Donald Duck

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Cartoons

Donald Duck
Donald in "The Spirit of '43"
First appearance Silly Symphonies The Wise Little Hen, 1934
Created by Walt Disney
Voiced by Clarence Nash (1934-1985), Tony Anselmo (1985-present)
Background Information
Aliases Paperinik
Relatives Uncle $crooge, nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck, sister Della, and cousins Fethry

and Gladstone

Friends Daisy Duck (girlfriend), Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, José Carioca, Panchito Pistoles, Gyro Gearloose, Sora
Rivals Gladstone Gander, Neighbour Jones, the Beagle Boys, Black Pete, Chip 'n Dale, Pumbaa

Donald Duck is an animated cartoon and comic-book character from Walt Disney Productions. Donald is a white anthropomorphic duck with yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He usually wears a sailor shirt and cap — but no pants (except when he goes swimming).

According to the cartoon Donald Gets Drafted ( 1942), Donald's full name is Donald Fauntleroy Duck (his middle name appears to be a reference to his sailor hat, which was a common accessory for Fauntleroy suits). Disney's website also states his name as Donald Fauntleroy Duck. Donald's birthday is officially recognized as June 9, 1934, the day his debut film was released, but in The Three Caballeros, his birthday is given as simply " Friday the 13th." In Donald's Happy Birthday (short) it has his birthday as the 13th of March.

Although usually easygoing, Donald's most famous trait is his short and often explosive temper. He is also sometimes portrayed as more crafty and cynical than other characters such as Goofy or Mickey.

Donald's famous voice, one of the most identifiable voices in all of animation, was until 1985 performed by voice actor Clarence "Ducky" Nash. It was largely this semi-intelligible speech that would cement Donald's image into audiences' minds and help fuel both Donald's and Nash's rise to stardom.

Since 1985, Donald has been voiced by Tony Anselmo, who was trained by Nash himself for the role. His Japanese voice actor is Koichi Yamadera.

Donald in animation

Early appearances

According to Leonard Maltin in his introduction to The Chronological Donald - Volume 1, Donald was created by Walt Disney when he heard Clarence Nash doing his "duck" voice while reciting " Mary had a little lamb". Mickey Mouse had lost some of his edge since becoming a role model for children and Disney wanted a character that could portray some of the more negative character traits he could no longer bestow on Mickey.

Donald first appeared in the Silly Symphonies cartoon The Wise Little Hen on June 9, 1934 (though he is mentioned in a 1931 Disney storybook). Donald's appearance in the cartoon, as created by animator Dick Lundy, is similar to his modern look — the feather and beak colors are the same, as is the blue sailor shirt and hat — but his features are more elongated, his body plumper, and his feet bigger. Donald's personality is not developed either; in the short, he only fills the role of the unhelpful friend from the original story.

Bert Gillett, director of The Wise Little Hen, brought Donald back in his Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Orphan's Benefit on August 11, 1934. Donald is one of a number of characters who are giving performances in a benefit for Mickey's Orphans. Donald's act is to recite the poems Mary Had a Little Lamb and Little Boy Blue, but every time he tries, the mischievous orphans eat his specially made pie, leading the duck to fly into a squawking fit of anger. This explosive personality would remain with Donald for decades to come.

Donald continued to be a hit with audiences. The character began appearing in most Mickey Mouse cartoons as a regular member of the ensemble with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto. Cartoons from this period, such as the 1935 cartoon The Band Concert — in which Donald repeatedly disrupts the Mickey Mouse Orchestra's rendition of The William Tell Overture by playing Turkey in the Straw — are regularly hailed by critics as exemplary films and classics of animation. Animator Ben Sharpsteen also minted the classic Mickey, Donald, and Goofy comedy in 1935, with the cartoon Mickey's Service Station.

Donald was redesigned in 1936 to be a bit fuller, rounder, and cuter. He also began starring in solo cartoons, the first of which was the January 9, 1937 Ben Sharpsteen cartoon, Don Donald. This short also introduced Donald's long-time love interest, Daisy Duck (here called Donna Duck). Donald's nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, would make their first animated appearance a year later in the April 15, 1938 film, Donald's Nephews, directed by Jack King (they had been earlier introduced in the Donald Duck comic strip by Al Taliaferro, see below).

Wartime Donald

During World War II, film audiences were looking for brasher, edgier cartoon characters. It is no coincidence that the same era that saw the birth and rise of Bugs Bunny also saw Donald Duck's popularity soar. By 1949, Donald had surpassed Mickey Mouse as Disney's most popular character. Before 1941, Donald Duck had appeared in about 50 cartoons. Between 1941 and 1965, Donald would star in over 100.

Several of Donald's shorts during the war were propaganda films, most notably Der Fuehrer's Face, released on January 1, 1943. In it, Donald plays a worker in an artillery factory in "Nutzi Land" (Nazi Germany). He struggles with long working hours, very small food rations, and having to salute every time he sees a picture of the Führer (Adolf Hitler). These pictures appear in many places, such as on the assembly line in which he is screwing in the detonators of various sizes of shells. In the end he becomes little more than a small part in a faceless machine with no choice but to obey till he falls, suffering a nervous breakdown. Then Donald wakes up to find that his experience was in fact a nightmare. At the end of the short Donald looks to the Statue of Liberty and the American flag with renewed appreciation. Der Fuehrer's Face won the 1943 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.

Other notable shorts from this period include the so-called Army shorts, six films that follow Donald's life in the US Army from his drafting to his life at boot camp under sergeant Pete to his first actual mission as a commando having to sabotage a Japanese air base. Titles in the series include:

  • Donald Gets Drafted - ( May 1, 1942).
  • The Vanishing Private - ( September 25, 1942).
  • Sky Trooper - ( November 6, 1942).
  • Fall Out Fall In - ( April 23, 1943).
  • The Old Army Game - ( November 5, 1943).
  • Commando Duck - ( June 2, 1944).

Donald Gets Drafted also featured Donald having a physical examination before joining the army. According to it Donald has flat feet and is unable to distinguish between the colors green and blue, which is a type of colour blindness. Also in this cartoon sergeant Pete comments on Donald's lack of discipline.

It is also noteworthy that thanks to these films, Donald graced the nose artwork of virtually every type of WWII Allied combat aircraft, from the L-4 Grasshopper to the B-29 Superfortress.

Donald also appears as a mascot-such as in the Army Air Corps 309th Fighter Sq and the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary "Corsair Fleet" {For Reference only}

During World War II, Disney cartoons were not allowed to be imported into Occupied Europe. Since this cost Disney a lot of money, he decided to create a new audience for his films in South-America. He decided to make a trip through a lot of Latin American countries with his assistants, and use their experiences and impressions to create two feature length animation films. The first was Saludos Amigos, which consisted of four short segments, one with Donald Duck. Here, he meets his pal Jose Carioca. The second film was The Three Caballeros, in which he meets Panchito.

Post-war animation

Many of Donald's films made after the war recast the duck as the brunt of some other character's pestering. Donald is repeatedly attacked, harassed, and ridiculed by his nephews, by the chipmunks Chip 'n Dale, or by other one-shot characters such as Humphrey the Bear, Buzz the Bee, Bootle Beetle, the Aracuan Bird, Louie the Mountain Lion or a colony of ants. In effect, the Disney artists had reversed the classic screwball scenario perfected by Walter Lantz and others in which the main character is the instigator of these harassing behaviors, rather than the butt of them. However, by turning the tables, Donald's aggressors come off to some as sadistic or cruel, and some critics have found the films unfunny as a result.

The post-war Donald also starred in educational films, such as Donald in Mathmagic Land ( 1959), and made cameos in various Disney projects, such as The Reluctant Dragon ( 1941) and the Disneyland television show (1959). For this latter show, Donald's uncle Ludwig von Drake was created in 1961.

Since Clarence Nash's death in 1985, Donald's voice has been provided by Tony Anselmo, who was mentored by Nash.

Donald has since appeared in a lot of different television shows and (short) animated movies. He played roles in Mickey's Christmas Carol and The Prince and the Pauper and made a cameo appearance in A Goofy Movie.

He featured in a rather small part in the television animated series Duck Tales. There, Donald joins the Navy, and leaves his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie with their Uncle Scrooge, who then has to take care of them. Some of the stories in the series were loosely based on the comics by Carl Barks. However, critics have complained that the new, original characters in 'Duck Tales' were poor substitutes for Donald, like Launchpad McQuack and Fenton Crackshell.

Donald made some cameo appearances in Bonkers, before getting his own television show Quack Pack. This series featured a modernized Duck family. Donald was no longer wearing his sailor suit and hat, but a Hawaiian shirt. Huey, Dewey and Louie now are teenagers, with distinct clothing, voices and personalities. Daisy Duck has lost her pink dress and bow and has a new hairdo. Oddly enough, no other family members, besides Ludwig von Drake, appear in 'Quack Pack', and all other Duckburg citizens are humans, and not dogs.

In an alternate opening for the 2005 Disney film Chicken Little, Donald would have made a cameo appearance as "Ducky Lucky". This scene can be found on the Chicken Little DVD.

Donald also played an important role in Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse. In the latter show, he is the co-owner of Mickey's night club.

Donald in comics

While Donald's cartoons enjoy vast popularity in the United States and around the world, his weekly and monthly comic books enjoy their greatest popularity in many European countries, most in Norway and Finland, but many other countries are right behind - most notably Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Most of them are produced and published by the Italian branch of the Walt Disney Company in Italy and by Egmont in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

According to the Inducks, which is a database about Disney comics worldwide, American, Italian and Danish stories have been reprinted in the following countries. In most of them, publications continue: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, the People's Republic of China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark (Faroe Islands), Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, USA, former Yugoslavia.

Early development

Though a 1931 Disney publication called Mickey Mouse Annual mentioned a character named Donald Duck, the character's first appearance in comic-strip format was a newspaper cartoon that was based on the short The Wise Little Hen and published in 1934. For the next few years, Donald made a few more appearances in Disney-themed strips, and by 1936, he had grown to be one of the most popular characters in the Silly Symphonies comic strip. Ted Osborne was the primary writer of these strips, with Al Taliaferro as his artist. Osborne and Taliaferro also introduced several members of Donald's supporting cast, including his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

In 1937, an Italian publisher named Mondadori created the first Donald Duck story intended specifically for comic books. The eighteen-page story, written by Federico Pedrocchi, is the first to feature Donald as an adventurer rather than simply a comedic character. Fleetway in England also began publishing comic-book stories featuring the duck.

Developments under Taliaferro

A daily Donald Duck comic strip drawn by Taliaferro and written by Bob Karp began running in the United States on February 2, 1938; the Sunday strip began the following year. Taliaferro and Karp created an even larger cast of characters for Donald's world. He got a new St. Bernard named Bolivar, and his family grew to include cousin Gus Goose and grandmother Elvira Coot. Donald's new rival girlfriends were Donna and Daisy Duck. Taliaferro also gave Donald his very own automobile, a 1934 Belchfire Runabout, in a 1938 story.

Developments under Barks

In 1942, Western Publishing began creating original comic-book stories about Donald and other Disney characters. Bob Karp worked on the earliest of these, a story called " Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold". The new publisher meant new illustrators, however: Carl Barks and Jack Hannah. Barks would later repeat the treasure-hunting theme in many more stories.

Barks soon took over the major development of the comic-book version of the duck as both writer and illustrator. Under his pen, the comic version of Donald diverged even further from his animated counterpart, becoming more adventurous, less temperamental, and more eloquent. Black Pete was the only other major character from the Mickey Mouse comic strip to feature in Barks' new Donald Duck universe.

Barks placed Donald in the city of Duckburg, which Barks populated with a host of supporting players, including Gladstone Gander ( 1948), Gyro Gearloose ( 1952), Uncle Scrooge McDuck ( 1947), Magica de Spell ( 1961), Flintheart Glomgold ( 1956), the Beagle Boys ( 1951), April, May and June ( 1953), Neighbour Jones ( 1944) and John D. Rockerduck ( 1961). Many of Taliaferro's characters made the move to Barks' world as well, including Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Barks placed Donald in both domestic and adventure scenarios, and Uncle Scrooge became one of his favorite characters to pair up with Donald. Scrooge's popularity grew, and by 1952, the character had a comic book of his own. At this point, Barks concentrated his major efforts on the Scrooge stories, and Donald's appearances became more focused on comedy or he was recast as Scrooge's reluctant helper, following his rich uncle around the globe.

Further developments

Dozens of writers continued to utilize Donald in their stories around the world.

For example the Disney Studio artists, who made comics directly for the European market. Two of them, Dick Kinney and Al Hubbard created Donald's cousin Fethry Duck.

The American artists Vic Lockman and Tony Strobl, who were working directly for the American comic books, created Moby Duck. Strobl was one of the most productive Disney artists of all time, and drew a lot of stories which Barks wrote after his retirement. In the 1990's, these scripts were re-drawn by Dutch artist Daan Jippes.

Italian publisher Mondadori created many of the stories that were published throughout Europe. They also introduced numerous new characters who are today well known in Europe. One example is Donald Duck's alter-ego, a superhero called Paperinik in Italian, created by Guido Martina and Giovan Battista Carpi.

Giogio Cavazzano and Carlo Chendi created Honkey Go-Kart (Umperio Bogarto in Italian), a detective whose name is an obvious parody on Humphrey Bogart. They also created O.K Quack, an extra-terrestrial Duck who landed on earth in a spaceship in the shape of a coin. He however lost his spaceship, and befriended Scrooge, and now is allowed to search through his moneybin time after time, looking for his ship.

Romano Scarpa, who was a very important and influential Italian Disney artist, created Brigitta McBridge, a female Duck who is madly in love with Scrooge. Her affections are never answered by him, though, but she keeps trying. Scarpa also came up with Dickie Duck, the granddaughter of Glittering Goldie (Scrooge's possible love-interest from his days in the Klondike) and Kildare Coot, a nephew of Grandma Duck.

Italian artist Corrado Mastantuono created Bum Bum Ghigno, a cynical, grumpy and not too good looking Duck who teams up with Donald and Gyro a lot.

The American artist William van Horn also introduced a new character: Rumpus McFowl, an old and rather corpulent Duck with a giant appetite and laziness, who is first said to be a cousin of Scrooge. Only later, Scrooge reveals to his nephews Rumpus is actually his half-brother. Later, Rumpus also finds out.

Working for the Danish editor Egmont, artist Daniel Branca and script-writers Paul Halas and Charlie Martin created Sonny Seagull, an orphan who befriends Huey, Dewey and Louie, and his rival, Mr. Phelps.

The most productive Duck-artist today is Victor Arriagada Rios, who is better known under the name Vicar. He has his own studio where he and his assistants draw the stories send in by Egmont. Vicar created the character Oono, a pre-historic princes who travelled to Duckburg in the 1990's by using Gyro's time-machine.

The best-known and most popular Duck-artist of this time is Keno Don Rosa. He started doing Disney comics in 1987 for the American publisher Gladstone. He later worked briefly for the Dutch editors, but moved to work directly for Egmont soon afterwards. He created a lot of sequels to Barks' stories, and even a 12-part series of stories about the life of Scrooge McDuck, which won him two Eisner awards. Not all Barks-fans are happy with his work, though, and some claim he's destroying Barks' carefully built world.

Other important artists who have worked with Donald are Freddy Milton and Daan Jippes, who made 18 ten-pagers which experts claim are as good as Barks' work.

Japanese artist Shiro Amano worked with Donald on the graphic novel Kingdom Hearts based on the Disney- Squaresoft videogame.

Beyond Disney

Donald Duck is the only popular film and television cartoon character to appear as a mascot for the sports team of a major American university, namely, the Oregon Ducks at the University of Oregon.

Donald's name and image are also used on numerous commercial products, one example being Donald Duck brand orange juice, introduced by Citrus World in 1940. Donald's fame has also led Disney to license the character for a number of video games. He plays a major role in the video game series Kingdom Hearts, for example, where he is depicted as a short-tempered, powerful magician on a quest to find King Mickey Mouse. This version of Donald, like the protagonist Sora, undergoes several transformations, including an octopus style merman, a mummy, an African bird with his coloring and head, and an armored virtual rendition.

In 1991 the Disney Corporation sued the Israeli Caricaturist Dudu Geva for copyright infringement, claiming his character "Donald Dach" in the story "Moby Duck" was a ripoff of Donald. The Courts found in their favour and forced Geva to pay for the legal expenses and remove his book from the shelves. More mildly, the character Howard The Duck's original design was modified to include pants allegedly due to pressure from Disney.

In Sweden a comic book artist named Charlie Christensen got into a legal dispute with Disney when his creation Arne Anka looked similar to Donald Duck (albeit Arne is a pessimistic drunkard). However Charlie made a mockery of the legal action, and staged a fake death for his character, who then had plastic surgery performed and reappeared as Arne X with a more crow-like beak. He later purchased a strap-on duck beak from a novelty gift shop, pointing out that "If Disney are planning to give me any legal action all I have to do is remove my fake beak."

In 2004, Donald received his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame joining other fictional characters such as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, The Simpsons, Winnie the Pooh, Kermit the Frog, Godzilla and Snow White.

In the 1950s, an early Mad Magazine parody of Mickey Mouse (called "Mickey Rodent", written by "Walt Dizzy") featured "Darnold Duck", whose quacky voice had to be "translated" for the readers, and who was shamed into finally wearing pants.

Different appearances


  • Saludos Amigos ( 1942)
  • The Three Caballeros ( 1944)
  • Fun and Fancy Free ( 1947)
  • Mickey's Christmas Carol ( 1983)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit ( 1988)
  • Mickey's 60th Birthday (1988)
  • The Prince and the Pauper ( 1990)
  • A Goofy Movie ( 1995)
  • Fantasia 2000 ( 1999)
  • Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas ( 1999)
  • Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse ( 2001)
  • Mickey's House of Villains ( 2003)
  • Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas ( 2004)
  • Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers ( 2004)

Television series

  • DuckTales (1987-1990)
  • Donald Duck Presents
  • Donald's Quack Attack
  • Bonkers (1993-1995) (cameo)
  • Quack Pack (1996-1997)
  • Mickey Mouse Works (1999-2000)
  • House of Mouse (2001-2003)
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006)

Video games

  • Donald Duck's Playground ( 1984)
  • Donald's Alphabet Chase ( 1988)
  • DuckTales ( 1989) (Donald is only an NPC)
  • Quackshot ( 1991)
  • The Lucky Dime Caper starring Donald Duck ( 1991)
  • World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck ( 1992)
  • DuckTales 2 ( 1993) (Donald is only an NPC)
  • Deep Duck Trouble Starring Donald Duck ( 1993)
  • Disney's Magical Quest 3 Starring Mickey and Donald ( 1995), ( 2005)
  • Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow ( 1996)
  • Disney's Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers ( 2000)
  • Mickey's Speedway USA ( 2000)
  • Kingdom Hearts ( 2002)
  • Disney Golf ( 2002)
  • Disney's PK: Out of the Shadows ( 2002)
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories ( 2004)
  • Kingdom Hearts II ( 2006)
  • Kingdom Hearts III (20?? or 2008)

Comic books


  • Walt Disney's Comics and Stories
  • Donald Duck
  • Uncle Scrooge
  • Uncle Scrooge Adventures
  • Donald Duck Adventures
  • Mickey and Donald
  • DuckTales
  • Donald and Mickey
  • Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse
  • Walt Disney Giant
  • Walt Disney's Comics and Stories Penny Pincher
  • Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck
  • The Adventurous Uncle Scrooge McDuck


  • Paperino giornale (1930s)
  • Topolino (libretto)
  • Zio Paperone


  • Le Journal de Mickey
  • Hardi présente Donald
  • Picsou magazine
  • Mickey Parade
  • Super Picsou Géant


  • Anders And & Co.


  • Donald Duck & Co.
  • Mikke Mus


  • Micky Maus Magazin
  • Lustiges Taschenbuch
  • Die tollsten Geschichten von Donald Duck

The Netherlands

  • Donald Duck


  • Kaczor Donald


  • Kalle Anka
  • Kalle Anka Pocket


  • Aku Ankka


  • Kingdom Hearts - ( manga adaption by Shiro Amano)
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories - ( manga adaption by Shiro Amano)
  • Kingdom Hearts II - ( manga adaption by Shiro Amano)

Famous illustrators

  • Carl Barks
  • Luciano Bottaro
  • Giovan Battista Carpi
  • Giorgio Cavazzano
  • William Van Horn
  • Daan Jippes
  • Don Rosa
  • Marco Rota
  • Romano Scarpa
  • Tony Strobl
  • Al Taliaferro
  • Vicar
  • Tetsuya Nomura
  • Shiro Amano

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