This week, I’m taking a serious interest in all of your safety with these films that just happened to be animated. The animation this time, unlike most of what I post, isn’t the point here – we all need to learn a valuable lesson in making sure we don’t kill ourselves, and these films will do the trick just fine. Maybe.
Accident Prevention Aboard Ship (1951)
First up, this oddity produced for the US Navy as part of the ‘Sea Power for Security‘ series. I transferred it many years back from a battered and reddish 16mm print for Cultoons, Volume 2. I’ve found only one reference to these films at the National Archives, and it mentions this and two other shorts as being a series produced specifically for the Navy’s safety program. I do hope to go through the Navy’s film archive at some point to see what there is to uncover there. For now at least, thanks to Mark Kausler, we have this one to enjoy.
Disturbingly bizarre imagery is only matched by it’s very limited animation.The ‘missing the thumb’ shot is a highlight, but I was sold as soon as the baby had hot boiling water dropped on it, turned into a lobster and fell through the floor! I’m really not sure of the production company at all on this film- in some ways it looks like the handful of war shorts Hugh Harman produced during WW2, but doesn’t match the style of work he was doing by the early 50s. Can someone identify or manage a better guess than I have?
Three Blind Mice (1945)
The Ottawa Film Board’s (later NFBC) Three Blind Mice just might be the most helpful of any of these films. Really fun and well-designed cutout animation by George Dunning (who later directed Yellow Submarine), Bob Verrall and Grant Munro. The musical timing is especially well worked out here-unusual to see music accents done so well with cutouts. It’s actually pretty clear in it’s message, even though it’s all told in song-rhymes. The scratched on-film fire is especially cool. This print was was from a notorious collector who sold me a huge batch of cartoons back in the early 80s.
How to Have An Accident in the Home (1956)
How to Have An Accident in the Home is wonderful to see in scope as it’s presented here. The layout is especially great here – I love the pan shot before Donald heads home from work. Funny how Donald is as much of an idiot here as in the second one, though in the next one he is actually careful at home…hmmm, maybe he did learn something.
How to Have An Accident At Work (1959)
I always wondered if Disney’s How to Have An Accident At Work every really stopped anyone from hurting themselves, or perhaps it just raised awareness or started dialogue in it’s many, many showings. The Snafu cartoons seem to have led this sort of soft messaging, and one wonders if it they had an influence on Disney’s educational shorts, I do really like this little short though, and it’s nice to see it available. I have worked with people that look similar to Donald when he turns off his brain.
Every Dog’s Guide to Complete Home Safety (1987)
Les Drew’s Every Dog’s Guide to Complete Home Safety, produced for the National Film Board of Canada, is little educational film that’s a lot of fun. I really enjoy Les Drew’s animation style in this short. The shot of the kid looking up at the Coffee always makes me laugh. It’s similar to the Disney shorts in that perhaps each situation becomes a little too specific (is it really a problem with childen locking themselves in the refrigerator?). I always wonder if there really is anything to be learned , or if the entertainment value is higher than the educational one. Some great points are made, but of course, without the amazingly adept dog, everyone would be dead. He deserved that cosmopolitan he’s drinking in one shot. To be fair, the dog *should* have done himself in at one point by rolling down the stairs in the roller-walker. Amazing they ever made such a device for children – how did any of us live? Still much fun to be had here.
Sniffy Escapes Poisoning (1967)
Rex Fleming’s Sniffy Escapes Poisoning (1967) is just plain bizarre. It’s funny that around this time there were lots of children’s Vitamins that were shaped like candy and popular cartoon characters (Pals was my favorite). Mary’s brother ate a whole jar of those Flintstone’s ones and had to have his stomach pumped. It’s a good thing all those pills were talking to this kid; otherwise that would be one dead dog.
So, now, make sure to be careful this week!
NOTE: This post is inspired by Mary’s sister, who sadly had an accident earlier today that left her with a fractured finger. That said, I don’t think there’s anything in any of these films that could have prepared her to the dangers of a falling pallet of 2-liter bottles of Coke.