April 23, 1943 – The Donald Duck Short, Fall Out – Fall In, is Released to Theaters
“After supper…? Please?”
On April 23, 1943, the Donald Duck wartime short, Fall Out – Fall In, was released to theaters. As with the other Donald Duck wartime shorts, it was based on the experiences many of the animators had when they were in the army during World War II. It is also one of the few times that Donald’s headshot in the opening shows him without his usual sailor hat—he’s wearing an Army hat instead. The short was directed by Jack King, with Clarence Nash as the voice of Donald Duck.
The short opens just as the sun is rising, with a rooster letting out his call. Soldiers are marching on the horizon, with Donald Duck the last one in line. When he passes a sign saying that the group has traveled five miles, Donald marks it down on the bag of the soldier in front of him, and continues marching with a smile. At the 10-mile mark, Donald’s cheer has waned slightly, and his rifle seems to be pulling his shoulder down, but he adjusts it and continues to march, though definitely not as enthusiastically as before.
A harsh storm hits the troops by mile 20. Donald is annoyed with the raindrops hitting his helmet, but he comes up with an idea to shield himself from the rain by using the bag of the soldier ahead of him. As they continue to march, the rain turns into snow, and icicles hang from the duck’s tail. Donald is still wearily keeping track of the miles on his fellow soldier’s bag, with the count at 35 miles traveled.
As suddenly as the snowstorm arrived, the snow disappears and is replaced by scorching hot weather, 40 miles into their march. Donald isn’t so much as marching any more as he is limping, and sweating buckets. As the sun sets on the troops, their commanding officer calls them to a halt, and we see that Donald has marked the soldier in front of him up and down with hash marks for each mile they’ve crossed. When Donald is told to fall out, he collapses.
When a trumpet sounds, Donald revives, knowing that the sound means that it’s dinnertime. Excited, he opens his overstuffed bag, grabs his utensils, and runs to get his food – but his commanding officer won’t let him eat until he’s made up his tent. Donald leaps to the task, driven by the promise of food; unfortunately he has the worst luck when it comes to building his tent, and we see him still trying to build it long after the other soldiers have gone to sleep. Exhausted, Donald collapses and refuses to take care of his tent, but he can’t sleep because all of the other soldiers’ snoring keeps him awake.
Donald has only closed his eyes for a second, when the trumpet again sounds, telling the soldiers that it’s time to wake up. Too exhausted to even notice that he’s tied his belongings around a tree, Donald falls in line, carrying the tree and his belongings with him for the long trek back to camp.