SNAFU learns a lesson about spreading rumors. Director: Friz Freleng
Private Snafu is the title character of a series of black-and-white American instructional cartoon shorts produced between 1943 and 1945 during World War II. The character was created by director Frank Capra, chairman of the U.S. Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit, and most were written by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, Philip D. Eastman, and Munro Leaf. Although the United States Army gave Walt Disney the first crack at creating the cartoons, Leon Schlesinger of the Warner Bros. animation studio underbid Disney by two-thirds and won the contract. Disney had also demanded exclusive ownership of the character, and merchandising rights. Nel (2007) shows the goal was to help enlisted men with weak literacy skills learn through animated cartoons (and also supplementary comic books). They featured simple language, racy illustrations, no profanity, and subtle moralizing. Private Snafu did everything wrong, so that his negative example taught basic lessons about secrecy, disease prevention, and proper military protocols.