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Mussolini, Benito

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 22, 2004

(d. 1945)

    Known as Il Duce, Mussolini was Prime Minister of Italy for over twenty years, bringing Italy to ruin by entering World War II on the side of the Axis. With his balding head and jutting chin, Mussolini was easily caricatured, though he appeared in only a handful of Warner Brothers wartime cartoons, and in a few cartoons of the 1930s such as I’ve Got to Sing a Torch Song (Palmer, 1933).

    Mussolini appears as one of the geese, along with a Hitler caricature, in The Ducktators (McCabe, 1942). He also appears on the letterhead of the message Überkompt von Vultur is reading in Daffy - The Commando (Freleng, 1944): his caricature is crossed out, Italy having surrendered to the Allies not long before the cartoon was in production. Mussolini, along with Göering and what appears to have been intended as a Hirohito caricature, appear in the Private Snafu short Spies (Jones, 1943) in the scene where the three are next to a newsstand where Snafu is purchasing magazines to read on his troopship.

    Daffy refers to Mussolini being on the scrap heap in Scrap Happy Daffy (Tashlin, 1943). The cartoon was released August 21, 1943. Considering Mussolini was deposed on July 25, 1943, this indicates very fast work, or good timing, or both, on the part of the Warner Brothers staff.

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