The Walt Disney Company was entering the nascent era of feature animation when the war temporarily shuttered the studio operations. Many animators joined the armed forces, and the U.S. military briefly commandeered the studio itself. Before and during America’s involvement in the war, the Disney company was involved with the military with logo design, dating back to 1939. In 1940, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C, led by Lieutenant Earl S. Caldwell, requested from Walt Disney an insignia for America’s fleet of torpedo boats. Disney artist Hank Porter conceived of the emblem – an angry mosquito flying over rough water, carrying a torpedo seemingly to be dropped at will.
This wasn’t the first insignia that Disney created for the military, but given its role with PT boats, it’s only fitting that it be on prominent display at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
(images courtesy of Eric Steinmetz)