tv Lectures in History American Cartoons in World War II CSPAN December 26, 2019 12:01pm-1:27pm EST
connect with some local and state leaders in political office. i'm extremely excited that you all are interested in this and are pursuing this because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. i'm so excited that you all are taking it. >> there's still time for you to enter the c-span student cam video competition. you have until january 20th to create a 5 or 6-minute documentary. we're giving away a total of $100,000 in cash prizes with a grand prize of $5,000. next on lectures in history, pace university professor durron taylor teaches a class on world war ii. he shows superhero comics that urged kids to do their part by recycling paper and by buying
savings bonds and stamps. we're going to look at today, the place where the so-called real world comes together with the cartoon and comic world. that's why the title of today's class is bondss and taxes. american cartoons and comics during world war ii. i can remember from my days in parochial chapel schools where our pastor gave us a sermon that has stuck with me ever since. and the lesson of it draws from two parts. two separate biblical texts. one is from second kings, if you are interested, chapter 4, where
the prophet elija, has someone bring him 20 leaves of barley and he's got to feed 100 men and his sermon asks him, how we going to do that? we only have 20 loaves of barley. and the prophet says give them to the men that they may eat for thus says the lord they shall eat and have some left. so, he set it before them and they ate and they had some left. just as the lord told them. anders that an incident from the you the testament, where jesus is confronted with a crowd of people, 5,000 people. how are we going to feed all these people? one of his disciples says, well, here's a young boy with five barley loaves and two fish.
not a lot. it could take like six months of pain to feed the crowd of 5,000. all we got is five loaves, two fish. he says, bring it up. he gave thanks, to it and the whole crowd was fed and there was more than enough and i remember my pastor saying, are it doesn't matter how little you are. you can be a little guy and i was a little guy. you can be a child. you can be a boy, you can be a girl. it doesn't matter, when there is a need, if you bring your little bit, however little bit you might have, god will use that to meet the needs. and he was trying to tell us that it didn't matter how little
we had. if we use it faithfully to a righteous cause, it will help a big need to be met. and i have been thinking about that lesson for a long time as i have been contemplating what are we going to talk about in terms of world war ii and paying for world war ii. and in the days of world war ii, the need was, indeed, great. franklin roosevelt as president made a number of speeches to the american people in the weeks right after the attack on pearl harbor and one of the things he impressed upon the american people what was that everybody, rich, poor, old, young, didn't matter, had a role to play, a very important role in getting this monumental job done of paying for the war and winning the war. i'm going to give you an excerpt
of his state of the union address from 19 troop, just a few sentences that are going to incapsulate what he was talking about here. and how he was urging all americans to do their little bit. fdr came before congress and before the american people on that occasion and he said, war costs money. so far, we have hardly even begun to pay for it. we have devoted only 15% of our national income to national defense. the as will appear in my budget message tomorrow, our war program for the coming fiscal year will cost $56 billion. or in other words more than half of the estimated annual national income p. that means tax. and bonds. and bonds.
and taxes. it means cutting luxuries and other non-essentials. in a word, it means an all out war by individual effort and family effort in a united country. now, when he was talking about individual effort and family effort, he was talking about kids, too. and family effort meant that even if you were over here on the homefront, and your loved ones were fighting overseas over there as the popular song went, there was still work that you
could do to help defeat the enemy. everybody both young and old and no matter how much you had or how much you didn't have had a very important role to play in this united states war effort. and roosevelt wanted to make very, very sure that everybody was clear about that. early in that new year of 1942, the united states treasury is already going to work, trying to figure out how to get americans to help pay for the war. now, roosevelt talked about taxes and bonds and bonds and taxes. from we know what taxes are, right? it's when the government compels you to pay a certain part of your income to meet the costs of government doing what it has to do.
but what are bonds? a bond is an iou. write that down. an iou. it's a statement that the united states government owes you money for so much. what uncle sam was saying we will have people pay us taxes to pay for this thing, but we also are going to have to go into debt to pay for this thing. now, a show of hands, how many people have some sort of united states savings bonds? okay. we got a few hands. how many people have been given something like that for a birthday or a graduation or something of that kind. right? it's a very, very important looking piece of paper that's not a toy.
you open the card. it's not a toy. but it's a very official looking piece of paper with some very official historical looking people on it. and what your parents may have to ex39 you is that it is a u.s. savings bond, which means, you keep it, don't do anything with it for a while. but in a few years, you will be able to cash it and get money so that what you can pay for your education. you can pay for this, for that for important things. it's an investment in the future by having uncle sam go into debt to you. okay. that's a savings bond. what the united states treasury decided to do was to initiate a savings bond program specifically for the purposes of collecting money for the war effort. okay. how much? well, you can get a united states savings bond at that time
for as low in the amount of for as low as $18.75. if you gave the occupation government $18.75 and said, hey, i want to buy a bond and you wait several years for that bond to mature, it would give you back $25. that's not a bad deal, huh? you put out $18.75. you get 25 back, years later. but this is all in lending uncle sam money to win the war. i don't know about you, but what if are you a little kid in 1942, a little kid with his hands in his pock. one ting he does not have is $18.75. because remember 1942 we're just coming out of the great depression.
so what? am i out of this? am i out of this great crusade? the u.s. government says, oh, no, you're not. you can buy something called united states savings stamps. united states staveings stamps. yeah, yes, yes. see, here's what you would do. you'd get yourself a little green book like this. and in that little green book, you would place every time you would go and buy u.s. savings stamp, what are you talking about stamps? i'm talking about stamps, like this, you can get them, you know, they would have these, you would sell these over the counter at banks and at other institutions. it's like, okay. all i've got is 10 cents.
that's not much and they say, that's okay. that's enough. because for 10 cents, watch this. for 10 cents, you can go ahead and buy one u.s. savings defense stamp. okay. how does that help? how that helps is, you get to the little green book, your stamp book, you put the stamp right in here and maybe you've gotten other stamps, in the past you stick it right there. and these stamps, watch this, these stamps are in various denominations. some of them are 10 cents. some are a dollar. some are 50s, something like that. you get them and you get them and you get them. and you fill the book full of them and when it comes out to $18.75, if you walk over to the place and with that $18.75 you can buy yourself a war bond. now those of you who are math experts are going to realize that 10 cent stamp is going to take you a lot of time to buy enough savings stamps for
$18.75. that's why the stamps came in various denominations larger than that, a dollar, $5, things like that. but what if you were strict lay 10 cent kind of 'earn? it's all right. what it did was as we're going to see, the cost of a comic book back then was 10 cents. right. action comics number 1, the first appearance superman, got that 10 cent price sticker on it. it's worth a whole lot more of that now. if you only got 10 cents, here's what you might do, spend one dime on a comic book. maybe another dime on something else like a cookie or some ice cream. then another dime you'd spend on this. but what you did is you had
friends. i bought superman for 10 cents. you may have bought batman. you pay have bought wonder woman and what we would do is swap and trade. see. what's happening even on the level of a little kid and his friends or her friends is that it encourages kids not to spend every dime they have, but to put some of them away into u.s. defense, they called it defense savings stamps. and what this did, among the merits of the u.s. savings bond program was that it curved inflation. because what's happening is that when people aren't spending all the money they've got, it puts a cap on inflation. world war ii was an inflationary time and it reversed the deflationary process of the great depression. so it's what's a little inflation to get you over the great depression.
you don't want too much. the way to do that is to encourage americans to keep some money in their pockets. or savings. and this book and other books like it represented you putting money away, lending it to uncle sam to help win the war. you are not spending it on stuff. and that over time curbs inflation for kids. they're asking adults to do the same thing. they would be payroll savings where you don't get your complete paycheck. you let a part of that paycheck go for buying war bonds and things. see. so that's what the war bonds and stamps program is about.
that's what it's about. so when you say buy defense bonds and stamps, that's what it's about. if you are not rich enough to buy a full bond for $18.75, well, go collect some stamps. 10 cents apiece. a dollar apiece. $5 apiece. until you save enough to buy bond. okay. everybody clear on what the defense bonds and stamps program was about? and how whether you were rich or poor, an adult or a little kid, you could participate. and, of course, the government did not hesitate to tell you that you're doing your part, you may have a brother, an uncle, a parent, overseas fighting, you can do a little bit for them. your little bit is able to help in this great endeavor. and that's where the cartoons come in. u.s. deposit was very smart.
they said, well, we've got to get taxes and bonds and bonds and taxes and they went to walt disney. and they said, walt, we need your help to get americans to pay your taxes. walt disney was thinking, well, if americans don't pay their taxes, you got to throw them in jail. what itself the problem 'incentivizing here? i have a problem with mine. they said to mr. disney. walt, okay, walt, walt disney is very informal, we can arrest and jail the whole country if we're going to just rely on fear and intimidation, it's not going to work. we can't jail every last person in the country. we have to get people to want to pay their taxes. and that's going to be tough. nobody likes paying taxes. and walt disney is not -- they say, okay, now, walt, this is
what we want you to do. we want you to come one a character called mr. taxpayer. we want that character, mr. taxpayer. walt says, no, no, no, no, no, i'm not creating new character. you're not? >> no. because we've already got the perfect character for you. donald duck. donald duck? i mean, donald duck. listen, folks, and he says the disney studio is just like any other studio, we're giving you one of our star actors right now. treat it that way. they said, okay. if cantankerous donald duck can be persuaded to pay his tax, anybody can. we saw animations of donald duck and how cantankerous he could be. we saw how he was based, in
part, on the cantankerous secretary of the interior harold ickes. if donald can pay his taxes anyone can pay their taxes. i will show you a bit of a clip of a cartoon that walt disney created involving donald duck persuading him and through persuading him, persuading the american people to pay their taxes. i want to show you how it's done. how did they do that? how did they work into the argument snap all right. >> there is a new spirit of america. quack quack. >> a free people united in a common cause to stamp tyranny from the earth. >> quack quack. >> our very shores have been attacked. your whole country is mobilizing for total war.
your country needs you. >> okay. i'm ready. >> are you a patriotic american? >> yes, sir. >> eager to do your part? >> yes, sir. >> then there's something important you can do. >> all right. >> you won't get a medal for doing it. >> oh, that's all right. >> it may mean a sacrifice on your part. >> can i do that. >> but it will be a vital help to your country and it's all that's needed. >> we have a plan. >> shall i tell you what it is? >> yes. tell me. >> shall i? >> tell me. >> your income tax. >> income tax? >> yes, your income tax. >> income tax? >> it may not seem important to you, but it is important? >> what? >> yes, and it's your privilege, not just your duty, your privilege to help your government by paying your tax and paying it promptly. >> what's the big hurry? >> what's the big hurry? >> your country is at war. your country needs taxes for
guns, taxes for ships. taxes for democracy, taxes to beat the axis. >> oh, good, taxes. >> that's the spirit. >> yes, sir. >> now, how about your income tax? >> okay. >> oh, if everybody attacked the process of paying their income tax with that much enthusiasm, and tax payments, early tax payments went up after the release of that cartoon. it worked. and walt disney made sequels to it with donald duck paying his taxes and the catch phrase you heard was taxes to beat the axis. taxes to beat the axis. the rest of that cartoon will
show it paid for planes, tanks planes guns, canons and all those implements of war. the thing are you not crazy about doing is vital to this great enterprise of fighting and winning the war. so much for taxes. how about bonds? well, other studios got involved also. i want to show you a bugs bunny cartoon in which he sings a popular song, any bonds today. i want to caution you about something, even as we are involved in this grand enterprise to fight the axis powers and the totalitarianism. the united states could not raise itself entirely above its own racism in that time. i will show you why. bucks bunny will perform bit and black face patterned after a popular performer at the time al jolson who sang a song called my mammy in the 1927 ground breaking talking feature the
jazz singer. the film that signals the end of the silent era, the beginning of the talking era. so when bugs bunny does that black face impression, he is imitating a specific performer and he's saying, uncle sam might have instead of mammy. still the racism is inexcusable. it's why you don't see this cartoon too much and it's one of the very few cartoons with bugs bunny that uses this offensive form of humor. ♪. [ music playing ] >> the tall man with a high hat and whiskers on his chin would
soon be knocking at your door and you ought to be in. the tall man with high hats will be coming down your way. ♪ get your savinging out when you hear him shot ♪ ♪ gets e get bond today >> c'mon, any bond today, bonds of freedom, that's what i'm za selling. ♪ any bonds today ♪ scrape up the notions can ♪ here's the freedom map ♪ asking you to buy a share of freedom today." who managed stamps today? you are blessed. we all invest in the usa ♪ sammy, my uncle sammy ♪ ♪ here comes the freedom man ♪ that's tomorrow's plan ♪ not unless you fire a shell of freedom today ♪ ♪ any sam, any bond today [ music playing ]
>> now, look at that, i want you to freeze your attention on that image here for defense buy united states savings bonds and stamps. the u.s. treasury adopted this symbol. this is the minute man soldier. this is from the revolutionary war days and they said, you know, we've got to impression e press upon the american people that this world war ii that we are involved in now is just as important a fight for freedom and independence as was the revolutionary war in 1776. so if you want to be in that grand tradition of the patriots of 1776, then you've got to do your part for defense and buy united states savings bonds as stamps. this was the very prevalent symbol around the country, advertising the need to buy savings bonds as stamps. it even made its way into the
first issue of wonder woman's own magazine. this is a panel from a story from the end of the story of one of the adventures wonder woman had in wonder woman number 1 f. and wonder woman says, when you see these minuteman posters, boys and girls, remember, he's talking to you. so, yes, the super heros that we have been spending a number of days in this class researching the origins of and getting into the background of, they, too, are joining in this fefrt. and i'll tell you something, it's not as if the comic book company was just well let's slap that in there. no, there was cooperation with the u.s. government, because the
back cover, the back cover of wonder woman number 1s was dedicated the to a let rer to the boys and girls of america from the secretary of the treasury, himself. a special message to the boys and girls of america from henry morganle that, jr., secretary of the treasury. you see the letterhead, the secretary of the treasury in washington. boys and girls of america, here's a way for every one of you to help your country. every time you buy a savings stamp, you are helping uncle sam to pay for a part of a gun, plane or ship, with your fathers, brothers or uncles are using for the defense of our country. if every one of you 40 million boys and girls would buy at least one 10 cent savings stamp
every week, you would be lending your uncle sam $200 million every year. think of all the guns, planes, and ships he could buy with that. remember, you can help to keep them flying by buying a defense stamp every week. sincerely, henry morganthal, jr., then you got the minute man symbol again. down here, this space is donated by the publishers of this magazine in the interest of national defense and victory. okay. of course the company was dc comics. dc comics had some levels to its organization at that time. there was the national comics when which gave us superman batman and aqua man and green
arrow and the all american comic wing which gave us wonder woman, the flash, green lantern and a number of other heroes. but the two companies were very interrelated. they were very close and these are the publishers who said, you know, let's donate the back cover of the first issue of wonder woman's own magazine. she had appeared, of course, in all star comics number 8 first and then her first cover appearance was sensation comics number 1, 1'8" they said she is such a run away hit, we're going to give her, her own magazine. first issue of her own magazine, they're donating space to tell every boy and girl in america to buy defense savings bonds and stamps. this is serious stuff. this is serious stuff. it's serious, because kwondr -- beyond enjoying the adventures of wonder woman, there is something else you can do to be
a hero. let's look at a few other covers. here we got world's finest comics and you will notice a few things. number 8, winter issue. a superman d.c. publication. right? and you've got superman and batman and robin handing out things that kind of look like these books, these little green books. and these pages of stamps. that's what they're doing. they're handing these out. but what, what, what, what are superman and batman and robin doing this under the sign of? you know we said that there was racism in that bugs bunny cartoon? they're underneath a big sign here that says sink the japa
nazis can bonds and stamps. ug. ug. when you start taking the names of people's nationalities and making puns out of them, eh, you're dipping into racism also. you think sometimes how would you feel if you happen to have been an american of japanese dissent and you really wanted to help and you really liked superman and batman comics and you wanted to buy defense stamps, you know, like one of the people on this cover, are you walking up there and that's the sign they've got. imagine if you archbishop kid in the real world and it's like you are buying the next edition of the world's finest and that's what they're saying on the cover. oh, yeah. it tells you a bit about what was acceptable back then and you see on the rest of this cover here, you've got lots and lots and lots of kids.
and batman, robin and superman are handing out these specs and they're handing out these books. but unfortunate lip, they're also handing out morsels of racism. one shy example, i don't think so. here's an issue of action comics. this is the magazine that introduced superman in the first place. this one is number 58. world's largest selling comic magazine. the reason it's the world's largest coming selling magazine is because who is depicted here in the corner of superman. and superman is in the middle of a big printing press. these huge big presses, probably like at the bases of the daily planet buildinging more important lip, at the bases of
dc printing organization, where you'd have these huge gigantic presses and they're printing out pages and pages and pages and pages like a factory. and so this here is the depicted superman, strong enough to run the presses all by himself and what notice is he running out? superman says, you can slap a jap with war bonds and stamps. and as you can see, on this cover, there's a number of copies of that brochure that superman is printed printing out, it's not just a one-shot deal. i want to show you since we're in action comics, a couple of
the three dimensional examples of these covers. i've got a copy here of action comics number 50, the 50th issue of action comics world's largest selling comics magazine. superman is sasheing minors trapped by a cave-in. why did i put this up here? because if you look at the lower left-hand corner, it's got a small picture of superman walking if between two service men and it says, superman says, buy defense stamps. help national defense. so even if it wasn't the main part of the cover, the message would still be put some place on the cover. and you know it hit people, the young audiences effectively because these messages were sold, were placed on the cover of the world's largest selling comic magazine.
this one here back the attack with war bonds was another famous one. it didn't involve comic book characters. it was a famous phrase, back the attack because it rhymes. and we're going to take a look at captain america here. i want you to buy war bonds now. we will get to you in a bit. i wanted to show you, tell you a little personal story that sews the seeds of how i got interested in this stuff. a cousin of mine years ago when i was a little kid. i think, yeah, it was my tenth birthday, yep. my tenth birthday gave me a retrospective book of batman and robin story. ah. oh, i stand corrected. this is going to show just how much of a geek i am.
my cousin got me the batman encyclopedia the christmas before. it was my aunt who got me the retrospective book of batman on my 10th birthday. oh, i'm sorry. by the time i'm 10-years-old i got these two batman books, i'm reading them, i'm studying them and everything and one of the box had a whole gallery of batman covers from the 1940s. oh. the penguin and he's dealing with the cat woman and you had the first batman cover and then you had the first robin cover and all those things. wow! oum those characters that i liked reading about. then in the middle of it was this cover. batman and robin seem to be interrupting their adventures to sit on top of a giant bird. what's going on here? they're not fighting the penguin. the penguin deals with birds, but, no, no, no, it's not about the penguins. what is this all about? and what are they saying here? there's a few planes if you look in the back. batman and robin. they both have their fingers up
in the v for victory sign, they're saying keep the american eagle flying. buy war bonds and stamps. okay. >> that sounds good. yeah, keep the american eagle flying. yeah, yeah, yeah. but what's a war bond? and why buy a stamp? i mean, all i few about stamps was the little thing you put on the top of the envelope when you are writing your thank you notes to your cousin and your aunt for giving you these wonderful batman books. that's what i knew what a stamp was. but in the context of the war and i knew this is from the war time period, i had to find out what is a war bond. what is a stamp in this context. and why did batman and robin interrupt their adventures?
this doesn't have the joker. it doesn't have the penguin. it doesn't have two face. it doesn't have the cat woman to sit on top of a big bird and tell their readers to do that, in order to keep the american eagle flying. and it's because of this. it's because the need is great. the need is great and even if you are a little kid and you've just got a little bit, you can do something to help. if you don't have enough to buy a bond, you can buy one of those little 10 cent stamps for the cost of a comic book. you know, instead of buying batman and superman that month. buy batman and then use the other dime to buy defense savings stamp. keep the american eagle flying. >> that says, wow, that was heavy stuff for batman and robin. wow! they're getting all involved in the war effort. and there were other ways, too.
remember roosevelt's speech excerpt that i read for you. it said that it also means cutting luxury and other non-essentials. sacrifice. doing without in order to further a greater cause. and what the kids of america were asked to do through the cartoons and comics was not just to spare an extra dime for war bonds and stamps. to buy the stamps so that they can buy a war bond but they were also asked to do without other things like paper. let's take a look, like paper. here's a cover world size number 13, where superman, batman and robin are pushing this huge truck filled and filled and filled and filled with paper. what's the sign that robin is carrying. it says, fight paper waste and hang one on the paper hangar of berlin.
now, what they're doing there is they are taking a dig at hitler's personal biography, hitler had been a number of things before it became the dictator of germany. he was a want to be artist. he was a house painter. he would also hang up paper at various places. so anything that the government or cartoonist could use to make a verbal jab at hitler and also promote the war effort, they would do. so that's where you are getting this phrase of hang one on the paper hangar of berlin. but the thing is, fight paper waist. now, americans don't waste. how do we waste paper? well, back then before tv you got your news through the newspaper. it's also where you got a lot of your favorite comic strips from, like dick tracy, like little
orphan annie and like superman adventures in the newspaper. what do you do after the next day? from you know, you've heard that phrase yesterday's news? and this is where it was derived from. it's yesterday's newspaper. what do you do with yesterday's newspaper? you throw it out, not so fast! not so fast! paper is used for a lot of things. and you can use that waste paper to help the war effort. and inside this very comic book alfred, batman and robin's faith. butler will show a young person in gotham city how. this was the one shot, one page story that makes the case for saving paper. and it starts like this, paper,
paper, everywhere. with which to fight the foe. paper, paper, everywhere, and none to waste must go. >> that comes from the rhyme of the ancient mariner, right? sam cule coolidge, water, water, everywhere, not a drop to drink. how many people have heard of that poem? read that poem. this is a nice little pun on that poem. all right. what's happening in gotham city here? it says it's a busy day, butler extraordinary to bruce wayne and dick grayson, alias of batman and robin and the kid knocked it grayson comes up to am fred and says, hey, am fred, where are you going with all that junk? and alfred is there replying, junk, these are weapons of war, my boy, weapons of war, the kid says, ha, ha, ha, am fred says, this is no gesting matter.
if you don't believe me, just tag along and see, and they walk off a block or two, and they happen to come upon his employer batman and robin who are collecting stacks of paper from kids in the neighborhood and they're throwing them in a truck and the kid is saying batman and robin, what are they collect all that waste paper for? alfred replies, because we have a paper shortage due to lack of man power in cutting the timber used in paper production. everybody got that? lack of man power because probably because they have been drafted a tough fight the war. sow don't have people to cut down the trees and when you don't have people to cut down the trees, you have less trees being turned into paper. sow got less paper and that
equals a paper shortage. okay. and the kid says paper shortage. you mean we might not be able to read our favorite comic magazines. he's bringing it home here to where it really hurts. and alfred says, righto. you got to hand it to alfred, he knows how to say it. righto, but by salvaging all this waste paper, we provide a substitute and we'll have sufficient supplies for both civilians and military purposes. and the kid replies, military, there you go again. what's paper got to do with war weapons? and alfred says, why, it's used to make parachute flairs, wing tips, bomb bands and other military objects. con stainers for shells,
army rations, and very other essential supplies are made from paper, too. see, you probably didn't know that. the kid didn't know that. and alfred says, everybody can help by using paper sparingly. and by collecting waste paper, you can sell it to a dealer or turn it over to charitable organizations, like the red cross or to your school and the kid says, okay. let me help right now. he takes the big pile out of alfred's hands and he carries it, himself. and alfred is very impressed. he says, i seem to have been very persuasive. the kid says, don't worry, alfred, i'll collect plenty of paper myself from now on and help box hitler and hiro ito on the nose. you see how this one-page story draws a connection between turning in waste paper and bopping hitler hiro ito on the nose, heir ro ito was the
emperor of japan at this time. we'll get into this thing of punching hitler in the nose in a little bit. but i wanted to show you a few other people getting into this act of salvaging paper. take a look at comic cavalcade number 6. here we've got wonder woman again pushing the express wagon and she's accompanied by her friends the golden age 1940s versions of green lantern and the flash. how many people have seen the latest live action flash tv show? lsht remember and that flash with the hat. we used to call him flash with the hat when we were kids. he was the flash of the bolden
age the 1940s. and i always used to wonder, how can he run so fast without losing his hat? especially on a windy day, or was the wind generated by him running so fast? but he could do it, because he's the flash. see. and with green lan term, i always wondered, with all the different colors in his costume, the purple cape, the red shirt, the red and yellow striped boots, why does he call himself the green lantern. he could have picked a whole bunch of other colors. well, the lean was green and the lantern was green. like superman and batman and robin, wonder woman kept her basic appearance to the present. so she is recognizable to people who might fought recognize the other two. now you notice these other super heroes are leading a crowd of kids, i'll zoom in and zoom out at the same time here. notice there is a crowd of kids
and they're all doing what? they're all carrying big stacks of paper and wonder woman is pushing a wagon filled with big stacks of paper. see, she's got this wagon and all this paper is piled up. the sign over here drives the point home, it says war production, urgently needs waste paper. they're not very subtle about it. and this tells you something else, too. it tells you why comics from the world war ii period are so rare and scarce and if you've got a mint condition or near mint condition copy of a gold him age 1940s comic book, yes, you can sell it for a lot of money.
it's not so much the age of the comic book, although, that's a part of it, but the scarcity, because as one rider put it, th good and faithful about turning the waste paper in after they finished reading them. so many of the comics were destroyed. see? that's why the comics are so scarce. they finished reading it, sharing it with friends, put it in one of these bundles, turn it into the government to use the spare waste paper. everybody see that? i remember the 1989 batman movie and all of the batman hoopla that came out of it and a lot of people got it into their heads that if they started to save the comics from 1990, 1991, they, too, could make a lot of
money in 20 years, but it did not quite pan out that way. you know why? because we weren't doing this anymore. probably if you buy a comic now and save it and save it and save it, it is probably not the next action number one or the next detective comics 27 or next amazing fantasy number 15 which introduced spiderman. remember, we said that detective 27 is the first appearance of batman. it is probably not that. you can save it if you want, you never know. you really don't. if people count on that, they're going to be very disappointed. the reason comics from this era are so valuable if you got a good or mint condition copy is so many of them were destroyed in the paper drives. everybody see that. they were sacrificed to a larger purpose. i sometimes -- i was born in
queens, grew up in queens, manhattan. one of the things i loved was looking at things from the 1939, 1940 world's fair. seemed to be so cool. and i wish they kept the trylon and the perishere and wish they hadn't melted it down so i could see it. you know why they melted it down? for bigger purpose. it was melted down for war materials. the same with the old comic books. they were destroyed for a bigger purpose because this was a generation of kids and their parents who said whatever little bit i've got, even if i've got to sacrifice, i'm going to give it up for the bigger purpose.
we have a war to win. if we don't fight this war, wage this battle, there may not be a future for people to look back on. this is more than just the funny books. this is really serious stuff. we talked a lot about d.c., let's get to marvel. we did talk about marvel the last couple of classes. marvel's first couple of big characters were the submariner and human torch. the title submariner was borrowed from a poem. water water everywhere, not a drop to drink. fire and water. and they would fight. their first big superstar character, the one that really put them on the map in a way they hadn't been before was captain america. we talked about captain america
as a symbol of fighting the axis, even before the united states officially entered world war ii. how many people have seen captain america the first avenger? okay. which is good because i'm going to show you a little excerpt of it and i'm not going to feel so bad that i can't show you more of it right now, because most of you have seen it. i want to draw your attention to one particular part. just before he goes out in what he considers a clownish suit. why am i selling war bonds. he says listen, bonds buy bullets, bullets kill nazis. and he draws that connection. and when he goes out there with the shield and is reading his lines, he is talking about the connection between buying a bond and helping your loved one overseas.
this is a representation i would say of the real life struggle that the captain america comic magazine was helping to wave. i will show you an excerpt and then i am going to show you a couple other comics. >> i don't know if i can do this. >> if you buy bonds, bonds buy bullets and bing bam boom, american hero. senators have pull on the hill. go. ♪ ♪ the american way ♪ and storm the beach
♪ and it is a fine day ♪ and series e bonds and each one that you buy is a bullet in your best guy's gun ♪ ♪ save america ♪ >> wait, wait, wait. what poster are they posing in front of? that one. that's right. this is a take off of the famous uncle sam poster that says i want you. that was done during world war i, was used again very effectively during world war ii. but here captain america is saying i want you to buy war bonds now. many of you have seen this
movie, and you know as part of his war bond drama, part of the routine i will say, he wasn't dancing in it, but it was the act that there's a guy that portrays hitler, and at the appropriate moment, captain america turns around, punches hitler in the face, right? if you look at it closely, it inspires a cover of a comic book. this comic book. captain america number one. this is the actual real captain america number one that came out long before the attack on pearl harbor. and we talked about in class that joe simon, jack kirby, the people who produced what would later be called the marvel line
of comics, they had a number of names back in these days, timely, atlas, et cetera, et cetera, and they said, you know, we are trying to make a statement against the isolation. the isolationists said let's just make our separate american peace with hitler so he'll leave us alone. we don't need to get involved in the war. let's leave hitler alone, he will leave us alone. there are folks said when did hitler leave anybody alone if he had the chance to invade them. no, we need a hero that's going to express the need to fight hitler. there was a concern because hitler was a dictator that might get killed at any time, that by the time the comic book hit the stands that hitler might already be dead. and they thought well, that might not be the worst outcome. let's put the comic out anyway, whether he is alive or dead when
it hits the stands. if you look at the captain america movie again, and there's a lot of comics sold of him punching hitler in the face, what the moviemakers did is to come up with a fictional in plot reason why this image became so popular. action comics number one, he does lift up a car, smack it against a cliff. in captain america, it is like well, he couldn't have gotten that close to hitler, otherwise the war would already be over with. what they did is say this is a representational cover and the moviemakers came up with a real reason that inspired it. everybody see that? let's look a little bit at captain america covers which in and of themselves were pieces of propaganda, because you see, when you went to the newsstand to buy the comics, the cover was
so important because it is first thing that met your eyes, and the captain america comics were masterpieces of propaganda, and he likes punching the enemy in the face. case in point. captain america number 13. the first captain america that came out after the attack on pearl harbor. let's read this a bit. he is punching a japanese warlord saying "you started it, now we'll finish it." on the top left-hand corner it says "all out for america issue." there's a special urgency, now we are at war.
let's open this comic and see what hits us on the first page. by the way, down here it says "remember pearl harbor" which is kind of hard to forget at the moment when this comic was published. let's open up the cover, and let's look at the first page. i'll zoom in here. all right. captain america, new, exciting. who's the editor? stan lee. i told you that martin good man was head of marvel comics, and distant relative of his who was just a kid at the time comes to marvel, he's hired to basically be a gopher. and what's a gopher? a go for this, gor to th for th
sweep the floor, and little rinky-dink jobs like that. the guy had some income coming in, over time as simon and kirby moved to other things and features, other people at marvel were drafted into the army, stan lee becomes the only guy left in the office. sometimes working for a small company can help you out if you're the only guy left in the office. at that young age, guess what, he's the editor. stan lee would later say it was supposed to be temporary while everybody else was at war, but it turned out that the temporary job that i had lasted like 30 years. what's at the center of the page in between captain america and bucky? what's at the center. looks familiar. the minuteman image for defense
"buy united states savings bonds and stamps." bucky is even saluting it. there's something else here, too. way down here on page 57, after you have finished reading the adventures of captain america and bucky, we have something down here with way down on page 57, we have a character called the secret stamp. meet america's newest hero as roddy colt, united states agent, dons the mask of the secret stamp in the first of many thrill a minute true to life adventures. how many people have heard of the secret stamp? i didn't think so.
whose the secret stamp, are they not making a movie about him? the secret stamp is a kid on a bicycle, puts on a mask, has a cape, sells war bonds and stamps. but he got the government's attention. let us turn to page 57 of this comic book. there he is. the kid, bicycle, and what's that button. it says "official u.s. defense agent." woo-hoo. but what is interesting about this splash page about the secret stamp is that the last page, in addition to the big minuteman image here, is also dedicated front and center to a letter to stan lee from the
united states treasury department on december 2nd, 1941. that is a week before pearl harbor. and let us see what it says. mr. stan lee, editor, captain america comics. 330 west 42nd street, new york new york. dear mr. lee. we welcome the opportunity of congratulating you on the patriotic thought behind your new adventure comic strip roddy colt: u.s. defense agent. remember, roddy colt is the identity of the secret stamp. can't forget that. we like the idea very much and believe such a strip will be effective in connection with the plan promoted by newspaper publishers now reaching national proportions to sell defense
savings stamps through approximately 500,000 loyal young american newsboys from maine to california. sincerely yours. eugene w. sloan. director, defense saving staff, treasury department, washington, d.c. wow. this guy got the government's attention. take the opportunity to buy some of these. these are on kindle or ibooks, and you can get a lot of golden age comics for a dollar just by reading these. it's not bad, the secret stamp. he's a kid who is mad when bullies knock over a bicycle and take all the defense stamps for themselves. what does he do? he puts on a mask, a cape, gets on his bicycle and goes after
them. he even gets the time at some point in the plot to call the police. i'm always concerned about this kind of thing. you can't put on a mask and cape, on your bicycle, go after crooks. i mean, the guys could be dangerous, but the message got through. selling u.s. savings bonds and stamps was an important thing, and that you were working for your government when you did it, and anybody who tries to rob or steal them really was a crook. not just against the person he robbed or stole it from, but against the government. and the point got through. apparently the point got through very, very well because with each passing year, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, americans kept buying bonds. there were different loans.
the second war loan, then the third war loan, fourth war loan, fifth war loan, and sixth war loan, and called the mighty seventh war loan. the idea was, and this may shock you, that if you begin to see good news in the newspaper about the war, this is not the time to sit back and say okay, it's over. i won't buy so many defense stamps. they didn't want you to do that. they didn't want you to do that at all. they wanted to make sure that people kept it up. i'm going to play this song sung by the legendary bing crosby about how in the latter days of the war, americans were still urged to keep it up. to keep it up. all right. i'm going to turn this up here. people are very fond of my colorful speakers.
i'm going to turn it way up. i hope it doesn't blow anyone's hearing away, it shouldn't. but this song comes under the title, "bye-bye-bye bonds" which is pretty easy to remember. here we go. ♪ ♪ buy, buy, buy a bond ♪ and by buying the bonds ♪ it will bring you victory ♪ buy buy buy a bond ♪ and you'll be standing by the victory arch when johnny comes marching home again ♪ ♪ oh you should need no request ♪ ♪ for afterall you know that you are investing the best until
lads come back again and back to the old attack again ♪ ♪ buy, buy buy bonds ♪ this is no time to say that you have done enough ♪ ♪ this is the time to do your stuff ♪ ♪ and even if you can't be a soldier in the ranks ♪ ♪ you can be the guy that helped to supply the guns and planes and tanks ♪ ♪ and this is a time for you to do your best ♪ ♪ this is no time for you have to take a rest ♪ ♪ the enemy is reeling and his moral is low so now is the time to fall in line and deal the final blow ♪ ♪ buy buy buy a bond ♪ buy a bond ♪ and by buying a bond it will bring you victory ♪ ♪ buy buy buy a bond ♪ buy a bond ♪ and you'll be standing by the victory arch when johnny comes marching home again ♪
♪ oh, you should need no request ♪ ♪ for after all you know that you are investing in the best ♪ ♪ until the lads come back again ♪ ♪ back to the old attack again ♪ buy buy bonds >> do you think the message got through? oh yes. oh yes. buy buy buy bonds. keep buying them, and do not think that just because the war seems to be going our way that you can slack off. and actually after the war was won and that hard fought victory was achieved, the united states treasury department continued to advertise u.s. savings bonds and stamps as a way to finance your education, to finance a home, to finance civilian things you wanted as an important way to save money.
as of 2012, you can't go to a bank or other over-the-counter institution as they say to buy bonds, but you can buy them at the u.s. treasury online website treasurydirect.gov. people have been asking why aren't u.s. savings bonds and things of that nature as popular now as they were back in the days of world war ii. one of the reasons is that for some of the bonds you're not getting any interest. it is zero or 0.3%. it doesn't seem like it is going to give you much any more, not like when we talked about you put in 18.75, you get back $25. you're not having that so much. some people are nostalgic where you don't have the physical
thing anymore. i mean, you can printout, go online, and you can buy the bond and print something out and stick that in your niece or nephew's birthday card, but it doesn't seem the same. the government has been saying that by discontinuing the paper bonds we're saving a lot of money regarding cost of printing the paper bonds. so that's a thought. but some of the romance is gone. some of the romance is gone. and some people particularly, i can identify with this too, a generation that grew up before there were computers, before everything was online, they might find the online buying of bonds just a bit cumbersome as one reporter put it.
it is not as easy as walking up to a place and maybe some celebrity might be there to give you one of these books and give you a set of stamps. you know, it is not like that any more. it is kind of impersonal. the big reason is that people don't see it is much of an investment. i want to ask you this. and after i do this, i'm going to open it up for questions, for the qs and as. dr. taylor, we're more interested in as than qs. i get that. that's all right. question is does our government need money today, yes or no? yes. right? so why don't we have bond campaigns like we have been talking about over today's class for other purposes? health care, ah, what else, to lower the deficit? there are places you can contribute money to the
government to lower the deficit, sure, you can do that. but come on, where are the celebrities, the comic book characters or the cartoon characters, where are the songs about buying bonds? where are people saying, hey, whatever you can give, it is going to help? i'm saying whatever the economic conditions that may or may not make u.s. savings bonds as attractive to americans on the street as they used to be, what about that idea of connecting a great cause to an individual's purchasing of savings bonds and stamps. what happened to that? couldn't we do that again, and if so, what caused this? i would like to open it up for questions with the mic if anybody has some ideas. just wait for the mic. remember, we have talked about
lamont cranston and the shadow. you have to wait for that filtered microphone. anybody like to take a crack, why don't we do this any more? this could be fun. go for it. >> is it possibly because there isn't as much patriotism with it? while we are still fighting in iraq and afghanistan of course, there isn't as much of a greater threat as there was back in world war ii with the nazis and with the japanese? >> i don't know. i think people would argue that the threat levels are just as high in our post 9/11 world. but you're not the first person to think about what's happening to the patriotism. what's happening to the patriotism. >> would it be something about how paying money towards the government is somehow viewed as this socialist effort that people are now completely turned
off from? >> it has to do with what do americans think about various terms like socialism and capitalism and all of the other isms. is it not good any more to pay money to the government? i want to throw in a related question on this for you to think about. are americans more gung ho on paying taxes today than 1943? what about that? what about getting a cartoon out there to help americans feel better about paying their taxes. okay. wait nfor this mic. >> i was going to say that society is different. people are more selfish today. >> people are more selfish today. >> yeah, not willing to do those
type of things anymore i think. it is a different era, different, you know, i think that's why. >> that's sad. >> but it's the reality. >> why are people more selfish? it is all about me. i mean, aren't there plenty of things to get excited about in terms of helping others? what happened to that? >> is it because there's lack of trust toward our government now that they're going to take our money and do the right thing with it? >> now this is something you've hit upon. in the wake of vietnam and watergate, there's this idea that the government may not always be as trustworthy, may not tell the entire truth, and you might not and reporters might not be able to trust everything that the president says. there was an aura around the presidency in world war ii. that's part of it, there's a mistrust of government, but maybe the mistrust is against the american public's own
interest when it comes to not getting to be part of bond drives and savings drives. is there a way to rebuild that trust? what do you think? what do you think? hey, i'm taking my aquaman break here or submariner break. i should be bipartisan, right? notice, one character here. one character there. one company here. one company there. one has to be bipartisan. okay. but one thing d.c. and marvel and other companies had in common is that when something like world war ii came up, they all pitched in to help. all joking aside on that, they all pitched in to help. but is there a great cause? when is the last time you picked up a comic book, saw a cartoon
that talked about a cause in the real world? re-al world, two syllables. it was escapism and also irrelevance. irrelevance that said when you finish reading this comic and your friends finish it, give it to the government to help the war efforts. you want to hit hitler on the nose, help captain america do that. buy u.s. savings bonds and stamps. what happened? think about it. think about it.
>> large distrust in events like watergate, and i remember when i took a course with you, that when abram lincoln said something, nobody questioned it. i mean somebody has to question it now and again, but like the masses believed in their president. >> you think there was an understanding? >> there was an understanding that government is for us like they're trying to help us. that was the mentality. but as vietnam, watergate, and as time went on, and you know, split between the people and the government happened. i think that that's why people
now, ask any young person that doesn't know about -- knows decent amount of history, isn't in history courses, so they might not want to be affiliated with politics, the majority of people say that they don't know what's going on. like they just don't want to hear about it. what is going on in the government, but the masses' eyes now, like the government doesn't care. they are out for just for personal gain, and when they do th this, that's it. >> whatever happened to the superhero approach that the government was a hero? whatever happened to that? >> i feel like nowadays people have a distaste for helping the government, they don't want to help a government they don't agree with.
>> so the government seems to need to get the image of being a hero again. how do we do that? how do we do that? >> isn't there an issue now that we would never be able to get away with publishing a superhero punching another leader in the face, that we would view that now as poking the bear rather than as a nationalist or nationalism pushing forward of something? instead it is dangerous almost. we're more likely to make fun of the crisis than act about it. >> that's going to be part of it. when we look at what happens to comics, world war ii and the future, because we're getting towards the end of our class today. i want you to think about
something. how did, how did the image of the government change, and watch this, how did the image of the superhero change and the idea of were comic books good for kids in the first place, and what happened to that idea as we are moving out of the 40s into the 50s. we are going to be looking at a lot of issues that we explored today as the calendar moves from one year to another, and one decade to another. but we're going to have to pick that up next time. so i'll see you then. weeknights, featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on cspan3. lectures in history, american artifacts, reel america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency and special event coverage about our nation's
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hi, everyone. my name is adam koch, and i'm a c-span camera winner. i am here to encourage you to wrap up this competition as the deadline is getting pretty close. don't worry, you will have time, and this is the time that i started filming my documentary, the first year i entered it. i'm in d.c. offices right now, and i will tell you that c-span student cam was an incredible opportunity to express my thoughts and views about the political climate, and the state leaders and political office. i am extremely excited that you are all interested in this and pursuing it, because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to take. >> there is still time for you the enter the c-span student cam documentary contest. it is a five or six-minute documentary to express your thoughts of the 2020