Posts tagged ‘cartoon’

Book report: Victory Backyard Gardens (1942)

1942vbg_coverI’ve been waylaid in the backyard, working on my vegetable garden.  Some might say fruit and vegetable…there are tomatoes, tomatillos (thank you, Fox Point), cukes, peppers, and raspberries. Let ’em say what they will.

A friend gave me a yardsale find: Victory Backyard Gardens: Simple Rules for Growing your own Vegetables (1942) by T.H. Everett and Edgar J. Clissold with an intro by Secretary of Agriculture Claude Wickard. He’s the one who initially told First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt that she shouldn’t plant a victory garden at the White House and later changed his tune.

Sixty-seven years later, the book gives a firsthand glimpse at how gardeners went about their task during World War II. Intensive cultivation was the key. This was the era of shortages. As gas rationing and scrap drives made Americans conserve, so they would make the most of their available land. Succession planting, minimal space between rows, etc.

Another gardener asked me what victory gardens looked like. Here’s a sample plan:1942vbg_planThis is a lot of food! I admit I had to look up what “catch crop” (a quick growing crop to plant before or after another main crop) and “hot bed” (a cold frame over a hot surface, like manure or a heating element) meant. And though fertilizer is considered a precious resource–see the bugs panel on the left–note the compost pile in one corner of the garden.

1942vbg_2don'tsFinally, one of the distinctions of WWII victory gardens is that they were considered to be part of America’s Civilian Defense program. I love how the cartoon on the right encourages gardeners to share their surplus. Shouldn’t making sure your neighbor has something to eat make for a more secure community?

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July 21, 2009 at 10:37 pm Leave a comment

Spinach Victory Garden!

Popeye is one of my cartoon heroes. For starters, we both love our spinach, and we’re fond of Olive Oyl.  Though this Popeye short–“RATION fer the DURATION” (1943)–is kinda fuzzy and kinda long, it’s a hoot. From the opening pan over the “Spinach Victory Garden” to the crops of POTatoes, CANtaloupes, and the rest, you will enjoy. Go ahead and watch!

November 22, 2008 at 4:45 pm 1 comment

Another ‘toon: Private Snafu in The Home Front

Private Snafu cartoons aren’t nearly as endearing as Barney Bear, but they have an interesting backstory.

A bunch of all-stars helped to create Private Snafu: director Frank Capra (“It’s a Wonderful Life,” etc), Theodor (Dr. Seuss) Geisel,  Looney Tunes director Chuck Jones, Bugs Bunny voiceman Mel Blanc, and many more.  With each storyboard approved by the War Department, Warner Brothers rolled out a series of Snafu shorts during World War II.

In “The Home Front” (1943, directed by Frank Tashlin), the Technical Fairy-First Class shows Snafu that while he paces around his Quonset Hut on an army base, his family and his gal are supporting the war effort. Pa fabricates tanks, grandpa builds warships, and Sally Lou joins the Women’s Army Corps (WACs). Best of all, dear ole’ Ma plows up the yard, enlists the family cat to sow seeds, and teaches the family horse to spread manure. She has grown a superb Victory Garden, but the cat takes all the credit…

August 20, 2008 at 12:52 pm 1 comment

Barney Bear’s Victory Garden

Happy 4th of July!

Here’s a 1942 MGM cartoon directed by Rudolf Ising. Barney Bear was a cartoon star from 1939 to 1954 and climbed out of retirement to make a comeback in 1980 as part of the “Tom and Jerry Comedy Show.” In this short, Barney plants a garden, but encounters resistance from the underground. Check out the seed packets starting around minute 3:00; Barney’s hoping for a nice crop of tires.

July 4, 2008 at 3:13 pm 3 comments


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