Walt Disney Treasures: Walt Disney on the Front Lines - The War Years

I've been meaning to look at this one again for some time now. It's a collection of various and sundry war-time Disney animation. I picked it up ages ago, and I don't know that I've ever sat down and watched the thing all the way through.

We start out with:

Donald Gets Drafted (1942):  Donald gets his draft notice and - unlike Daffy or Bluto - reports eagerly, hoping to become a military aviator.  Instead, he ends up in the infantry.  He proves to be an inept soldier, much to the frustration of his drill sergeant, and ends up on KP duty, peeling potatoes. (Do soldiers on KP duty ever do anything but peel potatoes?  You wouldn't  know it by most popular fiction I've seen.)

Overall:  Meh. Well-animated, but not especially funny.  Certainly not up to the level of contemporaneous Warner Brothers or early Fleischer Brothers Popeye.

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During the war years Walt Disney was pretty active with the military, producing training films I think.  Like some of the Bugs Bunny War cartoons I think some of Disney's are banned today, or at least hard to find.

Next is the Army Mascot (1942), in which Pluto, seeing the good life that Army mascots have, impersonates one Gunther Goat, eventually, more by chance than design, becoming his replacement.

Overall: Another one that's well-animated, but not particularly funny.

I don't have this particular collection, but I probably have this cartoon on one of two Donald Duck collections I do have.

The Vanishing Private (1942) features Private Donald Duck painting a gun with experimental invisibility paint, becoming invisible, and using this to harass his sergeant.

Overall:  Another one that's OK, but not especially great.

Sky Trooper (1942) Private Duck still dreams of being a flyer.  The sergeant sends him off to be a paratrooper, and shenanigans occur.

Overall:  Dunno what to say.  You'd think there'd be great comedic possibilities in Donald the inept soldier exasperating his sergeant, but Disney seems to have assiduously avoided them.  I weep to think what the Warners or the Fleischers might have done with a character like Donald.


The army forced itself into his studio. Disney was furious because they didn't move into any of the other film studios. I think it happened because he said something against the war or insulted somebody.

Donald Duck's one Oscar, Der Fuehrer's Face, is one of the cartoons Disney self banned.

Disney didn't seem to get "funny." Warners said they knew they couldn't make their cartoons as pretty as Disney's so they decided they'd be funnier.


Mark S. Ogilvie said:

During the war years Walt Disney was pretty active with the military, producing training films I think.  Like some of the Bugs Bunny War cartoons I think some of Disney's are banned today, or at least hard to find.

Private Pluto (1943)  Pluto is detailed to guard a pillbox against saboteurs, but instant comes into conflict with two chipmunks who are using the gun to crack acorns.

Overall:  Another so-so outing.

Fall Out; Fall In (1943)  Donald goes on a long march, then has trouble pitching his tent, has trouble sleeping, then has to march back again.

Overall: Another uninspired cartoon. They barely even bothered with a plot in this one.

Victory Vehicles (1943) Goofy demonstrates alternative vehicles developed for use in the face of the rationing of gasoline and tires.

Overall:  While not laugh-out-loud funny, this one shows more imagination than any of the others have to date.  Some of the vehicles seen here are quite ingenious.  Funny, I never liked Goofy as a character, but this was a pretty good cartoon.

The Old Army Game (1943) Donald has snuck off the base at night, then must evade the sergeant sneaking back in.  

Overall:  I'm afraid my logic interferes with this one.  Once the sergeant has determined that Donald has gone AWOL, why doesn't he call out the MPs or something, instead of just chasing Donald by himself?

Home Defense (1943)  Donald's manning a listening post, and Huey, Dewey and Louie are the gun crew.  He inadvertently wakes them up, and they respond by faking an enemy attack. He angrily dismisses them, them summons them back when he mistakes a bug for a real attack.

Overall: Well, Donald's nephews are less irritating than Popeye's.

How To Be A Sailor (1944)  Goofy in a humorous history of sea travel.

Overall:  Mildly amusing. We get our first racist depiction of "Japs" in this one.  Side note: Funny they put Donald in the Army, considering that he always wore a sailor suit.

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