September 25, 1942 – The Donald Duck Short Film The Vanishing Private is Released to Theaters
“Did you see a little guy that you can’t see?”
On September 25, 1942, the Donald Duck wartime short film The Vanishing Private was released to theaters. The short was directed by Jack King, written by Carl Barks, and stars Clarence Nash as Donald Duck, and Billy Bletcher as Pete.
The short opens with Donald painting a cannon with yellow, green, and red stripes with black dots. Sergeant Pete finds him and grabs him, asking what he’s doing there, with Donald responding that he’s a camouflage painter. Pete chastises him, telling him that Donald needs to paint the cannon so that people don’t see it, with Donald responding that he didn’t know. Donald runs off to find some new paint, and wanders into the Experimental Laboratory – Camouflage Corps building. He looks at a particular bucket of paint, which happens to be invisible paint. Amazed at his find, he decides this is the perfect paint to use for his cannon.
Pete gets Donald out of the cannon, not realizing that the bucket of invisible paint is on the other side as Donald falls into it
Pete stops by later after Donald has finished painting the cannon invisible, thinking that Donald has stolen the cannon. He runs into the end of the cannon, alerting Donald, who informs the sergeant that he’ll be right down. Pete cautiously feels around for the end of the cannon, then sends Donald flying out of the other end, straight into the bucket of invisible paint. Donald then runs away, diving into a creek and running into a field of tall flowers, with Pete in hot pursuit. Pete throws some flowers aside, which reveal Donald’s location. Donald quickly brushes the flowers away and runs off.
Having gotten an idea of how to make the duck visible again, Pete grabs more flowers and begins throwing them everywhere, as Donald skips around a tree singing “Here We Go ’Round the Mulberry Bush.” Just as Pete imitates him, throwing flowers around, the General pulls up in his car and clears his throat to get Pete’s attention. Pete asks if he’s seen someone he can’t see, and the General, alarmed, shakes his head.
After flying into the arsenal, Pete decides that violence is the only way to catch the invisible duck
Meanwhile, Donald continues to cause mischief, grabbing a batch of pies from an open window and shoving one in Pete’s face. He leads the sergeant in a chase all around the camp, sending Pete flying into the arsenal, grabbing as many grenades as he can carry and throwing them around madly. The General tries to stop him, but Pete ends up blowing the both of them up when he drops all the grenades. Pete is then seen in solitary confinement, sitting in a padded cell with a straight jacket on. He implores Donald, his now-visible guard, to tell the General that he’s not crazy, to which Donald answers, “Do you think I’m crazy?”