Monday 12 September 2022

Don't Simonize Your Car! Feminize It!

The censor appears to have been at work on the Willie Whopper cartoon Play Ball (1933).

The Sultan of Swat swats one of Willie’s pitches over the fence. Willie jumps over the fence and races after the ball in a flivver.

In the background, you’ll see a billboard for Barko. Next to it is a building with Chinese characters above the shuttered windows. Yes, the ball park is in Chinatown.

Naturally, this means a laundry gag. Willie runs into a laundry man.

When the laundry clears, there’s a shot of the flivver wearing a bra and panties.

But the shot lasts two seconds before a cut, hardly enough to register. Even though Carl Stalling’s music in the background maintains the beat (“Good night, Ladies” is on the soundtrack) it seems clear the censor thought this was too naughty and the gag was cut. Sex was bad then. Racial stereotypes were just fine. Hey, Willie throws baseballs at black people. Fun-ny!

Babe Ruth is portrayed in this cartoon with a pig nose. We presume the Iwerks animators were Brooklyn Dodgers fans.


  1. Of course Termite Terrace took it one step further, and portrayed The Babe as an actual pig in BOULEVARDIER FROM THE BRONX (1936) [Insert Dizzy Dan horselaugh here].

    1. Like with W.C. Fields. Did they ever see this stuff?

  2. They made him so much more appealing here. Buddy ain't got nothin' on Willie!

  3. The Dodgers, in the early 1930s, were a truly awful team, so much so that there was the sneering remark from the rival New York Giants' manager, Bill Terry, in January 1934: "are the Dodgers still in the league?" They actually finished 6th out of 8 in both 1933 and 1934. The Giants would have been a more plausible rival in those days; they won the World Series (against Washington) in 1933, and finished a strong 2nd in 1934. And it pains my New England soul to think of how bad the Red Sox (Ruth's former team) were in this time frame.