This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used to create or digitize it.
If the file has been modified from its original state, some details may not fully reflect the modified file.
Private Snafu: Spies 1,943 US Army Chuck Jones Mel Blanc Cartoon 4min
"Private Snafu: Spies - Department of Defense. Department of the Army... This animated film features the goofy, simpleton Private Snafu, voiced by Mel Blanc. In this short, cautionary tale, Private Snafu has a secret: his ship leaves for Africa at 430. He's determined to keep it, but bit by bit it slips out, and eventually, the details end up right on Adolf Hitler's desk, and the ship is attacked." Directed by Chuck Jones.
US Army film MISC-929
Public domain film from the National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
Private Snafu is the title character of a series of black-and-white American instructional cartoon shorts produced between 1,943 and 1,945 during World War II. The character was created by director Frank Capra, chairman of the U.S. Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit, and most were written by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, Philip D. Eastman, and Munro Leaf. Although the United States Army gave Walt Disney the first crack at creating the cartoons, Leon Schlesinger of the Warner Bros. animation studio underbid Disney by two-thirds and won the contract. Disney had also demanded exclusive ownership of the character, and merchandising rights. Nel (2,007) shows the goal was to help enlisted men with weak literacy skills learn through animated cartoons (and also supplementary comic books). They featured simple language, racy illustrations, no profanity, and subtle moralizing. Private Snafu did everything wrong, so that his negative example taught basic lessons about secrecy, disease prevention, and racial equality.
Private Snafu cartoons were a military secret—for the armed forces only. Surveys to ascertain the soldiers' film favorites showed that the Snafu cartoons usually rated highest or second highest. Each cartoon was produced in six weeks, compared to the six months usually taken for short cartoons of the same kind.
Most of the Private Snafu shorts are educational, and although the War Department had to approve the storyboards, the Warner directors were allowed great latitude in order to keep the cartoons entertaining. Through his irresponsible behavior, Snafu demonstrates to soldiers what not to do while at war. In Malaria Mike, for example, Snafu neglects to take his malaria medications or to use his repellant, allowing a suave mosquito to get him in the end—literally. In Spies, Snafu leaks classified information a little at a time until the German Japanese enemies piece it together, ambush his transport ship, and literally blow him to hell. Six of Snafu's shorts actually end with him being killed due to his stupidity: Spies (blown up by enemy submarine torpedoes), Booby Traps (blown up by a bomb hidden inside a piano), The Goldbrick (run over by an enemy tank), A Lecture on Camouflage (large enemy bomb lands on him), Private Snafu vs. Malaria Mike (malaria), and Going Home (run over by a street car).
Later in the war, however, Snafu's antics became more like those of fellow Warner alum Bugs Bunny, a savvy hero facing the enemy head-on. The cartoons were intended for an audience of soldiers (as part of the bi-weekly Army-Navy Screen Magazine newsreel), and so are quite risqué by 1,940's standards, with minor cursing, bare-bottomed GIs, and plenty of scantily clad (and even semi-nude) women. The depictions of Japanese and Germans are quite stereotypical by today's standards, but were par for the course in wartime U.S...