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Mickey Mouse dice, "¡Come tus verduras!"
January 6, 2011 5:26 AM   Subscribe

In the 1940's, Walt Disney Studios produced a series of animated public health films for distribution in South America.

Part of a US government program to reduce Nazi influence (and increase US influence) in South America, subjects covered included:

practical defenses against malaria: The Winged Scourge (1943)
the history of corn: The Grain That Built a Hemisphere (1943)
sanitation: Cleanliness Brings Health (1944)
balanced diets: Planning for Good Eating (1945)
germs: The Unseen Enemy (1945)

(The 2008 documentary Walt & El Grupo tells more of the story of Disney's creative efforts on behalf of the Good Neighbor policy.)
posted by overeducated_alligator (11 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice.
posted by unliteral at 5:51 AM on January 6, 2011


Something about these being in English is sending some kind of subtle message but I can't quite put my finger on it.
posted by Avenger at 6:23 AM on January 6, 2011


I find the ending of the corn film rather prescient.

[spoiler] Corn someday comes to fuel a huge number of industrial processes [/spoiler]
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:51 AM on January 6, 2011


I'm glad we've learned, in 70 years, that putting oil in your drinking water and draining all wetlands is a bad thing. oh, wait...
posted by eustatic at 7:18 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


My grandmother bought us a collection of "public domain" cheap cartoon VHS tapes, and one of them had this on it. My sister and I could do nothing but laugh at the oil spills and saturation of the land with copper(II) acetoarsenite (Paris Green).

Those are wigglers, Dopey! Give 'em the oil treatment! *squirt squirt* That'll kill 'em!
posted by infinitewindow at 7:29 AM on January 6, 2011


This is the program that produced the Three Caballeros. It's one of the best things that propaganda has every produced, in my opinion, besides miniature flags.
posted by Think_Long at 7:36 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those dicks totally pushed that lemming into the water on a chunk of ice. Yay Truth!
posted by En0rm0 at 7:42 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope this isn't too far off-topic, but the malaria film jarred a lot of memories. Sorry if this is too far off the original links' path...

Back when I was a kid in small-town Illinois we'd drive up to Champaign for the Insect Fear Festival every year). It was something my dorky brother and I absolutely loved, because not only did you get to eat things like bug suckers and fried centipedes and crickets, but you got to watch absolutely amazing old movies. This is how I was introduced to the FPP's The Winged Scourge. I learned a lot, and I maintain that this is what primed me to become a huge MST3K fan later on in life.

Anyway, this has spurred me to revisit some of the films they showed, both animated and live action, and it turns out they have an awesome list of every picture they've shown at the festival since it started here. A lot of them are on Youtube. I have fond memories of such classics as Private Snafu vs. Malaria Mike, Giant Spider Invasion, Phase IV, and Termites from Mars, amongst others (many links go to MST3K'd versions).

Apparently I liked the malaria films best; our absolute favorite was a live-action, black and white film about malaria that mysteriously starred a lot of hillbillies, so far as I can remember. It featured such amazing likes as 'You're purdier than a mountain goat' which has become a standard response in my family whenever anyone dresses fancy, and repeated, ridiculously drawn-out and high-pitched utterance of the word 'malaaaaarrriiiiaaaaa!' I can't for the life of me remember the name and the film list + IMDB and Youtube didn't help, which is a shame... I'd love to share it with you guys and force you into my own childhood memories.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 8:42 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


And in classic style I find it mere minutes after laboring over that post. And I lied about the hillbillies, seems it was just one nice, Kentucky boy. But oh, that feisty nurse...

The film I was referring to is Yellow Jack (trailer here). Considering how much they scream the name in the trailer I'm surprised I forgot it. I can't believe someone put it up on YouTube. God, I love the internet.

"Gosh, she's purdy.... purdier than a mountain goat."
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 8:55 AM on January 6, 2011


Wow, get a load of the old-school Disney Channel lead in! Never thought I'd hear that again!
posted by JHarris at 12:06 PM on January 6, 2011


On the basis of seeing these films in something or other we were watching a couple of years ago, my husband and I rented Walt & El Grupo from Netflix recently. It was pretty good, but the big thing we learned is that there are a bunch of Disney documentaries out there, and now several of them are in my queue.

(Sadly, I don't remember what documentary we were watching that pointed us at these films and then Walt & El Grupo.)
posted by immlass at 10:22 PM on January 6, 2011


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