Thursday, July 15, 2010

Movie Victory Gardens

There is a scene in “Since You Went Away” (1944) (see previous blog post here) where teenaged Shirley Temple and lodger Monty Woolley are working in the backyard victory garden, where Mr. Woolley declares, “There are enough carrots here to feed a regiment, men and horses.”

The idea of World War II-era “victory gardens” was not to feed regiments so much as to feed the civilian population and relieve farm production already overtaxed by having to feed millions of military personnel, as well as coping with fewer men on the farms.

This scene in “Since You Went Away”, which attempts to cover as many home front aspects of the war as possible, is really one of the few movies I can think of made that time that actually show a victory garden. I wonder that there weren’t more. Maybe you can think of others. Perhaps being promoted in newsreels and government-sponsored short films was considered enough and Hollywood perhaps not wanting to bludgeon the public with the message.

“Andy Panda’s Victory Garden” (1943) covered the topic for cartoons, and victory gardens also received a brief mention in this Private Snafu cartoon, “Homefront” (1942). Private Snafu was shown only to military personnel as part informational, part entertainment for troops. The general public of the time did not usually get to see these cartoons.

If you can think of a scene in a World War II-era film that featured a victory garden, let us know.

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