Walt Disney Goes To War. - August 31, 1942 Life Magazine
Excerpt from January 18, 1943 Life magazine
Walt Disney and His Studio Help Win The War
Pictured below, with open collar and a day's growth of beard, is Walt Disney, whose studio in Burbank, Calif. is now going full blast to help win the war. Tacked up behind him are sketches for his Food Will Win The War, a short cartoon film made for the Department of Agriculture. Here Disney drives home the immensity of U.S. food resources. Looking at random, you see that America produces enough flour to make enough spaghetti to be knitted into a sweater covering the whole earth, or enough fats to produce a fat lady who could squash Berlin. Within a year Disney's studio has undergone a big change. He has just released Bambi, a pre-war project, which tells tenderly the story of a deer. Now 90% of Disney's 550 employes are making films that bear directly on the war. At least six major branches of the Government have engaged Disney to reach the public, usually with the aid of Donald Duck or Pluto the pup. But an important majority of Disney's war films are for training purposes. The Army has ordered a few such films. The Navy is Disney's best customer, having ordered more than 50 films on every war subject from bombing and gunnery to paratroop training. Walt Disney is both a visionary and practical artist. That is why his new training films are successful today, and perhaps extremely important to the future. Disney's artists are fine teachers because, primarily, they know how to hold your interest. By their highly perfected animated-cartoon technique, they can show you the inside of something-say, an antitank gun-where no camera could penetrate. They can take the gun apart, piece by piece. Step by step, they can show a mechanical process. They can show an aviator what to expect flying through thunderclouds or, in a film on malaria, they can make a germ-bearing mosquito so gruesome that nobody could ever forget it. On his own, Disney is making 18 cartoon shorts to be released publicly next year. Half of them are related to war. With no sacrifice of humor or variety, these films will crusade for the kind of world where a free popular art, using man's unlimited imagination, can flourish-where everyone has some chance to laugh and learn.