Mood: accident prone
Topic: Comic Book History
TODAY'S FEATURE IS BLOG #4051 - I've been watching the film series 'Why We Fight' on the Turner Classic Movies Channel. In between the films have been a series of cartoons produced during WWII titled: Private Snafu.
I did a little checking on the background of this feature cartoon series and came up with these facts:
You see.. Private Snafu was actually the brainstorm of Hollywood director Frank Capra. If that name is familar to you, it is probably because you have seen the films It’s A Wonderful Life or Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
Capra was running the Armed Forces’ First Motion Picture Unit after the USA entered the war. He came up with an idea to use an animated cartoon character as a vehichle for teaching lessons to the army troops.
Since many of the GI’s were very young, and possibly naïve in the ways of war and the world, he thought a cartoon would be the best way to get the lessons out to the guys.
Actually, cartoon shorts were still very popular in movie theaters back then. So the cartoons could be attached to the Army Navy Screen Magazine newsreels that were sent overseas.
However the initial project was won by the Leon Schlesinger studio. That studio was the producer of the Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies series that were distributed by Warner Brothers.
Schlesinger’s studio included the following who worked on the Private Snafu project: directors Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Frank Tashlin, and Bob Clampett; music director Carl Stalling; and voice artist Mel Blanc.
The cartoons were not censored and included some racy bits in them. The points the cartoons carried were made to the GIs during the cartoon series.
You don't have to wait to see the cartoons when they run on TCM again. You can see them at this link on YouTube, as they are out of copyright.
For more on Private Snafu, please see this Wikipedia entry.
My thanks to TCM for running these cartoons inbetween the 'Why We Fight' films!
~ Michael D Hamersky
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