Friday, September 23, 2011

Donald Duck

“The stars can change their courses, the universe can go up in flames and the world crash around us but there will always be Donald Duck.”
- Trevor Howard as Dr. Alec Harvey, Brief Encounter (1945)

We are Donald Duck, Donald Duck is us. In close to 200 animated shorts and features, plus comic books and television, the duck known as Donald faced life’s travails in an all too human and relatable manner.

“Mickey was on a pedestal while the duck could blow his top.”
- Walt Disney

Yes, Donald has a temper. So do we all. We may start out with the best of intentions, but Fate with a capital “F” conspires against us.

In 1938s Self Control Donald does his best to follow the simple, kindly advice of a radio psychologist, but all things that buzz and crawl and peck stand in the way of peace and contentment.

In 1940s Donald’s Vacation it is an inanimate object, a *&*^(*)!!* folding chair that obstinately refuses to work as advertised. We cannot cast stones at Donald for losing his temper. We’ve all run across those *&*&&*Q!j** easy-to-work items that refuse to work, easily or otherwise. Poor Donald!

We all love our families. Donald loves his family. However, sometimes little angels aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Sometimes kids like Huey, Dewey and Louis misbehave. Sometimes. Sometimes the psychology books and all the patience in the world gets you nowhere. Sometimes you have to yell!

"Is there anything we didn't do to poor Donald?"
-Ward Kimball, animator

A little "white magic" in The Three Caballeros had Donald changing shape and size. A couple of gods with too much time on their hands gave Donald powers beyond his ken and abruptly took it away again in Trombone Trouble. Donald was hatched by a condor in Contrary Condor. He was attacked by a rooster in Golden Eggs.

He couldn't enjoy a ball game on a radio because of a music-loving bee in Slide, Donald, Slide. He was beset upon by Chip 'n Dale for no reason at all...well, okay, sometimes it was Donald's fault, but honestly, those little guys were diabolical in Toy Tinkers, Corn Chips, All in a Nutshell, Three for Breakfast, The Lone Chipmunk, etc. Diabolical!

“With all respect to Clarence Nash, I think if he had spoken more clearly, Donald Duck would have been a more popular character.”          
Mel Blanc, actor

Really, Mel? According to the Gallop Research Institute, by the end of the 1940s, the American public ranked Donald Duck as its favourite cartoon character, followed by Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse.

In 1953 when the Disney studio ceased production on most of their cartoon shorts for economic reasons, Donald Duck continued.

Since 1959 Swedish television has aired Disney cartoons on Christmas Eve and any mention by the network of tampering with this tradition is met with outrage. Donald Duck, known as Kalle Anka, has become a Swedish symbol of Christmas.

"On our first date, I bet you wished I looked like Donald in Mr. Duck Steps Out."
- Garry, the man who married Caftan Woman when she was Blouse Babe

"Hi, Toots!"
- My son Gavin learns how to talk to girls from classic Disney shorts

Life, and the Disney animators and directors gave Donald Duck a lot to cope with, but they also gave him friends that stick by him through thick and thin...

...and loved ones that make the journey worthwhile. Yes, we are Donald Duck. Donald Duck is us.


  1. Hurray for Donald! A temper like the rest of us, family irritation, life irritation, his lovely voice (Mel Blanc was funny about that). I think it's hilarious that the Swedes love Donald so much. Reminds me of France and Jerry Lewis!

    Wonderful tribute to my favorite, long-suffering duck!

  2. Mickey was a wimp and Donald was "real" - he had every reason to be irritated! He was just a duck trying to go about his business. A fantastic post and a real day-brightener! Love it!

  3. Thanks Becky and FlickChick. I had you gals pegged as Donald fans all along.

    It seems as if all of the cartoons I referenced are on YouTube, if you're looking for a way to kill some time.

  4. That is a fun post, and lots of pictures. Appropriate for an animation tribute. When I was a kid, I loved books with lots of pics. Chapter books eluded me til late in life.

  5. I love Donald Duck. He was such a sweetie even when he lost his temper. I'd lose mine too given the intense provocation that Disney and his animators provided.
    Poor Donald.

    "Hi, Toots!" That made me laugh out loud. Ha!

  6. Caftan Woman, you had me at "Hi, Toots!" :-) While my animation-loving heart belongs to my fellow native New Yorker, Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck is high on my list of animated faves, too! Who among us can't sympathize or at least empathize with Donald as life throws him curve ball after curve ball? Great pictures, too!

  7. A few years ago some very close friends gave me a set of classic Donald hardcover book, with had Donald's full name and date of Birth which he and I share the day (June 9th) so he has to be my favorite DisneyI Besides when he wanted to impress Dasiy would always go for Ronald Colmans voice . I would run into Ward Kimball at the Trader Joes in Temple City CA all the time during the middle to late 80's we was a local, and very cool. One of these days I'LL HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT WHAT IS DONALDS MIDDLE NAMEover AT Trivia Time at the cafe.

  8. I love this. Had no idea that Donald was a Swedish Christmas tradition. Sounds like a pleasant way to spend Christmas Eve.

    I can understand your husband's concern that he might not have measured up to Donald's suitor-suit. Clearly in that get-up, Donald was the Cary Grant of cartoon ducks.

    Although, I must say, I've always been more enamoured of his Uncle Scrooge McDuck. I'm not sure if it was the accent or the money. Uncle Scrooge McDuck's version of "A Christmas Carol" is a yuletide tradition in my house. I have a small ornament figure of him on my tree.

    "Hi, Toots!" - I admit to girlish swooning when I hear this. It's the best pickup line ever.

  9. Novabreeze, I'm glad you had fun. The picture of Donald with the folding chair spoke to me.

  10. Yvette, I think Donald is a sweetie too. I think it's because he is honest. There's nothing hidden about Donald.

    Glad to have given you a chuckle.

  11. Dorian, there are some I have met who think you have to be either a Disney fan or a Warner Bros fan. We know that's not true, and our lives are richer for it.

  12. Paul, you have the coolest celebrity shared birthdate ever!

    I love the shorts that feature Leslie Dennison's Ronald Colman impersonation. "Donald's Diary" is classic.

    Donald's middle name? I answered that on a trivia night once. I answered it incorrectly. Ooh, I'll be stumped again.

  13. Jacqueline, guys just don't know how to dress these days. And nobody says "Hi, Toots." Sigh.

    Scrooge McDuck - the accent, the dough, the natty attire - what's not to love?

    Last year we attended a concert of Scandinavian music and the m.c. mentioned the Swedish-Christmas-Donald thing. Very impressive for the duck.

  14. Caftan Woman, what a marvelous tribute to Donald! Although I've always gravitated toward Daffy among the famous ducks, Donald was probably my favorite Disney animated character. Just as Daffy was second always to Bugs, Donald had the same challenge with Mickey. No wonder he tended to get frustrated at times! What I find amazing is how these characters have withstood the test of time--appealing repeatedly to the children of different generations.

  15. Rick, that's so true about the characters standing the test of time. It seems that although our outer lives have been changed by technology, inside people are fundamentally the same. And funny is funny no matter what the era.

  16. CW,
    Awwww, I love DD! Thanks for making me smile this morning. The post was great from the interesting trivia to the cells.

  17. Thanks, Page. A cartoon a day keeps the blues away. Maybe we'll become honorary Swedes at Christmas.

  18. Caftan Woman - What a fine tribute to Disney's immortal duck - a post worthy of the ultimate "Four Quacks" rating.

    I wasn't a big Mickey fan as a kid, he was a nice mouse & everything, but a goody-goody...always loved Donald best and it's great news that he once topped Mickey in a poll.

  19. Wonderful post, about one of my favorite Disney cartoons. Loved his little sailor suit...

  20. Yes, Donald does look cute in his sailor suit.

  21. I was always a Warner Bros. cartoon man rather than a Disney, so if I've ever seen a Donald Duck cartoon it's been literally decades.

    No excuses of course, and it looks like I will have to rectify this soon. Very entertaining post about a topic I am unfamiliar about.

  22. C.W. I posted the Donald middle name question this week at Trivia Time and wonder of wonders Classic Becky got it right.

  23. Kevin, I bow to no one in my fondness for the output from Termite Terrace, but don't let that stop me from enjoying Disney as well. Check out a couple of the Donald Duck shorts when you have a spare moment or two. You might get a kick out of them. I especially recommend Donald's Diary or Duck Pimples.

  24. Paul, we just know Becky is too intelligent not to eventually catch up with us on the "Car 54" thing.

  25. Caftan Woman, I thought the main reason Becky wasn't watching CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? was because she didn't have cable TV. That does it: we're all passing the hat and getting Becky cable! Who's with me?

  26. Becky didn't realize what a can of worms she was opening in this post in July.

    If she doesn't like the show, she doesn't like the show. As my daughter commented on the situation, "There's always that one friend who goes down the wrong path.". Is it wrong to want to pull her back?

  27. C.W. knowing Becks she'll hold out as long as she can, but I think we are having a affect.

  28. We can be patient, Paul. She's too smart not to come around in the end.

  29. here is a site about Disney animated shorts, creators & rarities : Secrets of productions, unmade Disney, original documents... :



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