Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Donald Duck Turns 75
Here's the second three-dimensional collage I've done. This one is in honor of Donald Duck's 75th birthday.
Donald debuted on June 9, 1934 in the Silly Symphony cartoon "The Wise Little Hen" then rocketed to stardom two months later when he stole the show from Walt Disney's biggest star in the Mickey Mouse short "Orphan's Benefit." He was soon remodeled from his more duck-like physical depiction into the form that has remained more or less unchanged since 1937. He's starred in more Walt Disney cartoons than any other character, with those in the late 1940s and early 1950s, mostly directed by Jack Hannah, being most of the better ones.
During World War II, Donald starred in numerous cartoons about life during wartime with some truly great ones depicting Donald in the role of an enlisted man, er, duck. He also starred in two feature length films that were made as part of an effort to build the relationship between the United States and South America. This was particularly important to Walt Disney, since the studio was losing money on its feature films because Europe was occupied with the war and essentially closed as a market for showing movies.
Donald had quickly eclipsed Mickey Mouse as Walt Disney's biggest star, and at one point was almost eclipsed himself by his onscreen antagonists, Chip and Dale. Other rivals created to give Donald some variety beyond contending with his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, such as Spike, the Bee and Bootle Beetle never really caught on.
When the Donald shorts were discontinued in the mid 1950s, Donald went on to to appear on television, but his real life outside of the movies was in the countless numbers of comic book stories he starred in, where cartoonists, particularly Carl Barks, really developed his personality far beyond the squawking ball of short fused temper and nasty prankishness that made up so much of Donald's onscreen persona.