Friday 7 June 2024


A rare item of Disneyana: a 1944 WWII poster designed by the Disney Studio for the US Government's War Manpower Commission.
A mean, salivating grasshopper clutches a handful of dollars and a lunchbox as he hops from job to job in search of higher wages. Disney's artwork thematically references the studio's 1934 'Silly Symphony', The Grasshopper and the Ants, that (with its popular song 'The World Owes Me a Living') would have been familiar to many Americans of working-age. During WWII, American unemployment levels dropped to 1.4% due to the influx of production jobs for the war effort. This poster sought to dissuade defense workers from using the labor shortage to 'job hop'
Walt Disney Studios was in difficult financial straits when WWII broke out due to animators enlisting to serve in the forces and the loss of European revues from their films. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Disney's massive studio lot in Burbank, California was commandeered by the US Army and many of Walt's animators were moved from making entertainment cartoons to making training films for the Navy. By 1943, almost 90% of Disney's work was related to the war effort, from powerful propaganda films to posters such as this one.

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