Stock MacArthur Parody YKTTW Discussion

Stock MacArthur Parody
A character parodies famous American general DouglasMacArthur.
(permanent link) added: 2011-05-19 05:42:53 sponsor: girlyboy edited by: Patachou (last reply: 2015-05-05 07:35:51)

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I shall return!

Today he is known mostly to history buffs, but there was a time when World War II general Douglas MacArthur was a well-known Badass In Charge, and an instantly recognizable figure in the media. Thus, characters in works from days past will sometimes find it amusing to put on a fancy general's hat, maybe a pair of Cool Shades, clench a corncob pipe in their teeth, and utter one of MacArthur's famous quotes (such as "I shall return," or, when appropriate, "I have returned!")

This is Played for Laughs often enough to be a stock parody, but, along with the funny, can also show that the character is adopting the mien of a Determinator, a Four-Star Badass, or, in some cases, an Old Soldier — all tropes associated with MacArthur. A sharp contrast between the parodying character's real personality and one of these archetypes can also be a source of humour.

This trope is a Stock Parody of an Historical-Domain Character.


  • In Kiss Me Kate, Lilli's boyfriend General Harrison Howell is usually played this way.
  • The "I shall return" quote is frequently referenced in various amusing instances on M*A*S*H; on at least two occasions, a full parody is done — once when the characters are preparing for a visit from the real MacArthur and the very un-MacArthur-like Radar dresses up as the general for a rehearsal, and once when Trapper dresses up this way to mock Frank's overly-serious military manner in the episode "Five O'Clock Charlie".
  • In one Merrie Melodies cartoon (Bugs' Bonnets), Elmer Fudd acts like MacArthur (while rising dramatically from a lake) while under the influence of a general's hat. He utters "I have returned!" — subject to Elmuh Fudd Syndwome.
  • The Tex Avery cartoon Little Johnny Jet features an airplane version of MacArthur, only this one is based on a different quote: "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." And then he fades away.
  • The Chuck Jones cartoon From A to Z-Z-Z-Z has a young boy with Walter Mitty-style fantasies. At the end he gives a MacArthur impersonation, saying "I shall return".
  • In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, there was a MacArthur lookalike who commanded the Liberty Cannon against the Devil Gundam. It didn't do much though.

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