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Western Animation / Munro

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Atten-SHUN!

"I'm only four!"
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Munro is a 1960 animated short film directed by Gene Deitch, best known to posterity for the rather oddball Tom and Jerry cartoons he'd produce a few years later. It was part of the Noveltoons series from Paramountnote .

This short is an adaptation of a short story by writer/cartoonist Jules Feiffer, a story which satirizes the mindless conformity commonly found in the military. Munro is a perfectly normal four-year-old boy who one day gets a letter notifying him that he is being drafted by the United States Army. No one—not poor little Munro's parents, not the draft board, not the drill camp instructors—can comprehend the idea that the Army could make a mistake, so Munro is inducted, despite his protests.

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Technically not Western Animation, as it was produced by the new animation studio that Deitch had founded in Prague, Czechoslovakia. This was one of the first cartoons to be produced overseas for American audiences, a trend that would pick up a lot of speed in years to come.


Tropes:

  • Boot Camp Episode: Poor little Munro finally decides that the army brass must be right, and tries as hard as he can to be a soldier.
  • Cassandra Truth: No one in the army will believe Munro when he says that he's only four years old. It's only when he starts crying that it finally dawns on them.
  • Child Soldiers: Somehow, no one can figure this out.
  • Conscription: Some sort of bureaucratic blunder leads to a little boy being drafted into the army.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After a pretty traumatic experience Munro goes home to a hero's welcome, and goes back to bed with his teddy bear in his arm.
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  • The End: Barked out by the drill instructor at the end of the cartoon.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: For when a desperate Munro tries to get the doctor in the infirmary to realize he's a little boy, and for when he's trudging back to barracks after he fails.
  • Limited Animation: Increasingly the style with animation in this era. Most of the cartoon is set against blank backgrounds that change color with Munro's mood.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: Part of the problem, as the folks at the draft board say stuff like how the height requirement isn't really a big deal anymore.
  • Narrator: Tells Munro's story in a droll tone suitable for a children's story, even though it really is a dark tale.
  • One-Word Title: Also a Protagonist Title.
  • Protagonist Title: Also a One-Word Title.
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