The Real Reason These Kids’ Show Episodes Got Banned

Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures – “The Littlest Tramp”

Mighty Mouse originally launched as a mousy knockoff of everyone’s favorite external underpants-clad Kryptonian, Superman. In the late ’80s, famed animator Ralph Bakshi—whose credits include the classic Lord of the Rings animated features and the animation-live action blend Cool World—kicked off a revival of the character. The New Adventures, which lasted all of two seasons, featured notorious Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi behind the storyboards and used shorter-format segments, which would become standard in later-era cartoons.

One episode in particular garnered a significant amount of unwanted attention in the uptight 1980s. “The Littlest Tramp” includes a brief sequence where the titular hero takes a nice long sniff of a fragrant flower. While watching the episode in 1988, a Kentucky family became concerned that the petals seemed a little too much like “a powdery white substance,” according to Allen Wildmon of the American Family Association. Of course, the real question is: how exactly do all these so-called family-friendly folks know so much about nose candy? Admittedly, the flower does look a little mounded, but it’s clearly pink and petal-like. Either way, amid the feverishly antidrug ’80s, the public jumped all over the show.

It probably didn’t help that Bakshi was also the animator behind the groundbreaking X-rated cartoon Fritz the Cat, despite his legacy as an award-winning children’s animator. Bakshi reluctantly bowed to public pressure, and reedited the episode to remove the contentious scene. From this point forward, Mighty Mouse also made it very clear that he always says no to flowers.

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