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The Autobiography of a 'Jeep' (1943)

The invention and use of a jeep are described, from the viewpoint of one of the vehicles.


Irving Lerner, Joseph Krumgold (uncredited)


Joseph Krumgold




Credited cast:
Desi Arnaz ... Himself
Claire Chennault Claire Chennault ... Himself - Talking to a Soldier in a Jeep (archive footage) (as General Chennault)
King George VI ... Himself - Riding in a Jeep (archive footage) (as King George)
Douglas MacArthur ... Himself - Riding in a Jeep (archive footage) (as General MacArthur)
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother ... Herself - Riding in a Jeep (archive footage)
Franklin D. Roosevelt ... Himself - Riding in a Jeep in Casablanca (archive footage) (as President Roosevelt)
Joseph W. Stilwell Joseph W. Stilwell ... Himself - Talking to a Soldier in a Jeep (archive footage) (as General Stilwell)
Wendell Willkie Wendell Willkie ... Himself - Talking to a Soldier in a Jeep (archive footage)


A jeep explains how it came to be invented, and the tasks that it is used for. When the United States went to war, its motorized divisions needed a new kind of vehicle, the jeep, which was designed by the automobile industry. After vigorous tests, the new vehicle has now proved useful and reliable. Designed to do everything from crossing rivers to towing artillery, the jeep is in use everyplace that the Army goes. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Short | War








Release Date:

24 July 2015 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the 50 films in the 4-disk boxed DVD set called "Treasures from American Film Archives (2000)", compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 18 American film archives. This film was preserved by the National Archive and Records Administration. See more »

Crazy Credits

Actors not marked uncredited are credited orally by the narrator. See more »


God Save the King!
Attributed to Henry Carey (1744)
Played for scene of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
See more »

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User Reviews

The One And Only.
10 November 2016 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

When he debarked on a Normandy beach a few days after the D-Day landings, Andy Rooney was a correspondent and, as such, was issued a Jeep, an ungainly but rugged four-wheeled convertible. He used the vehicle through the European Theater for most of the rest of the war. At the end, he was transferred to the China-Burma-India Theater where nothing of import was happening. Since he need to leave the jeep behind, he simply turned it over to a fellow correspondent.

Two years after the war's end, Rooney received a letter from the authorities. He was required to account for the whereabouts of the Jeep, Serial Number 012345x. He placed the letter in a neglected drawer of his desk and it may still be there.

Rooney is no longer with us and neither is the original Jeep, made for the Armed Forces by the Willy Company. It was ubiquitous. If there were men and women in uniform around, there were also Jeeps. In the post-war years the original design was replaced by a somewhat bigger one. "Improvement" always means "bigger." This short film uses the first-person narrative (by Pat O'Brien) to describe the Jeep's development and capabilities. No mention of the prevailing belief that it rolled over on top of the occupants too easily. It's kind of entertaining to see these boxy things, so unlike any previous or existing automobiles, schlepping cannons and trailers and bouncing up and down, taking flight sometimes, swimming across rivers, being packed into cargo airplanes.

One kind of misses that robust simplicity. Now we're using SUVs too big to fit into the garage because of the 20 mm. cannons on top.

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