Poster

Donald Gets Drafted

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : May 1, 1942

Running Time : 8:53

Synopsis

Donald does his patriotic duty when he recieves his draft notice and enlists in the army. The first of Donald's "Army" pictures follows him though his induction medical exam and boot camp.

Characters

Pete
Donald Duck
Seven Dwarves

Credits

Director
Jack King
Animation
Paul Allen
Story
Carl Barks
Jack Hannah

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions II : An Officer and a Duck
France
Donald Vedette de Television
Italy
Paperino Marmittone
La Storia de Paperino

Laserdiscs

United States
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions II : An Officer and a Duck
Japan
This is Your Life Donald Duck

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : On the Front Lines
Disney Treasures : Wave 5 : The Chronological Donald Volume 2
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 5 : The Chronological Donald Volume 2

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 31: The Unseen Disney

Technical Specification

Color Type: Technicolor
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Comments

  • In this short we learn Donald's middle name, printed on his draft notice, "Fauntelroy."

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : World War II was becoming more and more a part of American life in 1942, after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. The Disney studio became part of that effort, turning out shorts that dealt with war stories and themes. The first of those in their regular release pattern (outside the Canadian shorts) is Donald Gets Drafted.

The fantastic thing about this short is that Disney is not using it as propaganda, although it’s clear that is what it’s “supposed” to be. You would imagine a propaganda short would glamorize the Army lifestyle and show people the great things about joining the Army.

That’s not the case here, although Donald thinks so at the beginning. All sorts of posters line the streets, encouraging him to join the Armed Forces. Donald even inserts himself into one poster, thinking that he would be the one between two fine looking maidens. Donald quickly gets the idea that he wants to be a pilot.

His experiences in the enlistment office, though, are quite different. Despite his stated preference, the doctors and draft board officials poke and prod him, in some of the funniest scenes ever featuring Donald. I loved watching him get thrown around the office and eventually being thrown into the worst fitting uniform ever.

I have to mention the music, too. Throughout the short, there is a constant song “The Army’s Not The Army Anymore” that extols the virtues of the “modern” Army. The song mentions over and over again how things are different and that people aren’t yelling and screaming at you. As you can imagine, this serves very much as the counterpoint to what is happening in the short, just like the narration in the Goofy “How To” series.

Donald’s drill instructor turns out to be none other than Pete, Mickey’s old nemesis. You can imagine how that will turn out. Donald’s desire to go and fly interferes with his compliance with orders, with predictable results.

You see what I mean about not glamorizing Army life? It’s a clever approach, because the viewer can blame Donald for making mistakes, rather than assuming the Army is to blame. That makes Donald Gets Drafted a very effective way to promote the war effort without straying too far from what made Disney so special.


From Tom Wilkins : In the days before the worldwide slogan "be all you can be" became the Army's commercialized slogan, Donald decides to give the Army a shot so that he could help destroy Der Fuerher and his forces. His full name, Donald Fauntelroy Duck, is shown on the title screen. Donald gazes at all the signs promoting positive patriotism and fighting the war - however, just as anyone else, there is a process you have to go through before you can put on a uniform, as Donald is about to find out.

Donald comes marching into the draft board wanting to fly and shows the army general his intentions physically. He is extremely hesitant to do anything - so he asks Donald to sign his name on a form and then tells him he needs to have a physical examination. So, Donald proceeds through the back door for his physical. Donald is then measured and checked up from head to toe, even though he could not tell the difference between the colors green and blue (even though the questions were a complete joke). He then gets measured for his uniform and hat size - the doctors use an oversized uniform, throw water on it, and the uniform consequently shrinks. As soon as he gets his stamp of approval (on his rear), you would think Donald would get a chance to fly. Not quite.

Donald looks up at the planes in the sky and mumbles in frustration how much he wants to fly. So, as he is marching, we hear Sergeant Peg Leg (Pete) tell Donald to get back in formation. He yells "halt", but Donald ignroes the commands and ends up halting (after the second command) at the front of the line. The comedy starts here, and this would make even Hitler laugh ... sort of.

Donald is given an "about face" command and slices the tie off of Sergeant Peg Leg with his weapon. Peg Leg then dismisses the company and keeps Donald for so-called special training. He then shouts out more commands - and Donald clumsily is twisted the entire time ... tearing off part of his hat and progressively frustrating Pete in the process. Pete then says to Donald that "you're no soldier" and slaps him around a bit, causing Donald to bark back, "I quit!" The only problem is, you're not allowed to quit once you're in the army. So, Peg leg takes off his uniform and threatens to knock Donald out with a pair of brass knuckles. Donald obviously takes back what he says.

Peg Leg tells him that he has to learn discipline, so he yells the "attention" command to Donald and he complies, so Peg Leg tells him not to move a muscle. The only problem is, Donald is standing over an antfarm so it would be next to impossible to stay still with the number of ants that were about to land on him. One ant crawls to Donald's beak but gets knocked off by his sweat. After several attempts by Peg Leg to keep Donald at attention, the ants become too numerous for Donald to handle, and Donald goes ballistic and starts firing away at anything and everything in its path, hitting Peg Leg several times as he was running for cover up a tree. Peg Leg used his whistle hoping for Donald to stop, but resistance was simply futile at this point.

In the end, Donald gets his first discipline lesson from Sergeant Peg Leg ... he had to peel a room filled with potatoes. In frustration, Donald carves the word "phooey" out of one of the potato skins as the cartoon closes.

For Donald, it could have been worse. In one of Donald's later war cartoons Fall Out, Fall In, he had to march 50 miles to camp! What poison would you rather choose?


From Jerry Edwards : A fun early Disney World War II cartoon. I always have enjoyed the incongruity of Donald reporting to an army induction in his typical sailor suit! I much enjoyed the fun bits in the physical showing that the army would accept almost anyone during the war. Such as when the tester holds up a red card, asking "What's the color of this red card?" Donald spells out the name on the card and replies, "Red." The tester then holds up a green card, asking "What's the color of this green card?" Donald spells out the name on the card, then says "Blue." To which the tester replies, "Close enough!" I've always enjoyed the scenes in various cartoons in which Donald, who doesn't wear pants, covers his bottom half when his shirt is removed, as during this physical. That has always been very odd! Another fun bit is when the tester holds a spirit level to Donald's foot and says, "Flat feet." It was very appropriate that the first war entertainment cartoon would showcase Donald. He was very popular at that time. In fact, Donald Duck cartoons comprise over half of the war entertainment cartoons.
From Ryan : If I had to pick favorites with Donald's army shorts, this one would be it. I love the song "The Army's Not the Army Anymore," which is sung at the opening title and the beginning of the short as well as the ending. Donald is so excited about joining the army he wants to fly. I laugh at the part where Donald is getting his physical. The doctor asks him "What color is this red card?" as he shows Donald a card with the word RED printed on it. Donald reads it and gives the correct answer. Then the doctor says "And how about this green one?" Donald reads it and shouts "Blue!" (the doctor gave it away and Donald still got it wrong). The scene where he is marching at the command of drill sargent Pete is hilarious. Poor Donald has to stand still and not move a muscle while Pete gets a drink of some good 'ol H20. Unfortunately for Donald, ants crawl up his uniform and cause him to itch like the dickens. Poor Donald goes crazy and starts shooting his gun unintentionally. Well it looks like Donald has gotten his first taste of army life--and not a very good one at that. He's peeling potatoes in the mess hall. He's probably thinking "What the hell was I thinking when I wanted to join the army?"
From Daz : One of best Donald Duck cartoons of all. Donald's first war cartoon, it really captures what he is all about; bad tempered but still likeable and everything going wrong for him. This is especially true of his encounters with ants and bees.

In this short, Donald enters boot camp as he joins the army with the hope of flying. It starts with a catchy and ironic army song, as he enters the building to have his medical exam. In the exam he is tested to see whether he is suitable. Despite being color blind and too short, he gets the OK.

Donald has his first marching lesson, as he follows the other soldiers and Sgt Pete. Immediately we get the idea Donald isn't very disciplined. When Pete shouts 'halt', Donald carries on marching right into other soldiers. Pete tries to correct Donald, but to no avail. Donald even cuts Pete's tie off with his gun. Pete then gives Donald some 'Special Training' on his own. Pete gives Donald several orders, all of which he messes up. Some funny moves here. Eventually, Pete loses his cool and spins Donald like a top and in turn Donald loses his cool too. Donald yells 'I quit'. Pete threatens him with brass knuckles and so Donald takes it back and decides to comply with Pete's commands.

The next scene is where we really get to see Donald at his best. Pete shouts 'Attention', Donald does so. Pete specifically tells him not to move a muscle. Donald thinks everything is finaly going right, then ants start coming out of the ground and crawling onto Donald's legs. Donald feels them walking on him and shakes his rear. Pete shouts 'attention!' again and Donald realizes that he still has to stand still even with the itch. It is hilarious (in a cruel kind of way) watching Donald desperately trying not to move, while the ants, now on his bare lower body, crawl on him. Pete turns his back, and Donald takes the opportunity to scratch off some ants. Pete hears him, turns around, and shouts 'I said don't move!'. Donald sweats as he tries to keep still with an ever increasing number of itchy ants crawling all over him. I'm guessing Pete can see the ants, and is just being sadistic. Donald attempts to flick off some ants with his tail was one ant climbs on his beak and gets hit by a ball of sweat. Donald fails to stop the ants from becoming so numerous that he loses control and runs around with his gun firing in all directions, but Pete's in particular.

Donald gets Potato Duty. End.


From Lars Andersen : A little inside knowledge: I am fairly sure that the officer in the drafting office is Carl Barks. We don't see his face, but Barks always drew himself with red hair, and big ears.
From Baruch Weiss : "The Army's not the army anymore, it's better than it's been before!" Don't believe everything ya hear Donald! The Army is about much more than flying!
From j.p.hope : I like it when the ants drive Donald crazy when Donald duck runs around Pete and, if you look closely, notices the ants on Donald's rear end. I also like it when Donald fires the gun and scares Pete up a tree, and I also like it when Pete's endless whistling doesn't stop Donald from going insane!

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