Killjoy Was Here! – US Air Force Training Film (1950s)

It’s comforting to know that the higher-ups in the Air Force were concerned enough about troop etiquette during their off-duty shifts that they commissioned this animated short illustrating the proper way to behave.  That sounds sarcastic, but I’m serious!

It seems there was no expense spared, either. This cartoon is gorgeous and flawlessly (albeit simply) animated.  Simple, but not crude.  The cartoon focuses on Archie, an enlisted man sent to a new base as a result of his promotion.  Good news for Archie but what he doesn’t know is that Killjoy, an amalgam of less humble servicemen before him, has tainted the town’s image of the Air Force with his macho imperialist swagger.

Beach life, night life, business and landlord dealings all find  poor Archie at a disadvantage thanks to Killjoy.

The cartoon doesn’t really offer any specific tactics to correct this other than “don’t be a jerk” and “it’s not all about you”, two points that are made over and over in the back half of the film.  The resolution does do a good job of expanding the scope of the effect of Killjoy’s actions to demonstrate how this sort of behavior erodes our overall relations with other countries.

A lesson as true today as it was then.