Thursday, January 5, 2017

Out Damn Gumby!


Just added this second volume of vintage The Adventures of Gumby to my burgeoning DVD collection. Glad to have the second half of this two-part collection of the green guy's show from this era. Picked up the first half early last year and now have added the second. For the record I got the bonus box with the Blockheads inside...love this kind of marketing! One of the extras this time is a film called "The Clay Peacock"; check this out for more on that. Many reviewers bemoan that some of the Gumby animated material has been discarded from this collection due to the stereotypical nature of the some of the stuff concerning Native Americans. Having never seen these I cannot judge, but feel it's a mistake to not include material of this kind in these collections which purport to offer a glimpse into the full range of what was happening. Because they are not included I will not be able to see for myself what the problem was.


This sort of thing has happened before of course with Warner Brothers and I remember concerns with some of the Popeye cartoons a few years back. But it's enough I feel to add cautions to the packaging or perhaps even inside for those who are concerned. Purging material which is now deemed offensive runs the risk of masking a problem which has plagued mankind for all its history and to alter that history retroactively, even in this small instance creates a false impression of what attitudes were and how they might need to shift going forward. Racist material should be objected to and sneered at but it should not be purged from the historical record, because as we know from the old adage, those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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4 comments:

  1. I rented "Holiday Inn" from the library once. Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Crosby sings "White Christmas." But they do a blackface number! But what do you do? I know sometimes they cut the scene and maybe that's for the best, who wants to see that when they're trying to watch a nice Christmas movie. But on the other hand like you said, it happened, it was in the movie, they thought it was okay at the time, why are we rewriting history?

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    1. That's exactly the thing I mean. A sticky comic book example is Ebony White in the Spirit, a complex character but his appearance is a challenge. I notice in the comic strip they are using Sammy to avoid all that. Should we never see any of those great Spirit stories starring Ebony, I think not. It's just important to put things in perspective.

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  2. And on a completely different note, I love how you've linked to Dick Tracy, Tarzan, the Phantom, and Prince Valiant comic strips. I can't believe they're all still being published! I've never really been one for comic strips because I don't have the patience to see just a few panels a day. Reading them in a collection is much more my speed. BUT I'm going to try and get in the habit of looking at them everyday, since I'm already at your site anyway.

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    1. I'm happy you're using them. I don't know why I didn't think of that before but it's a natural way to remember to check in for me. I have had them in my bookmarks but I often forget to check. On the sidebar I see them and remember.

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