The Vanishing Private
Studio: Disney Release Date : September 25, 1942 Series: Donald Duck

Cumulative rating:
(3 ratings submitted)


Donald is put on camoulflage duty, painting a large cannon when he comes across an experimental invisible paint. He finds that it works especially well on himself when he is trying to hide from Pete.


(Voice: Billy Bletcher)
Donald Duck
(Voice: Clarence "Ducky" Nash)


Note: "Unverified" credits may not be correct and should be taken with a grain of salt.


James Patton "Jack" King (unverified)


Edward "Ed" Love (unverified)
Paul Allen (unverified)
Art Scott
Charles A. Nichols
Hal King
Judge Whitaker
Vladimir "Bill" Tytla
Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman
Ray Patterson


Carl Barks (unverified)


Walter Elias "Walt" Disney


RKO Radio Pictures

Included in:

A Day in the Life of Donald Duck


  • According to animator Art Scott, he was promoted from bring an assistant to finish scenes that were assigned to Ed Love, who had left the studio in November 1941.


United States

Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions II : An Officer and a Duck


Donald 50 Verrückte Jahre


Bon Anniversaire Donald


Paperino Marmittone

Laserdisc (CLV)

United States

Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions II : An Officer and a Duck
Winnie the Pooh and Friends


A Walt Disney Christmas
Donald Duck's 50 Crazy Years


United States

The Chronological Donald: Volume 2: 1942-1946
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Disney Treasures : On the Front Lines


Disney Treasures : Wave 5 : The Chronological Donald Volume 2

Technical Specifications

Running Time: 7:25
Animation Type: Standard (Hand-drawn-Cel) Animation
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Color Type: Technicolor
Sound Type: Mono: RCA Sound Recording
Print Type: 35mm
Negative Type: 35mm
Cinematographic Format: Spherical
Original Language: English
Original Country: United States

Reviews and Comments

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From Jerry Edwards :

After his sergeant Pete yells at Donald for using brightly colored paint as camouflage on an anti-aircraft gun, Donald stumbles across experimental invisible paint. Pete in enraged when the gun appears to be missing and angrily chases Donald - who lands in the paint bucket, becoming invisible. Donald torments Pete so much while invisible that Pete starts throwing grenades where he thinks Donald is. A general tries to convince Pete there is no "invisible little guy," but Pete tosses all the grenades up in the air (exploding when they hit the ground) when Donald sticks Pete with the general's sword. The general has Pete put into a straightjacket and locked up in a cell, with Donald as the guard.

One of the funnier Disney cartoons. The conflict between Pete and Donald is wonderfully done - servicemen probably especially enjoyed it. The dialog at the ending is just precious: Pete (in a straightjacket in the cell) says to Donald (who is outside the cell, guarding him), "I ain't crazy! You KNOW I ain't crazy! Go tell the general that I ain't crazy!" Donald replies, "Do you think I'M CRAZY?" and then whistles the song "The Army's Not The Army Anymore."

At the start of the cartoon, when Donald is "camouflaging" the cannon with bright paint, he sings the song "The Army's Not The Army Anymore" that was first included in the earlier cartoon Donald Gets Drafted.

I especially like the scene in which the invisible Donald travels through a field of flowers and the petals stick to Donald - making his shape visible. Just as Pete is about to capture him, Donald removes the petals as he circles the tree, chanting "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush!" Pete chases Donald around the tree, throwing petals where he thinks Donald is - Pete also chants "Here we go 'round ..." The general drives up as Pete is doing this, convinced that Pete is crazy. Pete doesn't help himself when he asks the general if he has seen the "little guy you can't see." Donald, still invisible, sticks a cactus plant into Pete's pants, making Pete jump around like a mad man - convincing the general even more that Pete is crazy.

Most showings of this cartoon on the Disney Channel have censored the more violent scenes, such as the grenades.

From Ryan :

This is one of my favorite Donald Duck shorts. I enjoy seeing him torment Pete when he falls into the invisible paint. When Pete meets up with the general, he asks "Did you see a little guy that you can't see?" Then of course the general thinks he's crazy, but even more so when Pete starts throwing grenades around. I like the part where Pete ends up in the mental hospital (straight jacket and all) and Donald is the guard.

From Per Nilsson :

This is a very pleasant short. There are quite a few gems in this cartoon. For example when Donald is painting the cannon in bright colors and Pete yells:

P: What are you doing here!?
DD: I was camouflage painting.
P: Camouflage!? You poodle! You got to paint it, so ya' can't see it!
And a very subdued Donald says:
DD: Oh... I didn't know...

One reason why I like this cartoon is that Donald ends up with the upper hand. I really prefer to see Donald win, once in a while.

From Serita Fei :

I absolutely LOVE this short! I was delighted from the very beginning upon hearing Donald singing "The Army's not the Army anymore" recognizing the tune from Donald Gets Drafted. This short left me in stitches, especially the part where the general sees Pete skipping around and tossing flowers.

I also loved this short because Donald wins for once. The poor thing's had it tough so it's nice to see him win.

From Julie Arsenault :

Donald Duck has been one of my favorite characters from Disney and this short is my favorite WW II Propaganda cartoon; along with Home Defense (with Donald again but with Huey, Dewy and Louie),and Private Pluto.

I love it when Donald (I mean Private Duck) is invisible, he is cover in flowers (showing his outline) but when Sgt. Pete saw him he scrapes them off and when he's skipping rope while singing "Here we go 'round the Mulberry Bush."

From Baruch Weiss :

Aside from singing "The Army's not the Army Anymore" he can also be heard singing "You're in the Army Now".

From Mike :

This is one of Donald's funniest cartoons. The tricks he plays on Pete throughout the cartoon are funny and the ending definitely brings on a few laughs.

From j.p.hope :

I hysterically LOVE this short! I like it when the general is scared out of his wits when he sees Pete running towards him with the hand full of grenades and hides from him. I also like it when the general stutters "just a minute friend" and when the enraged Pete yells "he can't make a fool out of me!" and when the general stutters "do you mean the little man you can't see?" And when Pete answers 'yeah, yeah yeah! he's around here skipping rope!" I also like it when the general fails to keep Pete from losing his temper against Donald Duck. I think the general secretly knew about Donald being invisible.

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project :

The war continues in the 1942 Disney shorts with one of my absolute favorites – The Vanishing Private. Donald Duck, who normally plays the role of frustrated working man, gets an upgrade to be the antagonist of this short, playing off of Pete. And he does it all while enlisted in the Army, as we saw in Donald Gets Drafted.

See the change even in the title card? Donald is an Army man now, as the Disney studio moves more and more into wartime production mode, supporting the efforts through propaganda and the Good Neighbor program. As the short opens, he even sings the theme of “The Army’s Not the Army Anymore” that was featured in Donald Gets Drafted. It’s a nice continuity from the previous short.

The twist here comes from the fact that Donald is supposed to be a camouflage painter, painting the cannon to be less visible from the air. When Sergeant Pete shows up, though, he is not happy with Donald’s red, yellow, green and black spotted camouflage! And who can blame him?

The casting of Pete as the sergeant in this Army Donald series is fantastic. He has not been seen as much since his early days with Mickey, but this is a great use of his abrasive and easily manic personality. Donald gets to him, and the circumstances of this short only exacerbate that situation.

Since his sergeant is not happy, Donald looks for other ways to camouflage the cannon, and ends up finding some experimental invisible paint. You see where this is going, right? Soon enough, the entire cannon is invisible, and Pete is apoplectic. There are some great visuals of Donald painting the cannon, sticking his head out from the invisible cannon, or even Pete poking his head inside.

When Donald gets doused in the invisible paint, though, things really pick up. In many ways, it seems like a Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck cartoon. Before you animation historians jump my case, I haven’t looked to see which came first, but this feels very much like a manic Looney Tunes short.

What’s different here is Donald as the protagonist who outsmarts his enemy. That doesn’t happen often for Donald, so it’s kind of fun and amusing when it does. Seeing Pete get his comeuppance is also quite fun. This short reminds us of why we root for Donald, despite his foibles. There’s always someone worse out there.