"Any Bonds Today?" was based on Berlin's own "Any Yams Today," sung by Ginger Rogers in 1938's Carefree, which in turn was a modified version of "Any Love Today," which he wrote in 1931 but didn't have recorded.
Berlin wrote the tune "at the request" of Henry Morgenthau, Jr., then U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, to promote the Treasury Department's defense bond and savings stamp drive, the National Defense Savings Program. The United States Treasury adopted the piece as the official song of the National Defense Savings Program in 1941. Its copyright, held by Morgenthau, is dated June 16, 1941.
Barry Wood introduced the song (along with another Berlin composition called "Arms for the Love of America") on Arsenal Day, June 10, 1941, at the War College in Washington, D.C.; he also recorded the song in the same week for RCA Victor. Wood's performance of the song was the first broadcast on radio, "in late June 1941"; it was also performed by the Andrews Sisters, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Dick Robertson, Kay Kyser, and Gene Autry in the 1942 film Home in Wyomin'.
Berlin signed over his royalty payments from the song to the war bond drive, as he did with several of his songs during the war.
The 90-second cartoon, commissioned by the Treasury and now in the public domain, was designed to encourage movie theater audiences to buy defense bonds and stamps. Its title card identifies it as Leon Schlesinger Presents Bugs Bunny, but it is more widely known as "Any Bonds Today?" It was neither considered a Looney Tunes nor Merrie Melodies cartoon and was not part of the Bugs Bunny series (but a spin-off).
Bob Clampett wrote and directed the film, which started production in late November 1941 and was completed eight days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. According to an article of The Hollywood Reporter, it took three weeks to complete. Counting from the drawing of the first sketch to the shipping of the first print. The paper reported that production would typically last two months. It was reportedly produced "free of charge".
In it, Bugs Bunny approaches the audience while fife-playing "The Girl I Left Behind Me" on his carrot. He then sings a portion of Berlin's song against a patriotic backdrop, at one point going into a blackface parody of Al Jolson. For the song's last refrain, he is joined by Porky Pig in a Navy uniform, and Elmer Fudd in Army garb. The short ends with a graphic encouraging the audience "For defense, buy United States Savings Bonds and Stamps".
The cartoon was initially conceived to promote the sales of "defense bonds", which were renamed war bonds by the spring of 1942. Between feature films, or between the feature films and the animated shorts, the lights of the movie theater would come on and ushers would collect monetary contributions from the audience, to help finance the war effort.
Any Bonds Today? is also one of five cartoons featuring the Elmer Fudd modeled after his voice actor, Arthur Q. Bryan, which is fatter than the popular incarnation. Clampett made these shorts with a fat Elmer because he could not make Porky as fat as he was in his first cartoon, I Haven't Got a Hat.