Today, June 9th, 1934, Donald Duck made his big screen debut in Walt Disney’s animated short “The Wise Little Hen.” Donald was a late comer to the group known as the “Fab Five” (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy & Pluto). He was so late, he was the only one to premiere in color.
Although his birthday is sometimes given as Friday the 13th in shorts and comics, today is the generally accepted date.
Donald helped fill a gap in the Fab Five. Mickey Mouse had started to lose his edge and become a more respected figure. Donald’s more wild attitude and quick temper gave Animators a lot to work with. Since then the wily duck has grown a huge fan base, sometimes rivaling Walt’s pal Mickey at the box office and in merchandise sales.
Update: A couple people commented wondering why I used an image of Donald Duck as a Nazi here. That images is from Der Fuehrer’s Face, a 1942 animated cartoon starring Donald Duck. It was directed by Jack Kinney and released on January 1, 1942 as an anti-Nazi propaganda movie for the American war effort. The film won the 1942 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It was the only Donald Duck cartoon to win an Oscar. The short was voted #22 of “the 50 Greatest Cartoons” of all time by members of the animation field in a 1994 survey. So yeah, it was kind of an important moment in Donald Duck’s history.
Donald even has his own theme song:
Who’s got the sweetest disposition
One guess, guess who?
Who never never starts an argument
Who never shows a bit of temperament
Who’s never wrong but always right
Who’d never dream of starting a fight
Who gets stuck with all the bad luck
No one, but Donald Duck
So happy birthday Donald. Thank you for all the laughts you’ve provide the world.
One last thing: Here’s a bit of trivia for you. Donald Duck has a middle name. See if you can guess what it is before you click below the jump for the answer:
Donald’s middle name is ‘Fauntleroy.’