Private Snafu “Booby Traps” (1944) – Short Film

Given that tomorrow (November 11) is Remembrance Day (UK)/Veterans’ Day (US), it feels appropriate to post this short, a favorite among US troops during World War II. Private Snafu was a series of cartoon shorts produced by Warner Bros, by commission of the US Signal Corps, from 1943 to 1945. The humorous shorts were designed to teach troops practical lessons about staying safe through the misdoings of the eponymous Private Snafu (a popular military acronym for Situation Normal – All F*ed Up). These shorts are notable not only for the great pleasure they brought the soldiers overseas, but also because of the big talents who contributed to their creation; Frank Capra created the character, Warner Bros directors Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett and Frank Tashlin all took a turn making the shorts, Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny) was the voice of Snafu, and Theodor Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) wrote the shorts along with Phil Eastman and Munro Leaf.

Booby Traps, one of twenty-six Private Snafu shorts made, is easily my favorite. The gags are still pretty great (including the bit with the piano, which would later be recycled into a Bugs vs. Daffy cartoon) and this one has worn a little more favorably than others (being war time, many of the other cartoons’ gags relied heavily on un-PC caricatures of the enemy). Most importantly, this is a great example of cartoons being used to appeal to adult audiences, and definitely has a few slightly-NSFW moments. Enjoy the cartoon!

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