Happy Veteran’s Day

In the United States Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans and should not be confused with Memorial Day which  is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.

Since this is an animation website, I wanted to find a way to integrate animation into it and the best thing I could think of was the old Warner Bros. Private Snafu cartoons. If these have never been on your radar, Private Snafu cartoons were cartoons done exclusively for the soldiers during World War II and were racier than the normal WB fare of the day. Snafu was created by Frank Capra of  It’s a Wonderful Life” fame. and as typical in almost all WB cartoons was voiced by Mel Blanc and he clearly sounds exactly like Bugs Bunny which makes them interesting for that reason alone.

Here’s what I believe to be the only model sheet of Private Snafu.

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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.

The name “Private Snafu” comes from the unofficial military acronym SNAFU (“Situation Normal: All Fucked Up”), with the opening narrator merely hinting at its usual meaning as “Situation Normal, All … All Fouled Up!”

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtfUiAbD2FU

In Spies, Snafu leaks classified information a little at a time until the Axis 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)

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They featured simple language, racy illustrations, mild profanity, and subtle moralizing. Private Snafu did everything wrong, so that his negative example taught basic lessons about secrecy, disease prevention, and proper military protocols.

I was fortunate enough do character layout on a cartoon we did for Animaniacs which I  believe is one of  only appearances of him post war, the other being credits in a Futurama episode.

Here’s an animatic of one of the cartoons Weapons of War from the nephew of Harold “Al” Curry the storyboard artist who did them!

here’s a few more Private Snafu cartoons!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc2LF3ZN6cM

Since they are public domain, here’s a link to download all the Private Snafu cartoons.

 

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