If you were going to pick the other character from Disney who would explicitly join the military in World War II, would Pluto be your first thought? And would your second thought be, “and obviously the Coast Guard”? And yet here we are. World War II was weird. The characters were enormously popular, and the studio was skirting bankruptcy. Only government money was keeping the studio afloat. And presumably these cartoons, in addition to being Just What Was Done at the time, were Walt’s gratitude for helping him keep his dream going.
Pluto is on the shore patrol. He’s supposed to be keeping everyone off a strip of beach. Unfortunately, nature being what it is, a small newly-hatched turtle doesn’t get the message. It ignores Pluto and just keeps tromping on toward the water, ignoring signs and barbed wire and things. Pluto’s trying to keep it off the beach and out of the water and ends up, as is often the way of things, in quicksand.
Let’s ignore that there’s a single turtle egg, ridiculous as the idea of a single turtle egg is. Sure, okay, you never get a single turtle egg. Ignore that it has legs and not flippers, because, you know, it happens. It is what it is. It is worth noting that Pluto’s job is to damage the environment. It’s not phrased that way, but by keeping the baby turtle from getting to the sea, he’s endangering the species. It’s amusing that Moana goes out of her way decades later to atone for Pluto’s mistakes—and hers was a proper sea turtle at that.
And, yeah, quicksand. Now, this is actually a place where you’d get real quicksand. People don’t think of beaches that way, but it’s true. Beaches are full of places where sand and water come together, after all. Depending on the tide, yes, you’d absolutely get quicksand. But you don’t sink in it. I don’t know what Pluto’s specific density is, to be true, but if he can swim, he’s not actually going to sink in quicksand. Though beach quicksand is a place where you have to worry about the tide coming in, which would endanger him.
World War II cartoons were, you know, fine. Some of them were funnier than others. Pluto cartoons often bore me, though I’ve long been fascinated by just how weird some of the screen shots are. I considered using the title card and its dedication to the fine people of the US Coast Guard, but how could I possibly break my streak?