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Censored Eleven

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Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land
Jungle Jitters

The Censored Eleven is a group of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons originally produced and released by Warner Bros. that have been withheld from syndication in the United States by United Artists (UA) since 1968. UA owned the distribution rights to the Associated Artists Productions library at that time, and decided to pull these 11 cartoons from broadcast because the use of ethnic stereotypes in the cartoons, specifically African and African-American stereotypes, was deemed too offensive for contemporary audiences.

The ban has been continued by UA and the successive owners of the pre-August 1948 Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies. Since 1968, these shorts have not been officially broadcast on television and have only been exhibited theatrically by Warner Bros. once (in 2010, see below for more details) since their withdrawal. They have turned up, however, on low-cost VHS and DVD collections.


The cartoon output of Warner Bros. during its most active period sometimes had censorship problems more complex in some respects than those of features. Unlike feature films, which were routinely censored in the script, the animated shorts were passed upon only when completed, which made the producers exceptionally cautious as to restrictions.[1] In 1983, director Chuck Jones commented on the television censorship of the Warner Bros. cartoons: "I don't like to see the films cut at all. [...] They make some cuts that are so arbitrary and stupid, you can't believe it."[2] Independent stations that once ran the syndicated Warner Bros. cartoons never had the same type of censorship as first-run networks such as ABC and CBS did for the cartoons. Some stations owned syndication rights to "a few they consider[ed] racially stereotypical", but never ran them.[3]

When Ted Turner obtained the rights to the pre-1950 Warner Bros. library from MGM/UA Entertainment Co. in 1986, he vowed that he would not distribute or air any cartoons from the Censored Eleven. They were the only cartoons in this package not to be featured in the LaserDisc series The Golden Age of Looney Tunes.[4] Warner Bros. Pictures currently owns the theatrical distribution on behalf of Turner Entertainment Co. to the Censored Eleven cartoons.

Censored Eleven list[edit]

Censored Eleven cartoons
Title Year Director Series Public domain
Hittin' the Trail for Hallelujah Land 1931 Rudolf Ising Merrie Melodies Yes
Sunday Go to Meetin' Time 1936, 1944 (reissue) Friz Freleng No
Clean Pastures 1937 No
Uncle Tom's Bungalow Tex Avery No
Jungle Jitters 1938 Friz Freleng Yes
The Isle of Pingo Pongo 1938, 1944 (reissue) Tex Avery No
All This and Rabbit Stew 1941 Yes
Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs 1943 Bob Clampett No
Tin Pan Alley Cats No
Angel Puss 1944 Chuck Jones Looney Tunes No
Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears 1944, 1951 (reissue) Friz Freleng Merrie Melodies No

Friz Freleng directed the largest number of cartoons on the list with four, followed by Tex Avery with three, and Bob Clampett with only two. Rudolf Ising, like Jones, only has one cartoon on the list. Angel Puss is the only cartoon directed by Jones on the list, as well as the only Looney Tunes cartoon on the list. Hittin' the Trail to Hallelujah Land is the only black-and-white short on the list, and the only cartoon to star Piggy. Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears is the only cartoon on this list not to be produced by Leon Schlesinger. It is also the first to be produced by an uncredited Eddie Selzer. All This and Rabbit Stew is the only Bugs Bunny cartoon on the list. The Isle of Pingo Pongo is also the only Elmer Fudd cartoon on the list. The other eight are one-shot cartoons.

Public awareness in the 21st century[edit]

As the 20th century came to a close, the Censored Eleven cartoons became better known.[5]

In February 2010, as part of a press release for the first annual TCM Classic Film Festival, it was announced that the Censored Eleven were to receive a special screening sourced from restored 35mm film prints. This special presentation was put together by George Feltenstein, vice president of Warner Bros.' classic film catalog. Film historian Donald Bogle, who has six books published to his credit on the subject of African American stereotypes in film, agreed to host the event for the festival. On April 24, 2010, a total of eight of the Censored Eleven were screened at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood; the three that were not shown at the event were Jungle Jitters, All This and Rabbit Stew and Angel Puss.[6]

Canceled official release[edit]

At the New York Comic Con in October 2010, Warner Bros. confirmed that it would be releasing the Censored Eleven completely uncut on DVD through the Warner Archives program sometime in 2011.[7] On December 1, 2010, animation expert Jerry Beck announced on the Shokus Internet Radio call-in talk program Stu's Show that there were plans for a general traditional retail release and not via the Warner Archives. It would be a high-class release featuring all of the Censored Eleven and other rare cartoons restored, with some bonus materials. However, no further news of a DVD release has surfaced since.[citation needed] In 2016, Jerry Beck stated that the transfers had been done, but the DVD release had been delayed indefinitely due to declining sales of previous Looney Tunes Platinum Collection releases.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Look staff 17.
  2. ^ Fanton 31–32.
  3. ^ Fanton 32.
  4. ^ Julien WILK. "lddb.com". lddb.com. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  5. ^ Slotnik, Daniel E. (April 28, 2008). "Cartoons of a Racist Past Lurk on Youtube". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  6. ^ "Out of Circulation Cartoons (1931–1944) at the TCM Classic Film Festival". Tcm.com. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  7. ^ "NYCC2010: Warner Archive to Release the "Censored Eleven"". Toonzone.net. October 13, 2010. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  8. ^ "WB Censored Eleven DVD". Anime Superhero Forum. 4 May 2013.


External links[edit]