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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.
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.
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.
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."
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.