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10 Censored Moments From Disney Cartoons

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

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What could be safer than a Disney cartoon? The Disney brand is all about fun for the whole family and the Mouse House works hard to maintain that image. But over the years, a few not-so-G-rated moments have popped up in the Disney shorts and movies. Some are relics of a different time, some are figments of people’s imaginations, and some are intentional attempts by the animators to sneak in some adult material. Whatever the reason, Disney reacted to these (potentially) salacious moments the same way that Congress reacted to Eric Jonrosh’s lost masterpiece The Spoils Before Dying — they censored them, lest young, impressionable minds be corrupted by, say, a milisecond of potential nudity. Check out ten of the most censored moments from Disney classics. (Note: While many of the scenes below are up to interpretation, they may be potentially NSFW.)

1. The Little Mermaid, the randy Bishop and a phallic castle

As Disney films became available on home video, they were scrutinized for “inappropriate content” — both real and imagined. An early target of this scrutiny was 1989’s The Little Mermaid. During the scene where Prince Eric nearly marries a magically disguised Ursula, the bishop officiating the ceremony appears to be a little too excited about the impending nuptials.

Disney

Disney

Various fans have pointed out that the location of the offending bulge and other shots in the scene show that it’s actually the Bishop’s knobby knee.

Disney/Jim Hill Media

Disney/Jim Hill Media

Whether it was an innocent error or someone trying to slip a suggestive image into the film, Disney has since edited the scene to remove the bulge.

A similar issue popped up in the film’s advertising artwork, where a tower on the castle in the movie’s poster and home video cover sported an unusually phallic shape.

Disney

Disney

Contrary to popular belief, the artist who created the image was neither about to be fired nor trying to cause a problem for Disney. He claims not to have noticed the similarity until the offending image made national news. Later home video releases feature a revised castle on the cover without the suggestive tower.


2. Aladdin, The “cut off your ear” line in “Arabian Nights” and a request for teens to remove their clothing

Disney’s 1992 film Aladdin was the subject of two controversies. The first involved a lyric in the opening song “Arabian Nights.” The American-Arab Anti-Defamation Committee took issue with the line “Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.” Disney changed the line to “Where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense” for the home video release, the second edition of the soundtrack, and all subsequent releases. Interestingly, the line that follows (“It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home!”) remains unaltered, as does a scene where a merchant literally threatens to chop off Jasmine’s hand after she unwittingly steals an apple.

The second controversial line is a bit more mysterious. During the scene where Rajah the tiger prevents “Prince Ali” from wooing Jasmine, some people claimed they could hear Aladdin uttering the bizarre command “Good teenagers, take of your clothes.”

The line is difficult to hear, but it’s supposed to be something akin to “Good kitty. Take off. Go.” The word “kitty” sounds garbled in the above clip, possibly due to a sound editing glitch, though interpreting it as “teenagers” is still a stretch. While the alternate interpretation of the line probably says more about the people who heard it that way than anything else, Disney cut the dialogue from later releases.


3. The Lion King, “Sex” in the clouds

Similar to Aladdin‘s “Good Teenagers” controversy, The Lion King had some parents accusing Disney of sending inappropriate subliminal messages to their children.

The scene in question comes just after Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa share their theories on what stars are. Simba wanders off and flops down, sending a cloud of seeds and pollen up into the air. A few viewers who either paused the video at the exact right moment or were watching the movie frame by frame saw what they believe was the word “SEX” briefly formed by the cloud of plant dust.

Disney

Disney

A far more likely explanation is that it’s actually “SFX,” a nod to Disney’s special effects department who would have animated the plant dust. Whatever the intention, Disney altered the suspicious frame in later releases of the film.


4. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Jessica Rabbit in various states of undress

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? wasn’t even strictly a kid’s movie, but it still ended up getting edited after its release. The reason? Viewers who paused the movie on Laserdisc (remember those?) claimed their were several moments where the animators drew Jessica Rabbit without clothing.

One problem scene comes when Benny the Cab crashes and his two passengers, Eddie Valiant and Jessica Rabbit, are thrown out onto the street.

It’s not visible at normal speed, but viewers who watched the scene frame by frame (pervs!) realized that Jessica maybe, possibly wasn’t wearing any underwear. (Or they just forgot to animate it.) Despite the many obvious sexual references made about the character in the film, this extremely brief (possible) nudity was deemed a step too far and was altered in later releases of the movie. As Roger says, poor Jessica was just an innocent victim of circumstance.


5. Fantasia, the character Sunflower

The “Pastoral Symphony” sequence of Fantasia pairs Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 with creatures from Greek mythology. In the 1940s and 50s, the cast of characters included a young Black centaurette, named “Sunflower” in behind-the-scenes material, who helps the older centaurettes shine their hooves and decorate their tails.

Though rumors that she had a line of dialogue still circulate, her role was silent. Unfortunately, her design includes several features of stereotypical depictions of African-Americans from the era. By the 1960s all scenes including Sunflower and a possible second Black centaurette (who may just be Sunflower with a slightly different design) were removed from the film.


6. Song of the South, the entire film

After the release of The Black Cauldron on home video, Song of the South became the big hole in Disney fans’ collections. Although it’s really no worse than films like Gone With the Wind in its overly cheerful portrait of the African-American experience in the late 19th century, its status as a movie for kids makes it more controversial than other films with that setting. Despite occasional rumors and rumblings that Disney is looking for a way to release it, Song of the South remains unavailable in the U.S.


7. Melody Time, Pecos Bill’s cigarette

The depiction of smoking in older cartoons is an issue that has plagued Disney. Pinocchio has avoided edits, mostly because smoking is shown to be a horrible experience that will turn children into donkeys. The “Pecos Bill” segment in the package film Melody Time was not so fortunate.

To avoid the appearance of promoting smoking to children, Disney made cuts and digital alterations to the U.S. DVD release. It’s not noticeable in scenes where the cigarette was passively dangling from Bill’s lips, but the digital edits make for some confusing hand movements when Bill actually handles it. Even worse, a whole verse of the main song where Bill tames a tornado and lights his cigarette with a bolt of lightning is lost to history.


8. Various Shorts, dated racial and cultural stereotypes

Most Disney shorts aren’t entirely about racial stereotypes the way Warner Brothers’ “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs” is. When problematic imagery does pop up, there’s usually one or two brief images or other racially insensitive allusions in a cartoon that is otherwise perfectly appropriate for modern audiences of all ages. Most of the time, Disney can simply remove the offending scene with little or no effect on the narrative.

But there are a few cartoons where the racist imagery is pervasive, such as “Mickey’s Mellerdrammer,” where Mickey and his pals perform “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” with several characters in blackface. These cartoons aren’t shown on TV and are only available for purchase in the adult collector targeted “Treasures” DVD collections, where they’re preceded by a disclaimer about their content from Leonard Maltin.


9. War cartoons, also various dated racial and cultural stereotypes

The main issue with Disney’s World War II-themed shorts is racist depictions of enemy leaders and soldiers, particular Japanese people. Additionally, there are cartoons about the war experience that just aren’t appropriate or interesting for most modern day audiences who watch Disney cartoons.

And there’s “The Old Army Game,” where soldier Donald somehow comes to believe he’s been cut in half without being killed and puts a gun to his head, contemplating suicide. Like the more blatantly racist shorts, they’re only officially available in the “Treasures” collection.


10. The Rescuers, photo of topless woman in a movie about mice who rescue children

Back in 1999, Disney announced a recall of their home video release of The Rescuers. The reason? A photographic image of a topless woman that appears in two frames of the movie.

This particular bit of self censorship was especially weird for a couple of reasons. One, the movie was 22 years old at the time, yet apparently no one had ever noticed the images before. Two, there’s no clear explanation for how the photos got in there. Disney has claimed that they were added sometime in “post-production,” possibly between the time when the background painters finished their work and the time when the background and cels were actually shot for the final film.

Even stranger are Disney’s assurances that previous home video releases do not include the potentially offensive images because they were “made from a different print.” Third, Disney actually issued the recall before the story became big national news. Perhaps they had become gun-shy from previous similar controversies and wanted to get out ahead of this one rather than waiting to see whether anyone noticed. Ironically, they likely drew more attention to the briefly visible moment by censoring it.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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