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May 1

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May 1, 1942 – The Donald Duck Wartime Short Film Donald Gets Drafted is Released to Theaters

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“Hi General, I wanna be a flier!”

On May 1, 1942, the Donald Duck wartime short film Donald Gets Drafted premiered in theaters. It was the first of the series of wartime propaganda shorts that sought to use the Disney stars to tell a relatable story about how wartime was affecting citizens, adding levity to a very tense situation. The short provides several gags in the draft selection process, with a slight nod to the sarcasm of the Depression-weary public. The short was directed by Jack King.

The short begins with a rendition of the song “The Army’s Not the Army Anymore” while showing Donald’s orders to report for induction (also revealing that Donald’s middle name is “Fauntleroy”). Donald reports with gusto, admiring the posters in front of the recruiting station. After seeing a poster with a woman on it, Donald is determined to become a pilot. After Donald signs a paper, he is sent to a physical exam of a more humorous nature than anything else. He is then fitted for his uniform, which they shrink to his size. Soon after, Donald is sent to his base, but he is frustrated that he only marches, as he still wants to fly. He manages to anger his drill sergeant, who is none other than Pete. Pete gives Donald “special training,” which he manages to fail over and over again. When Donald threatens to quit, Pete responds that Donald must learn discipline. While Donald is ordered to stand still, a group of ants starts crawling out of their hole and up Donald’s legs, making standing still quite a challenge for the duck. Unable to take it anymore, Donald goes crazy, and his gun goes off, shooting at every angle. Finally, Donald is placed on kitchen duty, peeling spuds, and peels off the word “phooey” in response to the opening song.

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