Leave it to “The Golden Girls” star Rue McClahanan to put network censorship in perspective when it came to the hit NBC sitcom.
McClanahan talked about a moment when NBC’s higher-ups were not too pleased with a piece of a script for one of their shows. She and costar Betty White were among the panel focusing on “The Golden Girls” at PaleyFest LA 2006.
“You weren’t there the first year when the network was still censoring us,” McClanahan said, pointing toward “The Golden Girls” writer Marc Cherry. “Just that first year. We couldn’t say certain things, make certain jokes. Innocuous words and they would make much more tasteless substitutions.
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“I had to say one time that my cousin was, she found out that her husband was having an affair,” McClanahan said. “And she shot him in the ‘vajoovies.’ And they would, NBC wouldn’t let me say ‘vajoovies.’
“They thought it sounded dirty. And here’s what they came back and the suggestion they gave. ‘And so she got a gun and shot the cork off his junk,'” McClanahan, who played Blanche Devereaux, said. “I said, ‘I can’t say that. My father watches the show.’ And so we had to settle for ‘shot him in the boxer shorts.'”
Such is the strange and wild journey shows even like “The Golden Girls” have to take when it comes to their scripts.
McClanahan and White were the only two members of the original cast to appear at PaleyFest LA 2006. Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty could not make it to the event. Today, only White remains alive from the NBC sitcom’s cast.
McClanahan Found Herself Receiving Fan Mail Even From Convicts
When McClanahan was on “The Golden Girls,” she would receive fan mail. This is nothing unusual for stars of hit shows. She, though, remembered getting fan letters from people in prison.
McClanahan, in a 2008 interview with Lavender Magazine, said that she never got up the nerve to write back to those imprisoned fans. She said it didn’t feel right and wouldn’t be appropriate or safe for her to respond.
“I got some letters from some convicts when I was doing ‘Golden Girls,’ but I didn’t answer them,” she said. “I’m not sure it would have been safe.”
Probably was a good call on her part. McClanahan, who died in 2010, also had cast roles on “Maude” and “Mama’s Family.” What’s interesting about this is she appeared on those shows with two of her “Golden Girls” costars, Arthur on “Maude” and White on “Mama’s Family.”