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Western Animation / Daffy the Commando

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"Daffy the Commando" is a 1943 Looney Tunes War Time Cartoon, directed by Friz Freleng. It features Daffy Duck trying to get past enemy lines in Nazi Germany and a memorable scene where he hits Adolf Hitler over the head with a mallet.

Seeing that the cartoon is nowadays an Unintentional Period Piece, it's seldom seen on TV anymore. note 


"Daffy the Commando" provides examples of:

  • Adolf Hitlarious: While Hitler is speeching in Berlin he is shouting all kinds of German sounding gibberish, while "Oh du Lieber Augustin" is mockingly playing off-key in the background. Daffy then hits him over the head with a mallet.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: Schultz, a soldier who fights for Nazi Germany, is an adorable little guy and Von Vultur's Chew Toy.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Literally! The only Germans we see in this cartoon are all Nazis. Justified of course, since this takes place on the front lines of the actual second world war.
  • Alliterative Name: The Nazi officer is called Von Vultur.
  • America Won World War II: Despite being shot out of a cannon, Daffy easily flies away to Berlin to hit Hitler over the head with a mallet. So the Nazi officer failed to stop "another Allied commando" to cross the frontlines.
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  • Animal Stereotypes: The Nazi officer is stereotyped as a vulture, one of the most typical birds to be associated with "evil" in popular culture.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: In typical Looney Tunes Cartoon Physics fashion, despite his plane being shot away Daffy still manages to fly it as long as the motor is still running.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • It's clear that the makers didn't have a clue in what circumstances troops in Europe had to fight. The Nazi officer's head quarters are trenches, which are more reminiscent of World War I.
    • Von Vultur's uniform and insignia corresponds to nothing in the Wehrmacht, being extremely simplistic and actually resembling a World War I Imperial German officer's uniform more than anything.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Von Vultur's rant at the start of the cartoon and Hitler's speech near the end are complete and utter gibberish.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: While talking to the Nazi officer from inside a telephone booth Daffy shows the audience a card with translation of what he is saying in German.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Schulz is much smaller and more stupid than Von Vultur.
  • Butt-Monkey: Schulz gets hit over the head many times in this cartoon for everything he does wrong.
  • Failed a Spot Check: A meta example. Somehow, a poster of a buxom, topless woman was able to make it past 1940s era censors and into the final product.
  • Germanic Depressives: The Germans in this cartoon are all deadly serious.
  • Gratuitous German: Daffy's comments to the German officer when standing inside the telephone booth are actual German phrases. Almost all of the rest is nonsense to make the Nazis sound even wackier.
  • High-Class Glass: Nazi officer Von Vultur wears a monocle.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • Von Vultur receives a telegram from the "Gestinko Gestapo".
    • The telegram warns him that if any more Allied planes get past him, "It's your Ka-REAR!"
    • After giving Von Vultur a bomb, Daffy says "Well, ... see you around!"
    • When Daffy notices a group of Nazi planes he calls them "a whole mess of Messerschmitss". And then when he engineers a friendly-fire accident, he calls the wreckage "A MESS of Messerschmidts!"
    • When the Nazi officer traps Daffy inside the cannon he says: "Ah, try and duck this one, you duck!"
  • Impossible Shadow Puppets: Daffy manages to create a group of dancing chorus girls, with only eight fingers!
  • Monkey Morality Pose: The letter that von Vultur reads depicts Adolf Hitler, Hideki Tojo and Benito Mussolini as the "see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil" monkeys.
  • National Stereotypes: The Germans depicted in this cartoons are all obedient and deadly serious nazi military officers. In the letter read by von Vultur we read German words like "sauerkrauten", "kartoffel" note  and "kalffleisch" note .
  • Nazi Nobleman: If his name and High-Class Glass are anything to go by, Von Vultur is one.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Adolf Hitler receives a mighty blow on the head. He, Hideki Tojo and Benito Mussolini can also be spotted as Monkey Morality Pose images on the letter von Vultur received from the Gestapo. Funny enough, Mussolini's image is crossed out, as he was deposed in 1943.
  • Non Fatal Explosion: Despite being blown up Schulz is still seen alive later in the cartoon.
  • Public Domain Animation: The cartoon's copyright has fallen into public domain. As a result some copies are in such bad shape that the signs on Daffy's cue cards when he is in the telephone booth are illegible. Thankfully, the toon is restored on one of the official Looney Tunes volumes and the cards are easy to read.
  • Recognition Failure: When the German officer notices a skunk he salutes it, thinking it's Hitler. He only realizes his mistake a few moments after continuing his chase after Daffy.
  • Rotoscoping: Hitler is obviously rotoscoped before Daffy hits him.
  • Running Gag: Schulz is called to do the dirty job for the Nazi officer and constantly beaten on the head with a hammer.
  • Shout-Out:
    • We read "Untergang des Abendlandes" as the headline of von Vultur's letter, a reference to the novel of the same name by Oswald Spengler. The "translation" of the letter refers to Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito as "the apes of wrath", a shout-out to The Grapes of Wrath.
    • When Daffy is inside the spotlight he yells: "Turn out that light!". This is a reference to a slogan used during air raid wardens in World War II.
    • Daffy calls von Vultur "Liederkranz" and "von Limburger", in reference to the infamously smelly cheese.
    • When von Vultur makes the phone call he asks: "Operator, give me number 32O.. ooh, is that you, Myrt? How's every little thing, Myrt? What say, Myrt?" , a reference to a popular catchphrase from the radio series Fibber McGee and Molly.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Although the Nazi officer's name is frequently spelled "von Vulture" by fans and secondary sources, the telegram he receives, the only time it's seen, it is spelled "von Vultur."
  • Standard Snippet: Like most cartoons of the time "Oh, du Lieber Augustin" is mockingly played when Hitler is in frame.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Daffy gives the Nazi officer a bomb, but he hands it over to Schulz who explodes.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Daffy's opponents are portrayed as complete and utter buffoons.
  • Time Marches On: This cartoon is obviously a historical period piece now.
  • Two Decades Behind: It's pretty obvious that the filmmakers were a lot more familiar with World War I than the current conflict.
  • Vile Vulture: They don't get much more vile than Nazis!
  • War Is Glorious: Daffy defeats his Nazi opponents fairly easily and manages to fly to Berlin and hit Hitler on the head with a mallet too.
  • War Time Cartoon: One of the most popular, which explains why a shot of it has been used to illustrate this trope.
  • Wolf Whistle: When Daffy forms a group of can can dancing women while shadow puppeting Schulz lets out many wolf whistles.


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