Disney Don’s Dogtags: The Best of Disney Military Insignia from World War II

by Walton H. Rawls
New York, NY: Abbeville Publishing Group, 1992
ISBN: 1558594019, 978-1558594012
Hardcover, 96 pages

From the Publisher

“Swamped in World War II with requests from the military to use the world-famous Disney characters in creating distinctive unit insignia, the Disney Studio had to set up a special five-man crew of artists to meet the demand for designs. ‘They meant a lot to the men who were fighting,’ said Walt Disney. ‘How could you turn them down?’ Imaginative, colorful, and well-executed, these insignia occupy a unique place in Disney history.

Over a five-year period, as a contribution to the war effort, the Studio created some 1,200 insignia, the best of which have been selected for this volume – the first comprehensive survey of this relatively unknown body of Disney art. For the most part, these delightful designs exist today only as fifty-year-old color transparencies or black-and-white photos in the Disney Archives, the originals having been sent directly to their respective units during the war. Nevertheless, period reproductions of the originals can still be found in wartime Disney comic books, on matchbook covers, poster stamps, and, indeed, the leather and woven patches that were inspired by the art – all of which are now very collectible.

It is a tribute to the success of the Disney animators in giving believable personalities to ‘drawings that move’ that some well-known cartoon figures were suitable for military service while others were not. For instance, Donald Duck appeared in more than two hundred designs – his famous temper fit him for militant postures – while the lovable, bashful Mickey Mouse was rarely called upon except for home front causes. Where no Disney character quite fit the bill, the studio happily created new ones, as in the case of the well-known symbols for the Flying Tigers, the Mosquito Fleet, and the Seabees.

In addition to being of interest to Disney enthusiasts and collectors – imagine, after all these years, opening a treasure trove of forgotten Disney artwork – this book definitely will appeal to military buffs and veterans, especially during the marking of World War II’s fiftieth anniversary.”