PC censorship

Mark Mayerson mayerson at sidefx.sidefx.com
Sun Jan 29 21:16:33 CET 1995

Don Rosa asked for samples of Disney censorship of old comics.  One example
that I'm familiar with is Walt Kelly's comic book adaptation of the film The
Three Caballeros, originally in Four Color #71.

I don't have the original, but I have two reprintings, one in Walt Disney's
Comics Digest #1, December 1986 (Gladstone) and the other in Walt Disney's
Comics and Stories 582-583, April and May 1993 (Disney).  I would guess that
the Gladstone printing is unchanged, but the later Disney printing is very
heavily edited.

Kelly had characters speak with a marked accent.  In the Disney reprinting,
all of the dialogue has been cleaned up so there is no hint of dialect.  For
instance, the Gladstone printing has Jose Carioca saying "The gauchos of these 
pampas they swing the bola around the haid - than they throw it like lasso.  
Swiftly through the air like poetry the gaucho swings thee bola - eet strikes 
thee rhea aroun' thee legs...around and around eet goes - eet treeps thee rhea!"
The revised version says "The gauchos of these pampas swing the bola around 
their heads - then they throw it like a lasso.  Swiftly through the air like
poetry, the gaucho throws the bola - it strikes the rhea around the legs...
around and around it goes - it trips the rhea!"

The art is also altered in the Disney printing, specifically in the section
about the flying gauchito.  When the bettors discover that the donkey
has wings, they charge the donkey with knives and guns.  These have been
eliminated, even though Panchito still has pistols.  The narrator's 
cigarette has been removed, though Jose Carioca still smokes a cigar. Perhaps
the strangest change for this sequence is that practically all the human
faces have been redrawn.  In some cases, it was to make them less of a
caricature by shrinking their noses and chins.  But in other cases, it makes
no sense at all to me.  There is a panel where a man is drinking from a bottle
with a straw.  Somebody has redrawn the mouth so it looks like a smile 
instead of a pucker.  

This whole sequence is only five pages, but has been reworked extensively.
The later section, Las Posadas, also includes humans but appears to be

This was not one of Walt Kelly's best art jobs from the period.  However, I
still resent their altering his art and I especially resent that there is
no mention in the comics that the work has been altered.  On TV, it's now
common to see a title that says that a movie has been "Edited for Television."
I think that Disney and other comics publishers have the same obligation to
their audience to make it clear that the work is not in its original form.
Mark Mayerson				Catapult Productions
Internet:  mayerson at sidefx.com          Toronto, Ontario, Canada
					(416) 504-9876

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