1944 May 27

First Television Censorship!


NBC cut off the sound of Eddie Cantor in the middle of his singing the song, We’re Having a Baby, My Baby and Me, in what is believed to be the first act of censorship in the history of television. An NBC vice president explained that they had an obligation to “not bring into American homes material which the audience would find objectionable.” Television was in its very early stages in 1944, and the show was carried only by WNBT in New York City and WPTZ in Philadelphia.

Anything related to sexuality and reproduction remained taboo in television for decades. See, for example, how they handled Lucille Ball’s real-life pregnancy on the I Love Lucy Show on December 8, 1952.

Hear Eddie Cantor sing We’re Having a Baby: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVpsYziAolA

 Learn how television changed in the 1970s: Elana Levine, Wallowing in Sex: The New Sexual Culture of 1970s American Television (2007)

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