Heard an interview with Matt Groening on Fresh Air in which he states that he believes that The Simpsons was the first cartoon to show blood. Is he right? I can imagine that some Japanese cartoons might have shown blood before The Simpsons, but perhaps not. IAC, I can’t think of an American cartoon made before The Simpsons which showed blood. I don’t recall it in any of the Warner Bros. cartoons or in the Tom & Jerry cartoons.
Off hand, I recall the closest any of the old Warner Bros., MGM, et al., cartoons ever came to showing blood was when a character would get something like ketchup or red ink on him and, for a moment, he’d think he’d been shot or stabbed.
As for real blood being depicted in a cartoon, I think Groening was probably referring to the type of cartoons that are usually shown on American TV (e.g., Saturday-morning fare, kid’s afternoon television, and prime-time cartoons like “Flintstones”). Blood has probably been depicted in any number of serious and/or foreign-language cartoons going back to the early history of animation.
The first cartoon I can recall that showed blood was the G.I Joe movie. Serpentor throws one of his snake projectiles and hits Duke (I think it was Duke) in the chest with a slow-mo enhanced spray of blood. That was in '87 I believe.
Duke pulls through of course. Cartoon death is a whole other topic.
Gertie the Dinosaur bloodily chomped a pterodactyl in 1909–of course, that was black-and-white blood; does that count?
I seem to remember a prequel type episode of “Biker Mice From Mars” (1993) that showed up later on the season where it showed how the Biker Mice got all their lovely mechanical bits after they were blown up. I was only a young’un then, but I’m pretty sure there was some blood on the battlefield.
The animated Lord of the Rings had plenty of blood. Maybe he meant the first TV cartoon?
Naw, of course not. That was just Hershey’s chocolate syrup, because red stage blood tended to show up grey, and not nearly gory enough (I learned that on a Universal Studios tour back about thirty years ago ).
My personal memories of Speed Racer are a little hazy, but I thought I noticed him bleeding from the corner of his mouth once in a while. I know those pre-dated 1987.
I’m pretty sure there was blood in Fritz the Cat …
Speed racer is anime though, and anime has been showing blood since the beginning, we are talking about American cartoons here.
Nobody here has seen Watership Down? Blood blood blood.
It was me, and, boy, did that ever hurt. :mad:
Yeah, but was it an American TV cartoon? I know it wasn’t a TV cartoon, because the only time I’ve seen it is in the theater.
I bet The Simpsons was the first to show blood in a comedic manner.
There was, in the chicken trailer scene.
If we’re allowing Bakshi films - then it’s Fritz The Cat (1972) as the earliest (so far). Bakshi did good blood splatters (lots in Heavy Traffic too), and they’re probably all comedic today (if not intended).
I dunno if Matt Groening considerers “The Simpsons” a cartoon. I can only remember some Bugs Bunny’s where Bugs splatters catsup on his chest and wails to Elmer J. Fudd, “Doc…ya got me!” (etc… :b)
Wait a minute! Have we all forgotten Disney’s Sleeping Beauty from 1959? One of my earliest movie memories is watching that film when I was about 5 years old, and being absolutely shocked when the prince throws his sword at the dragon and – gasp! – actual BLOOD seeps from the wound! Not much blood, but it’s there. Still a pretty intense scene for a children’s film.
Come to think of it, didn’t they also show blood when Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger on the spinning wheel?
Don’t remember about Sleeping Beauty’s finger, but sure enough there’s blood when the prince kills the dragon.
In terms of normal Saturday morning cartoons, Sepentor taking down Duke on G.I. Joe is the earliest thing that comes to mind.
The Censored cartoons page. Mostly Warner Brothers and some MGM. The Hayes Act predates most of the Warner Brothers stuff, when the studios were pushing the envelope (“Red Hot Riding Hood”, “Bug Bunny Nips the Nips” and “Herr meets Hare”) but I remember seeing a documentary on TV of old black and white cartoons that predated the Hayes Commission and I got the impression that it was “anything goes” back then.
It wasn’t unknown for animators to add their own little inside jokes to a film with the full expectation that they would be purged later on by their bosses or by the censors.
P.S. I think “Red Hot Riding Hood” was one of Tex Avery’s MGM cartoons, but I’m not sure.
How about The Secret of NIMH?
The evil rat gets stabbed in the belly with a sword, he screams, and bleeds.
Vampire Hunter D (1985) was beyond bloody. I’m sure there are plenty of anime that are older that had blood…in fact, didn’t the one they made G-Force out of have blood?