On The Donald … the Real One

Background
Created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions

Voiced by Clarence Nash until Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)

Tony Anselmo (mentored by Nash) voiced starting with Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

First animated by Dick Huemer and Art Babbit

Dick Lundy developed Donald’s character.

Drawn in comics by Al Taliaferro, Carl Barks, and Don Rosa

Development

  • Started as an extra character
  • Appeared with Goofy as a supporting character to Mickey Mouse
  • Eventually developed into the main character
  • Followed a similar path in comics

Filmography
Appearing in over 150 theatrical films and shorts

Has the most theatrical appearances than any Disney character

First appeared in The Wise Little Hen (1934)

Second appearance in Orphan’s Benefit served as first encounter with Mickey Mouse

First appeared with Mickey and Goofy in Mickey’s Service Station (1935)

First star billing in Donald’s Ostrich (1937)

Personal/Personality
Middle name is Fauntleroy, thus the only major Disney character with an official middle name

Original name was Donald Oliver Duckling

Dressed in a blue sailor shirt, a white cap with a black or red bow tie

Most distinguishable characteristic is his speech

Personality described as mischievous, temperamental, a show-off, bragger, tenacious, and positive

Donald isn’t a sailor, but wears a sailor outfit because Daisy likes men in uniforms

Catch Phrases

  • “What’s the big idea!?”.
  • “Aw, phooey!
  • “Hiya, toots!”.
  • “So!!!”
  • Muttering, “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.

Family, Friends, and Foes
Nephews Huey, Louie and Dewey (introduced 1938)

Twin sister: Thelma (Della) Duck, but also referred to as Dumbella (introduced 1937)

Cousin Gus Goose (introduced 1939)

European Uncle Ludwig von Drake (introduced 1961)

Rich uncle Scrooge McDuck (introduced 1947)

Girlfriend, Daisy (introduced 1937), but was originally named Donna Duck

Family tree according to Carl Barks

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

Donald’s wants to be Disney’s biggest star, thus the rivalry with Mickey Mouse Throughout his career, which resembles the Bugs Bunny-Daffy Duck rivalry

Consider the Mouseketeers theme to “D-O-N-A-L-D D-U-C-K! Donald Duck!” … or the Mouseketeer theme with chants of “Donald Duck” after mentioning Mickey

Foes include Chip ‘n’ Dale, Humphrey the Bear, Spike The Bee, Mountain Lion Louie, Bootle Beetle, Witch Hazel (in Trick or Treat), Aracuan Bird, and Baby Shelby

Honors
Received 8 non-winning Oscar nominations for Good Scouts (1938), Truant Officer Donald (1941), Donald’s Crime (1945), Chip ‘n’ Dale (1947), Tea for Two Hundred (1948), Toy Tinkers (1949), Rugged Bear (1953), and No Hunting (1955)

Oscar winner for Best Animated Short Film: Der Fuehrer’s Face (1943), a parody of Nazi Germany

TV Guide’s list of the 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time (#43) in 2002

He has appeared in more films than any other Disney character, and is the most published comic book character in the world outside of the superhero genre

A mini-series of seven short films following Donald’s life in the army from being drafted to basic training to being in an actual mission

Thanks in part to the mini-series supporting the war effort, Donald graced the nose artwork of virtually every type of WWII Allied combat aircraft

Miscellaneous
In the Disney Studios, Donald is often referred to as “The Duck”

Walt Disney described Donald Duck as Disney’s “problem child”

A duck skeleton that looks like Donald can be seen in James and the Giant Peach

Donald makes a cameo appearance in The Little Mermaid

Donald Duck is the only popular film and TV cartoon character to appear as a sports team mascot (Oregon Ducks at the University of Oregon)

Donald Duck Orange Juice, introduced by Citrus World in 1940.

A video game Donald Duck: Goin’ Quackers

Below is a compilation tribute and the short earning his first Oscar nomination  (Good Scouts) … Enjoy

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58 thoughts on “On The Donald … the Real One

  1. I love Donald Duck. In the 1950’s my dad painted a huge Donald Duck, full wall-sized in our playroom (Mickey was on the opposite wall). I find those original Disney characters funnier and wittier than the politically correct, more commercialized Disney pap of today. Sat here totally engrossed in “The Fuehrer’s Face”, marveling at that Germanic characterization, that amazing sound track, the vertigo of all that munitions production, and the final ammunition: ripe tomatoes, smack in the führer’s face! Who would dare put such a thing before kids today? So wonderfully, politically incorrect!

    Like

    • Cynthia,
      Great to know that this post brought back visions of a room as a child. … and yes … the politically incorrectness of back-in-the-day cartoons were what we had, and what we miss. For me it was Popeye, but oh no … he had to go because he was too violent.

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  2. “The Duck” always made me laugh as a kid. I never realized how illustrious his career was. I just watched Der Fuehrer’s Face for the first time, and I totally get why he won the Oscar!
    It’s been a fun Saturday morning, and I’ll pop by with my coffee tomorrow a.m. to check out the other Donald videos. Happy Weekend, Frank!

    Like

  3. Excellent coverage of Donald Duck’s history, Frank. I enjoyed the trip. Random thoughts:

    1. Was Scrooge McDuck a relative of Donald’s?
    2. I always did think the U.S. Navy’s uniforms were the most attractive of all the services’. However, putting them on women, not so good.
    3. No pants??
    4. I preferred Donald comics to Mickey, but when it came to comic books in general, my taste was more toward Captain Marvel, which might be a topic you could do in the future. (You do this well!) He was an interesting character, more human than Superman, more spiritual than Batman. Shazam!

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    • Jim,
      I see Scrooge McDuck as Donald’s rich uncle, however, he is not on the family tree that I present here.

      In terms of his attire, keep in mind that Donald wasn’t in the navy, but Daisy like her man in a uniform.

      As for the comics, I wasn’t a comic reader, so the chance of me branching into comic stars/heroes is slim.to none.

      Like

  4. hahaha … thank you for my Saturday laugh. LOL
    I loved all of the videos. I always enjoy cartoons. The old ones were the best – classic. I wasn’t allowed to see cartoons as a little girl. I started watching them when my kids were small. Clarence Nash changed from a deep voiced romantic Donald to a lispy duck – a good choice. I’m glad they left out his middle name – Oliver.
    My kids asked me once why Donald had no pants on. I explained he was a duck. Of course, then came the other question – why is he wearing a jacket? I just laughed and said enjoy the funny cartoon.
    I live near Disney World. It’s always fun to go and see all of the characters. Thanks for taking me down memory lane, eFrank. Have a GREAT WEEKEND !!!!

    Like

  5. My daughters know absolutely EVERYTHING that there is to know about Disney. I just like the duck. I think he has attitude and back when I was a kid, cartoon characters weren’t just sassy, they were positively bombastic and Donald duck was king of the explosive tempers. My favourite cartoon starring Donald was when his nephews bought him cigars and he thought that they were smoking them and made them smoke them all. HILARIOUS! 😉

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  6. Donald Duck always drove me crazy, it was his voice that I found so irritating. The old cartoons are far better, and I tried as much as I could to have my own children to watch the classics.

    Like

    • Catherine,
      To me, the downward trend from the classics actually started in the late 60s-early 70s … and kept going. Then again, they are also outside of the Golden Age of Cartoons.

      Like

  7. Excellent post, Frank, about a duck I’ve always found grating. I could never understand what the hell he was saying. That said, I enjoyed the clip from the Academy Awards with his voiceover artist, Clarence Nash, and Johnny’s hilarious joke about Mrs. Nash. The animation in all the cartoons you featured, particularly Hortense, the ostrich, was terrific. Personally, I’ll always prefer Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies to Disney. My favorite duck cartoon is one starring Daffy called Duck Amuck. I’ve never seen any of the Disney propaganda cartoons released during WW2. Watching Der Fuehrer’s Face was fascinating. Can you imagine what would happen in today’s world if Pixar released a film like that about ISIS?!?! They’d probably try to level Hollywood! I thoroughly enjoyed this post. You pulled out all the stops.

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  8. I really enjoyed remembering Donald! I didn’t realize that Donald had the most theatrical appearances of all the Disney characters, but it was good to have it reinforced that Donald was considered on par with Mickey at one time. When I think back to my cartoon days I think I did consider them Disney “friends.” Today, at Disneyland, Donald is a much less prominent character, but I think I found him more interesting than Mickey! I’d never seen Der Fuehrer’s Face–what a remarkable little piece from history!

    Like

    • Debra,
      The tidbit about Donald’s appearance also surprised me. Interestingly, I never thought of Disney characters in the same light of the Saturday morning characters – after all, they were Sunday night.

      Like

  9. Stunning post … I have always love Donald Duck, even above Mickey Mouse…
    The episode Der Fuehrer’s Face (1943), a parody of Nazi Germany reminded me of Chaplin’s The Dictator…. Very neat, indeed and a powerful moral beneath it!.
    Best wishes, Frank!~ Aquileana 😀

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  10. Oh Frank, I just laughed and laughed. These are the cartoons some of us grew up with and were actually shaped by in many ways. What a wealth of wonderful history! I love the Donald (the real one). Thank you, I have spent my Monday morning in stitches.

    Like

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