Poster

Spare the Rod

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : January 15, 1954

Running Time : 6:45

Synopsis

Donald has the same old problem dealing with his three troublesome nephews, and is torn between using psychology or losing his temper.

Characters

Donald Duck
Huey, Dewey and Louie
Voice of Child Psychology
Pygmy Cannibals

Credits

Director
Jack Hannah
Animation
Volus Jones
Bill Justice
George Kreisl
Bob Carlson
Backgrounds
Ray Huffine
Effects Animation
Dan MacManus
Layout
Yale Gracey
Story
Roy Williams
Nick George
Music
Oliver Wallace

Cut Scenes

In one of the most extreme instances of cut scenes, a group of pygmies were featured who Donald follows around thinking they are his nephews. All scenes with these pygmies were cut out leaving the entire short pretty much plotless and cut the running time down to about 3 minutes.

Video

Germany
Alle Enten Fertig ... Los!
France
Donald Se Fache!
Italy
Vita da Paperi

Laserdiscs

Japan
Goin' Quackers

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 8 : The Chronological Donald Volume 4

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 30: 50's Donald

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

Comments

From Jerry Edwards : Although this is a generally entertaining Donald versus his nephews short, there are some extras that make this a very unusual short. The most obvious, for those few who have seen the uncensored original, is the seriously blatant racial caricatures of the African cannibals. 1954 was very late for cartoons to still be containing such black stereotypes. Another unusual part is the small "child psychologist" duck who appears near Donald's head and advises him to use "child psychology" in dealing with his nephews. The cartoon starts with Donald using his typical strong arm tactics to try to get his nephews to do their chores - they keep sneaking off to play games, like "Indians on the warpath." The "child psychologist" convinces Donald to join in the games, using the game to get the nephews to do their chores. Complicating matters are the cannibals, who have escaped from a circus. They spot Donald and think he would make great duck stew. Donald mistakes the cannibals as his nephews playing games and plays along until one of the cannibals bites Donald to "taste" him. Donald loses his temper and takes the cannibal out to the woodshed. The cannibals take off and Donald, seeing his nephews, angrily chases them back to doing their chores. Donald then takes the "child psychologist" to the woodpile.

Disney completely botches the censored version of this short - deleting all scenes of the cannibals and making the short impossible to follow. Instead of reducing a 6 minute short (not counting credits) to a 2.5 minute disaster - Disney should have just not shown the short at all if they wanted to censor it.

The entire short depends on the weak premise that Donald mistakes the cannibals as his nephews as disguise - very weak.

I rate the overall original short a "6" but the censored version is a "1".


From Ryan : Most people who have seen this cartoon probably have no idea that it is edited. I certainly didn't (but did realize it was unusually short for your average cartoon short) until reading the info on this website. Seeing how I have never seen the full uncensored version, I can't really say much about it. I do agree with the previous comments on this page that if Disney couldn't show the pygmy cannibal scenes, then they shouldn't have shown this short at all. That would have been a lot better than editing it into a 3 minute cartoon that doesn't make much sense (how the heck did Donald wind up in that pot on the fire). I do, however, find the child psychology duck to be funny.
From Candy : I have never seen the unedited version of this cartoon. Not knowing it was edited, it never bothered me that it seemed especially short. I don't know how one would go about finding it in its original form. I remember seeing it in an episode of Walt Disney Presents, when it was in black and white and Walt introduced the show. This was back when the Disney Channel used to play all the old Disney shows. So this cartoon has been censored as far back as the original Disney TV show...or so it seems that way.

What I thought was interesting about the cartoon was the psychology-vs.-discipline scenario. Other cartoons from the same period also depicted this kind of thing. I always got the impression that the cartoon makers, Disney included, were making fun of the idea of child psychology. They all grew up with corporal punishment and it was a normal, accepted thing at the time. They seemed to be saying that using psychology on kids was a waste of time and that the only way to get them to behave was to spank them. Even the title of the cartoon was a take-off on the old expression, "Spare the rod and spoil the child." In these kinds of cartoons, child psychology always lost to corporal punishment. This kind of cartoon would never be made today. It depicted racial stereotypes that had to be cut out and it seemed to endorse spanking.


From Rich : I am lucky enough to have an uncensored version of this, and it is artistically clever if unfortunately racist, although when I was younger I used to wonder why "man eating cannibals" were so interested in Donald (duck)! It will be interesting to see if this gets a special Leonard Maltin intro on the forthcoming DVD, or if it will be suppressed like the Song of the South animations.
From Baruch Weiss : I've had the pleasure of seeing an uncensored version of this cartoon on youtube and on DVD and like the other two people who sent in their comments I agree that if Disney did not want to show the scene's with the pigmy cannibals then this short should not of been shown at all. In fact, it's stupid to even censor it in the first place. I doubt there are pigmy cannibals today, once again the whole world has to suffer just because another group gets offended, anyway back to the short. I thought the cannibals were pretty funny, I liked it when one tries to "taste" Donald and another cannibal hits him on the head and says "No too raw, cook im!"
From Matthew Cooper : This was one of the last Donald shorts made, so the animation is very close to the style of the modern day Mickey MouseWorks shorts. The plot is great! I found it so funny when Donald thought the cannibals were Heuy, Dewey and Louie because they are full out cannibals and not the nephews in cannibal costumes, but Donald must have thought they were. Although, it is still questionable 'cos where could the boys get such authentic costumes? Also, Donald should have figured it out when the nephews (in his case) were changing back from playing Indians to playing Cannibals so quickly (shows you just how smart he is.) One thing about this short that stands out for me because it was never used in ANY other cartoon Disney made is the use of decorative title cards with opening phrases to introduce each scene. As for the censorship, I can only try to imagine it in my head because I first saw it on The Walt Disney Treasures-The Chronological Donald: Volume 4, and the cartoons are always shown in their original form on those W.D.T DVDs. However, the cartoon sounds like it wouldn't work at all and that it is butchered of it's censored that much. I am never much a fan of censorship either, but one should understand that they have to censor that type of stuff out, because there are a lot of international people living in our country now, and they might file discrimination suits against the Disney Company for offending them with stereotypes.
From J. P. Hope : I like this short because it the only appearance of "the voice of child psychology". I also like the part where the nephews steal Donald from the cannibals, the cannibals then see Donald out of the pot, the nephews see Donald missing and still in the pot, they steal him again, and this time the cannibals are shocked to see the nephews thefting Donald away. the six of them "heave ho" for Donald until the voice of child psychology realizes that the other three "nephews are actually cannibals. the voice, the three nephews run off, but Donald is still tied up. then Donald gets bitten in the foot and fights them and the cannibals run off like scardy cats.