Warner Bros was once forced to put underpants on Daffy

Daffy's dance was just too much!

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LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are ™ of & © WBEI

The Motion Picture Association of America is the board responsible for letting audiences know what kinds of lascivious content they might view. The MPAA's film rating system ascribes a designation of "G," "PG," "PG-13," or "R" to most theatrically-released films. A similar rating system has been adopted for television as well. With mountains of streamable movies, there's no way parents can pre-screen everything before their children watch it. So, in that way, the MPAA provides a service to the viewing public. Wide-release movies have a rating so that you know what to expect. However, many artists and filmmakers are critical of the MPAA, accusing the corporation of arbitrary censorship.

The MPAA is a modernized replacement for an even more-outdated series of industry guidelines called the Hays Code. The Code was implemented to censor works produced between 1934 & 1968 and was named after Will H. Hays, president of the nascent Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. In theory, the Hays Code was meant to determine what was—and what was not—acceptable for the viewing public. The uptight and upright are placated, while the self-righteous can sleep better at night knowing nothing morally ambiguous would be projected on the big screen. The Hays Code even dictated that the good guy had to win at the end. Among the supposed hysteria that the Hays Code preempted was the potential outcry from a public confronted with a naked Daffy Duck.

In 1943, Warner Bros. submitted "Wise Quackin' Duck" to be approved for distribution. This was the only way for WB to get their cartoons into theaters, where they'd play as part of a package before a single—or double-feature. The Leon Schlesinger-directed toon was typical madcap Looney Tunes fare, except for one "controversial" inclusion.

The Hays board deemed a scene of Daffy dancing too lewd for public consumption. In Daffy's defense, he had little choice in the matter. In a last-ditch effort to avoid being roasted alive, Daffy hits his assailant with a sultry dance, hoping to seduce and distract his axe-wielding predator.

Not only did the Hays office modify the dance, censoring the cartoon to ready it for viewing, but they also ordered Warner Bros. to animate underpants on Daffy Duck.

It's a good thing they did, too. Who knows what kind of morally-bankrupt society would've grown in the aftermath of seeing a naked Daffy Duck?!

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24 Comments

forthekids 12 months ago
If you think that the sight of "Daffy Duck"Stripping down to polka dot shorts is too much? The ending would have shocked the hell out of the Hayes/Breen censorship office..when "Mr.Meek"shot at the poor little black duck and blasted all of his feathers off and he was standing there in his birthday suit.
Kramden62 12 months ago
The MPAA rating system has been a *total farce* since the early 80's. Movies that *should have* been rated NC-17 are appealed to R. Likewise, some R movies are appealed to PG.

Need I say more?
X7 12 months ago
I think part of the issue is, humans give animated animals human qualities which can make it extra suggestive, so along with that comes some clothing. My favorite Looney Tunes is 'Porky's Romance' (next to 'Tokyo Jokio'). If 'Porky's Romance' featured a nude Porky & nude Petunia, with human tendencies, couldn't that go a little over the top? I'll nominate 'Porky's Romance' for the best dressed cartoon character.
CoreyC 12 months ago
Foghorn Leghorn always had his feathers blown off. It's a good thing that I have another suit ready for this kind of emergencies.
Mblack 13 months ago
Tnere's a famous swimming scene that is credited as a reason for the Hays Code. And Marlene Deitrich kisses a woman.

It's hard to.imagine these early in movie history, because they were banned until more recent times
Mblack 12 months ago
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LoveMETV22 daDoctah 12 months ago
I wonder if Mblack is referring to Morocco (1930) ? That was a pre-code film with Marlene Dietrich.
ncadams27 13 months ago
You may notice at the end of Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes that seem to allow the “bad guy” to go unpunished, he mentions that they later did something (often similar to what they did in the show) for which they were arrested. Check out “Lamb to the Slaughter”
Mblack 13 months ago
Cartoon clothing was always inconsistent. Donald wears a shirt but no pants. Bugs Bunny only wears clothes when pretending to be someone else, like a woman.
Mblack 13 months ago
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texasluva 13 months ago
I was always wondering as a child about most any movie I watched. Yes there were some bad hombres in film-noir, westerns or horror. They all got it at the end. Either by gunning them down, swinging at the end of a rope or given the quick sharp object to the heart. Little did I know there were rules set by groups in charge of what we saw via tv or theater. Be it a robbery gone bad, Cody Jarrett (James Cagney) in White Heat popping most everyone that stands before him. They must pay and they did. If not then back to the drawing board, producers. Get it right and fixed then you may show the cinema. All this I did not even know until years later. I just thought everything came up roses and the bad guys go down while the sunsets. Not that I wanted Henry Fonda in Once Upon A Time In The West to not get his just due by one Harmonica (Charles Bronson) which gave him a shellacking, he won't never forget. What an ending, huh. Never thought about ducks or pigs wearing clothes or pants. It just a cartoon "That's All Folks" Then find out some righteous geezers in charge at a meeting wanted this cartoon nudity to stop! Oh those codes must be kept. Looks like the boys and girls at MeTV getting down on the nitty gritty on this story. Dang! Where are my underpants 😳 okay look away while I locate them 🙈. There they are, whew 😎.
harlow1313 13 months ago
Well written article. Concentrated human power can be a dangerous thing. The desire to ban and cancel has foolishly reemerged in modern times. I like to think for myself.
Wolfie 13 months ago
aaarg the Hays Code! What a headache that also promoted racism and anti LGBTQ (you couldn't show an actor, or actress, in a relationship with an opposite race - or the same gender!)

You'd think we were less Puritan today, except for some reason a percentage of our population has turned into the Church Lady from SNL !

Don't even get me started on hypocrisy within the MPAA (submit your movie for a Rating, then fight to keep your content in the movie - especially if you are from an Independent Studio!)
justjeff 13 months ago
With all of those ruffled feathers, especially at the 'beak' of Hays Code interference, this story quacks me up! They should have sued the Hays Office for 'mallard-practice' or at the least, called in Paul Drake to investigate... These attempts at censorship always created a flap, and no one could duck out when the Hays office was underfoot!

Well, I'm sure Warner Brothers just winged it... and remember the song sung at the closing of "Sing Along with Mitch"... "Be kind to your web-footed friends, for a duck could be somebody's mother..."
LoveMETV22 justjeff 13 months ago
Nice punnery. The article gave some of the details but maybe a future duckumentary would be interesting. I'm sure there would be an audience.
justjeff LoveMETV22 13 months ago
They would just flock to see it! (Sorry for goosing the puns a bit feather!)
X7 LoveMETV22 12 months ago
Stop the orgy! Hays want those ducks to be dressed immediately.
Andybandit 13 months ago
Alert Alert Daffy Duck has no clothes on. Please put some clothes on.
Coldnorth Andybandit 13 months ago
Where are Daffy’s bloomers?
Peter_Falk_Fan 13 months ago
"Who knows what kind of morally-bankrupt society would've grown in the aftermath of seeing a naked Daffy Duck?!"

About the same as seeing Porky Pig without pants.
LoveMETV22 13 months ago
Whew! Crisis Avoided. Don't even want to think what societal collapse might have occurred had the original version been distributed instead.
Deleted 13 months ago
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texasluva 13 months ago
Never thought once about about DD or PP not wearing pants, or wearing them. It's a cartoon. What would be the worry. I think it was an urban legend in Finland. Though there are lots of banned movies in Europe for years back in the 50's and 60's. Governments change and make rulings beyond belief in many cases.
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