Looney Tunes is a classic series of American Cartoons that has been revamped many times and there is currently a version of the show running today. The black and white Looney Tunes are from the 30's, just to show you how far the roots of the show run, with the color versions starting as early as 1937. In its time, we have been introduced to hilarious characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Pepe Le Pew, and many more. They can normally be seen chasing each other or running from each other as they are normally trying to seek revenge for something the other did.
Along the way, you can always expect slapstick, explosions, weapons, and ramshackle traps. Some of the things that were considered to be a little too intense or offensive were first censored around the early 1970's, then again as some of the older now tongue in cheek jokes become less appropriate for children.
It may seem funny nowadays when considering all these old comics, since the impulse is immediately to censor whatever offending images are shown to children. But we don't believe censure or deletion is the correct way to address the past; how will we ever learn if we don't square up to our past choices? This list is made with humor in mind, but the sentiment still stands.
If you grew up in the 90's you even saw things censored in modern Looney Tunes re-runs, so what got cut?
20 It Was A Different Time
Most of the cartoons, seen now as highly offensive to the African American community, predated the Civil Rights Movements of the 50s and 60s. So most depictions of African Americans were that of the highly stereotypical "Uncle Tom." As we moved forward they were also seen as eccentric, unintelligent, gambling loving second-class citizens.
From a child's point of view, this would teach them horrible stereotypes.
Though it is good to be able to laugh at jokes pointed at you or your culture, this is taken way too far. No matter how harmless and fun it may seem, these depictions are at the least far outdated even dipping into the realm of overwhelmingly offensive. It may not have been created to be malicious, but some sensitive areas are best trod a with a little more care.
19 The Art Of Seduction
Bugs Bunny is famous for dressing up as a woman and tricking his attackers through the power of seduction. But, it is a long-running theme for the female characters to use this to their advantage as well. Looney Tunes itself does not have a large number of female characters that are reoccurring but there is normally a good looking character that multiple male characters fight for. Not to say that the opposite is not true as well.
Seduction, whether used to fool or attract, is a powerful emotional tool.
In the case of the picture, we see a very corny attempt at seduction using a sandwich as the lure. For the case of the show sometimes the lesson can be taught that you need to have something if you are not attractive. As adults, we know there is far more to relationships then looks, but for children, this could leave the wrong impression.
18 Safe For Work Cursing
Yosemite Sam was, for a while, banned from television almost entirely for being too intense. He is short tempered, threatens people, and shoots those that disagree with him. To some of us, he is known for his outbursts of "child-friendly" cursing when pushed too far. Using phrases like "Raggle Fraggin'", "Rattle Rittin'" and "Flatter Spattin'" to cover up the real-life obscenities in a humorous way.
We have all seen someone lose their temper in this way.
But normally the explosion of cursing is much less enjoyable, depending on the situation. Old Sam's character revolves around his bad temper so there has to be a say of showing just how mad he is. Kids, being smarter than we sometimes give them credit for, know what is really being said.
17 Blowing Smoke
What does it mean to smoke? It is, after all, a vice and one that is very bad for your health. When you think of cartoons and smoking you may think of the rich guy and his cigars. Perhaps the smooth-talking, sharp dressed man smoking cigarettes. Children rarely take serious thought of what will happen to them in the distant future so to see their favorite cartoon characters smoking makes them wonder about it.
As they famously say, "It only takes one." Of course, smoking is a choice and one that all of us will make at one point or another, but the reality of what it does to our bodies is much different then what is portrayed on our TV's.
This is why you do not see smoking in cartoons nearly as often as you used to.
16 Fire At Will
In the United States today there is a fierce debate about the use of weapons. I can understand wanting to be sensitive to the use of these in shows our children watch. The cold hard truth of it is that when a weapon is fired at someone, they are not covered in black power and it does not frazzle their hair.
Especially right now in the wake of many tragedies, some people might be very offended by this type of content. There are some of us that have grown up around firearms and understand that they all need to treated with respect. While others of us feel that there is little need for certain types of firearms in civilian use.
While the winner of that debate remains unclear, perhaps times have changed and we should be careful about what our children see on their favorite shows.
15 Miss Prissy’s Relationship Issues
Oh, Miss Prissy, a character that many of us may remember but few of us would have ever known the name of. This spinster-like character is known for not taking no for an answer, clubbing the man of her dreams and dragging him to her home. Her weapon of choice is a rolling pin, the staple of cartoon head bonking equipment.
She acts more like a caveman then a hen.
To some this is a pretty light-hearted joke, a little tiny hen like her literally stealing her love away. But to some, the idea of being abducted can be all too real and is no laughing matter. Reality is stranger than fiction and can be much scarier. The horror genre uses this plot device often and the idea of waking up in a strange place under careful watch is chilling.
14 ¡Hola Amigo!
Looney Tunes often makes racial generalization into jokes. Any of their shorts involving Speedy Gonzales would be a perfect example of this. They normally depict people of Mexican descent to be lazy and slothful, while Speedy himself is a quick-footed thief. Not to mention he would steal away all the ladies with his smooth demeanor.
You would think all of this had gone too far and would offend its Hispanic audience. But, strangely it didn't. A large portion of the Hispanic audience was able to appreciate him and laugh at a joke on their culture. I feel that all of the Looney Tunes caricatures were supposed to be received like this. But, I am sure that no one wants you to take this joke to heart.
13 It Can Get Pretty Risque
When Looney Tunes want you to feel like a female character is supposed to be attractive, they go all out and make her as gorgeous as possible. From the way she dresses to the way she acts and is drawn, they want you to know just how beautiful she is. A good example of this is Lola Bunny who always wears a short skirt or short shorts and often exposes her midriff.
Other characters when dressing as women do similar things as well as acting very promiscuous, flaunting their good looks and often getting wolf whistles back. Characterizing beauty creates stereotypes and tells women what to look like, we don't need to tell you how that is not only unfair but also prejudiced.
12 Well At Least He Is Devoted, I Guess
Pepe Le Pew is a French skunk who, despite being a romantic and good looking skunk, just cannot catch a break with the ladies. So what does someone do when they can not win the heart of the person they love? Well, they certainly do not chase them and hold them against their will, which exactly what Pepe does.
Maybe he wears too much cologne?
The joke here is that he smells really really bad, so bad in fact that it makes nearby flowers shrivel up. He is more or less a male version of Miss Prissy who is ever so slightly more romantic about the way he goes about his courtship. The problem is he gets obsessed and won't leave his love alone, something that can go from annoying to scary very fast in real life.
11 Do You Know Why Bugs Wears Gloves?
Minstrel shows were a big hit in the early parts of the 1900's, often "Vaudeville" routines. Sometimes these shows would include something called "Blackface" where a Caucasian man would dress like an African man or woman by painting his face black or dark brown, but leaving his mouth bear or painting it red. They did this over-exaggerated look of being of African descent.
They often wore white gloves, ragged clothes, and a long tail coat.
Sound familiar? It should, because most traditional cartoons took this look at their characters. From Bugs Bunny to even Mickey Mouse, they are all based on the look of Vaudeville performers that were popular at the time. Even acting similarly as happy go lucky ne'er-do-wells, brushing off hardships and enjoying life, when in reality being an African American at the time was, to put it mildly, pretty rough.
10 Military Training Material
Though not exactly Looney Toons, the United States Military asked Warner Brothers to make them some short, informative cartoons to show their soldiers for training purposes. These were called Pvt. Snafu, making fun of the acronym SNAFU, to show soldier and sailors how not to do their jobs.
These shorts were often a tad more adult then the normal Looney Tunes shorts, but with the same voice talents working on these you immediately think of Looney Tunes. Where Looney Tunes themselves were not really meant for just children these were aimed at adults only, so if you watch one you will hear some language and see some things that would never be in a kid's show. Including unflattering depictions of the Germans and Japanese, people in their birthday suits, and adult humor.
9 Meeting Lucifer
Whether you believe in such things or not, when you think of Satan, you think of a purely evil being. The fear of ending up with him still scares many people into being better people. Say what you will from either side of that argument, this is not something you would expect to see in a cartoon. He does show up from time to time, however not always called Satan, as demons have their place in popular culture.
To see Yosemite Sam meet Satan was quite a shock.
Knowing how he acts, maybe that would be where he would go when his life ended, but for some of the more religious audience members, they may not want their children to think about such things. Even some might want these religious ideas in front of their children.
8 An Insult To Asia
During World War 2 propaganda cartoons began to come out making fun of the Japanese, Italians, and Germans we were fighting against. When your country is at war, you tend to become fearful and mistrusting of the type of people opposing your own. So much so that at the time they gathered certain people of these groups here in the US and locked them away, just in case.
So it was up to cartoons to lighten the mood.
Looney Tunes cartoons did what they do best and characterized the Japanese as being a simple, overly polite, yet backstabbing people. Replacing every letter "L" with an "R" to make fun of how Asians talked and making fun of their less high tech equipment. They even used this look for Asians far after WWII, when the idea was not to be as malicious.
7 Going Off The Deep End
There is no character that is quite as insane as Wile E Coyote, being so obsessed with hunting down Roadrunner that he spends tons of money on gadgets to do so. But this is only one example, there is Elmer Fudd trying to find gold or hunting, or basically any character trying to grab Bugs Bunny.
They all end up losing their minds to achieve their goal.
Even flying into a fit of rage, filling the air with dust as they claw and kick to get their prize. In Elmer Fudd's case wanting to rip a golden tooth out of Bugs' mouth. Or Wile E launching rockets at Roadrunner just to end up injured again and again. Sometimes getting what you want can drive you a little crazy, but hopefully never to this extent.
6 The Final Insinuation
We would bet that not many of us have heard of someone passing away and thought it was funny. In normal shows on TV or movies to see a character permanently defeated would cause sadness, shock, or a sence of ease if it was a bad guy. But for hijinks to end with the two characters both floating off to heaven or in some cases falling into the other place, there is a sense of finality.
That finality is a sobering and somber thought.
As kids, we may have laughed since we are so far from the end of our lives. In most cases, it had only started a handful of years before so to some older views you might still laugh, but for just a moment you wonder, what does the end mean for you?
5 Having A Drinking Problem
In this early Looney Tunes short we watch as some young pigs find a bottle and begin to drink it. The shape of the bottle makes it seem like it might be a beverage from outside the bounds of typical programming. This is especially true considering they do seem to have more and more fun. The laughing and seeming to be at more ease is a giveaway.
Seeing such a calm depiction of this behavior is staggaring.
The adult pig then stops them and instead of punishing them for it, begins to partake as well, and joins in the fun, getting bubbly and stumbling around. Even though you might not think so, things like this give children the impression that this stuff is ok. Obviously, it is not. Then again, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you are the correct age.
4 Some Loony Innuendo
In the short Carrotblanca, Yosemite Sam gets thrown in prison with the same character in this picture. His name is Crusher and Looney Tunes will use him to show a huge brutish character. In Sam's case after tugging at the prison bars, he turns to see Crusher looking at him with a loving stare. Sam's eyes get very large and scared-looking.
I don't think I need to explain what they were going for.
Being incarcerated is a scary thing, but making that kind of joke in a cartoon is a little more then just off-color. It is downright out of place and we all know the joke about what "happens in prison", but the real thing is not humorous.
3 The Other, Other White Meat
In Wackiki Wabbit these two castaways begin to let their hunger get to them as they consider eating one another. When along comes Bugs Bunny or "FOOD" as they call him when they see him. Well after chasing him for a while a cruise ship comes and Bugs tricks them into staying on the island while he escapes. They then realize how silly it was to stay then see each other as a hotdog and hamburger, respectively.
They then chase each other to eat the other.
The sad truth though is that there are a few accounts of people being so desperate in their isolation that they resorted to cannibalism. Sometimes when desperate enough, people do some very taboo or terrible things to survive. On the other hand, there are examples out there of people cannibalizing each other for fun or ritual.
2 No Laughing Matter
On to the final and perhaps darkest example of inappropriate humor in this show. Tons of characters have picked up a weapon and done something unthinkable. In this example, since Pepe could not convince his love to come out of the locked room, he threatened to say good bye. Daffy Duck and Yosemite Sam have also done this gag when the episode left them "with nothing else to do."
This topic is dark and no cartoon would touch it today.
Seeing a character meet his demise due to hijinks may be one thing, but this goes too far. There is nothing funny about this topic when you get right down to it. If this is something you are struggling with, please seek help even if you have to go outside your own family to do so.
1 It's Not Every Day You See Him In Cartoons
As previously stated a lot of these cartoons were created in the midst of World War 2 and every country involved has its own forms of propaganda. In the United States, one of many examples were cartoons that mocked Adolf Hitler and his ideas. From calling him childish to comparing him to a raging lunatic, he was the butt of many jokes.
Now let us not be mistaken, his reign is a stain on history.
When you think of him, there is little that comes to mind as funny, but to see Daffy Duck hit him over the head with a hammer is pretty humorous. At the time people must have loved it, but now looking back it is hard to justify keeping a joke around that involves the terrible things this man stands for.