July 4, 2024 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Independence Day in the USA, 2024

It’s Independence Day here- but before the usual 4th of July post, here’s some short Thunderbean news:

We’re moving forward on various things here, and working especially to dub special discs this next week. We’re been done with Mid Century Modern, Volume 3 for a bit now, and we are throwing everything we have at it to get replication started as soon as we can. To that end,this week we have two ‘limited edition’ Thunderbean -Tee-Shirts— Private Snafu and Van Beuren’s Tom and Jerry. We also have a limited release on Blu-ray of the strange 60s Zagreb-Studio produced Sam Bassett — Hound for Hire cartoons on Blu-ray. All can be found at the Thunderbean shop.

Happy Thursday, the 4th of July, 2024 to everyone, everywhere. For those of us in the United States, it’s the Day the country declared independence from England. If you went to a local Walmart (or nearly anywhere) the things you would see on the shelf for sale for the holiday are glitzy and shiny..and of course there’s lots of fireworks for sale all over the place too That is the commercial aspect of the holiday- but other than that stuff it’s a pretty traditional day for cookouts here- and seeing a large public fireworks display at night or the days before the holiday.

AND— today’s patriotic cartoons!

I don’t think there’s many films made these days around this holiday at all— in fact, I think when theatrical cartoons ended that was the end of any mention of the 4th of July in
Animation for the most part, or close– so most of these are from WW2.

While I know it’s not a holiday anywhere else in the world, it’s pretty custom here on Cartoon Research to talk about some of the classic cartoons based on the holiday… so we’re not breaking from tradition! So, here are some of my favorite ‘Patriotic” cartoons:

Sammy Salvage:
Ted Eshbaugh’s little spot for the war conservation board is one of my favorite patriotic themed films since it’s so strange. From Sammy’s almost complete inability to turn his head in the first scenes to the various metal creatures marching to their destruction to the ‘junk ain’t junk no more’ song, I find it entertaining over and over.

Yankee Doodle Mouse is, perhaps, the essential 4th of July cartoon, even though it’s a pretty usual Tom and Jerry for the period. It ends with a pretty patriotic moment, with Tom, tied to a big red firework, explodes in a beautiful American Flag firework display. I always felt like this was a little beyond the pale since Tom is likely hurt if he’s even still in existence, and I don’t think Jerry would truly salute his actual death.

Here it is on Daily Motion:

Of course, the only time of year to ever watch Patriotic Popeye is on the 4th. Here’s a scan (not mine!) of an IB tech 16mm print:

The Spirit of 43 (1943 of course!) is a short that was around for many years in all sorts of fair prints since its in the Public Domain. I’ve always liked this one, even though it’s about paying taxes. The ending animation is used in a few of these films, but I think it’s most effective here. We used the cloud/flag idea for the Snafu cartoons DVD and Blu-ray, based on the ending of this film:

So, now, what are *your* favorite patriotic cartoons? I would put Old Glory on my own list, but honestly those cheeks on Porky always scare me a little!

Have a good 4th folks in the states, and happy week to everyone else!


  • Several come to mind, a number of which I discussed some time ago in the Animation Trails series “A Revolutionary Article” or in other articles, and at least a couple I didn’t previously mention, The omitted ones include “Magoo’s Glorious Fourth”, in which Magoo gets the same notion as Popeye to behave in safe and sane fashion by planting a garden – but stuffs his plot of land chock full of embedded fireworks instead. Jerry Mouse also tries to be safe and sane in the rarely-screened “Safety Second”, but Nibbles has other ideas, always with a firecracker at the ready. .Another I’ve not previously highlighted in such regard, worth an honorable mention, is Daffy Duck’s “His Bitter Half”, with a couple of minutes devoted to some hilarious Fourth of July action. Speaking of Warner, there was also Elmer Fudd’s delightful encounter with the ant army in a war of firecrackers in “Ant Pasted”, and Bugs Bunny’s two jaunts into American history, “Bunker Hill Bunny” and “Yankee Doodle Bugs”. Finally, my personal favorite of the Hector Heathcote chronicles, the premiere episode “The Minute and a Half Man”, in which Heathcote tries all manner of contraptive ways to measure up to being on time at minute-man roll call. He never succeeds, but wins the battle anyway.

  • Also, not sure if you’re including TV cartoons, but Steven Spielberg’s one-shot from Animaniacs, “The Flame”, certainly has an effective spirit, and a great deal of charm.

    • Agreed! To me that one, in all its simplicity truly embodies the American spirit.

  • Actually, there were one or two patriotic cartoons for the TV age. I’m thinking specifically about “the Alvin show“ and a segment around “America the beautiful“. Shame we don’t have those cartoons available or at hand anymore. Maybe they will show up on the new MeTV cartoons channel at some point, but I really would love to own them on Blu-ray. Another favorite of mine is another Tom and Jerry, cartoon later in the series called “safety second“. It’s not so much a patriotic cartoon, but just showing the characters fooling around with fireworks the wrong way! As always, I’m glad to hear of all the progress going on at thunderbean! I look forward to so many projects that you have already announced, and of course, those “special“ discs are always enlightening! Thank you so much for those. Keep them coming!

  • The number one Looney Tune I think of on July 4th!

  • And, of course, there’s “Old Glory,” the Porky Pig piece highlighted by Michael Lyons last week,

  • I always enjoy “Uncle Sam Magoo”, though it’s not very PC any longer.
    There is also “Fly with Von Drake” which uses plenty of material from “Victory Through Air Power.”
    And I also like the Peanuts mini-series “This is America Charlie Brown”.

  • There are over 50 countries which celebrate their “Independence from England” .. roughly one per week, in any given year. It’s the most widely-celebrated holiday in the world.

  • I’ve ordered both t-shirts, but as I’ve seen one Sam Bassett cartoon, it’s going to take one heck of a sales pitch to get me to commit to a collection of ten of ’em!

    “The Spirit of ’43” probably gets my vote, even if the idea of being patriotic by paying taxes seems quaint now. I’d also argue for “Der Fuehrer’s Face” as a patriotic cartoon; though the bulk of it is slapstick anti-Axis propaganda, it ends on Donald’s joy at living in the USA, which I think is enough to qualify it for this category. More of a stretch would be “Super-Rabbit”, but I think it at least deserves a brief mention. And yes, “Sammy Salvage” has been a favorite of mine since you first showcased it here years ago.

  • Disney’s “Ben and Me” is certainly worth a mention here. Hardly historical — a subtle joke is that Amos, like many memoirists, is claiming credit for pretty much everything. But you get fun versions of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Perfect opener for “Johnny Tremain” or “1776”.

    Disney promoted a theatrical package in 1953 titled “Walt Disney’s 4th of July Firecrackers”, but odds favor this and similar packages being random assortments of shorts.

  • Happy 4th! The Zagreb series looks cool. Are there going to be naughty Mickey shirts?

    I love how Scott Bradley, uses patriotic tunes throughout Yankee Doodle Mouse, as brassy-subtle as can be. The reoccurring “Battle Cry of Freedom” is funny. The fail version of “Yankee Doodle” when Tom is blown into a sunflower is the best part.

    The Spirit of ’43 is still fun, especially the mirror gag. I better put it on the list next time someone says Disney cartoons “aren’t cartoony”. The cloud/flag idea was reused (or was reused before being reused) in Victory Thru Air Power.

    • Error: the mirror gag was from The New Spirit, not The Spirit of ’43. My bad!

      I love Ward Kimball’s story about his animation of “spendthrift” Donald being changed to make his arm move in his pocket. Yikes!

  • Let’s not forget Chuck Jones’ “Yankee Doodle Cricket” from 1975.

  • Just wanted to comment on the GORGEOUS backgrounds on the “Patriotic Popeye” cartoon!!!

    Absolutely phenomenal! I wish I owned every one!

  • I figured “Patriotic Popeye” was a late period Famous entry… but I didn’t know it was the third to last theatrical Popeye! No wonder it only features two nephews; by this point, they didn’t have the budget for the rest! 😉 An OK cartoon, all things considered. Happy Independence Day folks!

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