tv Lectures in History American Cartoons in World War II CSPAN December 26, 2019 6:01pm-7:26pm EST
♪ ♪ we are going to look at today the place where the so-called real world with a cartoon and comic world cartoon and comic world. that is why the title of today's class is songs and taxes, american cartoons and comics during world war ii. i can remember, from my days in chapel school, where our pastor gave us a sermon that has stuck with me ever since. the lesson of it drove from two-parts. two separate biblical texts, one is from second kings if you're
interested, chapter 4, where the prophet elisha, not elijah but elisha, has him bringing 20 rolls of barley and he has to feed 100 men. and his servant asked him, how are we gonna do that? we only have 20 rolls of barley. the prophet says, give them to the men, that they may had some left, just as the lord told them, there's an incident from the new testament where, jesus is confronted with a crowd of people 5000, how will we feed all these people? one of his disciples says here's a young boy, with five barley loaves and two fish. not a lot.
it could take like six months of pay to feed the crowd of 5000. jesus said, crowd of 5000. jesus said, bring it up. he gave thanks to it, and the whole crowd was fed and there was more than enough. i remember, my pastor saying, it does not matter how little you are, you can be a little guy, and i was a little guy, you can be a child, boy, girl, it does not 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 need. he was trying to tell us, it did not matter,
how little we had. if we use it faithfully for a righteous cause it will help a big need to be met. i have been thinking about that lesson, for a long time as i've been contemplating what are we gonna talk about, in terms of world war ii and paying for world war ii. 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 and the weeks right after the attack in pearl harbor and one thing he impressed in the american people, was that everybody, rich, poor, old, young, did not matter had a role to pay play a very important one. in getting this monumental job done of paying for the war, and winning
the war. i'm giving you an excerpt of his state of the union address from 1942. just a few sentences that will encapsulate what he was talking about here. and how he was urging all americans to do their little bit. fdr came before congress, and 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. 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. that means taxes, and bonds, and bonds and taxes. it means
cutting luxuries, and other nonessentials. 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 as well. family about kids as well. family effort meant even if you were over here, on the home front, 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 didn't have, had a very important role to play. in the united states war effort. roosevelt wanted to make a very, very sure that everybody was clear about that. early in that new year of 1942, united states treasury is already going to work, trying to figure out how to get americans to help pay for the war. was about talked about taxes, and bonds, and bonds, and taxes. we know what taxes are right? it's when the government compels you, to pay certain part of your income, to meet the cost of government doing what it has to do. but what are bonds? a bond is a i owe you, write that down and i
owe you, it's a statement that the united states government owes you money. basically what uncle sam was doing was saying, we will doing was saying, we will have people pay us taxes to pay for this thing, but, we will also 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? right? it is a very, very interesting looking piece of which parents may have
to explain to you parents may have to explain is that it is a u.s. savings bonds, which means, you keep it, you 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 you can pay for your education, this, that important things is an investment in the future, by having uncle sam go into debt to you. okay? go into debt to you. okay? that is a savings bond. what united states treasury, decided to do, was to initiate a savings bond program specifically for the purpose 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 as $18.75. if you gave lending uncle sam money, to win the war. i don't know about you, but what if you're a little kid in 1942? a little kid with his hands in his pockets and one thing that i have in his pockets is $18.75. because remember 1942, they're just coming out of the great
depression. so, am i out of this great state in the u.s. government says no, you can buy something called united states savings stamps. united states savings stamps? yes, this is what you would do, you get yourself a little green book like this. in that little green book, you would place every time you would go and buy u.s. savings stamps, what are you talking about stamps i'm talking about stamps like this. you could get these they would sell these over-the-counter at banks, and other institutions, it's like okay, all i have, is $.10 it's not much and they say that's okay it's enough, say
that's okay it's enough, because for 10 cents watch this, for $.10, you can go ahead and buy one usa being defense stamps. okay? how does that help? >> helps because you get this little green book, your stamp book you put the stamp, right in here, maybe you have another stamp 80s to get there, these stamps, watch these stamps are various denominations some of them are $.10 on the dollar, some of them $.50 and you get them, get them, get them and you fill the book full, when it comes up to $18.75, you walk over to the place with that $18.75 you can buy yourself a war bond. those of you that are math experts, enough savings stamps for $18.75. that is why the stamps came in various
denominations larger than that a dollar, five dollars and like that. but, what if you are strictly at $.10 kind of person? what it did was, and we will see, the cost of >> book: and was $.10. action comics number one, superman, it has at $.10 price sticker on it. is worth a whole lot more now. but $.10 then. if you only have $.10, this is what you do, you might spend one dime on a comic book, maybe another dime on something like a cookie or ice cream and then another dime, you would spend on this, but what you did, is you had friends, i bought superman for $.10, you may have bought batman. you may not wonder woman. what we would do, is swap and trade. see? what's
happening even on a 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 saving stamps. and what this did, among the merits of the u.s. savings bonds program, was it curbed inflation, because what's happening, is that when people are not spending all the money they have, 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 one thing to have a little bit of inflation to get you over the great depression but you don't
want too much in the way to do that is to encourage americans to keep some money in their pockets or save it and this book and other books like it represented you putting money away, lending it to uncle sam to help win the war. you're not spending it on stuff and that, over time curbs inflation among kids, and they're asking adults to do the same thing. there would be payroll savings where, you don't get your complete paycheck, you let part of that paycheck go for buying was bonds and things like that. so, that's what the war bonds and the stamps program is about. that is what it is about. so when you say buy defense bonds and stamps, that is what it is
about. if you're not rich enough to buy a full bond for $18.75, then go collect stamps $.10 apiece, a dollar piece, five dollars apiece, until you save enough to buy a bond. okay, everybody clear on what the defense bonds and stamps program was about? and how whether you are rich, poor, 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, 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 is where the cartoons come in. u.s. government was very smart. they said well,
we've got to get taxes and bonds and bonds in taxes and they went to walt disney. they said walt, we need your help to get americans to pay their taxes. walt disney was thinking well, if americans don't pay their taxes, put them in jail what is the problem with incentivizing here? i sure pay mine! they said mister disney, yes walt is very informal. we cannot arrest and jail the whole country! if we are going to just rely on fear and intimidation, it will not work. we cannot 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
nodding and now they're saying this is what we want you to do, a character called mister taxpayer and we want that and walt said no, no, no i'm not creating a new character. they said no? he said no, we already have the perfect character for you. donald duck. they said, donald duck? he said, listen folks, he said the disney studios like any other studio. we are giving you one of our star actors right now. just look at it that way. because if cantankerous donald duck can pay his taxes then anyone can. remember in previous weeks we looked at the history of animation, we saw some animated cartoons of donald duck and we saw 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, anybody can pay his taxes. so that what we will do, is 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 do they work into the argument? all right. >> there he is, a new spirit in america. >> that's right. >> the spirit of a free people, united again in a common cause to stamp tierney from the earth. our 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!, >> do your part? >> yes sir!, >> then there is something important you can do. >> you won't get a medal for doing it. but it will be a sacrifice on your part. >> oh boy oh boy oh boy!, >> that is okay. >> it will be a vital help to your country. >> do anything. >> can i tell you what it is? >> what is it? tell me!, >> town value? >> me! tell me!, >> your income tax. >> income tax? >> yes your income tax. it may not seem important to you, but it is important. >> it is? >> yes and it is your privilege, not just your duty but your privilege, to help your government by paying your taxes, 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 boy! victory, taxes to beat the axis! >> that's the spirit. >> yes sir!, >> now how about your income tax? >> okay give me a minute. >> how about everybody attacked the issue of paying your income tax with that much enthusiasm? and 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 catchphrase you heard was "taxes to beat the axis" and the rest of that cartoon will show, it pays for planes, tanks, cannons and guns and all those implements of war. the thing that you're not crazy about doing, is vital to this great enterprise of fighting
and winning the war. so much for taxes, how about bonds? other studios got involved also. i want to show you, a bugs bunny cartoon in which he sings a popular song, and i want to caution you about something, even as we are involved in this grant enterprise, to fight the axis powers and the totalitarian and the racism that they represented, the united states could still not raise itself entirely above its own racism in that time. i'll show you why, bugs bunny will perform in blackface patterned after the popular performer of the time,
al jolson, who sing a song called "my mammy" in the 1927 ground wrecking talking feature "the jazz singer". the film that signaled the end of the same era and the beginning of the talking era. for one bugs bunny does that blackface impression he's imitating a specific performer. he saying, uncle sammy instead of mammy but still the racism is inexcusable. it's why you do not see this cartoon too much, and is one of the very few cartoons, with money that uses this offensive form of humor. >> the tall man with a hi hat, and whiskers on his chin, will
soon be knocking at your door, and he ought to be and, the tall man with high hat, will be coming down your way, get your savings out,---bring bonds today come on and stamp folks come on folks. any bonds today, bonds of freedom is that what i'm selling it's bond today, scrape out the most you can, here comes the freedom man to buy your share of freedom today. money stamps today, in the usa, sammy my uncle sammy, here comes the freedom man, wanting us to buy a share freedom today! any stamp, any bonds today.
>> look at that. i want you to seize your attention on the image here. for defense, buy the united states saving bonds and stamps. u.s. treasury this is a minuteman soldier, this is from the revolutionary war days. they said, you know we have to impress upon you some 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 when you have to do your part for defense and buy united states saving bonds and stamps. this was a very prevalent symbol, around the country. advertising the need, to buy savings bonds and stamps. it even made its way, into the first issue of wonder woman's own magazine. this is a
panel, from a story of the end of the story of one of the adventures wonder woman have in wonder woman number one. and wonder woman says when you see these minuteman posters, boys and girls remember, he's talking to you. so yes the superheroes that we have been sending, a number of days in this class researching the origins of, and getting the background of, they too are joining in this effort and i will tell you something. it is 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 one, was dedicated,
"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 morganthal junior, secretary of the treasury." you see the letterhead here, "the secretary of the treasury in washington." "boys and girls of america, here's a way for everyone of you to help your country. every time you buy a saving stamp, you are helping uncle sam to pay for a part of a gun, plane, or ship, which your fathers, brothers, or uncles are using for the defense of the country. if every one of you, 40 million boys and girls, would buy at least one $.10 saving 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 morgenthal jr." there is a minuteman symbol again, right on here it says "this space is donated by the publishers of the magazine. in the interest of national defense and victory." okay? it costs of course the company was dc comics. dc comics had some levels to his organization at the time. was the there was the national comics wing that gave the superman, batman aquaman, and green air arrow and then there was the all-american comic wings which give 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 that said, let's donate the back cover, of the first issue of wonder woman's own magazine -- she appeared of course in all-star comics number eight, and then her first cover appearance sensation was comics number one in 1942, they said she is such a runaway hit, we will give her her own magazine. first edition of her own magazine, they are 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, beyond enjoying the adventures of wonder woman there's really something you can do to be a hero! let's look at a few other covers. now here, we have
world's finest comics. you will notice a few things. number eight, winter issue, a superman dc publication, right? you have 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 are superman and batman and robin doing this under the sign of?
we saw there was racism in the bugs bunny cartoon, they are underneath the big sign that says sink the japanazis with bonds and stamps. when you start taking the names of people's nationality and making fun out of them you're kind of dipping into racism as well. you think sometimes how would you feel if you happen to have been an american of japanese descent and he really wanted to help, and you really like superman comics and batman comics and you really wanted to buy those bonds and stamps, but like one of the people on this cover you're walking up there and that's the sign they have? imagine if you were a kid in the real world? and that is what they are saying on the cover? ugh. it tells you a bit about what was acceptable back then. you see on the rest of this cover here, you have lot, and lots of kids. and batman, robin, superman are handing out
these stamps and these booklets. in the state. but, unfortunately they are also handing out morsels of racism. one-shot 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 and the reason why, is because of who is depicted here in the corner, superman. and superman is in the middle the big printing press. these huge big presses
like -- more importantly, the basements of dc comics or something in this organization are you have these huge gigantic presses and they are printing out pages, and pages and pages like a factory. so, this here is depicting superman strong enough to run the presses all by himself, and what notice is he running out? superman says, you can slap a with war bonds and stamps and as you can see in this cover there's a number of copies of that brochure that superman is printing out. it's not just the one-shot deal. want to show you
since we are in action comics a couple of three-dimensional examples. i have a copy here of action comics number 50. the 50th issue of action comics, world's largest-selling one superman is saving minors and why did i put this up here? if you look at the lower left-hand corner, it has a small picture of superman walking in between two servicemen. it says, superman says, buy defense stamps, help national defense. so, even if it was not the main part of the cover, the message would still be put someplace on the cover. you know it hit people, the young audiences effectively because these messages 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, but characters but it was the famous phrase, back the attack, because it rhymed. and we will take a look at captain america. it says i want you to buy war bonds now and we will get to him in a bit. i wanted to show you or tell you a little personal story that sowed the seeds of how i got interested in this stuff. because of me years ago when i was a little kid, it was my 10th birthday. my 10th birthday, i got a retrospective book of batman and robin stories. i stand corrected this will show you 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 i am
sorry. so by the time i'm 10 years old i got these two big batman books, i'm reading them and i'm studying them and everything and one of the books had a whole gallery of batman covers from the 1940s and he's punching the joker and fighting the penguin and he's dealing with catwoman, and he has a first batman cover and then he had the first robin cover, all those things, all those characters that i liked reading about and 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, who deals with birds, but it's not about the penguin. what is this all about?
and what are they saying here. there's a few planes if you look at the back. is batman and robin, they have their fingers up in the v for victory sign that says, keep the american eagle flying, buy war bonds and stamps. okay that sounds good keep the american eagle flying yes, but what is a war bond? and why buy a stamp? all i knew about stamps was the little things you put on the top of the envelope, when you are writing your thank you notes to your cousin and aunt for giving you these wonderful batman book. that's what i knew what a stamp was, but in the context of the war and i knew this was from the wartime 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 or
the penguin or two-face or catwoman. to sit on top of a big bird, and tell their readers to do that? in order to keep the american eagle flying. it is because of this. is because the need is great. the need is great and even if you're a little kid and you just have a little bit, you can do something to help. if you don't have enough to buy a bond, you can buy one of the little ten-cent stamps, for the cost of a comic book. instead of buying batman and superman that month, buy batman, and then use the other dime to buy a defense savings stamp. keep the american eagle flying. i said wow, that was heavy stuff from batman and robin, wow. they're getting involved in the war effort. there other ways as well. remember roosevelt's speech excerpt that i read for
you said, it also means cutting luxuries. and other nonessentials. sacrifice. doing without an order to further a greater cause. and what the kids of america were asked to do to through the cartoons and comics was not just to spare an extra dime for war bonds and stamps, it was to buy the stamps so they could buy a war bond, they were also asked to do without other things. like paper, let's take a look. like paper. here's a cover where superman, batman and robin are pushing a huge truck filled with paper. what's the sign that robin is carrying? it says. fight paper waste and hang one on the paper hanger of berlin. what they are doing is
taking a dig at hitler's personal biography. hitler had been or done a number of things before he became the dictator of germany. he was, a wannabe artist, he was a house painter, he would also hang the paper for various places. so, anything the government or cartoonists could use, to make a verbal jab at hitler, and also promote the war effort, they would do it. that is where you are getting this phrase of hang one on the paper hanger of berlin. the thing is, fight paper waste now, americans don't waste -- how do we waste paper? well back then, before tv you got your news to the newspaper. it's also where you got a lot of your favourite comics from as well, like dick
tracy and little orphan annie and superman's adventures as well what you do after the next day? you heard that phrase yesterday's news? and this is where i get the line from its yesterday's newspaper what you do with it? you throw it out? not so fast! paper is used for a lot of things, and you can use that wastepaper, to help the war effort, and inside this very comic book, alfred, batman and robin's faithful butler, is going to show a young person in gotham city how. this was a one-shot, one page story that makes the case for saving paper. and it starts like this. paper, paper everywhere. with which to stop the foe. paper,
paper everywhere, and none to waste must go. that comes from the rime of the ancient mariner, samuel taylor coleridge. water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. how many people heard that poem? okay, read that poem. this is a nice, little pun on that poem. okay what's happening in gotham city? it says it's a busy day for alfred, butler extraordinaire to bruce wayne and dick grayson, alias batman and robin. a kid, grayson comes up to alfred and says, hey alfred, where you going up all that junk? and alfred is replying, junk? these are weapons of war my boy. the weapons of warm the kid says
what? alfred says, this is no jesting matter if you don't believe me, just tag along and see. and they walk off, a block or two. they happen to come upon his employers 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's saying batman and robin, what are they collecting all that wastepaper for. and alfred replies, because we have a paper shortage, due to lack of manpower, in cutting the timber used in paper production. does everyone have that? lack of manpower, because they been drafted to fight the war, so you don't have people to cut down the trees, and we don't have people to cut down the trees you have less trees being turned into paper, see you have less paper, that equals a paper shortage. okay? then 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 right-o -- you gotta hand it to alfred. he knows just how to say it right oh, but by salvaging all this wastepaper, we provide a substitute. and we will 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, it's used to make parachute flares, wingtips, and other military objects. containers for shells, army rations, and various other essential supplies are made
from paper too. 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 a big pile out of alfred's hands, and he carries himself and alfred is very impressed. he says i seem to have been very persuasive, and the kid says don't worry alfred, i will collect plenty of paper myself from now on. and help bop hitler and hirohito on the nose and you see how this one-page story, draws the connection? it draws a quick connection between turning in wastepaper and bopping hitler and hirohito in
the nose, who was the emperor of japan at the time they got this thing into punching hitler in the nose and will get to that a little bit. i want to show you a few other people into this. take a look at comic cavalcade number six. here we have wonder woman again. pushing the express wagon and she is accompanied by her friend the golden age 1940s versions of green lantern, and the flash. how many people, have seen the latest live-action flash tv show? okay. that flash with the hat we used to call him the flash with the head when we were kids. he was the flash of the
golden age the 1940s, i always used to wonder, how can he run so fast without losing his hat! especially on a windy day with the wind generated by him running so fast? but he could do it. because he's the flash. see? and with green lantern, i always wondered with all the different colors in his costume, the purple cape, the redshirt, 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, because the ring was green and the lantern was green. okay. like superman and batman and robin, wonder woman kept her basic appearance that she still is recognizable to people who might not recognize the other two. you notice the three superheroes are leading a crowd of kids. i'll zoom in and out at the same time. notice there's a
crowd of kids and they're all doing what? they're all carrying big stacks of paper. and, wonder woman's pushing a wagon filled with big stacks of paper. see? she has is wagon and all this paper is tied up. and this sign over here drives the point home and says war production urgently needs wastepaper. 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 have a mint condition copy of a golden 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 part of it but the scarcity. because as one writer put it the kids reading these comics back in world war ii days were so good and so faithful about turning their wastepaper and after they finished reading them. so many of those comics were destroyed. see? that's why the comics were so scarce because they were destroyed by the kid who finished reading it, shared with your friends now they took it and put it in one of these bundles and turned it into the government so they can use it the spare wastepaper. everybody see that? i remember, the 1989 batman movie, and all the batman hoopla that came out of that, and a lot of people got into their heads if they started saving those comics from 1989, 1991, that they, too could make a lot of money in 20 years. and it didn't 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, it will probably not be the next action number one. or the next detective comics number 27 or even the next amazing fantasy number 15 which introduced spider-man. remember we said detective 27 was the first appearance of batman. it is probably not going to be -- i mean you can go ahead and save it if you want, you never know. if people count on that they will be very disappointed. are so valuable, if you have a good or mint condition copy today, is because so many of them were destroyed in the paper drives. okay, everybody see that? they were sacrificed to a larger purpose. i, sometimes -- i was born in queens and grew up in
queens and manhattan. one of the things i loved was looking at things from the 1939-1940 world's fair. that seemed to be so cool. and, i wish they would have kept the trial on and the perisphere, was the big pyramid and the big globe. i wish they hadn't have melted it down, so i could see it, but you know why the melted it down? for a bigger purpose. it was melted down for war material. the same with these 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 have to sacrifice, i am going to give that up for the bigger purpose. we have a war to win. if we don't fight this war, if we don't wage this battle, there may not be a future. for people to look back from. this is more than just
the funny books. this is really serious stuff. okay, we have talked a lot about dc. let's get more into marvel. we did talk about marvel the last couple of classes. marvels first two big characters were the submariner and the human torch. incidentally, the title, submariner was borrowed in part from that poem i told you about before the rime of the ancient mariner, 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 the way they had quite been before was of course, captain america and we talked about captain america
as a symbol of fighting the axis even in the time 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 am going to show you a little excerpt of it. and, i am 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, the fellow said listen bonds buy bullets and bullets kill nazis, and he draws that connection. and when he goes out there with that shield and he's reading all of his lines, he's 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 wage. okay? let's show the excerpt. then, i will show you a couple of other comics. >> i don't know if i can do this. >> you buy bonds, and bonds buy bullets. and bullets kill. not all of us can drive a tank, but there is always a way we can fight. series ee bonds, each one is a bullet in the barrel of your bond.
>> wait, what poster are they posing in front of? that one. that is right. this is a takeoff of the famous uncle sam poster that says, i want you. that was done during world war i and was used again very effectively during world war ii. but, here captain america's saying i want you to buy war bonds now. many of you have seen this movie, and you know that as part of his war bond
drama, his part of the routine i will say, he wasn't dancing in it, but it was the act, that there is a guy who portrays hitler, and, at the appropriate moment captain america turns around and punches hitler in the phase. and if you look at it closely, inspires a cover of a comic book. this comic book. captain america number 1. now, this is the actual real captain america number 1 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 comics line of comics -- it had a number of names back in the day. timely, atlas, etc. etc. they said, you know we are trying to make a statement against the isolationism. the isolationists were saying let's just make our separate american peace with hitler, so he will leave us alone. we don't need to get involved in the world. let's just leave hitler alone and he will leave us alone. the poster said, when did hitler ever leave anybody alone if he had a 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 this dictator who might get killed at any time, that by the time this comic book hit the stands, that hitler might already be dead. and, they felt, well, that might not be the worst outcome. let's put the comic out anyway, whether he is alive or dead by the time hits the
stands. but, if you look at the captain america movie again and there's a lot of comics of hitler being punched in the face. with the move did was come up with a fictional in-comic situation. that explains why this image became so popular. in action comics number 1, he really does lift up a carton stack it against the cliff. but, in captain america is that not true that he couldn't get that close to hitler? because, the war would already be over with. what they did was 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 bit at captain america covers which in and of themselves were pieces of propaganda. you see, when you went to the newsstand to buy comics, the cover was so important because it's the
first thing that met your eyes, and captain america comic was a masterpiece of propaganda and he likes punching the enemy in the face. case in point, captain america number 13, the first captain america issue that came out after the attack on pearl harbor. he is punching a japanese warlord and saying, you started it. now, we will finish it. and you notice on the top left-hand corner, it says all out for america issue. there is a special urgency, because now we are at war. let's open this comic and see what it says 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 will zoom in here. captain america, new, different, exciting. number 13, who is the editor? stan lee. i told you that mark goodman was ahead of marvel comics or the company that would become marvel comics. and, a distant relative of his who was just a kid at the time comes to marvel, he is hired to basically be a gofer. and what is a gofer? go for this, go for that. suite the floor, refill the ink, little rinky-dink jobs like that. the had a paycheck, and
over time, as simon and kirby moved on to other things and other features, and as other people working 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 are the only guy left in the office, because at that very young age, guess what? he is the editor. stan lee would later say, it was supposed to be temporary while everybody else was at the war, but it turns out the temporary job i had for 30 years. let's look at this page a little more. what is at the center of the page right in between captain america and bucky? what is this in the center right here? the minuteman image for defense, buy united states saving bonds and steps. it is right there front and center.
and, bucky's 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 a character called the secret stamp. meet america's newest hero, as a young united states defense agent in the first of many thrill-a-minute true-to-life adventures. how many people here have heard of the secret stamp? i didn't think so. i hadn't heard of the secret stamp before i got into this comics. who's the secret stamp? why are they not going to make a movie about him? the secret stamp is a kid on a bicycle who puts on a mask and
has got a cape and he sells war bonds and stamps. but, he got the government's attention. let us turn to page 57 of this comic book. let me zoom in. there he is, don't miss him. there is the kid, bicycle, and what is that button he has? it says, official u.s. defense agent. but, what is interesting about this splash page about the secret stamp is that the splash 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 2, 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 civilian identity of the secret stamp. you 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 saving stamps through
approximately 500,000 loyal, young american newsboys from maine to california. sincerely yours, eugene w. sloan, director, defense saving stamps, treasuring department, washington, dc. wow! this guy got the government's attention. take the opportunity to buy some of these. these are on kindle and ibooks. you can get a lot of golden age comics for just 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 of the defense stamps for themselves, so what does he do? he puts on this mask and this cape, and he gets on his bicycle and he 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. it is like, you can't just put on a mask and cape and get on your bicycle and go after crooks! the guys could be dangerous! but, the message got through, that selling u.s. saving bonds and stamps was an important thing, you were working with and for your government when you did it, and that somebody who tries to rob and steal them, really was a crook. not just against the person he robbed and 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, and the fourth war
loan, and the fifth and sixth, it was 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 just say, okay, it is over. i won't buy so many defense stamps and bonds. 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. so i'm going to play the 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 am 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, "buy, buy, buy bonds", which is pretty easy to. all right. here we go. >> buy, buy, buy, buy a bond. and by-and-by the bond you guy 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 after all, you know that you're investing in the best, til the lads come
back again, back the old attack again, buy, buy, buy bonds. this is no time to say you've done enough. this is the time to really do your stuff. and even if you can't be a soldier in the ranks, you can be the guy that helps to buy the guns and planes and tanks. this is the time for you to do your best. this is no time for you to take a rest. the enemy is reeling, and his morale is low. so now's the time to fall in line and deal the final blow. buy, buy, buy a bond. and by-and-by the bonds you buy will bring you victory. buy, buy, buy, buy a bond and you will 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're investing in the best. til the lads come back again, back the old attack again, and buy, buy bonds. >> 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's online website, treasurydirect.gov. now, 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'er are not getting any interest. it is zero or 0.3%. it doesn't seem like it's going to give you much anymore. not like when we were talking about and you put in $18.75 and you get back $25. you're not having that so much. some people are nostalgic, where you don't have that physical thing anymore. i mean you can print out and you can
go online and buy the bond and you can print something out and stick that in your niece's or nephew's birthday card. but, it just doesn't seem the same. the government has been saying that by discontinuing the paper bonds, we are saving a lot of money regarding the 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, and i can identify with this, of a generation that grew up before there were computers and before everything was online, they might find online buying of bonds just a bit cumbersome, as one reporter put it. it's not as easy as just 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. it's not like that anymore. it's kind of impersonal. but, the big reason is that people don't see it's much of an investment. now, i want to ask you this, and after i do this i'm going to open it up for the questions. dr. taylor, we are more interested in as than qa. i get that. that is all right. the 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? healthcare, what else? to lower the deficit? there are places where you can contribute money to the government to lower the deficit. sure, you can do that. come on, where are the
celebrities where are the comic characters, where are the comic characters? where are the songs about buying bonds? where are people saying, whatever you can give, it will help? i am 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 causes? and i'd like to open it up for the questions with a microphone, if anybody has any ideas. just wait for the mic, you have to wait for that filtered
microphone. would anybody like to take a crack at, why don't we do this anymore? 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 and the nazis and 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 is happening to patriotism. what is 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 anymore 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-about paying taxes today than in 1943? so what about that? what about getting a cartoon out there to help americans feel better about paying their taxes? okay, wait for the mic. >> i was going to say, society is different and people are more selfish today. >> people are more selfish today. >> yes, they are not willing to do those type of things anymore. it is a different era. i think that is why. >> that is sad. >> but, it is a reality. >> why are people more selfish? what do you think? 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 is a lack of trust towards our government, that they will take our money and do the right thing with it? >> now, this is something you have hit upon. in the wake of vietnam and watergate there is the idea that the government may not always be as trustworthy with the people. they may not tell the entire truth and you might not -- reporters might not be able to trust everything you hear from the reporters. there was an aura around the presidency back during world war ii. that is part of it, that there's a mistrust of government. but, maybe that mistrust is against the american public's own interest when it comes to not
getting to be a 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 am taking my aquaman break here. or, my submariner break. i should be bipartisan, right? notice it, one character here, one character there. one company here, one company there. one has to be bipartisan. okay, but the one thing that both dc and marvel and all the other cartoon and comics companies had in common, was 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 was the last time you picked up a comic book or saw a cartoon that talked about a cause in the real world? the
real world, two syllables, right? when was the last time? is it all just escapism now? back then, did you notice something? it was escapism, but also a relevance. a relevance that said, when you finish reading this comic, and all your friends finish it give it to the government to help the war effort. do 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.
>> a large distrust was built after the events of like, watergate. i know that, because i remember when i took the presidency course with you. when abraham lincoln said something, no one questioned it. like, i mean somebody is going to have to question it now and again. but the masses believed in their president. >> you are saying there was an understanding. >> yes, there was an understanding. like, government is to us. they are trying to help us. that was the mentality. but, like vietnam and watergate, as time went on, do you know what i mean? there was a split between the people and the government happened i think that is why people right now, if you ask any young person that doesn't know more
than just a decent amount of history but they might not be in history courses and they might not want to be affiliated with politics, the majority of people say they don't know what's going on. like, they just don't want to hear about it. they don't want to hear what is going on in the government. because, in the eyes of the masses, the government doesn't care. they are out just for personal gain. and when they do this, that is 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, because they don't really 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's dangerous almost and we are more likely to make fun of a crisis than at about it. >> that is going to be part of it. and, when we look at what happens to comics in the rest of world war ii and in the future, because we are getting towards the end of our class today. i want you to think about something. 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? what happened to that idea as we move out of the 40s and into the 50s? we will be looking at a lot of different issues that we explored today as the calendar moves from one year to another and one decade to another. but, we will have to pick that up next time. so, i will see you then.
>> during world war ii, the u.s. government contracted walt disney studios to create 32 animated short films. disney also contributed to hundreds of training and informational films for service branches and the office of war information. on reel america, from 1943, education for death, the making of the nazi, based on a book with the same title, this cartoon lampoons the hitler youth.