Meat Shortage

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 22, 2004

    As is noted in the entry for Ration Books/Points, meat was one of the items rationed during World War II, causing quite a bit of irritation. The Weakly Reporter (Jones, 1944) has a few gags on meat shortages including a lady paying to smell a steak. Behind the Meat Ball (Tashlin, 1945) is largely based on a dog desperate to get some meat. At one point, the dog is throwing a fit, screaming that he wants meat, and interrupts his rant to say with a straight face: “You’ve had this problem, haven’t you folks?”. A hapless wolf ponders a newspaper headline regarding the fact that there is no meat for wolves, Hollywood or otherwise, in I Got Plenty of Mutton (Tashlin, 1944). And, of course, there were Meatless Tuesdays, parodied in Meatless Flyday (Freleng, 1944). Grover Groundhog refers to the meat shortage in One Meat Brawl (McKimson, 1947), though by the time the cartoon was released, the meat shortage had eased considerably. The cartoon was most likely in production during the closing months of World War II; it was released in January, 1947.

    In reality, if you compared the situation in the United States with that in England, let alone the occupied countries of Europe, the meat rationing here was something out of the Arabian Nights.

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