3In England, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Couldn't Be Ninjas
In the '80s, the U.K. went batshit for ninjas. The idea that everyone was about to put on black pajamas and overthrow the monarchy terrified the authorities ... and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ended up paying the price. Since ninjas weren't allowed to appear in cartoons and the British censors weren't so cruel as to deprive their children of Turtlemania, they reached a compromise: The word "ninja" was edited out of the theme song and the show was retitled Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles.
Something similar happened to that Chris Farley movie that flopped in the U.K., Beverly Hills Fat Person.
That wasn't the only change: Check out the British intro and compare it to the original one. It's almost like it's a different show, one with far less nunchakus -- a bizarre, improbable alternate reality where Michelangelo was allowed to remain on the team not because he was useful in a fight, but because the others actually liked his jokes.
Well, there's a reason for that. Apparently envisioning a post-apocalyptic society where children fought to the death with hero weapons, pretty much any scene involving weapons was toned down or cut entirely -- with a special focus on Michelangelo's nunchakus. Because to the minds of people who've chosen to censor cartoons for a living, two sticks tied together with a string is much deadlier than a razor-sharp samurai sword.
Yet they never edited out any of the bits where the Turtles dress like sex offenders.
At first Michelangelo's nunchaku usage was simply reduced, but at some point the mere existence of his signature weapon was deemed so dangerous to society that they actually went ahead and replaced it with a grappling hook called the turtle line, which is somehow worse than having no weapon at all.
If Shredder's next plan involves spelunking, he is fucked.
Having been almost completely de-awesome-ized, Michelangelo remained the only mutant mountain climber in the New York sewer system until the show was canceled. Since then, the more recent versions of the Ninja Turtles in the U.K. have reverted back to the original name and weapons, which probably accounts for the 2011 England riots.
2Censors Tried to Remove a Black Character from a Comic About Racism
"Judgment Day" was a little known '50s comic that revolved around an astronaut who arrives on an alien planet to check on the progress of robots that humans left there thousands of years ago. It was one of several stories in the magazine Weird Fantasy.
There's another comic with the same name today, but it mostly concerns human-equine romance.
When he arrives on the planet, the astronaut soon realizes that the robots have separated themselves into two divisions: orange and blue. Their entire world is segregated, with orange pretty much treating blue like crap, making them live in robo-ghetto areas and even forcing them to sit at the back of the robo-bus. Where do these writers come up with this stuff?
"If only they could be more CIVIL and respect each other's RIGHTS. Also RACISM IS BAD."
The astronaut observes all this and sadly notes how stupid and unfair their society is for judging each other for something as unimportant as the color of metal ... before removing his helmet to reveal that he's black.
"WRITER: M. Night Shyamalan, Age -17."
However, in an extreme case of missing the fucking point, Judge Charles Murphy, the censor for the Comics Code Authority (the self-policing organization created after America became convinced that comics were gay communist propaganda), asked that the character's race be changed to Caucasian. Bear in mind that this wasn't some random letter writer making a crazy demand that could be easily ignored -- this story was only getting printed in the first place because the Code had already rejected another one. That's how much power the Code had.
Still, the editor refused to change the character's ethnicity. In an effort to compromise, Murphy then asked for the "beads of sweat" to be removed instead (maybe that way Murphy could convince himself it was a white astronaut in shadow, or a guy with a tan or something). The editor and artist promptly told Murphy "fuck you" in unison and hung up the phone. They went ahead and published the comic anyway -- it was the last one the company ever published, but we're pretty sure it was worth it.