Any Bonds Today?

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Any Bonds Today?
AnyBondsTodayTitle.JPG
Opening card from the Warner Bros. cartoon
Directed by Robert Clampett
Produced by Leon Schlesinger
Starring Mel Blanc
Arthur Q. Bryan
Release date(s)
  • April 2, 1942 (1942-04-02)
Running time 1:38
Country United States
Language English

"Any Bonds Today?" is a song written by Irving Berlin, featured in a 1942 animated propaganda film[1] starring Bugs Bunny. Both were used to sell war bonds during World War II.

The song[edit]

"Any Bonds Today?" was based on Berlin's own "Any Yams Today," sung by Ginger Rogers in 1938's Carefree, which in turn was a modified version of "Any Love Today," which he wrote in 1931 but didn't have recorded.[2]

Berlin wrote the tune "at the request" of Henry Morgenthau, Jr., then U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, to promote the Treasury Department's defense bond and savings stamp drive, the National Defense Savings Program.[3] Its copyright, held by Morgenthau,[4] is dated June 16, 1941.[5]

Barry Wood introduced the song (along with another Berlin composition called "Arms for the Love of America") on Arsenal Day, June 10, 1941, at the War College in Washington, D.C.; he also recorded the song in the same week for RCA Victor.[6] Wood's performance of the song was the first broadcast on radio, "in late June 1941"; it was also performed by the Andrews Sisters, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Dick Robertson and Kay Kyser.[5] and Gene Autry in the 1942 film "Home in Wyoming."

The cartoon[edit]

The 90-second cartoon, commissioned by the Treasury and now in the public domain, was designed to encourage movie theater audiences to buy defense bonds and stamps. Its title card identifies it as Leon Schlesinger Presents Bugs Bunny,[1] but it is more widely known as Any Bonds Today? It was neither considered a Looney Tunes nor Merrie Melodies cartoon and was not part of the Bugs Bunny series (but a spin-off).

Bob Clampett wrote and directed the film, which started production in late November 1941 and was completed eight days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.[7] According to an article of The Hollywood Reporter, it took three weeks to complete. Counting from the drawing of the first sketch to the shipping of the first print.[1] The paper reported that production would typically last two months. It was reportedly produced "free of charge".[1]

In it, Bugs Bunny sings a portion of Berlin's song against a patriotic backdrop, at one point going into a blackface parody of Al Jolson. He sings "Any Stamps Today" For the song's last refrain, he is joined by Porky Pig, in Navy uniform, and Elmer Fudd, in Army garb,who both make a cameo in the cartoon. [8]

Context[edit]

The cartoon was initially conceived to promote the sales of "defense bonds". They were renamed to war bonds by the spring of 1942.[8] Between feature films, or between the feature films and the animated shorts, the lights of the movie theater would come on and ushers would collect monetary contributions from the audience. All to help finance the war effort.[9]

Censorship & Controversy[edit]

  • The approximately 15-second sequence with Bugs in blackface, singing to "Uncle Sammy", has been controversial in recent years and is usually removed from modern releases of the film. Cartoon Network, which in 2001 planned to show every Bugs Bunny cartoon as part of a "June Bugs" marathon, ultimately decided to pull Any Bonds Today? and 11 other cartoons that depict ethnic stereotypes.[10] It should be of note, however, that Cartoon Network did air it, with the blackface part removed, on a ToonHeads special (which can be seen as a special feature on the first volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set) about lost and rare Warner Bros. cartoons.

Fat Elmer features[edit]

Any Bonds Today? is also one of five cartoons featuring the Elmer Fudd modeled after his voice actor, Arthur Q. Bryan, which is fatter than the popular incarnation. Clampett made these shorts with a fat Elmer because he could not make Porky as fat as he was in his first cartoon, I Haven't Got a Hat.

Sources[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Cohen (2004), p. 40
  2. ^ Corliss, Richard (2001-12-30). "That Old Feeling: A Berlin Bio-pic". Time. Retrieved on 2009-02-25.
  3. ^ Jones, John Bush (2006)The Songs That Fought the War: Popular Music and the Home Front, 1939-1945. (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 198. Retrieved via Google Book Search on 2009-02-25.
  4. ^ Object Record: "Any Bonds Today?" sheet music, Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Retrieved on 2009-02-25.
  5. ^ a b Jones (2006), 198.
  6. ^ "Berlin-Washington Axis", TIME, June 23, 1941.
  7. ^ Lehman, Christopher P. (2008). The Colored Cartoon: Black Representation in American Animated Short Films, 1907-1954 Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 73. Retrieved via Google Book Search on 2009-02-25.
  8. ^ a b Shull, Wilt (2004), p. 100-101
  9. ^ Sigall (2005), p. 54
  10. ^ Beatty, Sally (2001-05-04) "Cartoon Network Drops an Anvil on Plans to Show Bugs in Blackface". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved on 2009-02-25.
  • Schneider, Steve (1990). That's All Folks!: The Art of Warner Bros. Animation. Henry Holt & Co.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Wabbit Who Came to Supper
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1942
Succeeded by
The Wacky Wabbit