While I would generally abhor any kind of product getting 30 1-star reviews on Amazon before it even came out, I’ve got to hand it to the fan outrage over Warner Home Video’s decision to exclude Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat from Tom & Jerry: Golden Collection Volume Two – it’s impressive.
For those of you who don’t know, WHV has had an aversion to including these two verboten cartoons on any kind of release in the history of dual-layer technology. They were forbidden from being included in the less prestigious T&J Premiere Collections, and they’re now being excluded from the adult collector’s market. It’s a truly bizarre move. Mouse Cleaning was actually restored from an original nitrate specifically for this release, and equally (and more so) racially insensitive titles have found their way onto various other T&J, Looney Tunes, and Popeye collections – including this very release.
Things might change. An episode of Tiny Toon Adventures was intentionally supposed to be left off the series’ third volume due to questionable content (namely a preachy, PSA-type episode that clumsily teaches kids about the dangers of alcohol), but was ultimately included due to a decidedly quieter amount of fan outrage. As for myself, I sure won’t be buying the set in its current state. I’ve bought the damn T&J cartoons enough for one lifetime; even the last volume wasn’t done right, though it was complete and uncensored.
The irony is that in the VHS era, little more than a decade ago, both of these cartoons were available, completely uncensored, on VHS compilations aimed at kids and families. It’s a shame. Casanova Cat is routine, but Mouse Cleaning is easily one of the best entries in the series. And dare I say it, its offending scene (with Tom emerging from a truckload of coal in blackface, and Mammy spying him on the porch and mistaking him for a… um…) is one of the few racially-charged gags in any film that’s actually… well, funny.
2/23/13 UPDATE: Official PR suicide note from Warner Home Video:
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment carefully monitors all content it plans for release. While undertaking a review of “Tom and Jerry: The Golden Collection Volume 2,” the company felt that certain content would be inappropriate for the intended audience and therefore excluded several shorts.