Any Bonds Today?
|Any Bonds Today?|
Opening card from the Warner Bros. cartoon
|Directed by||Robert Clampett|
|Produced by||Leon Schlesinger|
"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.
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. The United States Treasury adopted the piece as the official song of the National Defense Savings Program in 1941. Its copyright, held by Morgenthau, is dated June 16, 1941.
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. 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. and Gene Autry in the 1942 film "Home in Wyoming."
Berlin signed over his royalty payments from the song to the war bond drive, as he did with several of his songs during the war.
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, 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. 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. The paper reported that production would typically last two months. It was reportedly produced "free of charge".
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. For the song's last refrain, he is joined by Porky Pig in a Navy uniform, and Elmer Fudd in Army garb. The short ends with a graphic encouraging the audience "For defense, buy United States Savings Bonds and Stamps".
The cartoon was initially conceived to promote the sales of "defense bonds", which were renamed war bonds by the spring of 1942. 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, to help finance the war effort.
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. 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
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.
- Cohen, Karl F. (2004), "Censorship of Theatrical Animation", Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America, McFarland & Company, ISBN 978-0786420322
- Shull, Michael S.; Wilt, David E. (2004), "Filmography 1941", Doing Their Bit: Wartime American Animated Short Films, 1939-1945, McFarland & Company, ISBN 978-0786481699
- Sigall, Martha (2005). "The Boys of Termite Terrace". Living Life Inside the Lines: Tales from the Golden Age of Animation. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781578067497.
- Cohen (2004), p. 40
- Corliss, Richard (2001-12-30). "That Old Feeling: A Berlin Bio-pic". Time. Retrieved on 2009-02-25.
- 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.
- Smith, Kathleen E.R. God Bless America: Tin Pan Alley Goes to War. The University Press of Kentucky. p. 19. ISBN 0-8131-2256-2.
- Object Record: "Any Bonds Today?" sheet music, Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Retrieved on 2009-02-25.
- Jones (2006), 198.
- "Berlin-Washington Axis", TIME, June 23, 1941.
- Smith, Kathleen E.R. God Bless America: Tin Pan Alley Goes to War. The University Press of Kentucky. p. 120. ISBN 0-8131-2256-2.
- 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.
- Shull, Wilt (2004), p. 100-101
- Sigall (2005), p. 54
- 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.
- Any Bonds Today? at the Internet Movie Database
- Full lyrics to the song
- The National Archives' "Powers of Persuasion" exhibit; includes partial lyrics, an audio clip and an edited version of the cartoon (does not include blackface sequence)
- on YouTube (full version)
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