Thursday, February 26, 2015

Service animals

Tomorrow morning at at 8:34 AM, TCM is showing the short Story of a Dog. This is another Warner Bros. short, narrated by Knox Manning, who did a whole bunch of Warner Bros. shorts back in the 1940s. Here, the story revolves around a dog who is being trained for service in the US military. According to the IMDb blurb it's for the Coast Guard while the TCM schedule page mentions the Army; I haven't actually seen this short so I can't comment. The military use of animals is something that would have made for a bunch of interesting shorts back in the day, although most of the information probably would have been kept secret. The US and Soviet Union both thought about training dolphins, if memory serves, while the US had the seemingly daft and never implemented idea of using bats to bomb Japanese cities.

So it's mostly dogs that we get to see doing service for man. The fact that they're more photogenic than bats helps, I suppose. One service dog themed short that I've mentioned beofer is Seeing Hands. It doesn't seem to be on the TCM schedule right now, even though it was nominated for an Oscar. Then again, it's a Pete Smith short, and you know what I think of Pete Smith.

There is, however, a second short marginally about animals providing service for humans coming up on TCM in the not so distant future. Of Pups and Puzzles, which is part of John Nesbitt's Passing Parade series, will be coming on tomorrow afternoon at 5:48 PM. This one looks at aptitude testing, and how testing animals was adapted to the sorts of tests that would be used to determine psychological profiles of humans back in the early 1940s.

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