Director: Jack King
Release Date: May 1, 1942
Stars: Donald Duck, Pete
Donald Duck was the fourth of these to support the war effort on the big screen, following Porky Pig, Barney Bear and Popeye, who had joined the army and navy, respectively, in July (‘Meet John Doughboy’) and November 1941 (‘The Rookie Bear, ‘The Mighty Navy’). Moreover, Popeye had already engaged the enemy in February in ‘Blunder Below‘. Donald was soon followed by Pluto (May 22), and Woody Woodpecker (June).
In ‘Donald Gets Drafted’, Donald enthusiastically signs up for the army, because he wants to fly, especially after seeing posters of very attractive air hostesses in uniform. His rather naive enthusiasm soon is lowered, when he first has to go through a rather rude medical examination only to end up in the infantry, where he’s bullied by sergeant Pete. Donald doesn’t make a very good soldier, much to Pete’s frustration, and ends up peeling potatoes.
‘Donald Gets Drafted’ is the first of six Donald Duck cartoons devoted to Donald’s career in the army. It introduces Pete as Donald’s sergeant, a role he would fulfill in three other of these war cartoons. The Donald Duck army cartoons are noteworthy for their ambiguous propaganda. Donald is far from a model soldier, and the cartoons makes quite some fun of the army superiors, in the form of Pete. It’s difficult to see them as army advertisements. Moreover, five of the six cartoons are devoted to Donald’s timid life at the training camp. Only in his last war cartoon, ‘Commando Duck’ (1944) would Donald leave American soil to kill some enemies.
With its humor being still quite mild, ‘Donald Gets Drafted’ is not the funniest of Donald’s army cartoons. It is noteworthy, however, for revealing that Donald Duck’s second name is Fauntleroy.
Watch ‘Donald Gets Drafted’ yourself and tell me what you think: