Animation History
June 19, 2013 posted by Jerry Beck

“The Enemy Bacteria” (1945)

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Walter Lantz made many commercial, industrial and educational films beyond his yearly output of theatrical entertainment cartoons. One of the weirdest – and best – is The Enemy Bacteria, produced for the U.S. Navy in 1945.

The film is 28-minutes long, but half of the film is live action (with Milburn Stone as the doctor). There are no credits on the film, but it is assumed Dick Lundy directed the animation, and the talents of Art Heinemann (layout) and Grim Natwick (animation) are on display. I guess Mel Blanc’s exclusive contract with Warner Bros. didn’t apply to educationals like this – you can hear him as the staphylococcus and streptococcus germs.

Our collector friend Martin Almeyra has shared with us his collection of rare cel set-ups from this production. Click images above and below to enlarge. For reference, one of the images below is the back of one of the boards – with a “Walter Lantz Prod” stamp.

Below that, is an embed of most of the animation sequence. To see the the complete short, I highly recommend you order Steve Stanchfield’s DVD collection Cultoons Vol. 3.

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6 Comments

  • In Dick Lundy’s letter to me, he claimed direction credit for Enemy Bacteria, saying that the animation was 1300 feet, which works out to 14.44 minutes.

  • What a coincidence! Milburn Stone later went on to greater fame, playing what else? “Doc” Galen Adams on the long-running Western “Gunsmoke”. He also won an Emmy for the role in 1968.

  • The essential Mark Kausler provided this fantastic print from his personal collection for the transfer. This print is better than the one the National Archives holds!

  • After watching this, I was compelled to put on a condom, and clean the kitchen.

    Even though I never use it.

    The kitchen, that is…

    Thanks for the embed, Jerry. Another 40s treasure. And a nice production to boot. Sounds like a canned/stock musical score, which is too bad. Calker would surely have spun enough quality music to make a good thing even better.

  • There’s a bit more animation footage in the entire print, starting around 4:20. The effects animation looks better than the character stuff. Possibly just a very skilled effects animator, as Lantz wasn’t known for doing numerous pencil tests.

    Here’s a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjDZs26pzd8

  • The narrator sure sounds like actor Thomas Gomez.

    This would have been a great double bill with Hemo the Magnificent. :)

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