At least a half dozen people have emailed me about Turner Broadcasting’s decision in Britain to start censoring over 1500 Hanna-Barbera cartoons and removing all instances of smoking when it appears to be “condoned, acceptable or glamorised.” So far, the affected cartoons include Tom & Jerry shorts like TENNIS CHUMPS and TEXAS TOM, but H-B’s TV cartoons like THE FLINTSTONES are also being put on the chopping block. The news about these edits is being reported all over the mainstream media including BBC, MSNBC and the INDEPENDENT among others. Mark Evanier also has some nice thoughts on his blog. Censoring classic cartoons is, of course, nothing new so this can hardly be considered “news” to animation fans. A few random thoughts did cross my mind about cartoons and censorship:
* Personally, I’d rather not see these cartoons on the air at all than to see these corrupted versions receive broadcast.
* This type of censhorship underlines the important role that animation fans play in the preservation of classic animation. It’s important that anybody who has uncensored versions of these cartoons to post hi-res copies on the Internet, and for fans to develop a network of making these cartoons available online. If studios insist on systematically ruining the work of animation legends like Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, then it’s up to the fans to make sure that everybody has access to the original vision of these filmmakers.