© W.D.P. - Cover art by T. Hee 


Here are excerpts from Dispatch from Disney's, vol. 1, number 1,  published by the studio for employees in the services.

ORIGINAL COPYRIGHT NOTICE: "Copyright Walt Disney Productions 1943. Material may be reprinted by regularly-published periodicals; when a Disney character is reproduced, it is requested that appropriate copyright appear: © W.D.P."

MEMO: www.huemer.com is a regularly-published periodical

READ:  Daily Variety, H'wood Reporter, Louella Parsons articles reporting Disney war projects


Laughter Knows How to Fight

by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer


IN THIS war, humor and fantasy have enlisted on the side of the United Nations.  They're fighting, fighting hard--and their smash-Hitler weapon is the animated cartoon.

    No other weapon of propaganda can ridicule the Axis, expose its absurdities, as deftly. How else could inanimate objects and animals take on such unbelievable personalities and fight on our side?

   And then again there is the vividness of our form of presentation which we arrive at by the use of caricature and symbolism. To illustrate: We are faced with the problem of making a cartoon to show the deadly effect upon our war effort of loosely-wagging tongues. We cannot obviously resort to depicting live-action characters gossiping in public places while wily agents of Hitler or Hirohito gleefully take notes. So we ask ourselves, where is the symbolism in this? How can this be reduced to the least common denominator? Where are the analogies with which our audience will be as familiar as a nursery rhyme!  What was that? Did you say nursery rhyme? Why, that's it exactly!

   Now what nursery yarn approximates our problem? You guessed it! "CHICKEN LITTLE"!  A perfect example of the horrors that can happen through the spreading of false information.  Our barnyard folk will become our symbols.  In them our audience will see startling counterparts of themselves. The veriest child in the audience will get the drift and if some time after the release of the picture we should happen to overhear someone reproving someone else thus: "Aw, don't be a Chicken Little!" we will feel a little twinge of pride in the thought that we really have put our message across.

    A better example of this occurs in "REASON AND EMOTION," where we set out to show the importance of submitting enemy alarmist propaganda to the powers of reason within our minds, rather than allowing the emotions to be swayed and thrown into subsequent panic. According to this reasoning, if the German people had not allowed themselves to be overwhelmed by diabolical Nazi appeals to their primitive emotions and had only permitted their reasoning powers full sway, there probably would be no Nazi Party today.

But how to put this into a cartoon? How to reduce this rather complicated thought to symbolism and caricature? Well, not to keep you in suspense, here is what we plan to do. We intend to show a

The gentleman expressing one objective of Disney films is a combination of Joe Grant and Dick Huemer

cross-section of the human head. Here in the brain are the seats of Reason and Emotion. And they are really seats. In fact, the way we will draw them, they'll be automobile seats. In the front, or driver's seat, sits Reason, personified by a sober, intellectual-looking figure--a regular professor type. He works the controls of the human mind in much the same manner as you would operate an automobile. He is in control and all is well, for in the seat behind him sulks Emotion, personified by a swarthy, low-browed caveman sort of fellow. And that's where he belongs in the normal mind. No fair telling you what happens in that delicate piece of machinery, the human mind, when Emotion takes over.

    But if we can get people to think about those two little fellows up there in their heads, and have them ask themselves, "Wait a minute--who's driving?" whenever a crisis comes along, we will again feel that we have contributed something to the war effort. Perhaps something that no other medium could have managed quite so well.

    "EDUCATION FOR DEATH" applies satire to the German system of indoctrinating the child through the teacher.

    As for "DER FUEHRER'S FACE," we feel that a public character such as Donald Duck, writhing rebelliously in the clutches of the Nazis, will bring the situation home to every man, woman and child in this country as plainly as though they were witnessing the discomfiture of their own grand­mothers. For Donald belongs to them like a member of their own family, and we guarantee they will end up hating Hitler twenty times more than if they had gone through the same ordeal with some curly­haired hero who is, after all, merely another movie actor.

(Web Editor's Note: According to John Canemaker (Paper Dreams, Hyperion, 1999, p. 163) Huemer and Grant wrote the script for "Der Fuehrer's Face", which won an Academy award. The great propaganda song, from which the cartoon took its name, was composed by Oliver Wallace. CLICK HERE to learn how he wrote it, and to hear the song.


NOW you can see these great propaganda films on DVD! Get "Walt Disney on the Front Lines" ISBN 0-7888-5070-9, released 2004 thru Buena Vista Entertainment.

Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Hutchison, KS EARLY in WWII, Walt Disney journeyed with key employees, including RMH, to Washington DC, to meet with government officials. Disney got to speak with FDR himself. Dad met Morgenthau, then Secretary of Treasury. Dad commented upon the patriotism of Americans who heeded the call to buy War Bonds to help their nation finance the war. Morgenthau replied that the true purpose of War Bonds was to prevent inflation by withdrawing money from circulation. On the return flight, the plane was buffeted severely by a storm; my father became certain it was about to crash. I speculate that this led to his and Joe Grant's children's story about PT02L (Petey O'Toole), a plucky little plane that "flew off the beam" during a storm. The studio purchased the story and created a segment in Saludos Amigos about Little Pedro, a sassy plane that survived a fearsome storm above the Andes. --RPH



What's this? Gentle, patriotic Dick Huemer as a NAZI GENERAL?!!

Pin-Up Girls for Servicemen


A Day with Walt: sketches by Roy Williams, words by Ralph Parker

Cartoon characters © W.D.P. - CAPTIONS FOR THE ABOVE SKETCHES  -  Click image for larger picture

Walt, arriving at the studio, is greeted by a reception committee bearing messages. The army and navy join Walt at the conference table... Joe Grant, offering an idea to Walt, holds him with his electric eye while Dick Huemer prays hopefully... Walt ponders the philosophic values in a script...
--eats lunch, talking to three tables at the same time... --enjoys a quiet cigarette while his mind roves... --answers fan mail... --speaks Mickey Mouse's voice, an assignment which has always been his exclusively...
--journeys into the hall, where he is approached by persons having problems... --listens to the gang "selling" a gag in "Victory Through Air Power"... --gives careful consideration of Donald Duck's comments about his work for the day... --hitches a ride with a car pool.


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