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Western Animation / The Rookie Bear

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The Rookie Bear is a 1941 cartoon from MGM directed by Rudolf Ising.

It is an installment in the Barney Bear series. In this one Barney, who was basically Yogi Bear 20 years early, is hibernating in the trunk of a tree when he gets a telegram informing him of a "free vacation"—from the United States Army. He's been drafted. Barney, who shows up at boot camp with golf clubs and a tennis racket and the like, is rudely surprised to find out that he is not getting a a free vacation. He then goes through a particularly uncomfortable bootcamp ordeal.



  • All Just a Dream: The ending finds Barney waking up in his bed, his boot camp experience having been a dream. Then he gets a telegram from the Army for real, complete with a note at the end stating that "This ain't no dream!"
  • Bland-Name Product: The story about the army draft runs in a magazine called "STRIFE" which is an obvious stand-in for LIFE Magazine.
  • Boot Camp Episode: Barney Bear joins the army. Much comedy ensues, like when the army dentist calls in the WPA to fix the cavities in Barney's teeth.
  • Curse Cut Short: Barney's draft notice comes in the form of a singing telegram. The deliveryman sings "You're in the Army Now", but when it's time for the line after "you'll never get rich", he blows his trumpet instead of singing "you son of a bitch".
  • Recycled Animation: The scenes of Barney in bed reuse animation from his first short, The Bear That Couldn't Sleep.
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  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Barney gets a telegram from the Army, misreading it for a free vacation. After realizing that he's been drafted, he pantomimes "Screw this" and begins to leave the base, only to be forced back to be inducted.
  • Visual Pun:
    • After getting poked and prodded and examined by army doctors and dentists, the narration says "He gets that final the end." This is accompanied by a shot of someone stamping "OK" on Barney's butt.
    • Barney gets bridgework done on his teeth, as in an actual bridge being built in his mouth.
    • The marching scene has a lot of puns on "dogs" as a slang term for feet. First they are panting, and we see the tongues of Barney's boots sticking out. Then they start "really barking", and finally they turn into hot dogs.
    • Getting away from the dog puns, the corns on Barney's feet start popping.
  • Wartime Cartoon: Technically not a wartime cartoon, since it was released in May 1941 when the United States was still at peace. But the government had already instituted a draft as a war readiness measure, and this short plays out like a wartime cartoon, with Barney getting chucked into the army.
  • WPUN: At the first draft lottery, the radio stations covering the event are AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and RPM (Revolutions Per Minute).

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