Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 22, 2004
A man who hardly needs an introduction, given his role as Führer of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and during World War II. With his shock of black hair and toothbrush-like mustache, one of the most widely recognisable and easily caricatured persons of the 20th century.
His first appearance in a Warner-released cartoon is from Bosko’s Picture Show (1933), in which he chases Jimmy Durante with a axe. Hitler appears briefly in She Was an Acrobat’s Daughter (Freleng, 1937), at a very odd angle as seen by a patron with a poor view of a movie screen showing a newsreel.
His wartime appearances are numerous. It could be said that he starred in Russian Rhapsody (Clampett, 1944), in which his attempts to bomb Moscow are thwarted by “Ruskie” Gremlins. Hitler also makes significant appearances in The Ducktators (McCabe, 1942) along with Benito Mussolini and Hirohito, as well as towards the end of Herr Meets Hare (Freleng, 1945), awarding Hermann Göering a medal. (Bugs uses mud to disguise himself as Hitler earlier in the film). A Hitler character is repeatedly kicked in Tin Pan Alley Cats (Clampett, 1943) by a Joseph Stalin caricature. Hitler is also referred to as “Shickelgrüber” -- allegedly his birth name, but actually the family name of his illegitimate father, Alois -- in Brother Brat (Tashlin, 1944). A caricature of Hitler can also been seen on the letterhead of the letter being read by Überkompt von Vultur in Daffy The Commando (Freleng, 1943). A Hitler jack-in-the-box is used to scare a kid’s hair on end in Nutty News (Clampett, 1942). In Scrap Happy Daffy (Tashlin, 1943), Daffy comments that Mussolini is in the scrap heap, and Hitler should be junked as well, which causes Hitler to chew the rug (along the dotted line, yet). The Missing Lynx has a Hitler mask in his box of disguises in Confusions of a Nutzy Spy (McCabe, 1942).
Hitler also makes an appearance in the Private Snafu short Spies (Jones, 1943), sending instructions by radio to a U-Boat fleet, again as a devil-like character.
Note the rather prescient headline “Hitler Commits Suicide” seen in the 1943 Clampett cartoon Tortoise Wins by a Hare.