Jan 14, 2011

Planet of Sound

A few years ago, I was searching through the shelves in my mother's extra room. I call it an extra room, because it really has no purpose now. It used to be a bedroom, but it was probably designed to be a small den. Now it's got a bunch of my sister's kid's toys and crap in it. And it's got a big closet, so it's usually where all the coats go when she is hosting a big event. Like my nephew's Christening last weekend.

But for about 10 years, it was my bedroom. All throughout high school and college and for a couple of years after that before I moved out. So there is still some of my crap hidden on those shelves amidst all the kids stuff that is currently taking up space. Mostly books, but also some LPs (remember those?), cassette tapes (remember those?) and VHS tapes (remember those?). There was one VHS tape that intrigued me enough to dust off the old VCR and check out. All it said on the label was "Planet of Sound".

Here's the first thing that popped up on the tape. A performance of "Planet of Sound" by the Pixies on the old Dennis Miller Show. Way back when. Check it out.


Man, they were really my favorite band for a while there in the 80's and early 90's.

Anyway, the rest of the tape was about a dozen episodes of Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures from the late 80's. Anyone remember that? The revival was the brainchild of Ralph Bakshi, he of Fritz the Cat fame. Yeah. So there was a lot of adult drug and sex references going on, even though the show aired on Saturday mornings. You had to be hip to catch them all.

The most famous drug reference was the so-called "cocaine scene" that was part of The Littlest Tramp episode. In it, Mighty Mouse crushes up a flower and inhales the dust. Yeah...it kinda looked like he was snorting cocaine. Bakshi, who was mostly producing the show, hadn't even seen this portion of the episode. But he initially agreed to cut the 3.5 seconds from the final product. John Kricfalusi (who later went on to create Ren and Stimpy) convinced Bakshi that the scene was indeed harmless and Bakshi had it put back in. And the episode aired in October of 1987 like that.

About six months later, the American Family Association (ugh) stepped in and stirred some shit. As they do. They railed against CBS for hiring a known pornographer to produce children's television. Yeah. Bakshi was furious and fought back, but he eventually agreed to cut the 3.5 seconds from all future airings of that episode.

Was it the show's creative staff's intent to make it look like Mighty Mouse was snorting coke? Bakshi says no, but it wouldn't be the first time that animators and writers snuck something in under the producer's, ahem, nose.

Here's an screen shot from that scene. You decide...


Um...the powder is pink?


PS - Bet you thought that VHS tape was gonna have a little some-some on the sexy tip, right? Sadly...no.

9 comments:

Paticus said...

Wow. I have a videotape full of episodes of this show somewhere,too. I remember being all excited that Bakshi was doing it(I was a big "American Pop" fan) and I remember the cocaine controversy too.
Were the AFA the same people who said that since Papa Smurf always solved things with a potion, the Smurfs were also advocating drug use?

B.E. Earl said...

Paticus - I wouldn't doubt it. If you see their Wiki page, they've boycotted everything.

Slyde said...

There's "crap" in that room?

how fucking lazy ARE you people?

B.E. Earl said...

Slyde - lazy enough to leave stuff lying around for a couple of decades...

Water Logged Canine said...

I once heard that if cartoons and video games advocated the use of drugs, we'd all be running around in the dark, listening to repetitive music, and swallowing pills...oh crap.

sybil law said...

Yay, the Pixies!
Do you remember the Laverne and Shirley cartoon that was briefly on? In one episode, they smoked weed. I think. They were smoking, fo sho.
Um, but even back in my snorting days, I wouldn't have done any pink coke.

B.E. Earl said...

Doggie - And so it is written...

Sybil - Not even during breast cancer awareness month? ;) But no...I don't remember that cartoon at all.

marty mankins said...

First off, I share the same distaste with the AFA. They are a bunch of busy bodies that have nothing better to do than look for the "needle in the haystack" negative in just about everything they view.

Cutting 3.5 seconds off doesn't seem like too much of a compromise, but on that same note, it's a compromise they shouldn't have had to sanitize.

Lastly, The Pixies rule. Plain and simple. You should check out the documentary they did a few years back on their 2004 tour "LoudQuietLoud" Well done and shows the band at their most fragile times making a very well executed comeback.

B.E. Earl said...

Marty - I saw that Pixies docu. It was awesome!