Private SNAFU

Dr. Seuss would have been 107 today!


Here are four of the 26 Private SNAFU (‘Situation Normal, All Fouled Up’) cartoons made by the US Army Signal Corps to educate and boost the morale of the troops. Originally created by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Phil Eastman, most of the cartoons were produced by Warner Brothers Animation Studios – employing their animators, voice actors (primarily Mel Blanc), and Carl Stalling’s music.

Booby Traps (1944). Private Snafu learns about the hazards of enemy booby traps the hard way.

Snafuperman. Private Snafu mocks his peers who study, saying that he would rather fight. His guardian angel (1st class with a cigar) grants him the powers and a comical version of a Superman suit, which he promptly uses to create more problems than when he didn’t have any powers!

Spies (1943). Private Snafu, while drunk, reveals military secrets that allow the enemy to torpedo his ship.

The Home Front (1943). Private Snafu imagines the good times his family is having back home while he’s stationed in the Arctic. Technical Fairy First Class shows that even his family is helping with the war effort – his dad building tanks, his mom planting a Victory Garden, Grandpa riveting battleships, and his girl joining the WACs and even the family’s horse is pitching in.

Not incidentally, Dr. Seuss would have been 107 today. My daughter’s current favorite TV show is the PBS program The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! The Cat is voiced by Martin Short. Here’s the theme song.