Dr. Seuss, Frank Capra And Bugs Bunny Once Collaborated On Classified (And Raunchy) War Cartoons

Dr. Seuss, Frank Capra and Mel Blanc - the Bugs Bunny voice actor who was born 99 years ago today - once teamed up to produce classified war cartoons for the American troops during World War II. And since they were for both classified and restricted to adults only, the 27 cartoons they made for the army were risqué - even by today's standards.

The animated initiative was launched by Capra, who chaired the First Motion Picture Unit of the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. Their mission was to explain concepts like spies, censorship and booby traps to average American soldiers who might not understand why it was important to remain vigilant at all times.

So Capra turned to Captain Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) to write cartoon shorts that would educate and entertain the troops. The series was called Private Snafu (punning on the military acronym 'situation normal all fucked up'). Snafu, who looked like a young Elmer Fudd but talked like Bugs Bunny, was a bumbling soldier whose mistakes showed real-life servicemen what not to do during the war. Sorta like the Don't Do What Donny Don't Does of its day.  

You can see Seuss' influence in the rhyming short 'Spies' (1943), which features Snafu besieged by Axis informants - including the mounted heads of moose with swastika antlers and the femme fatale with Nazi-branded radio transmitters in the cups of her bra. 

And the short on booby traps is downright bawdy - from Snafu trying to milk the metal nubs of a contact mine, to hanging out with a harem of booby-trapped mannequins (and groping the bombs stashed in their backsides). At one point, Snafu even tries to puff on a hookah stuffed with TNT.


Aside from raunchy jokes, the other common element in the shorts were racist depiction of America's enemies - especially the Japanese, which was unfortunately common in war-era propaganda.

Since the war ended, the cartoons have been declassified and placed in the public domain. So you can see many of them via the US National Archives' official YouTube channel


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