A baby squirrel asks his grandfather to tell him what happened to all the men. The old squirrel reveals that all the humans were killed years ago in a terrible war. The surviving animals started a new society, based on the lessons taught in the Bible. Written by
The first short subject to receive a Parents Magazine Medal. See more »
It was awful. It was terrible. Why, they fought and they fought and they fought, until... until there was only two of them left.
[each soldier shoots the other and goes down]
And that was the end of the last man on Earth.
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I saw this cartoon exactly once, when I was about 8. Even as a child, I found it compelling; the radarscope battle scenes still show up in my dreams from time to time. As with many childhood memories, one wonders if it will have the same impact when you see it again, as an adult. Well, having fortunately stumbled upon this by accident on the internet, I was pleased to find it did wear well. Of course, knowing as I do now, that this was made in 1939, I can see it as one of the high moments of American Isolationist sentiment and thus, a mistake. But, setting that aside, it is well-intentioned and eloquent. The usually saccharine Hugh Harman rises above his oeuvre here; the squirrels and bunnies have aren't merely cute. The framing device at the begging and end, if typically cute, is arguably necessary; Harman gets the balance right. The remake of this cartoon -- 1955's "Good Will to Men" manages to miss the balance, and just does not have the same impact. "Peace on Earth" was voted one of the Fifty Greatest Cartoons of All Time in 1994. It is said that this cartoon was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, perhaps an apocryphal tale, but one that indicates the significance of "Peace on Earth" really well.
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