9:32 PM

Flashback: Changing Kid's Cartoons

So I decided I was going to participate in Disney Profile Picture Week on Facebook today. Being the devious person I am, and wanting to try to trip up my little sister, I decided I was going to post this guy as my profile picture.

Don't remember him? I didn't even remember his name! But I won't ever forget that he's from "The Three Caballeros". His name is Panchito Pistolas and he's a red Mexican rooster. Along with a green parrot named Jose and Donald Duck, he makes up one of the three caballeros.

After wandering through memory lane, I decided to look up the namesake musical number from the film, also titled "The Three Caballeros".

I was shocked! Not only does Jose smoke but Panchito fires off his pistols several times in the musical number. But I think what shocked me more was how different kid's television is now. Personally, I'm not bothered by Jose smoking or Panchito's pistols, but parents today would be outraged. With good reason? I'm not so sure.

Sometimes I have to wonder if we give kids too much credit. I feel that back in my day, parents didn't worry about the gun or the cigar because we didn't take note of it as a kid. Or we weren't impressed enough to go out and buy real guns or smoke real cigars. In fact, I didn't even like "The Three Caballeros" that much when I was young! I had other Disney videos I reached for first over this one. And occasionally my sisters and I would draw forth this tape from the back of the pile just for kicks, and mostly for the title song.

Now we try to censor things we feel our bad in order to keep kids from being 'impressed' with bad desires. Do we give kid's too much credit, or doubt them too much? Or is it just different values and worries of a different era that make "The Three Caballeros" inappropriate in this generation? I like to think I grew up fine despite having watched "The Three Caballeros" when I was younger. If I was scared by it, to be sure, my parents wouldn't have let me watch it - hence why "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Rite of Spring" were cut in my family's version of "Fantasia". But I know other people who saw these sketches as ankle-biters and are perfectly fine for it.

I kind of miss the days when we could show guns in kid's cartoons and where a rooster from Mexico could be red without someone crying racist. Or when we could depict evil as a big, black, bat monster with a Slavic god's name without criticism, or when it didn't really matter what technology we used as long as it was fun.

Granted, modern television isn't bad by a long shot. It's great to see more female characters coming into kid's entertainment, and stronger females at that. But I wonder if we've traded fun for political correctness or parental concern sometimes.

The good old days seem so simple, don't they?


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