Friday, October 23, 2009

Annie: Censored!

Last night TCM showed the classic, Annie, I'm not sure why. But it brought back fond memories of my Annie obsession as a child. In my younger years (and maybe in my older ones too) I was quite a big fan of this film. This may have been partly due to the fact that it's a musical, partly because it's awesome, and partly because Carol Burnett is in it.

In any case, since I was poor as a child, the only copy of Annie I had was taped off the TV, and back in the olden days TV networks saw nothing wrong with editing the heck out of a movie to make it fit conveniently in their two hour time slots. As a result, there were literally at least 4 songs missing. Maybe more.

I realized this was the case when I saw the movie in its entirety when I was in high school and it was eye opening. So many new songs, I didn't know what to do. Being older, I thought they were all kind of lame and I wasn't too impressed, but I'm sure that had I'd seen them when I was 5, they would have been amazing.

So I had to learn to deal with this shocking news that made me feel incomplete and cheated. Then came more shocking news.

My mother confessed to me that she'd done some editing of her own to our taped-off-the-TV version of Annie.

This should have been obvious to me. There was always this one scene in the movie that, when I looked back, came to a painfully abrupt ending. What happens is, after Miss Ferrel uses her feminine wiles to convince Warbucks to adopt Annie, he is so whipped that he goes to the orphanage himself to sign the papers. When he arrives, slutty Miss Hannigan sees an opportunity for ... money, sexiness, attention from an adult? ... and she promptly begins to seduce Warbucks. This is when it happens. Hannigan gets Warbucks cornered in her office, catches a glimpse of a diamond pin on his shirt and exclaims, "My God, is that thing real?!" End scene.

Little did I know, there was much more seduction and even a really lame song that continued after that. Needless to say this was the most shocking of all the edits, given the fact that the scene ended mid-sentence.

I'm not bitter though. I think my mother was right—the scene was basically pointless. Why do we need to know that Miss Hannigan wants to seduce Warbucks? We already know she's a skanky weirdo.

This issue came up not too long ago in my mother's presence and she explained her reasoning. First, obviously, it was moderately obscene moment. But most importantly, at that time in my life I was a pretty big Carol Burnett fan and my mother didn't want me to mimic her skanky ways.

I think it was the right choice. But I often (or barely ever, really) wonder what I'd be like today if that scene had stayed in.

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