The uniquely serious Schlesinger-produced cartoon retells the origins of the United States of America. Porky Pig plays a child forced to learn the Pledge of Allegiance. He becomes quickly bored and falls asleep. In his dream, Uncle Sam (voiced by John Deering) comes to life and teaches Porky about history from Colonial America through the American Revolutionary War to the expansion of the American Old West, briefly alluding to Abraham Lincoln. Upon awakening, Porky snaps into a salute and recites the pledge as the Flag of the United States waves overhead and the words "The End" pan over the waving flag similar to the end of Three Little Bops. There are no Merrie Melodies rings at the end, as in other shorts, or the words "That's All, Folks!" (The Flag of the United States has only 48 stars, as this short was made before Hawaii and Alaska were admitted to the Union. Also, this Pledge of Allegiance as recited by Porky does not yet include the phrase "under God". That phrase was not added until 1954.)
The original ending was cut when the cartoon was reissued twice as a Blue Ribbon Merrie Melody once on August 25, 1945 during the 1944-45 season (evident from the style opening Color Rings used: orange rings with a black background) and again on September 12, 1953 during the 1953-54 season (evident from the style opening rings used: orange rings with a blue background).
Since the cartoon was reissued in 1945, the second reissue retains the first reissue's ending card after the flag fades out. This is because it was reissued after Schlesinger sold the studio, so this was allowed. Other cartoons that kept the first BR ending were "Rhapsody in Rivets" and "The Trial of Mr. Wolf", the latter having its original titles restored on DVD. The version with the 1945 closing card can also be found on the LaserDisc set The Golden Age of Looney Tunes Volume 2.
A version with a restored ending cue can be found on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 2. This copy retains the 1953-54 Blue Ribbon opening, but also contains the original ending cue and LEON SCHLESINGER The End card fading in on the flag.
"Old Glory" is Jones's first short to feature Porky Pig. It is also Porky's first appearance in a color Merrie Melody since his debut in 1935's "I Haven't Got a Hat", and his first short in three-strip Technicolor.
Legend has it that during the late 60s, "Old Glory" was regularly screened between rock acts at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Supposedly the Fillmore's patrons drew great amusement from a pig (or "cop" in 60s slang) saluting the American flag.
It premiered at the famed Carthay Circle Theater at Los Angeles on July 1, 1939 - three days before Independence Day.
The animation in "Old Glory" is realistic and heavily rotoscoped, different from the usual Warner Bros. style. Director Chuck Jones was known for his Disney-like style during this period, and Schlesinger assigned him to make this cartoon for that reason. The scene with Patrick Henry saying his "Give Me Liberty" speech was rotoscoped from the Warner Bros. color 2-reel historical short, "Give Me Liberty". That short won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject - Color of 1936.
A 1995 dubbed version print (for both USA and EU) is known to exist.
Since the Viddy-Oh! For Kids Cartoon Festivals tape print (which axes out the cartoon's opening rings) for some reason airs on the Polish TV channels TV Puls and Puls 2 as recently as the early 2010s , hence this is one of the very rare non-dubbed pre-1948 Looney Tunes cartoon airings on European networks after 1995, even though an EU 1995 dubbed version print does exist.
This cartoon's Cartoon Festivals tape print (which axes out the cartoon's opening rings) also airs on Cartoon Network/Boomerang Latin America and Tooncast (evidence in here: , alternately with the cartoon's USA 1995 dubbed version print.