America, Fék Yeah! - Good Ol' Fashioned American Propaganda - Fri. July 1st - 8PM

In honor of the 240th birthday of this country, Oddball Films presents America, F√©k Yeah! - Good Ol' Fashioned American Propaganda, a night of outlandish, hilarious and didactic shorts and cartoons from the 1940s and 1950s calling for a patriotic spirit, shilling war bonds, touting American prosperity, and warning against first The Axis Powers and then the nuclear and Red Scares that followed. During World War II, the whole film industry changed to reflect the times; doing their part to grease the American propaganda machine, demonize the enemy and guilt viewers into patriotism. W@lt Di$ney and company joined in the fight and churned out several propaganda cartoons including two featuring that lovable rascal Don@ld Duck; in the notorious Der Fuehrer's Face (1942), the plucky duck has a surreal and musical nightmare about being a Nazi, and in The New Spirit (1942), he gets guilt tripped by a radio into filing his taxes (for his total yearly earnings of $2501). Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Betty Grable, Carmen Miranda and more celebrities urge you to buy war bonds while singing and dancing for the troops (with a surreal sequence of pin-ups coming to life) in All-Star Bond Rally (1945).  Can't fight in the war or work in defense? Collect your old junk to be recycled into artillery in Scrap for Victory (1940s). In the dark military training cartoon Private Snafu: The Chow Hound (1944), the lesson is: don't waste food private, that steak dinner was somebody's patriotic husband. John Ford won an Oscar for his short documentary The Battle of Midway (1942). After WWII was over, two new threats emerged: Communism and nuclear annihilation and the film crew over at the Department of Defense was ready to take on the new threats with more over-the-top patriotism. A young Walter Cronkite patronizingly heralds women's efforts on the sidelines of war while simultaneously bashes the commies in The Price of Liberty (c. 1951). See why America is number one in consumption in the capitalist propaganda cartoon Meet King Joe (1951). Atomic scare film Our Cities Must Fight (1951) wants you to stay in the city after the bomb drops; afterall, the nuclear fallout will dissipate in a couple of days. For a musical break, we bring you two patriotic Soundies: pretty girls lose their clothes for Uncle Sam in Take it Off: The Pretty Priorities (1940s) and the bizarro Mrs. Yankee Doodle (1940s). Plus, Vince Collins' psychedelic American freakout 200 (1976) and more surprises.  Everything screened on original 16mm prints from our stock footage archive.

Date: Friday, July 1st, 2016 at 8:00pm

Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117


Der Fuehrer's Face (B+W, 1942)

A very different Don@ld short than you've ever seen, in this wartime oddity, Don@ld wakes up as a Nazi. He must wake up early, eat very little and work overtime in a Nazi artillery factory all while german soldiers bark orders at him through a Nazi megaphone. After mere minutes of screwing the tops on artillery shells, he suffers a psychotic break to various refrains of the Spike Jonze titular song. After some psychedelic SS insanity, he's overjoyed to wake up from his terrible dream in good old America again.

The New Spirit (B+W, 1942)
Don@ld Duck is back to tell everyone to file their taxes ("Taxes to defeat the axis!") in this didactic propaganda piece from Di$ney. The first of Di$ney's films to help the war effort in WWII, Donald is guilted into filing his taxes by a very nosey old-time radio and some anthropomorphic pens and ink-blotters.  Apparently, in 1942 Donald Duck only made $2,501 a year.


Private SNAFU: The Chow Hound (B+W, 1944, Frank Tashlin)
A very dark and bizarre chapter in the SNAFU series. Ferdinand the Bull is on his honeymoon with his bovine fair when WWII breaks out. Being the patriotic steer he is, Ferdinand enlists that very day (even before consummating his marriage) and is almost instantly turned into canned food for the soldiers on the front lines. But SNAFU (Situation Normal All F*ed Up) has to do everything the wrong way and he asks for way too much food, throwing plates of Ferdinand's meat into the trash as the ghost of the cow looks on in disgust.  Don't you be a SNAFU too!  The witty Private Snafu series was designed to convey vital information to servicemen who had wildly varying levels of education and literacy skills. Made by the folks who brought you Looney Tunes and written by Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel.

Scrap for Victory! (B+W, 1940s)
Too old for service? Not smart enough to be a nurse? Are you just a dog? You too can help the war effort through salvage.  Make sure you gather your old crap to turn into valuable resources for the boys on the front lines.  Gather those old towels, tires and tin toys. Save your bacon fats for explosives "to make it hot for Hitler". A whole family pitches in and even their golden retriever wants to help defeat the Nazis. A strange reminder of a time when this country recycled for liberty.

Our Cities Must Fight (B+W, 1951)
From the people who brought you Duck and Cover comes this classic scare-propaganda piece that trades on our addiction to urbanism. Thinking of heading for the hills when the bomb drops? Think again. That's tantamount to treason, and in the Army you'd be court-martialed! This film aims to guilt and shame you into sticking around to help defend your hometown and rebuild its infrastructure. And after all, nuclear contamination will dissipate after a day or two. 

All-Star Bond Rally (Michael Audley, B+W, 1945)
In recent years, the nation has proven it can wage war without Bob Hope, but for decades it seemed unthinkable! Here Hope does his best to get Mr. and Mrs. America to invest in freedom at a hundred bucks a pop as he's joined by Frank Sinatra, Betty Grable, Harpo Marx, Bing Crosby and more in this musical propagandatainment spectacular. Hollywood pinups such as wacky Carmen Miranda and luscious Linda Darnell come to life to flirt with shocked servicemen in a saucy montage sequence.

Battle of Midway
(John Ford, 1942, excerpt)
A documentary short directed by John Ford on the aerial and sea battles of the Battle of Midway. Winner of 1943 Oscar for Best Documentary.

Meet King Joe
(Color, 1951)


“Americans own practically all the refrigerators in existence… as we drive about in 72% of the world’s automobiles”
Subtitled “Fun And Facts About America”, this animated, Technicolor propaganda short from MGM demonstrates how Americans are better off than the rest of the world, singling out the Chinese in particular with racist portrayals (America was at war in Korea at the time, often fighting North-allied Chinese forces).


The Price of Liberty (B+W. 1951)
“Liberty is the most expensive commodity in the world today, we have it only because we are willing and able to pay the price for preserving it against communist aggression.”
A young Walter Cronkite hosts this red scare short that's a strange blend of anti-communism and pro-feminism. Cronkite heralds the efforts of women in the ongoing fight for imperialism, er, um liberty, chronicling their service at home and on the battlegrounds as nurses, riveters, homemakers and more nurses! View scores of uniformed ladies marching to a patriotic drumbeat as their faces appear and disappear in the clouds. Because it's ladies that are going to win the war against communism! Brought to you by the Department of Defense.

200 (Color, 1975)

Vince Collins' supremely psychedelic animated celebration of our nation’s bicentennial, sponsored by the United States Information Agency.  They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.  But then again, not as many LSD-inspired animators make it through the grant process. 


Take It Off- The Pretty Priorities (B+W, 1942)
A sexy, patriotic soundie about government priorities. Four girls sing about materials the government needs for the war effort. They strip off parts of their costumes and put them into a barrel marked “V” eventually they go behind screens that show their silhouettes and they take off the rest. Two men come to collect their donations and take the screen too. They're stripping for Uncle Sam!

Curator’s Biography

Kat Shuchter is a graduate of UC Berkeley in Film Studies. She is a filmmaker, artist and esoteric film hoarder. She has helped program shows at the PFA, The Nuart and Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater and was crowned “Found Footage Queen” of Los Angeles, 2009. She has programmed over 200 shows at Oddball on everything from puberty primers to experimental animation.

About Oddball Films

Oddball Films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like The Nice Guys and Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Transparent and Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world. To search through over 20,000 clips of our unique footage, check out our website at

Our screenings are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.