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January 7

January 7, 1943 – The Wartime Short Film The Spirit of ’43 is Delivered to the U.S. Treasury Department

Spirit of 43

“You must save for victory!”

On January 7, 1943, the wartime short film The Spirit of ’43 was delivered the U.S. Treasury Department. After the success of The New Spirit, the Treasury Department was more than eager to have Donald represent them again and encourage Americans to pay their taxes to help the war fund. After the debacle in the House for not paying Disney for The New Spirit, it was decided that the Treasury Department’s funds for the short would have to be approved by Congress in advance; the $20,000 came through quickly. Unfortunately, this amount wasn’t enough to pay for brand new animation, so the studio reused some footage from The New Spirit.

A factory whistle blows, signaling payday. As Donald walks with his cash, he is confronted by his two inner personalities: the Thrifty Donald, who convinces Donald to save some of his pay; and the Spendthrift Donald, who appears after his money begins to burn a hole in his pocket. The Spendthrift Donald takes him to the Idle Hour Club, but Thrifty Donald reminds Donald that his income tax is due in four different payments. Donald is convinced to save right away to help the troops in the war, as he doesn’t want to save for the Axis. In the end, he punches out the Spendthrift, who in the end looks like Hitler. There is then a montage of what people’s taxes will go towards.

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