Monday, 7 January 2019

Don't Touch That Film!

A baby alligator desperately wants to be nursed by its mother pig (a stork mixed up the delivery).

The mother pig stops it with her hoof.

Now comes a horrible edit job. The mother pig begins talking to the alligator in five drawings animated on twos (less than a second of screen time) before an abrupt cut to a baby cat and an old mouse.

What happened? The cartoon’s director, Bob Clampett, told historian Jerry Beck that the pig was supposed to say the opening line of the old Blondie radio show which went “Ah, ah, ah! Don’t touch that dial!” but the movie censor office ordered it cut out. Why the studio didn’t excise the preceding ten frames along with the gag line, I don’t know.

Animation credits go to Rod Scribner, Manny Gould, Bill Melendez and Izzy Ellis. Oh, the cartoon is Baby Bottleneck.


  1. This is correct, when I visited a Bob Clampett retrospective in the 1980s, Sody was there and confirmed the line of dialogue. My assumption would be that the censors didn't want the association with a nipple resembling a radio 'dial' (eg the same fashion once pinches/twists a dial) so this is why the gag got cut. Oh, those crazy perverted animators...

    But I swear at some point in my life I've seen a print with this line complete because I even have a memory of how the audio sounds.

  2. So now I know. I had always thought that was a mighty abrupt switch to another scene.

  3. Clampett seems to have been cursed with that kind of thing. Check out his final Warner Bros. cartoon, The Big Snooze. At the end, Bugs Bunny's mouth is moving, and you can pretty well see that he's supposed to be saying "What's up, doc?", but nothing comes out.

  4. Wonder what Bob would have done with "No Flipping!".

    Clampett should have cited precedent with The Barnyard Broadcast (1931), in which a dial / nipple gag made it to the screen intact. (Yes, its "Pre-Code", but The Hays Office would look foolish rejecting a bit after being told, "Mickey Mouse did it".)