Rare SNAFU/Wartime Animation Art Found

snafuart1.jpg

A Hollywood production artist, part-time performer and animator, Paul Manchester, has inherited a cache of rare World War II animation artwork of great significance.

Manchester’s great uncle, Harold “Al” Curry, served as a storyboard artist under Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) during the war. Paul recounts his story:

Before my great uncle Al died he was cleaning out a bunch of old stuff in preparation for a move and he gave me a manilla packet of old stuff he didn’t really know what to do with. I was following in his footsteps as an illustrator who occassionally worked in animation. At the time I briefly looked through it but was more distracted by the old art books and art supplies he gave me at the same time. Ten years passed.

Last month the National Academy of Sciences presented PRIVATE SNAFU VS. MALARIA MIKE as part of their Cartoon Medicine Show exhibition. It rang kind of a bell in the back of my brain and I pulled out the old manilla envelope and right on top was a rough storyboard drawing from Malaria Mike. I found four painted cels- two with backgrounds attached and a whole stack of roughs from HOME FRONT, PAY DAY (and others).

But the cool thing was an entire storyboard from an animated short called A FEW QUICK FACTS: WEAPON OF WAR. It has been bound into a small book maybe 8″w x 4″h and is about 1 1/2 ” thick- it has the entire script copy printed on the left side of the page and the image on the right.

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Paul has scanned and posted all this great artwork – he even created a video, shooting the entire 89 page storyboard from the Weapon of War, assembled it in iMovie and posted it on YouTube.

Paul has set up a webpage to showcase his find. Original 1940s wartime cartoon art like this is extremely hard to find, as most of it was destroyed as classified material. Thank you Paul for making these rare pieces accessible to all.


  • Gerard de Souza

    Thank you, Mr. Whimsey, for sharing these especially the storyboard.

  • http://pupick.blogspot.com/ PCUnfunny

    Alright ! Another Snafu short found. I hope it’s in a future LTGC.

  • amid

    Paul – An AMAZING historical find! Thanks for sharing with all, especially in such a well organized manner. The Weapon of War boards are amazing. UPA co-founder Zach Schartz did one called A Few Quick Facts: Fear. I wonder if he was involved with this as well? It’s definitely done by somebody ‘modern.’ Wasn’t Gene Fleury also in this unit or no?

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    as a fellow Sanfu-aholic….thank YOO!! Whoa!

  • http://crisafullidoodles.blogspot.com/ Marc Crisafulli

    Just wanted to add my thanks!

  • http://classiccartoons.blogspot.com/ Duck Dodgers

    Amazing!!! Thanks Jerry for pointing this and thanks Paul for the find!!

  • http://www.toonsatwar.blogspot.com DisneyDave

    What an exciting find! The youtube presentation was fantastic! Thanks to Paul for sharing and Jerry for pointing it out!

  • http://demianjohnston.blogspot.com Demian

    oh my god! Paul is completely awesome. that is very cool, i loved those movies. I sold videos of those for years at my old job.

  • Bruce

    Now THIS is quite a rare treat. It’s a shame that the art work from the Warners studio didn’t survive to the present. Anyway, I have two questions for you Jerry: It’s good and all that you had presued Warner Home video to bring the SNAFU shorts to the Golden Collection set, but how come a) they weren’t restored or remastered from the negatives. By this, the “Official Film War Department” title card was never shown on the LTGC set b) the sound quality is almost unbearable (especially in the short, The Goldbrick, where the dialogue was slowwweed…..dooowwwnn). This had just puzzled me, especially since there are better sources available. If you don’t want to discuss about this, I can understand. Thanks and good luck in the near future. From an aspiring animator, Bruce.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Heh, no sooner did this entry show up, I was immediately contacting the dude asking if I could buy some of this. Apparently he sold it off to Van Eaton already, but failed to mention so on his webpage as of yesterday. Boy was I blue in the face. And I was so syched up too in getting some of those storyboard drawings!

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com jerry

    Chris – You can still buy some of that art from Van Eaton. He bought them for resale (after he allows Asifa-Hollywood’s Animation Archive to professionally scan them for future study).

    Bruce – Warner Bros. does not have 35mm prints or negs from the Snafu films. The U.S. Army owns them. They are presented as bonus material on the Golden Collections and no one should expect any of the bonus material to be restored. That occasionally some of the bonus pieces are restored is a plus. Hopefully, someday, finances will allow the compilation of a Snafu master collection from original materials.