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Letters
October 6, 1999

Tobacco and Alcohol Use in Children's Animated Films: Pecos Bill Kicks the Habit

Author Affiliations
 

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(13):1228-1229. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-13-jbk1006

To the Editor: Dr Goldstein and colleagues1 clearly show the prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use in G-rated children's animated films. Of interest is the recent Disney release of Melody Time, a 1948 animated production advertised as "fully restored." However, it is actually an abridged version, as the final cartoon segment "Pecos Bill" has been altered to remove all tobacco references. In the original version, the title character chain-smokes cigarettes, sings about sucking tobacco, and even lights a cigarette butt with a lightning bolt. All of these scenes have been removed from the current release. Although this should be viewed as a positive action by physicians, there is an underlying concern among cineastes that older films will continue to be digitally sanitized to make them more palatable for children.

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