p. 48 p. 49 p. 50
This week 22 million Americans are filing a Federal income-tax return, including seven million who have never paid before. To impress tax-payers with urgency of paying promptly, Secretary Morgenthau hired Walt Disney to create a cartoon film called The New Spirit. Star of the enterprise is Donald Duck who shells out his $13 tax, sees it converted into war stuff to heat the Axis. On this page LIFE shows some, of the original rough sketches for the film’s opening sequences. On the next pages are colored chalk sketches for a later sequence, reminiscent of Artzybasheff's humanized tanks and ships (LIFE, Nov. 3). While most cartoon shorts take the usual six months to create, Disney did The New Spirit in four weeks, and turned out a first-rate job. The Treasury distributed the film free to 12,000 theaters, paid Disney $80,000. At this expense, Congress squawked louder than Donald Duck, refused to appropriate funds, leaving the Treasury to raise the cash elsewhere. Meanwhile tax returns have come in more promptly this year than ever before. […]

DIX note

The short The New Spirit (1942) and its sequel The Spirit of '43 (1943) are both available via the Internet Archive.