The Mickey Mouse Cartoon Banned in America

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website.

Mickey Mouse? Banned? You must be kidding!

No, I'm not. Mickey Mouse, that ultra-safe, conservative, harmless, beloved, world-famous cartoon character was banned -in the United States, no less. Or, to be exact, one of his cartoons was. The Mickey Mouse cartoon The Shindig was officially banned in America. But why?

Well, for one, in a scene in The Shindig, Clarabelle Cow is shown in the stable reading a book entitled Three Weeks.

Soon her date, Horace Horsecollar, knocks on her door to pick her up. Clarabelle quickly dresses, therefore she was technically naked while reading the book.

It was reported by TIME magazine in 1931 that the state of Ohio banned The Shindig because it showed a cow's udders. While TIME noted that many moviegoers didn't min viewing Clarabelle Cow's udders, many others were very offended. That was reasonĀ  number one.

Reason number two is a bit more esoteric (although equally ridiculous).

The book Clarabelle was reading, Three Weeks, was a notorious book written by Elinor Glyn, a British novelist and screenwriter who pioneered women's mass market erotic fiction. It was Elinor Glyn who coined the word "it" to mean "sex appeal." This was considered very racy and suggestive by 1920s Middle-American standards.

Her book Three Weeks was declared obscene and banned in Canada in 1907. It was condemned by religious leaders in the United States. How it came to be included in the Walt Disney Mickey Mouse cartoon is a mystery to this day.

The Shindig

(YouTube link)

A 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Barnyard Battle, was officially banned in Germany in 1930, three years before Adolf Hitler came to power. This cartoon depicted Mickey triumphing over German World War I feline soldiers and making them look foolish. The Barnyard Battle was re-issued in Germany in 1931, after the "offensive" scenes were edited out.

The Barnyard Battle

(YouTube link)

In Hitler's Nazi Germany, Mickey Mouse and his cartoons remained un-banned. In fact, Hitler was a huge Mickey Mouse fan. In Joseph Goebbels' 1937 diary entry for December 22, he writes excitedly of his giving the Fuhrer "18 Mickey Mouse films" for his Christmas present. He also notes that the Fuhrer "is very excited about it. He is completely happy about this treasure."

It has been noted in several books and websites that in the 1930s, Hitler officially banned Mickey Mouse in Nazi Germany and declared him "an enemy of the state." There is scant evidence for this claim and it is probably untrue.

However, once war with the United States was officially declared in 1941, Mickey Mouse was officially banned by Hitler and the Nazis.

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Mickey Mouse was, at one time, much less bland than he is today. The he became a "Public Figure" of sorts, and like many public figures, he became a cipher.
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