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OUTTAKES THE SEQUEL

Dirty Uncle Walt

March 15, 1987|Charles Solomon

Amid the to-do over the X rating for "Angel Heart" (now an R), we can't help recalling that the Hays Office once censored the likes of Walt Disney--and Betty Boop.

The inspirational sketches for the "Pastoral" Symphony segment of "Fantasia" (1940) featured languid, bare-breasted nymphs lounging by rainbow-colored pools. As work on the film progressed, the maidens were changed to centaurettes, but the new designs were also drawn topless. It's unclear whether the Hays Office actually intervened or Walt merely feared it might, but he had his animators add the demure flower brassieres the centaurettes wear in the finished film.

In a similarly silly moment during the early '30s, the Hays people tried to make the artists at the Fleischer Studio stop drawing a garter on Betty Boop. The Fleischers initially complied, but audiences raised such an outcry that the cartoon flapper's garter was restored.

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