Smoking cuts for classic cartoons

Turner Broadcasting is scouring more than 1,500 classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, including old favorites Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo, to edit out scenes that glamorize smoking.

The review was triggered by a complaint to British media regulator Ofcom by one viewer who took offense to two episodes of Tom and Jerry shown on the Boomerang channel, a corporate sibling of Time Warner-owned Turner Broadcasting.

"We are going through the entire catalog," Yinka Akindele, spokeswoman for Turner in Europe, said on Monday.

"This is a voluntary step we've taken in light of the changing times," she said, adding the painstaking review had been prompted by the Ofcom complaint.

The regulator's latest news bulletin stated that a viewer, who was not identified, had complained about two smoking scenes on Tom and Jerry, saying they "were not appropriate in a cartoon aimed at children."

In the first, "Texas Tom," the hapless cat Tom tries to impress a feline female by rolling a cigarette, lighting it, and smoking it with one hand. In the second, "Tennis Chumps," Tom's opponent in a match smokes a large cigar.

"The licensee has...proposed editing any scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorized or where it might encourage imitation," Ofcom said, adding that "Texas Tom" was one such example.

Akindele said cartoons would only be modified "where smoking could be deemed to be cool or glamorized," and that scenes where a villain was featured with a cigarette or cigar would not necessarily be cut.

"These are historic cartoons, they were made well over 50 years ago in a different time and different place," she added. "Our audience is children, and we don't want to be irresponsible."

Turner Broadcasting in the United States could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ofcom said it recognized smoking was more generally accepted when cartoons were produced in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s but argued that the threshold for including such scenes when the audience was predominately young should be high.

About 56 percent of Boomerang's audience is aged 4 to 14 years old.

Early reaction to the review on Web logs broadly attacked Turner's decision.

"Have to dig out all those photos and films of [Winston] Churchill and airbrush out the cigars," said a message posted on the "Organ Grinder" forum on the Guardian newspaper's Web site.

The review was not the first time a famous cartoon character was forced to give up smoking.

Belgian cartoonist Maurice de Bevere replaced his most popular creation Lucky Luke's ubiquitous cigarette with a blade of grass, winning him an award from the World Health Organization in 1988.

Comments (28)
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Just wait until they have to edit out all the car chases we see in movies and on TV. Actually, the argument for THAT would be even stronger, since teens are repeatedly treated to the "lesson" that you can drive and swerve through city streets at 80+ miles per hour with anyone involved in accidents just hopping away and continuing the fight/chase on foot.

George Orwell and Mark Twain are spinning in their graves.

- MJM
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i agree with Lexmrk
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I don't understand why they would do this. This is very stupid and wrong to do this. I watched Tom and Jerry all the time when I was younger, and not once did they inspire me to smoke a cigarette. I am against smoking, but in my opinion, that is tampering with another person's work that they labored for many hours to make; which in my opinion, is criminally wrong.
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This is getting ridiculous. These are our cartoons as much as the people who are destroying them. I grew up with these cartoons like alot of us and i dont remember Tom and Jerry or Scooby Doo ever tempting me to light up. Some people need to take a look around and see the bigger influences on kids these days. Cartoons wouldnt even be in the top ten. They may see it as improving these shows, making them cleaner for kids but there destroying history in reality. If they take all of the classic cartoons like looney toons and tom and jerry and tear them apart whats left? I may be speaking for myself here but most cartoons these days cant even compare to the old ones, actually most of them SUCK!!! People are going to do what they want whether its on tv or not. If nobody can realize the slightly bigger problems we have a little more to worry about than kids smoking.
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I can't believe all the BS in the world. Sure smoking isn't "good" but really now, there cartoons. Little kids are better knowing what smoking is. Its not cool, like some of cartoon may deplay, but really this was like 60 or more years ago when they thought it was. Now there going to remove the smoking parts, the only question now is what are they going to remove next.
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In the past few years, Turner/Time-Warner has already edited out a number of "smoking" incidents in their various cartoons for broadcast on Cartoon Network and Boomerang...what MORE can they slice out????? Or "retire" from the library???
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jeez first they cut racism, then they cut black face out of scenes, then they cut violence, and now smoking. thank goodness the flintstones sets are unedited on the DVD's(scooby doo DVD set too) to avoid this mess, but tom and jerry is having terrible luck between the edited DVD's and now this. At this rate we will never see tom and jerry unedited and we will never have the censored 11 looney tunes ever see the light of day (unless we are lucky and they appear on a future Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD) with people complaining over little things like this.
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i totally agree with what Lexmrk said!!!
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RAZZLE FRAZZLE! First they butcher our anime and now OLD cartoons! WHEN WILL IT END I ASK?! WHEN!!!
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NOOOO! This is the sort of thing that makes dubs of anime unwatchable. These cartoons are an important part of ourhistory and culture. Editing them is like editing a famous work of art. Perhaps instead of mangling old cartoon classics to keep kids safe, parents should watch what their kids watch and teach them what is right and wrong instead of just sheltering them from the bad parts of society
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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]
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Excuse me, but what is this? If these people take out the smoking scenes, they might as well as cut out the violence. They're pretty much taking out all the good things that makes Tom and Jerry, Flintstones etc. I grew up with these cartoons and never did smoke once; so they should shut up. How come they never complain about the gay undertones in Spongebob, huh? What about Fairy Odd parents, but no lets just take one of Americas all time favourites and edit,butcher,totally f*ck it up. No, this is the stupdiest things the UK could pull off and if they even touch the classics I'll personally go over there and give them a piece of my mind. Please, I hope they change their minds really, classics are probably the only thing in AMERICA thats not mind, gobbleing garbage in the television set. I blame the media and publicticty today being way to over protected over the kids. They don't decided what others watch; if some stupied soccer mon doesn't like Tom and Jerry then don't complain to the company actually watch over what your kids watch! Damn, no wonder children are so brainwashed today, parents just don't know how to raise their children these days. So this is my opinion, leave the classics alone. Not only is this complaintment stupid but just shows how much people have really screw America. please help them
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Now this is just plain silly. I used to watch this cartoon all the time as a kid. Am I an addict of chain-smoking? The answer is no. I'm not. Nitpicky, sensitive people like these need to take a glimpse of the outside world. There's much more important things to worry about then seconds-long scenes in cartoons.
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Oh my lord, they're pulling a 4Kids! This is why I hate the FCC.
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I can't believe it! I grew up with these cartoons and i'm totally aginst smoking and never smoked in my life! It's just plain stupid. Why don't you just cut out all of the scenes in which Tom gets flattened beacuse they're too violent. Or the scenes of Scooby & Shaggy eating hamburgers because it's junk food and it's a bad influence! I would rather retire these shows from television than have them cut and edited beacuse one guy said they're innapropriate. *sigh*
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What really bothers me about this most recent case of "editing" is that it's one more step AWAY from the original cartoons, making it difficult to imagine that we will ever see them whole again. It would be nice to have an option as to how you want to watch "Tom & Jerry".
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I haven't even seen these shows in years. What channel are they on?
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God,and i thought that the FCC would leave Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes alone now.
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No cartoons have had more passes through the editorial meat grinder over the years than Tom & Jerry. I'm amazed they're not all a minute long at this point.
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Are you kidding me?Cutting the smoking scenes from Tom and Jerry,because its inappropriate for children?Uhhhh,these cartoons werent originally made for children,and besides,they were just a reflection of the times.I am not a smoker myself,but I consider this the same as colorization.You are tampering with someones elses work,and that offends me more than the smoking in the cartoons does!And if kids do see them,we as adults just need to explain that smoking was very common when the cartoons were made,but that doesnt make it cool.I think we should treat our kids with more respect than that.I think most people will agree with me.
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I don't see what the big deal is in editing cartoons targeted for ages 4 to 14. If you're 25 and want to pay some giant corporation to slowly kill you, hey, that's your life and your call, you know. But kids shouldn't be exposed to cigarettes or smoking, plain and simple.



But, wait... This is from the UK? Doesn't everyone smoke over there anyway?
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When you have that kind of time on your hands, why not just make all new cartoons the way you want them and stay in your own country when you do it by the way. Smoking is unacceptable, but beating the crap out of one another is no big deal - just shoot me now.
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Let me get this straight, a cartoon made decades ago that survived the sue-happy eighties and the elimination of anything remotely offensive in the nineties falls to one schmuck in Europe? I feel offended, this modification of the past is really pissing me off. That's the way things were, deal with it, and stay the hell away from my Tex Avery shorts, brilliance does not deserve truncation.
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Well if it only took one person to complain we should be alright. Me AND my buddy are filing a complaint that we are offended at the removal off the smoking scenes. lol. Kinda makes me laugh when I think of how many times as a child I watched one cartoon character murder another cartoon character.
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I don't really mind one way or the other, though I do think it's weird to watch Tom smoke a cigarette.
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Coming soon: Editing "Gone With the Wind" so there aren't any slaves and editing "The 10 Commandments" to remove any references to that "God" fella...
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they are gonna cut these cartoons down till all you can watch is the end credits
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Not again.
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