#2. Censors 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.
#1. Classic Warner Bros. and Disney Cartoons Got Censored Over "Animal Nudity"
If you're a Cracked reader, it's easy to get the impression that the funny animal cartoons of the mid-20th century were made without the slightest supervision, what with all the racism, smoking, and beloved characters in Nazi costumes going on back then. However, the censors were actually quite busy monitoring the content of these cartoons; they were just focusing on the wrong things. Like putting some damn pants (or feathers, whatever) on Tweety Bird:
Before his 70-year quest to eat Tweety, Sylvester was actually quite well-fed.
Yeah, being a featherless baby bird, Tweety originally appeared pink, but the censors feared that he looked naked and had the animators color him yellow to give him feathers. This tells us two things: 1) apparently a stuffed turkey would be considered hardcore porn for these people and 2) holy shit, Tweety's a dude?!
That's the sort of crap the Hays Code (the MPAA's strict set of rules for what could be portrayed in Hollywood and cartoons) worried about -- making sure talking cartoon animals were properly dressed. Even before the code went into effect, Disney ran into trouble for depicting swinging cow udders, which "shocked some and convulsed others." Given these Depression-era sensibilities, Disney had to give all their cows udder reductions, if not remove the udders completely.
It didn't stop there, though: The character Clarabelle Cow also came under fire somewhat paradoxically for both being naked and wearing a skirt. It was a no-win situation, all thanks to the dark imagination of censors who were probably battling their own inner-furry demons.
"My boner informs me that perversion emanates from this here scene." -1930s censor board member
Once the code was in full swing, they apparently had an ever-evolving set of rules for how cows could be depicted, no doubt the result of careful analysis of the bovine anatomy and heated debates. First, in 1932, they had to have a skirt to cover up their udders:
By 1939, cows were forced to walk upright and wear a full dress, slowly turning them from cartoon characters into anthropomorphic fetishes. In other words -- perversion averted!
"Now please add a leather mask and some whips."
Related Reading: For the opposite of this article, click here and learn how the Animaniacs slipped a filthy joke about Prince into an episode. To see how Iran edits films for modesty, click here. And if you'd like to see the Cracked forums make photos filthy with needless censorship, this link is your friend.