Escalation (1968 animated film)

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Escalation is a 1968 animated short film, directed by Disney animator Ward Kimball. It is an anti-Vietnam War cartoon mocking U.S. President, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson.

The short was made independently from the Disney Studios and is notable for being the only animated cartoon made in this matter by one of Disney's core animators, the "Nine Old Men." Kimball showed it at film festivals, college campuses during the US presidential elections year in 1968 and personally gave away copies of the film to whomever was interested.[1]

In a 2000 interview shortly before his death Kimball said that he thought that Escalation had not received the mainstream attention it deserved. In 2007 relatives of Kimball put the film online on YouTube.[1][2]


A dove of peace flies upside down and backwards. Then a giant statue of the head of Lyndon B. Johnson is slowly wheeled into view, while the melody of The Battle Hymn of the Republic plays. One of the statue's ears is shaped as a dollar sign. An actor imitates Johnson's voice while singing the lyrics. As the song goes on, Johnson's nose slowly starts to rise in phallic fashion. When fully erect the nose explodes and images of the Playboy Bunny, bare breasts, hot dogs, John Wayne, Doris Day, Coca-Cola, Aunt Jemima, Lassie, Superman, Little Orphan Annie, and other people and products are seen on the screen amidst images and sounds of explosions. The cartoon fades out by having the statue crack into pieces, accompanied by images of an atomic bomb explosion.[1][3]

The gradual enlargement of Johnson's nose brings up images of Pinocchio, whose nose grew longer when he lied. Kimball worked on the 1940 Disney adaptation of Pinocchio.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Ward Kimball's Escalation - Cartoon Brew". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Hey, Hey, LBJ". Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  3. ^ ""Escalation": This 1968 anti-war animated film by Disney legend Ward Kimball is as timely as ever". Night Flight. Retrieved 29 November 2015.

External links

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