Sylvester Meets Investor

Published on Thursday, March 05, 2009 in , , , , ,

MoneyIn keeping with the theme of money from my previous post, and the overall theme of this blog of having fun while learning, I'm going to post some fun educational cartoons from the 1950s that are about money and capitalism, which have only recently become available on YouTube (since my previous post, as a matter of fact).

First, I'd like to try and get you into the mindset of the 1950s as it related to money, investing and capitalism. Anyone who was in their 30s in the 1950s still had the Great Depression fresh in their minds, due to growing up with its effects for most of their life. Although there were other factors involved, the stock market's role in the Great Depression meant that the market was seen as scary, frightening and complicated thing.

In the 1920s, though, the stock market was largely unregulated and there was little transparency of any company's financial situation. During the Great Depression itself, Roosevelt had created the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), so government oversight and requirements about financial closures had come into being. Confidence rose in the market after these acts (and trials of several SEC rule violators), but many who had been in the market before had decided that investing wasn't worth it anymore. Through the 1930s and 40s, investing was at a sort of standstill.

After World War II, when American GIs were returning home (interestingly, to ticker tape parades), there was a new optimism about the country's future. The soldiers were coming home, marrying their sweethearts, buying homes, and raising children.

Brokers saw an opportunity to bring many new investors in the market. Having learned their lesson in the depression, and with the help of the new market regulations, they put forth an effort to educate the public, as well, so as to have not only more investors, but better educated investors, as well. Charles Merill, of Merill-Lynch, began an own your share of America attitude, which included such actions as opening brokerage houses in the suburbs, offering investment classes for women, and even setting up a display in Grand Central Station to give the average person a closer look at the stock market.

The three cartoons below were part of a similar effort by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which focuses largely on encouraging education in science, technology and economics. The Sloan Foundation set up an agreement with Warner Bros., in which they would underwrite cartoons that would educate the general public about business, investing and the market place. The three cartoons that produced as part of this effort are posted below. Fortunately, Warner Bros. was able to keep their style and humor and place while still teaching these economic concepts.

By Word of Mouse: The first of these cartoons, made in 1954, tells the story of a European mouse who visits America, and is astounded by the sheer volume of economic activity there. This mouse and his American cousin then consult a mouse professor at a university to learn more about it.

Heir-Conditioned: The second cartoon of this project, made in 1955, focused on Sylvester the Cat (the only regular Warner Bros. character to appear in all 3 cartoon shorts), and his inheritance of a fortune from his late owner. As Elmer Fudd tries to educate Sylvester on the benefits of investing, Sylvester and his alley cat friends try to get the money so they can go have fun spending it on themselves.

Yankee Dood It: The third and final cartoon from 1956 is probably the most recognizable of the 3. It's a take off of the classic Elves and the Shoemaker story, with elf king Elmer Fudd trying to get his shoemaking elves back home by teaching the shoemaker how a modern business should be run.

Spread The Love, Share Our Article

Related Posts

Post Details

No Response to "Sylvester Meets Investor"