Meet The King Of The Workers In This Animated Propaganda Short From 1949

In the wake of World War II America became embroiled in a new conflict- the Cold War, aka the War against Communism which gave us McCarthyism and the Red Scare.

The rise of the Commies scared the crap out of the American government, so various propaganda films were created to bolster American pride and remind Americans how good they have it here.

(YouTube Link)

Meet King Joe is a prime example of the sort of propaganda being created to appeal to the American people so they wouldn't "turn red":

This 1949 Technicolor cartoon is a Cold War-era propaganda film aimed at American workers with the objective of convincing them of their good fortune. It shows us the life of a common working man in America, and how he is able to achieve financial success for himself thanks to investment, competition, research, and technology.

Joe, an average American working man who, wears overalls and talks with a pseudo-Brooklyn accent, is "king of the workers of the world" not because he is worthy, but because the machinery in his factory "multiplies strength and efficiency." We also learn that Joe is "king" not because he can exert power over anything, but because "he can buy more with his wages than any other worker on the globe."

We gets a nicely illustrated introduction to then-standard basic economic theories of production and investment that "make the United States the industrial master of the world”. As proof that the American capitalist system is the most wonderful on earth, the narrator informs us that Americans own 72% of the cars in the world, 92% of the bathtubs, and "practically all the refrigerators in existence." The narrator sums up the attitude industrial America was pushing: "Labor and management must continue to increase the production of better goods at lower prices so that more people will be able to buy the things that make life easier and happier for all of us."

The cartoon is a John Sutherland production. It is one of the "fun and facts about America" series, made "to create a deeper understanding of what has made America the finest place in the world to live."


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