by E.O. Costello
- UNCLE FUD
The mythical uncle of entertainer Bob Burns. Fud allegedly lived in Van Buren, Arkansas, a fact which is echoed in the map of Arkansas the Major is reading in The Major Lied Till Dawn (Tashlin, 1938). The Burns caricature in Speaking of the Weather (Tashlin, 1937) also refers to Fud, who is reportedly a good player of the bazooka.
One of the most prominent symbols of World War II standing for “Victory”. Often used was the Morse Code for V: “... ”
which, in turn, matched the rhythm of the first four notes of
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Another usage was associated with
Churchill, who gave the sign with his fingers.
symbol was in particularly heavily use in the United States during the
early months of 1942, when American morale was battered by losses at
Wake at Bataan and by Allied loses in North Africa, Hong Kong, the
Dutch East Indies, Malaysia and Singapore. The cartoons produced for
Warner Brothers reflected this, particularly in the admonition of Bugs
Bunny for the audience to keep their thumbs up at the end of Crazy Cruise (Avery/Clampett,
1942), just before the iris out on the V formed by his ears. Similar
examples appear in the V formed by the legs of the angelic (?) Nazi spy
the Missing Lynx in Confusions of a Nutzy Spy (McCabe, 1942), and on the Bundles for Bluejackets sweater the title character in The Draft Horse (Jones, 1942) knits. Ding Dog Daddy (Freleng, 1942) has a scene in which the goofy dog, voiced by Vance “Pinto” Colvig, follows his inamorata, an
iron dog -- the explanation is a bit complicated -- into an arms
factory; the smokestacks billowing out V in Morse Code while Stalling
plays Beethoven. The opening theme of the Fifth is also heard at the
very end of Hare Brained Hypnotist (Freleng, 1942) when Bugs
indicates that he is the B-19 bomber, and flies off to the airport.
Elmer Fudd sings of V for Victory at the start of The Wacky Wabbit (Clampett, 1942).
with which Marvin the Martian plans to blow up the earth with the aid
of the Illudium Pew-36 Explosive Space Modulator in Haredevil Hare (Jones,
1948). Possibly a joke based on the V-1 and V-2 rockets developed by
Nazi Germany during what was then the recently concluded Second World
War, the influence of which was still felt at the time the cartoon was
made. Note the Kilroy Was Here reference in the same cartoon.
- VALEE, RUDY
Popular Crooner on radio and in films from the early 1930s, this is the Vallee referred to in Crosby, Columbo and Vallee (Harman/Ising, 1932). A caricature of him appears in The Lady in Red (Freleng, 1935), singing “Sweet Music”. The sequence is re-used in Toytown Hall (Freleng, 1936) and along with Bing Crosby as one of the “Crooner Crooner” cigars in Wholly Smoke (Tashlin, 1938). He is also one of the radio crooners whose portrait may be seen around the radio of Katie Canary in I Only Have Eyes for You (Avery, 1937).
I would note in passing that a beautiful caricature of Vallee can be seen in the Fleischer cartoon Poor Cinderella (1934). Vallee also shows up in live action for a number Fleischer Screen Songs.
- VICTORY GARDEN
In both World Wars, Americans were encouraged to plant vegetable
gardens to assist in stretching food supplies, which millions in fact
did. Thus, jokes about Victory Gardens inevitably registered with
contemporary audiences, and were used in several cartoons. References
can be seen in Jack Wabbit and the Beanstalk (Freleng, 1943) where the Giant catches Bugs using an axe to chop down a giant carrot, A Tale of Two Kitties (Clampett, 1942) in which Babbit is seen watering a Victory Garden, and Buckaroo Bugs (Clampett,
1944) where Bugs has pinched all the carrots from the Victory Garden
maintained in a small San Fernando Alley town. A Victory Garden, fueled
by horse manure, is also seen in the Private Snafu short The Home Front (Tashlin, 1943).