Genuinely more interesting in many ways than the World War II cartoons wherein a character is in the military are the ones wherein a character has to deal with some vagary or another of civilian life during wartime. That’s because they’re the bits that aren’t as thought of, the byways, if you will, of war life. There’s a movie about the housing shortage, and that’s fascinating because I’m not sure most people are aware that there even was a wartime housing shortage. There’s a not-very-good Bugs Bunny cartoon wherein the climax involves gas coupons. This cartoon is one of those.
Donald Duck, Aquatic Sociopath, is a dangerous driver. Shocking, I know. Anyway, while he’s driving like a maniac, he blows a tire. What follows is one of your classic Donald Versus Inanimate Object short. In this case, we’re talking the tube of his tire, back from when tires had tubes. Donald has clearly had this problem before; the tire has been patched not just with the official technical tire patch—which he wrangles with here—but with every bit of scrap rubber he can get his hands on. Every step of fixing the tire is exactly as difficult as you’d expect.
For future generations unfamiliar with this era, Donald helpfully grumbles, “Doggone rubber shortage!” As a similar short today would doubtless mention something about supply chain issues. This is why Donald doesn’t have a spare, why the tube is patched to within an inch of its life, why he’s driving on four retreads. Oh, the fact that it’s obsolete technology doesn’t matter; Donald’s struggles with the car still seem topical. The recalcitrant jack. The idea that every single bit of the car is basically out to get him. Heck, the fact that he gets the flat while driving over a horseshoe was dated then and remains funny anyway.
Generally, I prefer the Donald Versus Inanimate Object shorts. You can’t even in this case blame his problems on his terrible driving, though ye Gods is he a terrible driver. Someone’s horse threw a shoe, on the road, and Donald happened to drive over it in such a way that the nail went into his tire. I won’t say it could happen to anyone, because even then it was exceedingly rare. Still, it could happen to anyone who happened along the road Donald was on, at least. That makes it easier to be on his side.
I’ll also admit there’s not much to say about shorts like this. Minor thing goes wrong. Donald tries to fix it. Things escalate. Genuinely, though, it’s not a bad formula, as formulas go, and I do like it better than when we instead do Someone Annoys Donald as a setup, because his reaction is so disproportionate. Everything he does here makes sense. Every reaction is perfectly reasonable. Even if it’s not as memorable as “Donald tries to kill nephews for skipping school,” it’s still a short I’d rather watch.