Motion Mondays: Disneyland Contruction

By Keith Mahne

A new segment here on Disney Avenue will be called Motion Mondays where we will post animated GIFs or pictures from Disney history. I personally love looking at old pictures of Disneyland history and having them move makes it all the better. So we hope you will join us every Monday and enjoy Disney Avenue’s Motion Mondays segments. Continue after the page break for our first Motion Monday as we take a look back at some Disneyland construction…

Disneyland construction from Kodak Presents Disneyland ‘59:

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Weird Disney: A Strange Look at Disney’s Past

By Keith Mahne

The Disney parks contain some of the most spectacular attractions and experiences the world has ever known. But just like everything else, it takes time to perfect that Disney quality. Back in the early days of the Disney Company, particularly Disneyland, several strange and just downright weird things were created to entertain guests or for marketing purposes. Things you wouldn’t have thought were capable of existing in a Disney theme park. Well, as you’ll witness today, they sure had a few doozies. Join us as we have a look at some of the strangest things to ever exist in Disney history…

Aunt Jemima Pancake Race:


One of the weirder promotional stunts that was ever held at Disneyland was the annual Aunt Jemima Pancake Race. The Pancake Races were a relatively short-lived phenomenon at Disneyland. These amateur athletic events were only staged in the Park from 1957 through 1964.

 America on Parade Float with a Witch Being Dunked:


The Aluminum Pig:

This was part of the Kaiser Aluminum attraction in Tomorrowland at Disneyland until July 1960. The mascot of this exhibit was KAP, the Kaiser Aluminum Pig, which is a reference to pig aluminum (the unmilled rough form of aluminum).

The Crane Bathroom:

Sponsored and installed by Crane Plumbing Company, their handout brochure boasted, “This fabulous bathroom, actually designed for the future, is available for your home today!”
Located in the same building as the Hall of Chemistry and Hall of Aluminum, the Bathroom of Tomorrow (built only to be seen, not used) featured a wide array of modern conveniences. The fixtures, styled by celebrity industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, were a vibrant citrus yellow (the ones that weren’t plated in 24-karat gold, that is). Because this was an unusual exhibit, it called for an unusual dedication. Instead of a formal ribbon cutting, Walt was joined by Dreyfuss and Crane Co. President Frank F. Elliot for a fun valve-turning ceremony.

Fishing in Frontierland:

Walt Disney doing a little fishing.

In Disneyland’s early days, the Rivers of America were stocked with fish. Kids could rent a rod and, if lucky, catch a fish to take home! That attraction was phased out, fairly early on.

A Silly Symphony Character Line Up:

During the 1930’s, Mickey Mouse Clubs were organized by local movie theater owners and allowed to come up with their own promotions. The picture above is one of the results.

Pinocchio and Edward G. Robinson:

During the 1940’s the studio tried to get creative in promoting new releases. Above is a publicity shot with a Marionette and a gangster.

100 Little People Dressed as Pinocchio:

For the premiere of the film, 100 little people were dressed as Pinocchio  and placed on the top of a marquee.

Scary Minnie Mouse:

One of the original Minnie Mouse costumes used in Disneyland’s early days…hope you don’t have any small children around while looking at this one.

Big Headed Mickey and Minnie:

Here are a couple of costumes of Minnie and Mickey that followed the “scary” ones. A step in the rite direction but definitely a part of Weird Disney history.

The Three Little Scary Pigs:

“Hi kids..we’re the three little pigs…can we have a hug…”

The White Rabbit:

Walt Disney riding with Alice and, what can only be described as the Donnie Darko Rabbit. Between the scary rabbit and the terrifying Minnie Mouse behind him, I think Walt may have needed a new pair of pants that day.

The Main Street Phantom of the Opera:

“Oh look little Jimmy this is Main Street, USA and over there is….RUN!!!!!”

Believe it or not there was once a Phantom of the Opera character haunting the Main Street Cinema in Disneyland’s early days.

The Space Family:


 Tomorrowland’s own Space Family.

The Dairy Bar:


Not a lot of info is available on this particular “exhibit” in Tomorrowland, other than its operating dates of January 21, 1956 to September 1, 1958. One thing we can assume is that Walt needed some cash and the American Dairy Association stepped up to the plate. Using the slogan, “Today’s Food Builds Tomorrow’s Man,” Disney was able to justify the presence of this exhibit in the middle of Tomorrowland. Guests could see what future farming might be like before partaking of a glass of “Nature’s most nearly perfect food” at the Dairy Bar.

Well there you have it folks, some of the weirdest ideas and creations that have come out of the Disney company. Do you have some other weird Disney history you think should have made the list? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

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Major Disney Avenue Update: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

By Keith Mahne

Big news is coming out of Disney’s Hollywood Studios today. It seems some HIGH profile Disney executives were seen walking around the park. Continue after the page break for more on this developing story…

Disney executives seen inside Hollywood studios include WDI Chief Creative Executive – Bruce Vaughn, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts – Tom Staggs, Disney’s Hollywood Studios VP – Dan Cockerell, WDI VP – Kathy Mangum, Walt Disney World President – George Kalogridis, and perhaps most the most popular, John Lasseter – Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering.

We can now definitely assume that a much needed and MAJOR Pixar related attraction is coming to Hollywood Studios. My guess is on either Cars Land or the rumored Monsters Inc. roller coaster.

One other important piece of information is that permit paperwork has been filed simply titled, ‘Project 3 – DHS Soundstage 1 Renovation.’ The permits do not give away any details, other than the expiration date of 9/30/2016, and that contractor Whiting Turner will be involved in the project. That particular contractor has been involved with Disney attractions in the past, and a long expiration date for the permit suggests something on a large scale is about to take shape. Stay tuned to Disney Avenue for more…
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A Disneyland Fan Who is Interested in Walt Disney World

By Mark Landucci

”Disneyland is way too small….” “Disney World doesn’t even have the Matterhorn…” “I’d never go to Disney World, it’s way too hot and humid….” “Disneyland doesn’t even have the PeopleMover anymore….”

I’ve never quite understood this division of fans between the parks. I’ve read articles and listened to podcasts where people say something that discredits the other park. I’d like to think that comments like these are good hearted, but I get the impression that hardcore fans of either park are speaking from the heart. If there are sides, then I’m on the Disneyland side. No question. But I don’t think there needs to be sides. I think both parks are important and both have wonderful things to offer. I’m going to discuss a few things about Disney World that intrigue me. Continue after the page break for more…..shall you??

…What’s this you say? A Disneylander who is interested in Disney World? Yes. To set the facts straight, I’ve been Disney World twice, during my visit in 1987, I was 15 then. We had a three-day park hopper ticket for both Disney World and Epcot. Besides a now defunct water park (River Country), that’s all that was out there when I was there. I did buy the large park maps and I did study them. That was that. I had no real interest in Disney World and really didn’t consider going there ever again.
But as of late, I’ve had a change of heart in regards to the Magic Kingdom. To be truthful, the term “Magic Kingdom” has been used for both parks, but in recent years, this term has been more aligned with Walt Disney World. In this article, when referring to the Magic Kingdom, I am referencing Walt Disney World.
So, as a true Disneylander, here are some things that really intrigue me about the Magic Kingdom and what may someday, lead me back there.
Fort Wilderness
I really don’t need the luxuries that the Grand Floridian or the Contemporary offer. I will say that they do look beautiful and enticing, but not really something that would draw me over there. At least to me, we have equal amenities here….. So, I stumble across the place called Fort Wilderness. What’s this all about? I can camp or rent a cabin or stay in a lodge? There’s a hiking trail? I can rent bicycles? A nightly campfire? A hay ride? And what’s this Trails End Restaurant all about? A live musical show called Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue? An all you can eat BBQ? Volleyball? Swimming? Are you kidding me?? Wow. Where do I sign up for this? Where do I pay?? We have nothing like this here. Not even an inkling. Er…we have the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ inside the park, but that’s it.

I would immediately book a cabin and set up my ‘basecamp’ from Fort Wilderness to experience the Magic Kingdom. However, I think I would find myself wanting to explore this part of the property more than I would enjoy exploring other areas. If I went, I would definitely skip the firework show and head back to Fort Wilderness and experience the campfire and other night time activities. I’m not sure if some of these activities are more geared towards children, but I don’t care! I’d happily want to check this out. There’s something that’s pure and organic about this concept that really speaks to me.
New Fantasyland
While Fantasyland may be the happiest of all the lands and has also been referred to as the heart of the park, I’d want to experience a new version of this. Our Fantasyland was reconstructed in 1983 and for the most part, this version is all I know. And of all the lands at Disneyland, this one seems to generate the most memories and establishes a connection between the young and the old. Our version is the only one that has Storybook Land Canal Boats and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. To me, these are game changers and make our version stand out. Yet, after seeing pictures and videos of the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, I want to go there!! I like the theming and layout of the attractions and I’d want to make mental notes and compare/contrast between the two versions. If I’m to be truthful, I’d love to see all four versions and compare them again each other (what’s the Haunted Mansion doing in Fantasyland in Tokyo Disneyland???) But back to the Magic Kingdom, I want to see what this Enchanted Forest is all about and why something like that couldn’t exist at Disneyland.
Now, with the addition of the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, this only adds to my curiosity. Of course, I’m a bit envious that this attraction isn’t at Disneyland. While I understand that this is a family coaster, I think I’d enjoy the theming and queuing area just as much.
Liberty Square
This unique land, while perhaps comparable to our New Orleans Square, offers a glimpse into a historic era of American History. This history is so important that I wish all the parks had this land. I wonder if some of the theming from this land was taken from our proposed Edison Square. Either way, I get the sense that this land would be beautiful during the fall, perhaps even enhanced at night. And the Haunted Mansion feels right at home. Despite some reviews, I’d be curious to try such restaurants like the Liberty Tree Tavern and the Columbia Harbour House. I’m guessing the Liberty Tree Tavern would be more of a formal eating establishment, but I’m not sure. However, I would definitely enjoy experiencing these places. Come to think of it, there are a few restaurants in the Magic Kingdom that I would really enjoy trying.

In closing, I honestly think that both parks offer a unique guest experience and both offer their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps whatever weaknesses each park has, the other has in their strengths. And I know that different aspects of either park will appeal to different people for different reasons. We don’t have all the options that the Magic Kingdom has to offer, but we have other things that cannot be replicated at any of the parks. To that end, I’m definitely a Disneylander but am keeping an open mind…see you soon.

Walt Disney’s Airplane

By Keith Mahne

If you’ve ever experienced The Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, chances are you’ve seen “The Mouse” – a white airplane with a Mickey Mouse icon on its tail. As the tour says, this airplane was used to fly Walt Disney on secret scouting missions over Central Florida when he was looking for the perfect spot to build a second theme park. Continue after the page break for a look inside Walt’s plane…

I’ve always been intrigued by this airplane and the important role it had in Disney history. Walt purchased the Grumman Gulfstream 1 (G1) in 1964, and worked with his wife, Lillian, to select the plane’s interior design and color scheme. (Remember, this was 1960s fashion!). The plane seated 15 and featured a galley, two couches and a desk. Walt even designed his own special seat in the plane, which was in the rear left cabin. The seat was equipped with a special altimeter and air-speed gauge, which Walt added to satisfy his endless curiosity about flying.

The plane’s first trips took Walt and his Imagineers to and from California and New York to oversee the final preparations for Disney’s contributions to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Later that year, Walt began surveying land in Central Florida, considering the site a possibility for his second theme park. (On a side note, the picture of Walt below is one of the very last photos taken of him and is also one of the only times Walt walked on WDW property!)

The plane also led Walt to find inspiration for the look of one classic Disney attraction. According to Mark Malone, son of Walt’s Pilot Chuck Malone, Walt spotted El Morro fortress while flying over San Juan, Puerto Rico, and remarked that it would be the perfect look for his new Pirates of the Caribbean, which at the time was still in the planning phase.

Flight Log from January 1966

Pictured above is a rare look at one of the flight logs used during a trip Walt embarked on for a cross country effort to enlist industry participation in his Epcot dream project in January 1966. He gathered up seven Disney Legends to fly with him on the company plane. The list included Joe Fowler, Joe Potter, Marc Davis, Roger Broggie, Bob Gurr, Lee Adams, and Steve Mulle. Could you imagine being on the plane that day? What a dream come true that would be!

In addition to taking Walt on his secret trips, the plane also took Disney characters on goodwill tours and visits to children’s hospitals around the United States. An estimated 83,000 passengers have flown aboard the plane, including Disney animators and several famous faces, including former Presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, as well as Disney Legends Julie Andrews and Annette Funicello just to name a few.

The airplane’s last flight took place Oct. 8, 1992, when it touched down on World Drive, west of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and was added to The Backlot Tour. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,’script’,’//’,’ga’); ga(‘create’, ‘UA-52889002-1’, ‘auto’); ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four. 

Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true every day.

You can find all of Keith’s articles here.

CalArts: Where Imagineers Are Born

By Keith Mahne

Picture a place with maze-like hallways. You walk through those hallways, passing cubicles filled with art supplies and artwork. Photographs and doodles fill in the blanks to reveal the style and personality of the occupant. Sometimes the cubicles are the size of a broom closet, and sometimes as large as a walk-in. If you continue, you might come across a wood shop, or a sculpture studio, or a room filled with computers. Pass the library, and at certain times of the day you might hear a string trio playing bluegrass music. Perhaps you thought you were observing Imagineers in action while on a tour of 1401 Flower Street, Imagineering Headquarters in Glendale, California. Wrong. It happens all day, every day in Valencia, at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Continue after the page break as we have a look at the place Imagineers are born…

Walt Disney with founding trustee Lulu May von Hagen observing “The
CalArts Story” featurette which was to be screened before “Mary Poppins.”

CalArts and WDI go back a long way and there are many similarities between the two organizations. Before his death, Walt Disney provided much of the funding which made the school possible. Disney artists from WED helped out with the DAFCA (Disney Artists For CalArts) program, which focused attention on CalArts through a yearly art show that raised thousands of dollars for the school’s scholarship fund.

DAFCA Committee (left to right): Marty and Leah Sklar, Harrison and Anne Price, Sharon Disney Brown, Richard and Ann Irvine, Marvin and Marjorie (Walt’s niece) Davis, Thomas and Tommie (Walt’s personal secretary) Wilck

Both CalArts and WED had to struggle through a mire of skepticism to get where they are today. WED’s initial hurdle was building Disneyland, an entirely new concept, which many people predicted would fail before it even opened. CalArts was known for controversial approaches to teaching the arts, instead of its revolutionary approach to interdisciplinary study in the arts.

Rarely-seen 1964 photo from the Los Angeles Times of Walt visiting an early version of the California Institute of Arts (CalArts).

Walt envisioned a place where artists would be free to create, and from that point of view, CalArts was an immediate success. Walt believed that a willingness to risk failure is essential to pushing the limits of creativity. That is the credo of CalArts.

The CalArts graduating class of 1975. Back row: Joe Lanzisero, Darrell Van Citters, Brett Thompson, John Lasseter, Leslie Margolin, Mike Cedeno, Paul Nowak, and Nancy Beiman. Center row: Jerry Rees, Bruce Morris, instructor Elmer Plummer, Brad Bird, and Doug Lefler. Front row: Harry Sabin & John Musker.

Teamwork is paramount at CalArts just as it is at Imagineering. Former Imagineer Tim Delaney told me while being interviewed for the Disney Avenue Podcast that there were occasions where someone didn’t last as an Imagineer because he or she couldn’t work well with others. Walt wanted CalArts to be about teamwork and he firmly believed artists should interact with other artists as they do in making a film or creating a park attraction. At CalArts, dancers work with musicians and production designers work with actors. WDI does the same.

Ron Miller (far left in a black suit), Lillian Disney (in red) and Roy E. Disney
(in grey) join Lulu May von Hagen at the official CalArts groundbreaking
ceremony in 1969.

Both WDI and CalArts face similar challenges in the future. WDI must continue to implement ground breaking and unique experiences and attractions for guests, while retaining its small, campus-like culture. CalArts must expand, while preserving the low student/faculty ratio which has attracted so many talented artists. One of the strategies for meeting these challenges is a commitment to change.  All Imagineers are familiar with Walt’s Disneyland philosophy: “It’s something that will never be finished.” CalArts also seems dedicated to maintain an environment which will continue to challenge its students.

Walt in his, “Workshop away from work.”

Walt’s idea of CalArts wasn’t to define art as this or that, but instead to create a giant laboratory where things might happen. That’s an idea similar to his feelings toward Imagineering: “WED is my backyard laboratory. My workshop away from work.”

And now enjoy The CalArts Story, the short film that was originally presented at the 1964 gala premiere of Mary Poppins and doubled as a fundraiser for the then-recently incorporated CalArts:


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A Rare Look at EPCOT Center’s First Nighttime Spectacular

By Keith Mahne

Carnival de Lumiere was the very first nighttime spectacular at Epcot. It was a presentation using rear projection screens on barges floating on the World Showcase Lagoon. Between the projection barges were fireworks barges controlled by Apple Computers. The show could be viewed only from points between Mexico and Canada. It lasted just a few months before being replaced by A New World Fantasy. Continue after the page break for some rare 1982 press shots that gives us a look at one of EPCOT Center’s shortest lived shows: Carnival de Lumière…

Ticket to the first viewing of Carnival de Lumière

The precursor to the now famous line of IllumiNations shows, Carnival was rather basic, in the fact that it only preformed on the entrance part of World Showcase Promenade. Instead of the quadrant of barges that form a loop in the center of World Showcase Lagoon, as in IllumiNations, Carnival had a fan of three barges that stretched from Mexico to Canada, much in the same way Disneyland’s World of Color is preformed today. The barges were solely for the purposes of projecting imagery onto large screens of misted water, a precursor to Laserphonic Fantasy employing actual lasers to paint bright shapes and images on larger curtains of water.

Pyrotechnics, meanwhile, were launched from smaller barges in between the fountain barges, and provided for a seamless line of spectacle across the northern shores of World Showcase Lagoon. The pyro effects weren’t as large as today’s presentations, but an assortment of comets, bursts, and streamers were used to accent the musical score. Although there are no known recordings of the score, we can assume that it was much like Laserphonic Fantasy’s: the original IllumiNations score, but under the guise of a heavy synthesizer.

Carnival de Lumière was the first EPCOT Center night show that used the classical music of the nations of World Showcase, and the technical wizardry of Future World. It was the perfect event for the grand and inspiring showcase that EPCOT Center is.

Below is a video from October 1986 featuring the Laserphonic Fantasy show to give you an idea what the Carnival de Lumière was like:

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The Letter That Started It All

By Keith Mahne

People often wonder which piece of Disney history is the most significant. The answer always has to be Walt’s October 16, 1923 handwritten letter that announces the start of the Walt Disney Company. Each year the Company celebrates October 16th as it’s birthday; the day Walt Disney founded the company when he was just 21 years old. Today you’ll get to see and read that handwritten letter Walt sent to Virginia Davis’ parents officially starting the Walt Disney Company…

21 year-old Walt Disney directs a live-action sequence for an ALICE comedy not on a Hollywood backlot, but on a dirt lot not far from his Uncle Robert’s house. From left, Virginia’s father, Walt Disney, Virginia Davis, and Roy O. Disney on camera. Close inspection of the original photograph reveals a large split in Walt’s right shoe; he was flat broke.
In October of 1923, Walt Disney was flat broke and living in a room at his Uncle Robert’s house in Hollywood. He had left Kansas City a few months earlier after declaring his Laugh-O-Grams company bankrupt. He didn’t even have the cash to finish the “Alice” comedy demo film he had begun. Not ALICE IN WONDERLAND, but the adventures of a live-action little girl named Alice set in a cartoon world. The 4 year- old girl who played Alice, Virginia Davis, stayed back in Kansas City when the bankrupt and discouraged Walt Disney turned his back on animation and hopped a train for Hollywood. But after not finding work as a live-action director in Hollywood, Walt reconsidered the animation field, and desperately sent the half-completed “ALICE” film to distributors as a sample of his ability. 
Walt had no way of knowing it in advance, but October 16th was to be the day the magic started. That was the day Walt received a telegram from Felix the Cat film distributor Margaret Winkler, agreeing to distribute a series of Walt Disney Alice comedies, as long as the same little girl, Virginia Davis, starred. The Disney Studio was in business! Walt immediately pulled out his “Walt Disney, Cartoonist” letterhead, which his brother Roy had loaned him $10 to have printed, and feverishly wrote a letter to the parents of the little girl in fountain pen being that Walt couldn’t afford a typewriter.
Below you can read the three page letter that contains misspelled words as Walt had only attended one year of high school, but he more than makes up for it in enthusiastic Disney persuasiveness:

About a week later, Walt writes a follow-up letter, outlining the terms of Davis’ employment.
He spells out exactly how much she will be paid:

Famous Disney collector and seller Phil Sears purchased these directly from Virginia Davis early in the 1990’s. She was living in Orange County, California, and he had heard that she was looking to sell her Walt Disney items and move to Idaho. She was thinking of auctioning them through one of the major auction houses. Phil told her to get the auction estimates from the firms she was considering, and he’d beat their highest estimate as Sears really wanted those letters and understandably so. The auction estimates came in, and he did as he said by making an offer that topped the high estimates. When else would he get the opportunity to own the letters that founded the Disney Company? Think about this, every character, from Mickey Mouse to Ariel, every film, from Snow White to Frozen, every theme park, from Disneyland to Walt Disney World and Tokyo and Paris, sprung from that day in October of 1923 when Walt (thankfully) failed to find work as a movie director and fell back on animation, forming one of the most influential companies the world has ever known.

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Disney Avenue Podcast – Show #4 – Jim Korkis Interview

On this episode of the Disney Avenue Podcast, host Keith Michael Mahne has a wonderful conversation with famous author, Disney historian and the “go to” guy on Walt and all things Disney for that matter, Mr. Jim Korkis. Jim has one of the best personalities around and is full of fantastic stories and insights on Walt and the company. Be sure not to pass this one up…

After you listen to the show please make sure to check out Jim’s wonderful books at and Amazon.



The Disney Avenue Podcast would like to thank Geren Piltz and Brian Vermillion for their contributions to this show!
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Walt Disney Goes To War

By Keith Mahne

Between 1942 and 1945, during World War II, everyone was behind the war effort. Walt Disney and the Studios was no exception. To help the Allied cause, Disney Studios produced a variety of wartime shorts… both education and entertainment in nature. Some taught you how to aim an anti-tank rifle… and others were a little more fun to watch. Continue after the page break as we learn how Walt Disney went to war…

During World War II, Disney made films for every branch of the U.S. military and government. The government looked to Walt Disney more than any other studio chief as a builder of public morale providing instruction and training the sailors and soldiers. This was accomplished through the use of animated graphics by means of expediting the intelligent mobilization of servicemen and civilians for the cause of the war. Over 90% of Disney employees were devoted to the production of training and propaganda films for the government. Throughout the duration of the war, Disney produced over 400,000 feet of educational war films, most at cost, which is equal to 68 hours of continuous film. In 1943 alone, 204,000 feet of film was produced.

In 1942, Disney was approached with requests from the U.S. services. The Navy was the first, and other branches of the government, including the Army, the Army Air Forces, the Department of Agriculture, and the Treasury Department rapidly caught on to Disney’s creative approach to generating educational films, propaganda and insignias.

As well as producing films for different government divisions from 1942 to 1943, Disney was asked to create animation for a series of pictures produced by Colonel Frank Capra for the U.S. Army. This series included films such as “Prelude to War” and “America goes to War”. Although these films were originally intended for servicemen, they were released to theaters because of their popularity.



The Navy productions:


The Navy first requested 90,000 feet of film to be ready in three months. The purpose of these films was to educate sailors on navigation tactics. This was a shock for Disney, as he was used to creating 27,000 feet of film in a year.

The Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs also requested educational films for aviation branches of the government. The subjects of these films varied widely from aerology and not compact tactics to ground crew aircraft maintenance.



The Treasury Department productions:

Disney created “The New Spirit” (1942) after a request from the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr, to make Americans accept the payment of income taxes. The film was followed by “The Spirit of ’43” (1943). In this film, Donald Duck deals with income taxes and shows their benefit to the American war effort. The film was seen by 26 million people. In a later Gallup poll 37% admitted that the film played a factor on their willingness to pay taxes. Disney also made a book for children to try to encourage them to purchase War Savings stamps.




The Army Air Forces (USAAF or AAF) :


Aerology film production was supervised by naval aviation experts and some members of Disney’s team learned how to fly to better understand the problems the Army Air Forces encountered. “Victory Through Air Power” (1943) is one of the propaganda films Disney produced for air warfare. This film is an attempt to sell Major Alexander de Seversky’s theories about the practical uses of long range strategic bombing. The animated film humorously tells about the development of air warfare and then switches to the Major illustrating how his ideas could win the war for the Allies.



Propaganda productions:


As requested by the US Government, Disney Studios created a number of anti-German and anti-Japanese films for both the soldiers and the US public made to portray these countries and their leaders as manipulative without morals. A few of the films he produced were “Der Fuehrer’s Face” (1942), “Education for Death – The Making of a Nazi” (1943), and “Commando Duck” (1944).

In “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” Donald Duck breaks down after experiencing a nightmare where he has to make do with eating ridiculous Nazi food rations (smell of bacon and eggs, coffee made with one bean, and a slice of stale bread) and experiences a day at a Nazi artillery factory. “Education for Death – The Making of a Nazi” was a wartime propaganda film that takes on the perspective of Hans, a young German boy. As the movie progresses and Hans is exposed to Hitler youth and the Nazi culture, his ability to value human life decreases. In “Commando Duck”, Donald, by himself, destroys an entire Japanese airbase.


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