbit Stew" is the only Bugs Bunny cartoon in the list.
- The cartoons had been restored for a DVD release, but these will likely never see the light of day. They are also barred from streaming services as well, most prominently HBO Max.
- Bob Clampett's Censored Eleven cartoons were made to give his black friends a chance in the film industry, even wanting "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs" to be scored by a full jazz orchestra led by Eddie Beals, but Leon Schlesinger refused because he thought it would be too expensive.
- The animators also went to jazz clubs for research purposes.