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How Hollywood Censored Its Animated Cartoons

The Hays office, and Hollywood cartoon producers, were just as mindful of young audiences back in the Golden Age of animation as broadcast standards and practices are today. This article, from Look magazine (January 17, 1939), produced with the full cooperation of Leon Schlesinger Productions, illustrates how the Hays Code operates in regards to animated cartoons.

Note the use of actual stills from classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies like Clean Pastures, Robin Hood Makes Good, Case of The Stuttering Pig, Speaking of the Weather, along with several cel set-ups created especially for this piece, to illustrate specific points like nudity, “the razzberry”, and cow udders. I can think of a half-dozen cartoons released around this time with all of the above. And note the line, “Neither may cartoons show men who appear too effeminate.” Clearly Egghead’s days were numbered.

Click on the gallery below to learn about the different ways that Hollywood censored its animated shorts: