"...you don't know why you should learn the Pledge of Allegiance?"
is a 1939 Merrie Melodies
short directed by Charles M. Jones
, starring Porky Pig
. This short is notable, if just for being the most un-Warner Bros.-like cartoon ever made
. It's not loaded to the brim with gags or funny characters, and the subject matter is actually portrayed seriously.
Anyway, the short is centered on a childlike Porky Pig, who, uninterested in learning about the Pledge of Allegiance, lies down for a nap. He is then confronted by a vision of Uncle Sam
, who proceeds to explain to Porky a history of Colonial America, the American Revolutionary War, and the expansion to the Old West, with an allusion to Abraham Lincoln
at the end.
Essentially, this short is to Merrie Melodies as Education for Death
was to Classic Disney Shorts
(though nowhere near as dark) — or maybe a less musical ancestor to Schoolhouse Rock
This short can be found, restored, on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 2
. It has also made it onto The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes
- Animation Bump: As with Chuck Jones early work, this is one of the most lavishly animated Warner Bros. cartoons. The most notable example is Uncle Sam, who was not rotoscoped, but animated singlehandedly by none other than Robert McKimson.
- Follow the Leader: A blatant example of Jones' early attempts at imitating Disney.
- Foreshadowing: Patrick Henry's challenge of "Give me liberty or give me death!" is then half-transparent against a cannon firing.
- History Marches On/Hilarious in Hindsight: When the cartoon was released in 1939, the words "under God" were not in the Pledge of Allegiance until 15 years later. It becomes a bit more hilarious in hindsight yet controversial in 2002 when the Michael Newdow case attempted to have "under God" taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance, but in 2010, the US Supreme Court ruled that "under God" was of a "ceremonial and patriotic nature" and did not constitute an establishment of religion.
- Also, at the time the cartoon was released, Alaska and Hawaii were not US states until 20 years later.
- Large Ham: Some of the expressions and acting are a little overacted.
- Opinion Changing Dream: Porky doesn't know why he should learn the Pledge of Allegiance, but after an informative dream he becomes a patriot.
- Patriotic Fervor
- Rotoscoping: Used to animate all of the humans save Uncle Sam. The scene where Patrick Henry gives his famous "Give me liberty" line is traced directly from footage of the 1936 live action short subject "Give Me Liberty".
- Something Completely Different: As mentioned before, this is to Warner Bros. what Education for Death was to Disney Studios.
- Uncle Sam
- Very Special Episode: An early, non-series example, in which the lesson learned is how American kids should appreciate their history and take the Pledge of Allegiance seriously.