Note: this is a supplemental piece to our Denton Live story: The Lasting Sting of a WASP, which can be read here.
Many celebrities support our troops and veterans. Some hold rallies, some just donate to various causes. But there were celebrities that offered up more than money.
There was perhaps no greater Hollywood supporter of the troops in World War II than Walt Disney, except for Bob Hope. While Hope took his variety show on the road, performing in USO shows around the world, Disney was busy at home.
Fifinella, the official patch for the WWII WASPs, was designed by acclaimed children's author Roald Dahl for his book "The Gremlins", but Walt Disney purchased the rights to Fifinella and began to use her in his WWII designs. Although the movie did not make it to the big screen, the WASPS asked for use of “Fifi”, the little female gremlin as their official insignia. Fifinella was known for engaging in little mischievous acts, including causing mechanical failures. It was adapted for their use and adorned everything from jackets to barracks.
Disney’s patriotism was demonstrated by establishment of an entire unit to produce free customized military insignia for U.S. forces and our allies. His characters were utilized for insignias for bases, ships, battalions, submarines, squadrons, recruiting campaigns and adorned war bond posters. Donald Duck was the character most requested by the troops in these images followed closely by Pluto then Goofy. However, Mickey, Minnie, Dumbo and the Seven Dwarfs took up the cause. It is estimated that between 1,200-1,500 Disney images were created for the war effort.
The following slide show represents just a few of the Disney characters, hard at work on the war effort: [slideshow_deploy id='47589']
See this brief video showing their training during the war:
To learn more about the Women Airforce Service Pilots from WWII, visit the Woman's Collection at the Blagg-Huey Library at Texas Woman’s University.