Wednesday, August 02, 2006


A big thank you to all of you who took part in my Animation Night!

Last night's selection of cartoons came from the War Era. The propaganda films made during World War Two are fascinating to watch and educational to see the way the world use to be.

The stories told during these films really give a hint of the personal and political views that the various animation companies and media groups believed in at the time. They all shared a blatant hatred for Hitler, Nazis, Japanese and everyone else connected with the Axis.

But instead of educating the general public of what was going on in the world, many of the studios were recruited to make propaganda films. Many of which can be considered hate films. In particular, the short Education For Death (Disney) told the tale of a child being 'brainwashed' into being a Nazi. But it seems that creating these films was a form of brainwashing of the American public.

Because of the extreme racism portrayed in these cartoons many have been banned from television and theatre only to be shown in special programs that will explain the context of the times. Disney has released a full two-disc dvd set of all their wartime cartoons and a few other can be found on various dvd compilations, but many have not been seen by the general public for many years.

I managed to scrape up a few from these sets as well as the internet to make a fun evening.

I included samples from a few different studios that included characters such as Donald Duck, Superman, Popeye and Daffy Duck. Here is what we watched:

Spies (Warner Bros)
Russian Rhapsody (Warner Bros)
Scrap Happy Daffy (Warner Bros)
Spinach Fer Britain (Famous Studios)
Japoteurs (Fleischer Studios)
The Eleventh Hour (Fleischer Studios)
Blitz Wolf (MGM)
Thrifty Pig (Disney)
The Spirit of '43 (Disney)
Education for Death (Disney)
Der Fuehrer's Face (Disney)


Katie said...

So y'know what I just realized? I can come to the next animation night!!

Why did you have to do propaganda films without me? I missed my animation history class that was about that as well. It seems I'm not meant to see these films. The only one I've seen in that group is Der Feurer's face or however you spell that. I know I watched a few in a history class I took a year or two ago, but I can't for the life of me remember what they were called. I know they were Disney.

I wish Disney would make some like... anti-Sadam Houssein or anti-Bin Laden propaganda. That'd be sweet. Although it probably won't happen because everyone's too busy not uniting as a country under Bush. Oh well.

coolshades said...

Disney made wartime cartoons?? I had no idea! And I call myself a Disney fan...

Were these animation nights going on while I was in Vancouver? I totally would have gone to one if I knew about them...

Disney should make some anti-Axis of Evil propaganda...just kill three birds with one stone :P

toast said...

Disney made plenty of anti-Axis of Evil films. Check out these:

Education for Death

Der Fuehrer's Face

Spirit of '43

coolshades said...

Hey thanks for posting these, toast...I could take a whole blog entry talking about my thoughts on them. lol

The Sleeping Beauty analogy in the first one was nuts...democracy is the witch?? Holy cow...

The second one had some funny moments..but something about Donald Duck saying "Heil Hitler" was just creepy...

And the end was just a *bit* overboard, I think...Donald wrapped in a US flag and hugging the statue of liberty? Sheesh...

The third one got me wondering...who was the intended audience for these cartoons? The third one was all about how important it is to pay your taxes, but obviously that wouldn't apply to children. Yet when would adults ever watch a Donald Duck cartoon? :S

toast said...

These cartoons were for adults. Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck. They were all made for an adult market and shown before the feature film.

The theatre would show a newsreel, some trailers for other movies, maybe a musical performance by a pop band of the time and a cartoon. Then they would show a movie. A lot more for the price of a ticket by today's standards.

So when Disney started making these films, they were fully intended for an adult audience.

This is part of the reason why they are not seen today. Kids would understand the whole paying taxes thing, nor would they understand the historical context of the subject matter.

coolshades said...

Ahhhh ok...thanks for the info. I was thinking they were TV cartoons...which is stupid now that I think about it, because they didn't even have TV's in the 1940's. LOL