Reg Hartt Presents Bugs Bunny & Friends In THE UNBOWDLERIZED* ONGOING HISTORY OF AMERICAN STUDIO ANIMATION.
7pm Saturday, July 24, 31.
“Mickey Mouse, the artistic offspring of Walt Disney, has fallen afoul of the censors in a big way, largely because of his amazing success. Papas and Mamas, especially Mamas, have spoken vigorously to censor boards and elsewhere about what a devilish, naughty little mouse Mickey turned out to be. Now we find that Mickey is not to drink, smoke, or tease the stock in the barnyard. Mickey has been spanked. It is the old, old story. If nobody knows you, you can do anything, and if everybody knows you, you can’t do anything – except what every one approves, which is very little of anything. It has happened often enough among the human stars of the screen and now it gets even the little fellow in black and white who is no thicker than a pencil mark and exists solely in a state of mind.”– Terry Ramsaye, MOTION PICTURE HERALD, February 28, 1931.
*Bowdlerize. Thomas Bowdler was an English editor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Bowdler). He boasted of having produced editions of THE BIBLE and the works of great writers, including Shakespeare, that could be read with propriety to the family around the supper table.Edmund Ducis, a French contemporary of Bowdler, did the same. This prompted Alexandre Dumas (author of THE THREE MUSKETEERS, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO and much more) to say, “In Rome, until Pope Gregory forbade it, doctors had a sign over their doors that said that for a small fee and a twist of the wrist young men could be made perfect for the Papal Choir. As those doctors perfected those boys so Bowdler and Ducis have perfected Shakespeare.”
In THE KING JAMES BIBLE we read, as but one example of Bowdler’s corruption, Rehoboam saying “My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins,” when the actual text reads, “My cock is fatter than my father’s thigh!” That this phrase is too strong for the multiplicity of translations cited in (http://bible.cc/1_kings/12-10.htm) is to their shame.
I first became aware of Mr. Bowdler in high school. We were studying Shakespeare’s MACBETH. One day the teacher asked me to read aloud from my copy of the play. As I did the rest of the class leafed madly through their texts in a vain effort to find the words that were being spoken aloud by myself. That day, the teacher (John Casey one of the five best I ever had) taught us about Thomas Bowdler. It is the Bowdlerized texts of Shakespeare’s plays that are used in the schools. Salvador Dali said, “It is good taste not bad taste which is the enemy of art.” I would go farther than Dali. It is good taste, not bad taste, which is the enemy of life.
To see what has been bowdlerized from these films go to Jon Cooke’s The CENSORED CARTOONS Page (http://looney.goldenagecartoons.com/ltcuts/ ).
To see these films as their creators meant us to come to my program.