Oh Magoo, You’ve Been Censored Again!

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Though released this past November 11. I just noticed this box set available on Amazon & got excited about it. At first sight, this is a WONDERFUL set being offered by Shout! Factory, but – from what I’ve pieced together from online sources – though it holds all three Mr. Magoo TV series, (as well as the special UNCLE SAM MAGOO) the original series, which featured episodes with Magoo’s houseboy, Charlie, are the same re-dubbed episodes previously released on DVD, as opposed to the original soundtracks. So that means it’s the politically correct, (almost) British accented voice, as opposed to the Chinese dialect voice that we all grew up with. Yes, I know it’s the 60’s stereotype houseboy, but you don’t see Sammy Tong getting re-dubbed on Bachelor Father, or the elderly Cantonese houseboy/cook in MCLINTOCK! (1963), played by H.W. Gim (who spoke in a VERY similar way as Charlie did), being re-dubbed either. Plus, if memory serves, didn’t Magoo think Charlie was IRISH?

I have never been a fan, or proponent of, so-called “political correctness” for its own sake. Cartoons have always been victims of political correctness, be it for perceived racism, such as the famous WWII cartoons that have been banished for their portrayal of enemy Japanese soldiers & sailors; or perceived ‘suicides’ like the Peter Lorre fish in Horton Hatches the Egg (1942), who pulls out a revolver and shoots himself when he says, “Well – now I’ve seen everything!”, after seeing Horton on the nest, on the end of a boat; to the even MORE ridiculous TV cut of the Merrie Melody, The Chowhound (1951) cut for ‘forced eating’, when the victimized cat & mouse put a funnel in the bulldog’s mouth, pouring gravy down his throat, saying, “This time, we DIDN’T forget the gravy!” when he’s in the animal hospital after eating a deli’s worth of meat.

This is all no doubt due to the eternal misconception that cartoons are PURELY aimed at children. All I can say is, having watched BEANIE & CECIL as a five year old is VASTLY different than watching it as a twenty year old, and better equipped to get ALL of the gags. The same can be said of almost any of the original Loony Toons, and more recent Warner’s fare such as ANIMANIACS, PINKY & THE BRAIN and HISTERIA. They’re seemingly made for kids, but have subtle humor aimed at hitting adults square in the face.

When you consider today’s FAMILY GUY, AMERICAN DAD & FUTURAMA, not to mention 99% of Adult Swim’s output, the so-called objectionable content of yesterday is rather quite TAME!

The time for censorship has more than passed. It’s not up to some litigation-happy watchdog groups to decide what the rest of us can, or can’t, watch. It’s up to us. If somebody’s worried that we’re showing our kids ‘questionable’ material, then it’s up to us to teach the kids the meaning of context, and the meanings behind some stories, and the right and wrong within said ‘questionable’ material. In the meantime, GIVE US OUR CARTOONS WHOLE & UNCUT!

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2 comments

  1. Yeah…but teaching kids takes time and effort. Much easier to use the time we *could* use “teach[ing] the kids the meaning of context” bitching and moaning and threatening lawsuits until the heads of media companies piss their collective pants. Then they’ll preemptively censor themselves and we can all get back to climbing our various social ladders.

  2. Suggestion: Set aside “Family Time” with the kinders, pop in your favorite, now-bowdlerized cartoons, and have a little MST3K party, making fun of the modern, “sanitized” releases. This might get the kids laughing along, and start a whole new movement of thought, beginning on the playground…or, a more thoughtful kid, a sensitive one, might ask, and There’s you’re teaching time!
    …and, if by chance, you’ve a grumpy “pipe down, Authority Figure, so I can zone out!”, dyspeptic child, uh, well…you’ve got bigger problems, than every pair of shears in Hollywood, will ever solve…

    Thanks for the McClintock tip! I never saw it–on to eBay!
    And, here’s one for You, specific to The Above: find an mp3 or 4 of The Fred Allen (radio) Show, that has the one with James Mason, as guest.

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