THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
July 16, 2015 posted by

Animated Safety Films

donald-accident600

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.

30 Comments

  • I know the feeling. A few years ago at a grocery store where I work as a GM Clerk, I finished breaking down a pallet of 24 pack water and as I was taking the wooden pallet on a dolly the dang thing spun off the dolly and landed on my big toe! I held my composure since I was in the front end and like in the cartoons of yesteryear I hobbled to the back room of the room and screamed in agony like in the cartoons but this was real life and no safety cartoon would of covered that outcome!

    Anyhow back to the subject of safety cartoons I remembered seeing the Donald Duck ones back at wood and metal shop class in Junior high school.

    Also let’s do not forget the other safety cartoons like Otto the Auto for the AAA on traffic safety (Paul Frees was the voice of Otto the Auto in the later episodes) and the safety segments that aired on H-B’s Popeye the Sailor as well as Disney Junior’s misinformed Lou & Lou Safety Patrol which doesn’t provide many tips on several of their episodes on safety that is very important to the general public.

  • Good post, Steve. I actually have “Every Dog’s Guide to Complete Home Safety” on 16mm film. Probably the most latest cartoon I have in that format.

    • For me, it’s either this or some other animated short from the late 80’s in my collection like Bob Sabiston’s “Beat Dedication” or a Simpsons short.

  • “Sniffy Escapes Poisoning” is probably the weirdest of the bunch ‘ere. So weird, that Something Weird Video should put it on one of their DVDs.

    • And I believe that particular print of it originates from either Prelinger or the AV Geeks collection, if i’m not mistaken.

    • This was AV Geeks’ copy. They tend to collect plenty of prints that came from schools, libraries and other collectors across the country. Some though tend to be in fairer quality than other copies that can be found on YouTube from official sources. A good case in point is their print of Vince Collins’ Bicentennial tribute “200”, as it lacks any blues that could be found on the animator’s own copy he also uploaded to several sites. Another example of “Smokey and the Little Boy”.
      National Archives: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9PumqxTUbU
      AV Geeks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNytp_icaPQ

      However, these official copies may be uploaded months to years after AV Geeks released theirs to the world, so often theirs is the first anyone has ever seen of them.

  • There was that Looney Tunes PSA ad from the ’80s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyH4FFByJXE

  • Great post as usual, Steve! SNIFFY has been a favorite for years… just weird stuff (am curious what the film makers themselves were sniffing when that one was hatched!)

    • I don’t suppose this “Barry Duncan” feller did much after this. His big head/tiny body characters defined WEIRD enough!

  • That kid’s head is the size of the whole medicine cabinet.

    • I’m stunned he had to use a stool just to reach it!

  • Sorry to hear about the accident……….maybe she can look back and laugh at this clip (It’s July, so it counts):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4eDW1DZofU

  • Refrigerators were treated as a serious threat in my youth. Remember, this is when they closed with latches that couldn’t be opened from the inside (now most are held shut with magnets and no latch at all). And of course they were airtight.

    I remember campaigns telling people not to dispose of fridges unless they’d removed the doors. One semi-animated ad seemed to sending very mixed messages, showing how a child might see the old icebox as a SPACESHIP . . . or an OLD WEST JAIL . . . or as SOMETHING ELSE REALLY COOL TO GET INSIDE AND PULL THE DOOR SHUT!

    I was old enough to get the intended point, but I still found myself thinking they should just drill big air holes in the door and give us those nifty old refrigerators.

    • I recall those refrigator safety PSA. Nowadays the refrigators is question are now recycled instead of being dumped or abandoned in the empty lot in the neighborhood where a curious child might see it climb in there to play inside the fridge and viola….instant tomb of ᎠᏋᏜᎢᏲ (DEATH). Sadly last year in Narobi Kenya, the children of the neighborhood healer of folk medicine was playing and found a nonfunctional freezer and decided to play hide and seek inside the old freezer. A few hours later the parents along with the local police were looking for the three children and the father went to the nonoperating freezer and made the gruesome discovery of the bodies of his three children who suffocated inside the old freezer which became their tomb. So I think they should bring back the old refrigator PSA even though it’s the 21 Century but a lot of the older refrigerator and freezer units are still out there.

    • I, too, recall that: “into a spaceship, little girl’s playhouse”. Thanks for refreshing my memory on the following: “WIld West Jail”. I remember seeing that in spring 1970.

    • Sometimes The Third World is the last to know, BIGG3469.

    • There was a controversial early Dennis the Menace comic that had Dennis shutting one of his friends inside a refrigerator to see if the light inside stayed on when the door was shut.

  • 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’m sure that was over by 1986 or whenever this came out, but I do remember a time when they were stressing that in PSA’s about old fridges either left in the basement or junkyard. There was still that lingering threat in the back of certain heads that needed to be stressed for the time being. I’m sure the 90’s killed all hope of ever reminding children of that ever again.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQEY8LWi71Y

    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.

    Ironically, The Disney Channel once use to play this as “filler” between certain specials/movies around the late 80’s/early 90’s. I managed to tape it when it came on and recall several edits made at certain places. One was mentions of Wally needing a cocktail or two (and showing the cocktail which they decided was against their morals). Other edits include removing the refrigerator scene and when Wally placed the emergency numbers up on the wall (I guess to prevent kids from calling up those numbers). I do recal they left in the slight moment of baby nudity besides (The NFB can take some great liberties this way).

    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.

    I still have this on 16mm in my collection! Did you know they made a sequel as well? Well they did, but it seems less educational and more an excuse to have another round with these characters. Too bad Drew never did a TV series based on this. It seemed like it had potential and I enjoyed Bernard most of all. If Bob’s Birthday could lead to a series, so could this.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8kZm4ZJPpw

    Incidentally, here’s a decent copy of “Sniffy Escapes Poisoning” I found elsewhere online, at least it came from a less battered print than A/V Geeks could afford…
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xtl7u0_sniffy-escapes-poisoning-1967_fun

  • Sniffy and his little master also appeared in a religious Christmas cartoon, “The Very, Very, Very Best Christmas Present Of All,” which was a fairly common title in 16mm rental catalogs for some years; I believe it was also released under the title “This Is Christmas.” So it’s possible there may be other Sniffy episodes as well.
    According to a comment at “Sniffy”‘s You Tube page, Barry Duncan went on to become the original designer of Veggie Tales; that comment was posted by his granddaughter. (Not a clue who the hell Rex Fleming was though. Sounds like the secret identity of a 1940’s superhero…)

    • Sniffy and his little master also appeared in a religious Christmas cartoon, “The Very, Very, Very Best Christmas Present Of All,” which was a fairly common title in 16mm rental catalogs for some years; I believe it was also released under the title “This Is Christmas.” So it’s possible there may be other Sniffy episodes as well.

      Damn, I guess I’ll have to look for that somehow. I see one sold on eBay a few years back. Wonder if A/V Geeks even has that?

      According to a comment at “Sniffy”‘s You Tube page, Barry Duncan went on to become the original designer of Veggie Tales; that comment was posted by his granddaughter.

      I’ve read that, and even then I barely see him listed for having worked on VeggieTales at all, leading me to wonder if it’s false or was it a case of someone else taking credit for Mr. Duncan’s designs (I don’t picture him having much to do with computers anyway). I don’t really want to press this on with his granddaughter, but it’s highly dubious to me. I’m sure she might know something else, but I’d like to know specifically about that I guess.

      (Not a clue who the hell Rex Fleming was though. Sounds like the secret identity of a 1940′s superhero…)

      Apparently he did this film around the same time as Sniffy Escapes Poisoning, sort of a guide to parents about how to teach their kids about sex. Not animated, mind you, but it’s something…
      http://www.avgeeks.com/wp2/parent-to-child-about-sex-1966/

  • By the way, I remember the “fridge” PSA too. Here in the midwest, there still are fridges of that vintage being used as beer-and-soda coolers in garages, or moved to lake cabins after being replaced in an “upgrade” at home.

    • Those things don’t go away too quickly I guess.

    • My grandpa Barry most certainly was the original creator of Veggie Tales. He was also the kindest man alone and very trusting and did t put a copy write on it. As a matter of fact, during my childhood all 7 of my sibling and I got plush veggie tale characters and copies of the characters to color. I am now 30. My grandma Sandy (Barry’s wife) Gave MY daughter a copy of Sniffy Escapes Poisoning, plush veggie tales and more copies of original drawings for my daughter to Color for Xmas. I am
      Another grand daughter, not the one you referred to in the comment before.

  • Another classic I recall from driving school is Goofy in Motor Mania:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZAZ_xu0DCg

    Also, Freeway Phobia:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ux5ADlWXOvs

  • Dang, I love those widescreen DD titles!

  • My Grandpa Barry Duncan was the writer and created of Sniffy Escapes Poisoning. He was actually a very talented artist, an amazing musician, wonderful grand father and father, so incredibly kind and unique in many ways. He passed away from Dementia a few years ago. Now I let my kids watch Sniffy Escapes poisoning and they love it. Yeah it’s a little weird and you make think him and the producer (Rex Fleming) were high but actually no. Artists are always a little different and I loved that about my grandfather! I hope Sniffy makes its rounds again because it a good little video and so unique and random. RIP grandpa!

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