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Censorship on TCM....


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I wanted to bring this up that when watching TCM's "Cartoon Alley" this past Saturday, I was appalled that when the 1940 Elmer Fudd cartoon "CONFEDERATE HONEY" on that episode and much to my surpise, the cartoon was butchered to death.For those you have never seen this cartoon, it's a very rare Merrie Melodie cartoon(that doesn't get much airplay on tv)that contains ethnic stereotype gags that takes place during the civil war.For years, I've always thought that TCM has a very strict policy against censoring any kind(features of short subjects)films in their library, but I guess it's the classic theatrical cartoons from the 30s and 40s is the only thing that does gets edited and censored on this channel.....

 

On message boards that cover classic animation, there is an uproar over this subject matter and something should be done to correct the mistake your network has made.I can speak for many fans of the old classic cartoons, that TCM is all we have to see classic Warner Bros. Paramount and MGM cartoons completly uncut & uncensored, since Cartoon Network and Boomerang censors their classic theatrical cartoons all the time and that's why we count on TCM to show these badly treated cartoons they way they were meant to be seen...UNCUT!

 

I can say that this cartoon wasn't the first to be censored as "THE BLITZ WOLF" has gotten the same unfair treatment in recent months, as with other titles to suffer the same results.If your network can show feature films such as, Mickey And Judy in blackface, Al Jolson and "The Birth Of A Nation" then show these cartoons UNCUT!

If TCM is going to continue this proceedure on editing certain scenes in the cartoons, then don't show them at all.....

 

I still love TCM, but this is totally unacceptable and I hope that your network can explain this terrible move and it will make people think that first TCM will censor cartoons and next, feature films.....

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I recall not too long ago seeing that RAGING BULL was censored for, I believe, language.

 

And I could be wrong about this but it seems to me TCM once showed an edited version of the Harold Lloyd comedy, FEET FIRST. The edits being for racist humor. If I'm wrong about this one please let me know but I seem to recall being very surprised that TCM would show an edited version of anything.

 

Even though I'm tired of censorship of any kind I may start a movement to ban any movies with Italian stereotypes. No more movies with Chico Marx or Henry Armetta. Could you imagine never seeing a Marx Brothers movie on TV because of such a thing? That's where we may be headed.

 

Yancey

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Sometimes it's simply a case of TCM ordering one print and getting another one. I think they had this problem in the summer of 2004 when they announced that they would show a complete unedited version of the famous Tarzan movie that contributed to the crackdown in 1934, but they were sent the edited version, so they ended up with a little oops on their hands. They corrected the problem when they ran the full version a few months later. Also, wasn't the version of the movie "Reds" that was shown early this year edited for language due to another ordering screwup?

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All of these cartoons were edited in 1995 by Turner, if you read the fine print it says Dubbed Version 1995. I wonder if the original uncut versions of these cartoon still survive, it would be interesting to find out. If they do than they should at least be made available to us on DVD from the TCM DVD section of this web site. As far as I know IFC is the only channel that is not a premium movie channel that is truly uncut and commercial free.

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TCM doesn't actively edit as much as they used to. They used to bleep every DAMN and **** making it stupid to air newer films like Midnight Cowboy or Raging Bull.

 

The racial editing seems to be worse now than the language editing. As noted elsewhere there is a "to do" about showing The Birth of a Nation because of white actors playing blacks and the general depiction of blacks (the film was made in 1915 remember). I never agree with editing films to suit our current PC filters any more than I do editing literature (I have a PhD in Modern Literature).

 

About ten years ago I caught an ep[isode of "The Little Rascals" on TV. I had grown up with these terrific movie shorts and remembered them quite well. Imagine my surpruse when Buckwheat, Farina, and Stymie had all been edited out of the action but remained as background characters.

 

Also the recent showing of Son of the Gods (1930) had Richard Barthelmess playing a Chinese man who passes for White. He had famously played another Chinese character in Broken Blossoms (1919). Racist? More offensive than the many simpering characters played by Willie Fung in the 1930s?

 

I'm of Italian heritage and I have never been offended by Chico Marx. I adore his fractured English, his organ grinder costume, his piano playing, and his superb comic timing. Nor am I offended by the excitable Italians often played by Billy Gilbert or Henry Armetta andy more than I am by The Sopranos and that show's Mafia imagery.

 

Viewers must remember they have great power via their on/off button. Watch it. Don't watch it. But don't tell me what I can or cannot watch. I hate censorship.

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drednm -

 

I'm in full agreement with you.

 

My statement about Italian American portrayals is purely tongue in cheek. All it takes is one dope to get a bug up their "A" and decide that these sorts of performances are offensive and then the gloves come off, polititicians get involved and stupidity occurs.

 

Coincidentally, I like the Sopranos. Those types of people do exist. It's not pleasant but all ethnicities have thier bad apples. The performances in SOPRANOS are good as is the writing. If those elements are there as in The GODFATHER and GOODFELLAS then I can appreciate what they are trying to do. It's the films that aspire to capitalize on those movies which offends me.

 

Perhaps I'm more offended by bad movie making then I am by racial stereotypes.

I'd like to think I've got brains enough to know the difference between the people I see on the screen and the ones I see in real life.

 

Yancey

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I'am also of Italian heritage and I enjoy watching "The Sopranos" on HBO. Some of my favorite films are "The Godfather" (all of them), "Goodfellas", etc.

Hats off to TCM for presenting "Raging Bull" in all its glory (language intact).

 

Now where is the Charlie Chan films?

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I detest censorship in art and I am a bit surprised (but not too surprised) that TCM engages in it either actively by editing films itself, or inactively by "accidentally" receiving edited versions. With racially insensitive films, I would have no problem with (and think it might be a good idea) to have a verbal or even printed disclosure before the film airs. But these films are history and should not be "rewritten."

 

My wife and I always cringe in the MANY old films that contain small bits of racially derogatory stereotypes [bing Crosby's Holiday Inn comes to mind]. We cringe, but we would NOT want these films censored. They are what they are, warts and all. It's a good thing to cringe sometimes.

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Agreed! I think it's incredibly hypocritical to filter old films thru current PC OVERsensibilities.... Think of Oprah screaming because the store in Paris closed 15 minutes before she got there and then yapping about "if I had been Barbra Streisand they would have opened for me!!!" Absurd. All PC politics have done is reverse the ways we discriminate. Now we have White Chicks rather than films with blackface.... any difference? NO. Now we have Jesse Jackson screaming discrimination when a black football players gets punushed. Jackson even yaps when no blacks get nominated for Oscars and calls the organization racist. Unreal.

 

We live in a world now with Black Miss America and Latin Grammys.... try hold a White Only contest of some kind.....

 

And NO I'm not racist but living in Santa Fe for 20 years I've seen "entitlement" taken to ridiculous lengths in everthing from employment to art awards..... UGH

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this was a mistake; we absolutely do not censor, at least intenionally

 

unfortunately, many years ago some of the cartoons were edited and it was never noted in our database - a couple of times we've inadvertently played these versions, but we will correct the mistake and not play them again

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> this was a mistake; we absolutely do not censor, at

> least intenionally

>

> unfortunately, many years ago some of the cartoons

> were edited and it was never noted in our database -

> a couple of times we've inadvertently played these

> versions, but we will correct the mistake and not

> play them again

 

Thanks! That sounds good (and I'm NOT surprised ... :0)

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To tcmprogrammr,

 

First off, I would like to thank you for replying on this touchy subject...

 

What I'm trying to say(from my first post) is that fans look to this great channel to see these classic cartoons get treated fairly and most importantly, respect...We all know that Cartoon Network and their sister channel Boomerang makes all kinds of edits on their cartoon library and that's why we have TCM to see these cartoons presented "uncut and uncensored".I am a film historian and it bothers me that we hope we can see uncut cartoons on a channel that is against censorship and we all still wind up seeing censored animated material.

 

Is Cartoon Alley aimed at kids or adults????I believe this show is aimed at adults and if there is a cartoon that contains objectional material, then it should be address with a "disclaimer" from the host, in which the time the cartoon was made.In regards to "CONFEDERATE HONEY", the cartoon was very unwatchable and couldn't believe on how this cartoon managed to be presented in such a butchered verison and that cartoon should have been put in it's proper historical context.

 

We wan't TCM to show cartoons completely uncut and uncensored, but address these shorts that might contain subject material that's not aimed at kids.

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I just want to make sure you understand that I completely agree with most of the comments on this forum and, if I didn't work here, I'd be making them myself. But we do make mistakes and there are tens of thousands of shorts, cartoons, trailers, features, etc. and sometimes the wrong versions are played. As for Cartoon Alley being aimed at children or adults, honestly it's aimed at both. We'd love it if children were introduced to the network through the series, but that isn't a specific goal - we just believe these are fun, interesting, important pieces of filmmaking worthy of a showcase.

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> But we do make mistakes and there are tens

> of thousands of shorts, cartoons, trailers, features,

> etc. and sometimes the wrong versions are played.

 

While we are on the subject, is there some way to double check that the versions that you show have the same running time as the versions listed in the schedule? It makes it hard to record movies shown at 3am if you don't know how long they will be or whether they may bump into other movies.

 

The most common causes of these errors appear to be:

 

1. Early and rare silent shorts, especially when a bunch is strung together with no margin for error. I assume they are probably just poorly documented.

2. Restored movies like the 1934 Tarzan mentioned below or the Testament of Dr. Mabuse, which include additional, undocumented, footage.

3. Movies shown with the original theatrical "introductions", "interludes", "entre'acts" etc included, which can add anywhere from 3 to 10+ minutes to the print.

4. More recent, 1980+ movies that TCM shows from time to time (esp. in February), when "director's cuts" began to proliferate.

5. British/European versions vs. US versions of the same movies, although so far I have seen surprisingly few problems with this notorious problem.

 

I realize that it must be a lot of work to keep these things straight, though.

 

> for Cartoon Alley being aimed at children or adults, honestly it's aimed at both.

 

I figured there must be a reason why they are shown on Saturday mornings :)

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Yes John Gilbert's Desert Nights was listed on the TCM schedule for airing in November but when the date came it was off the schedule and was not shown. As I remember and posted somehwere here it was scheduled for Nov 20......

 

There are a LOT of silent film fans who post on this message board.... It would be great to show this particular film and other rarely shown 20s and 30s films from the vault....

 

THANKS

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the primary reason for the discrepancy in runtimes is that the version the distributor is able to provide us is different than the published length; we try to order the titles from the distributors in advance, but often they are in the process of mastering the films (or, as you suggest, we decide to take a director's cut or some other version) and what we end up with is a little different (sometimes much different) - it's definitely a pain for us and I understand it creates confusion for everyone out there

 

I put "Desert Nights" in to March; it could always change (as you know) but as of now it's on the 5th in Silent Sunday Nights

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Thanks tcmprogrammer for re-scheduling "Desert Nights." We were discussing it in another thread and wondering why it was pulled with no explanation. I've never heard of the film, but I'm very interested in seeing it now.

 

And while I have your attention (hopefully), could you dig up any of Norma Shearer's silents for "Silent Sunday Nights?" Myself and a few other members are eager to see at least one of her silents, aside from "He Who Gets Slapped," and "The Student Prince."

 

Thanks for all of your work there at the station, it's still #1 in spite of the small problems mentioned in this thread. Because in the long run, incorrect runtimes and inadvertent cutting of films are small problems considering how much great stuff you guys still give us.

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Very good point Alix, it never even occured to me that her silents (and others) are not shown because of no music score. However, you'd think that there would be some kind of music track they could play, however it may sound. And I would watch one of her silents with no music at all just to be able to see it.

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