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Tag Archives: 1940s

August 13

August 13, 1945 – The Educational Film Tuberculosis is Delivered

On August 13, 1945, the educational film Tuberculosis was delivered to the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. The Disney Studios had a series of “good neighbor” films during World War II that stressed the importance of cleanliness and other issues that affected areas of South America; this film was one of the first in a series addressing health concerns and the steps that need to be taken to cure someone of the disease. Though an English version was produced, the film was created entirely in Spanish.

March 14

March 14, 1942 – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Dumbo, and Timothy Mouse Appear on the Cover of Liberty Magazine

“Last minute double check for your income tax.”

On March 14, 1942, the cover of Liberty magazine featured popular Disney characters Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Dumbo, and Timothy Mouse. The characters were used to promote an article about filing income taxes that year, as a main message at the time was that Americans’ taxes would “beat the Axis” – a line from the Donald Duck short film The New Spirit. Disney character use was high at the time to help with the war effort, with their use ranging from military insignia to full-length goodwill films, such as Saludos Amigos.

March 10

March 10, 1948 – Bambi Wins Special Golden Globe Award

On March 10, 1948, the 5th Golden Globe Awards were held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Walt Disney was awarded with the Special Achievement Award for the animated feature Bambi; he was specifically awarded for “Furthering the Influence of the Screen” for the Hindustani version of the animated feature. This is the only time this specific special award has ever been awarded.

March 4

March 4, 1943 – Der Fuehrer’s Face Wins Academy Award

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“We heil! Heil! Right in der Fuehrer’s face!”

On March 4, 1943, the 15th Academy Awards were held at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, California. The Disney propaganda short film Der Fuehrer’s Face won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, beating out the likes of All Out for V, Blitz Wolf, Juke Box Jamboree, Pigs in a Polka, and Tulips Shall Grow. Most of the shorts in this category, including Der Fuehrer’s Face, ridiculed the brainwashing tactics of Nazism and were very anti-German, save for Pigs in a Polka, which parodied Disney’s Three Little Pigs and Fantasia. The song for Der Fuehrer’s Face, written by studio composer Oliver Wallace, also proved to be very popular after it was recorded by Spike Jones and His City Slickers.

February 27

February 27, 1941 – Pinocchio Takes Home Two Academy Awards

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“When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.”

On February 27, 1941, the 13th Annual Academy Awards were held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Disney’s second animated feature Pinocchio became the first animated feature film to win competitive Academy Awards, scoring two for its music: Best Original Score (Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith, and Ned Washington), and Best Original Song for “When You Wish upon a Star” (Leigh Harline and Ned Washington). Both categories featured stiff competition, as the music was up against films such as Rebecca, The Thief of Bagdad, and Down Argentine Way.

January 28

January 28, 1942 – The Federal Government Releases Press Statement About Disney-Designed Emblem

“…the four freedoms pledged in the Atlantic Charter and later by the United Nations are freedom of speech and expression, freedom of every person to worship God in his own way, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.”

On January 28, 1942, the Federal Government released a press statement about the Disney-designed emblem for the Department of Agriculture. Created by Disney artist Hank Porter, the emblem featured an eagle flying over a cargo ship, and was meant to be added to labels to signify that the food came from the United States, particularly when sent overseas through the Lend-Lease program. The emblem found itself on cans of lima beans, canned meat, and packed apples.

January 16

January 16, 1942 – The Donald Duck Short Film The Village Smithy is Released to Theaters

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“That’s me – a mighty man, I say!”

On January 16, 1942, the Donald Duck short film The Village Smithy premiered in theaters. It was directed by Dick Lundy.

The short begins at the Village Blacksmith, with Donald hard at work, reciting a poem about how strong he is as a blacksmith. He runs into a problem with the rim he placed around a wheel does not stay smooth, and ends up chased around the building. He then tries to nail the metal rim down, but it busts apart and leaves Donald with a bolt around his tail. He gives up and decides to get to his next task: shoeing Jenny the donkey. Jenny at first appears docile, and as Donald tries to find her the right kind of shoe, she becomes more irate. As Donald attempts to shoe her, she sneaks away from him, tricking him into hammering his anvil instead. As he tried to pull her out from behind a crate, he realizes too late that he is pulling on a rope connected to a barrel of horseshoes, which land on his head. Having had enough, Donald attempts to pull her up from the floor, and gets an idea using a board and his anvil to prop her up. Unfortunately, this only propels him into a barrel of water. Angered, he grabs some smoke from the stove and uses it to make her sneeze, propping her up as he intended. As she sneezes, however, she kicks him into the stove, and ends up stuck on a pole where he continuously sneezes from the smoke.

December 17

December 17, 1943 – The Wartime Propaganda Short Film Chicken Little is Released to Theaters

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“As our story continues, we find all our fine feathered friends happy and contented. And why not? Didn’t they have a big strong fence protecting them?

On December 17, 1943, the wartime propaganda special short film Chicken Little premiered in theaters. The short was a piece about persuasion and falling under the sway of leaders with sinister agendas. Originally it was supposed to have explicit connotations of World War II, with Foxy Logy reading Mein Kampf, but was left generic to be used in potential future cases. The short was directed by Clyde Geronimi.

The story begins in a small peaceful farmyard, and introduces the characters: the mayor rooster Cocky Locky, local gossip Henny Penny, intellectual Turkey Lurkey, the carefree Jitterbirds, bar regulars Goosey Poosey and Ducky Lucky, and the main character Chicken Little. The entire community feels safe with a large fence protecting them, and don’t seem to notice Foxy Loxy taking an interest in the chickens. He decides to use psychology to get all of the chickens, and begins with Chicken Little, pegging him to be the least intelligent of the lot. He tricks Chicken Little into thinking the sky is falling with a bit of show and a piece of a sign. Chicken Little believes the lie Foxy Loxy told him, and it spreads like wildfire. Cocky Locky doesn’t believe it, and reassures the group that it was just a piece of wood that hit Chicken Little on the head. Undeterred, Foxy Loxy changes strategy to make the chickens lose faith in Cocky Locky. Through holes in the fence, Foxy Loxy manages to spread rumors and false information to each different group within the community, and again it spreads through the community. He then eggs on Chicken Little to assume the leadership, and through his whispers, he convinces Chicken Little to take the entire community to the cave – right where Foxy Loxy is lying in wait. Cocky Locky is left as the lone chicken in the yar, with Foxy Loxy devouring every last chicken.

 

November 19

November 19, 1941 – The Wartime Educational Film The Thrifty Pig is Delivered

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“You ought not to sing and dance while there’s danger all about. You should get your houses wolf-proof: bricks like these will keep him out.”

On November 19, 1941, the wartime educational film The Thrifty Pig was delivered to the National Film Board of Canada. It was the first of a series of films created by Disney for this particular project, with the goal of persuading Canadians to invest in war bonds. The short is similar to the Silly Symphony The Three Little Pigs, which was a huge success for the studio upon its release and deemed the perfect story to make the war bond case; this was also the first case of “cartoon recycling” for the studio in order to keep costs down.

Practical Pig is working on his house while his brothers tease him. He warns them that they should make their houses “wolf-proof”, which he is doing with war bonds. His brothers sing that they aren’t afraid of the wolf, and while they do, the wolf – now in Nazi regalia – shows up to try and capture them. He blows down Fifer Pig’s house first, then goes after Fiddler Pig’s house. Fifer and Fiddler Pig escape to Practical Pig’s house, with the wolf hot on their trail. When he tries to blow down Practical Pig’s house, all he does is blow away the top layer to reveal multiple Canadian savings bonds; Practical Pig then uses some extra bond bricks to chase the wolf away. In the end, the pigs all sing about protecting themselves from the wolf by lending their savings. An animated plea for Canadians to do their part to stop the Axis is then presented at the end of the short.

November 11

November 11, 1946 – Walt Disney Appears in Armistice Day Parade in Georgia

“Out of the past of every nation has come its folklore: simple tales handed down from generation to generation and made immortal by such names as Aesop, the brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Anderson.”

On November 11, 1946, an Armistice Day parade was held in Atlanta, Georgia; Walt Disney made a special appearance in the parade, as he was there to promote his upcoming film Song of the South, which was to premiere the next day. Disney had worked extensively with the family of author Joel Chandler Harris, original author of the Uncle Remus Stories, since he acquired the rights in 1939, and had visited Atlanta often to get a feel for the area where the stories were set. The parade featured several floats and bands, as well as representations of the characters from the upcoming film.