|First appearance||The Wise Little Hen (1934)|
|Created by||Walt Disney|
|Voiced by|| Clarence Nash (1934–1985)
Tony Anselmo (1985–present)
|Developed by||Dick Lundy, Fred Spencer, Carl Barks, Jack Hannah|
|Full name||Donald Fauntleroy Duck|
|Aliases|| Duck Avenger (USA)
|Significant other(s)||Daisy Duck|
|Relatives|| Ludwig Von Drake (uncle)
Scrooge McDuck (uncle)
Huey, Dewey, and Louie (nephews)
Donald Duck is a funny animal cartoon character created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions. Donald is an anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He typically wears a sailor suit with a cap and a black or red bow tie. Donald is most famous for his semi-intelligible speech and his mischievous and irritable personality. Along with his friend Mickey Mouse, Donald is one of the most popular Disney characters and was included in TV Guide's list of the 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time in 2002. He has appeared in more films than any other Disney character and is the fifth most published comic book character in the world after Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine.
Donald Duck rose to fame with his comedic roles in animated cartoons. He first appeared in The Wise Little Hen (1934), but it was his second appearance in Orphan's Benefit which introduced him as a temperamental comic foil to Mickey Mouse. Throughout the next two decades Donald appeared in over 150 theatrical films, several of which were recognized at the Academy Awards. In the 1930s he typically appeared as part of a comic trio with Mickey and Goofy and was given his own film series in 1937, starting with Don Donald. These films introduced Donald's girlfriend Daisy Duck and sometimes featured his three nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. After the 1956 film Chips Ahoy, Donald appeared primarily in educational films before eventually returning to theatrical animation in Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983). His most recent appearance in a theatrical film was 1999's Fantasia 2000. Donald has also appeared in direct-to-video features such as Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (1999) and The Three Musketeers (2004) as well as television programs such as DuckTales (1987–1990), Quack Pack (1996), and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006–present).
Beyond animation Donald is primarily known for his appearances in comics, both in newspaper strips and comic books. Donald was most famously drawn by Al Taliaferro, Carl Barks, and Don Rosa. Barks in particular is credited for greatly expanding the " duck universe", the world in which Donald lives, and creating many additional characters such as Donald's maternal uncle Scrooge McDuck. Today Donald is a very popular character in Europe, particularly in the Low Countries and Scandinavian countries where his weekly magazine has remained the most popular comics publication for over 50 years. Disney comics' fandom is sometimes referred to as " Donaldism", a term which originated in Norway. ( Norwegian: Donaldisme) He has also made video game appearances, such as QuackShot (1991), Goin' Quackers (2000), and Kingdom Hearts (2002).
Donald's two dominant personality traits are his short temper and his positive outlook on life. Many Donald shorts start with Donald in a happy mood, without a care in the world until something comes along and spoils his day. His anger is a great cause of suffering in his life. On multiple occasions, it has caused him to get in over his head and lose competitions. There are times when he fights to keep his temper, and he sometimes succeeds in doing so temporarily, but he always returns to his normal angry self in the end.
Donald's aggressive nature has its advantages, however. While it at times it is a hindrance, and even a handicap, it has also helped him in times of need. When faced with a threat of some kind, for example Pete's attempts to intimidate him, he is initially scared, but his fear is replaced by anger. As a result, instead of running away, he fights--with ghosts, sharks, mountain goats and even the forces of nature. And, more often than not, when he fights, he comes out on top.
Donald is something of a prankster, and as a result, he can sometimes come across as a bit of a bully, especially in the way he sometimes treats his nephews and Chip 'n' Dale. As the animator Fred Spencer has put it:
The Duck gets a big kick out of imposing on other people or annoying them, but he immediately loses his temper when the tables are turned. In other words, he can dish it out, but he can't take it.
However, there is seldom any malice in Donald's pranks. He is never out to hurt anyone, and whenever his pranks go too far, he is always very regretful. In Truant Officer Donald, for example, when he is tricked into believing he has accidentally killed Huey, Dewey and Louie, he shows great remorse, blaming himself. His nephews appear in the form of angels, and he willingly endures a kick by one of the them---that is, of course, until he realizes he has been played for a sap, whereupon he promptly loses his temper.
Donald is also a bit of a show-off. He likes to brag, especially about how skilled he is at something. He does in fact have many skills--he is something of a Jack of all Trades. Amongst other things, he is a good fisher and a good hockey player. However, his love of bragging often leads him to overestimate his abilities, so that when he sets out to make good on his boasts, he gets in over his head, usually to hilarious effect.
Another of his personality traits is tenacity. Even though he can at times be lazy, and likes to say that his favorite place to be is in a hammock, once he has committed to accomplishing something he goes for it 100 percent, sometimes resorting to extreme measures to reach his goal.
Donald has a few memorable phrases that he occasionally comes out with in certain situations. For example, when he stumbles across other characters in the midst of planning some sort of retaliation or prank, or when things don't go as he'd planned or don't work properly, he often says, "What's the big idea!?" When he has given up on something he's been trying to do, or something he's been hoping will happen, he tends to say, "Aw, phooey!" When he confronts someone who's been antagonizing him, or something that's been frustrating him, he likes to exclaim, "So!!" He greets his friend Daisy, and occasionally others, with, "Hiya, toots!" And when he's very excited about something, he usually mutters, Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy" under his breath.
There's a running gag in the Donald Duck comics about him being out of shape and unwilling to exercise. Usually, some character close to Donald annoys him by saying he's being lazy and needs to get some exercise. But despite his apparent slothfulness, Donald proves that he is physically strong. In the short film, Sea Scouts, Donald is traveling with his nephews in a boat when it's attacked by a shark. Donald makes several attempts to defeat the shark, each of which proves ineffective, but then finally triumphs and defeats the shark with a single well-placed punch.
Rivalry with Mickey Mouse
Throughout his career, Donald has shown that he's jealous of Mickey and wants his job as Disney's greatest star, similar to the Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck rivalry. In most Disney theatrical cartoons, Mickey and Donald are shown as partners and have little to no rivalry. However by the time The Mickey Mouse Club aired on television (after Bugs vs. Daffy cartoons such as Rabbit Fire), it was shown that Donald always wanted the spotlight. One animated short that rivaled the famous Mickey Mouse March song was showing Huey, Dewey, and Louie as Boy Scouts and Donald as their Scoutmaster at a cliff near a remote forest and Donald leads them in a song mirroring the Mouseketeers theme "D-O-N-A-L-D D-U-C-K-! Donald Duck!" The rivalry would cause Donald some problems, in a 1988 TV special, where Mickey is cursed by a sorcerer to become unnoticed, the world believes Mickey to be kidnapped. Donald Duck is then arrested for the kidnapping of Mickey, as he is considered to be the chief suspect, due to their rivalry. However, Donald did later get the charges dismissed, due to lack of evidence. Walt Disney, in his Wonderful World of Colour, would sometimes make reference to the rivalry. Walt, one time, had presented Donald with a gigantic birthday cake and commented how it was "even bigger than Mickey's", which pleased Donald. The clip was rebroadcast in November 1984 during a TV special honoring Donald's 50th birthday, with Dick Van Dyke substituting for Walt.
The rivalry between Mickey and Donald has also been shown in Disney's House of Mouse. It was shown that Donald wanted to be the Club's founder and wanted to change the name from House of Mouse to House of Duck. However, in later episodes, Donald accepted that Mickey was the founder and worked with Mickey as a partner to make the club profitable.
Donald has numerous enemies, who range from comical foil to annoying nemesis: Chip 'n' Dale, Humphrey the Bear, Spike The Bee, Mountain Lion Louie, Bootle Beetle, Witch Hazel (in Trick and Treat), Aracuan Bird and Baby Shelby (in Mickey Mouse Works).
In the comics, he is often pestered and tormented by the Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell and Mr. Jones.
In the videogame Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers, he saves Daisy from Merlock.
Donald in animation
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 Duck first appeared in the 1934 cartoon The Wise Little Hen which was part of the Silly Symphonies series of theatrical cartoon shorts. The film's release date of June 9 is officially recognized by the Walt Disney Company as Donald's birthday despite a couple in-universe contradictions. 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 smaller. Donald's personality is not developed either; in the short, he only fills the role of the unhelpful friend from the original story.
Burt Gillett brought Donald back in his Mickey Mouse cartoon, Orphan's Benefit, released 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 heckle him, 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 regularly in most Mickey Mouse cartoons. 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.
In 1936, Donald was redesigned to be a bit fuller, rounder, and cuter, the first to feature this design was the cartoon Moving Day. 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 a love interest of Donald's, Donna Duck, who evolved into Daisy 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). By 1938, most polls showed that Donald was more popular than Mickey Mouse. Disney could, however, help Mickey regain popularity by redesigning him, giving him his most appealing design as production for the Fantasia segment "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" began in 1938.
After his early appearances, he went on to become part of the famed trio Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. He appeared in many of the cartoons, including Moving Day.
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 until he falls, suffering a nervous breakdown. Then Donald wakes up to find that his experience was in fact a dream. 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 1942 Academy Award for Animated Short Film. Der Fuehrer's Face was also the first of two animated short films to be set during the War to win an Oscar, the other being Tom and Jerry's short film, The Yankee Doodle Mouse.
Other notable shorts from this period include seven films mini-series that follow Donald's life in the US Army from his drafting to his life in basic training 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) (shown in his Selective Service Draft Card close up, we learn Donald's full name: Donald Fauntleroy Duck)
- The Vanishing Private (September 25, 1942)
- Sky Trooper (November 8, 1942)
- Fall Out Fall In (April 23, 1943)
- The Old Army Game (November 5, 1943)
- Commando Duck (June 2, 1944)
Thanks in part 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 Squadron and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, which showed Donald as a fierce-looking pirate ready to defend the American coast from invaders. Donald also appeared as a mascot emblem for: 415th Fighter Squadron; 438th Fighter Squadron; 479th Bombardment Squadron; 531st Bombardment Squadron. He also appears as the mascot for the United States Air Force 319 Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Luke Air Force Base. He is seen wearing an old-style pilot's uniform with a board with a nail in it in one hand and a lightning bolt in the other hand. Donald's most famous appearance, however, was on North American Aviation B-25B Mitchell medium bomber (S/N 40-2261) piloted by Lt. Ted W. Lawson of the 95th Bombardment Squadron, USAAF. The aircraft, named the "Ruptured Duck" and carrying a picture of Donald's face above a pair of crossed crutches, was one of sixteen B-25Bs which took off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet to bomb Tokyo on April 18, 1942. The mission was led by Lieutenant Colonel (later General) Jimmy Doolittle. Like most of the aircraft that participated in the mission, the Ruptured Duck was unable to reach its assigned landing field in China following the raid and ended up ditching off the coast near Shangchow, China. The Ruptured Duck's pilot survived, with the loss of a leg, and later wrote about the Doolittle Raid in the book, later to be the movie, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (Random House pub. 1943).
During World War II, Disney cartoons were not allowed to be imported into Occupied Europe owing to their propagandistic content. 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 various 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, two of them with Donald Duck. In the first, he meets his parrot pal Jose Carioca. The second film was The Three Caballeros, in which he meets his rooster friend Panchito.
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 characters such as Humphrey the Bear, Spike 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.
The post-war Donald also starred in educational films, such as Donald in Mathmagic Land and How to Have an Accident at Work (both 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.
Clarence Nash voiced Donald for the last time in Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), making Donald the only character in the film to be voiced by his original actor. Since Nash's death in 1985, Donald's voice has been provided by Tony Anselmo, who was mentored by Nash. Anselmo's voice is heard for the first time in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. In this movie, Donald has a piano duel scene with the Warner Brothers duck Daffy Duck voiced by Mel Blanc. Donald has since appeared in several different television shows and (short) animated movies. He played roles in The Prince and the Pauper and made a cameo appearance in A Goofy Movie.
Donald had a rather small part in the animated television series DuckTales. 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. Donald's role in the overall series was fairly limited, as he only ended up appearing in a handful of episodes. Some of the stories in the series were loosely based on the comics by Carl Barks.
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.
He made a comeback as the star of the "Noah's Ark" segment of Fantasia 2000, as first mate to Noah. Donald musters the animals to the Ark and attempts to control them. He tragically believes that Daisy has been lost, while she believes the same of him, but they are reunited at the end. All this to Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance Marches 1–4.
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. He is part of the ensemble cast of classic characters in the TV show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as well.
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, especially Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland, but also Germany, the Netherlands, and Greece. 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. In Germany, the comics are published by Ehapa which has since become part of the Egmont empire. Donald-comics are also being produced in The Netherlands and France. Donald also has been appeared in Japanese comics published by Kodansha and Tokyopop.
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 still continue: Australia, Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, the People's Republic of China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark (Faroe Islands), Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the former Yugoslavia.
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. 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 he populated with a host of supporting players, including Neighbour Jones (1944), Uncle Scrooge McDuck (1947), Gladstone Gander (1948), the Beagle Boys (1951), Gyro Gearloose (1952), April, May and June (1953), Flintheart Glomgold (1956), Magica de Spell (1961), 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.
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 (1917–1985) and Al Hubbard (1915–1984) created Donald's cousin Fethry Duck.
The American artists Vic Lockman and Tony Strobl (1915–1991), 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 many stories which Barks wrote and sketched after his retirement. In the 1990s and early 2000s, these scripts were re-drawn in a style closer to Barks' own 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 in 1969 by Guido Martina (1906–1991) and Giovan Battista Carpi (1927–1999).
Giorgio Cavazzano and Carlo Chendi created Umperio Bogarto, a detective whose name is an obvious parody on Humphrey Bogart. They also created O.K Quack, an extraterrestrial 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 (1927–2005), 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 (1951–2005) and script-writers Paul Halas and Charlie Martin created Sonny Seagull, an orphan who befriends Huey, Dewey and Louie, and his rival, Mr. Phelps.
One of the most productive Duck-artist used to be Victor Arriagada Rios, (deceased 2012) better known under the name Vicar. He had his own studio where he and his assistants drew the stories sent in by Egmont. With writer/editors Stefan and Unn Printz-Påhlson, Vicar created the character Oona, a prehistoric duck princess who traveled to modern Duckburg by using Gyro's time-machine. She stayed, and is still seen in occasional modern stories.
The best-known and most popular Duck-artist of this time is American 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. His stories contain many direct references to stories by Carl Barks, and he also wrote and illustrated a 12-part series of stories about the life of Scrooge McDuck, which won him two Eisner awards.
Other important artists who have worked with Donald are Freddy Milton and Daan Jippes, who made 18 ten-pagers which experts claim, were very difficult to separate from Barks' own work from the late 1940s.
Japanese artist Shiro Amano worked with Donald on the graphic novel Kingdom Hearts based on the Disney- SquareEnix videogame.
Donald Duck outside the United States
Donald Duck has a slightly different character abroad.
Donald Duck (Kalle Anka in Sweden, Anders And in Denmark, Andrés Önd in Iceland, Donald Duck in Norway and Aku Ankka in Finland) is a very popular character in Nordic countries. In the mid-1930s, Robert S. Hartman, a German who served as a representative of Walt Disney, visited Sweden to supervise the merchandise distribution of Sagokonst (The Art of Fables). Hartman found a studio called L'Ateljé Dekoratör, which produced illustrated cards that were published by Sagokonst. Since the Disney characters on the cards appeared to be exactly 'on-model', Hartman asked the studio to create a local version of the English-language Mickey Mouse Weekly. In 1937 L'Ateljé Dekoratör began publishing Musse Pigg Tidningen (Mickey Mouse Magazine), which had high production values and spanned 23 issues; most of the magazine's content came from local producers, while some material consisted of reprints from Mickey Mouse Weekly. The comic anthology ended in 1938. Hartman helped Disney establish offices in all Nordic countries before he left Disney in 1941. Donald became the most popular of the Disney characters in Scandinavia, and Scandinavians recognise him better than Mickey Mouse. Kalle Anka & Co, Donald's first dedicated Swedish anthology, started in September 1948. In 2001 the Finnish Post Office issued a stamp set to commemorate the 50th year anniversary of Donald's presence in Finland. By 2005 around one out of every four Norwegians read the Norwegian edition Donald Duck & Co. per week, translating to around 1.3 million regular readers. During the same year, every week 434,000 Swedes read Kalle Anka & Co. By 2005 in Finland the Donald Duck anthology Aku Ankka sold 270,000 copies per issue. Tim Pilcher and Brad Books, authors of The Essential Guide to World Comics, described the Donald anthologies as "the Scandinavian equivalent of the UK's Beano or Dandy, a comic that generations have grown up with, from grandparents to grandchildren."
Hannu Raittila, an author, says that Finnish people recognize an aspect of themselves in Donald; Raittila cites that Donald attempts to retrieve himself from "all manner of unexpected and unreasonable scrapes using only his wits and the slim resources he can put his hands on, all of which meshes nicely with the popular image of Finland as driftwood in the crosscurrents of world politics." Finnish voters placing "protest votes" typically write "Donald Duck" as the candidate. In Sweden voters often voted for Donald Duck or the Donald Duck Party as a nonexistent candidate until a 2006 change in voting laws, which prohibited voting for nonexistent candidates. In a twenty-year span Donald won enough votes to be, in theory, Sweden's ninth-most popular political organization. In 1985 Donald received 291 votes in an election for the Parliament of Sweden (Riksdag).
By 1978, within Finland there was debate over the morality of Donald Duck. Matti Holopainen jokingly criticized Donald for living with Daisy while not being married to her, for not wearing trousers, and for, in the words of the Library Journal, being "too bourgeois". Some observers from Finland from the same time period supported Donald, referring to him as a "genuine proletarian...forced to sell his labor at slave rates to make a living". The Library Journal stated that it had been revealed that, since 1950, Donald had secretly been married to Daisy. An annual Christmas special in Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden is From All of Us to All of You, in Norway and Sweden with a title of Donald Duck and His Friends Celebrate Christmas. Segments include Ferdinand the Bull, a short with Chip 'n' Dale, a segment from Lady and the Tramp, a sneak preview of a coming Disney movie and concludes with Jiminy Cricket performing "When You Wish Upon a Star". To many people watching this special is a tradition as important as having a Christmas tree.
Donald Duck is very popular in Germany, where Donald themed comics sell an average of 250,000 copies each week, mostly published in the kids’ weekly Micky Maus and the monthly Donald Duck Special (for adults). The Wall Street Journal called Donald Duck "The Jerry Lewis of Germany", a reference to American star Jerry Lewis' popularity in France. Donald's dialogue in German comics tends to be more sophisticated and philosophical, he "quotes from German literature, speaks in grammatically complex sentences and is prone to philosophical musings, while the stories often take a more political tone than their American counterparts", features especially associated with Erika Fuchs's popular German translations of the comics created by The Good Duck Artist Carl Barks. Christian Pfeiler – former president of D.O.N.A.L.D., a German acronym which stands for "German Organization for Non-commercial Followers of Pure Donaldism" – says Donald is popular in Germany because "almost everyone can identify with him. He has strengths and weaknesses; he lacks polish but is also very cultured and well-read." It is through this everyman persona that Donald is able to voice philosophical truths about German society that appeal to both children and adults. Donald's writers and illustrators Carl Barks, Don Rosa and Ub Iwerks are well known in Germany, and have their own fan clubs.
Disney theme parks
Donald Duck has played a major role in many Disney theme parks over the years. He has actually been seen in more attractions and shows at the parks than Mickey Mouse has. He has appeared over the years in such attractions as Mickey Mouse Revue, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros and the updated version of "it's a small world". He also is seen in the parks as a meet-and-greet character.
One long-ago-scrapped idea was also to have a bumper boat ride themed to Donald Duck.
Donald in children's books
Donald has been a frequent character in children's books beginning in 1935. Most of these books were published by Whitman Publishing, later called Western Publishing, or one of its subsidiaries. The following is a list of children's books in which Donald is the central character. This does not include comic books or activity books such as coloring books.
Grosset & Dunlap books
D.C. Heath and Co. books
Random House books
Walt Disney Productions books
- Donald is the only popular film and television cartoon character to appear as a mascot for a major American university: a licensing agreement between Disney and the University of Oregon allows the school's sports teams to use Donald's image as its " Fighting Duck" mascot. In 1984, Donald Duck was named an honorary alumnus of the University of Oregon during his 50th birthday celebration. During a visit to the Eugene Airport, 3,000 to 4,000 fans gathered for the presentation of an academic cap and gown to Donald. Thousands of area residents signed a congratulatory scroll for Donald, and that document is now part of Disney's corporate archives.
- In the 1940s, Donald was adopted as an unofficial mascot by Brazilian sports club Botafogo after Argentinean cartoonist Lorenzo Mollas, who was working in Brazil at the time, drew him with the club's soccer uniform. Mollas chose Donald because he complains and fights for his rights, like the club's managers at those years, and also because, being a duck, he does not lose his elegance while moving in the water (an allusion to rowing). He was eventually replaced so that the club would not have to pay royalties to Disney (Botafogo's current official mascot is "Manequinho", representing the Manneken Pis statue in front of the club's head office), but has since retained the status of unofficial mascot.
- Donald's name and image are used on numerous commercial products, one example being Donald Duck brand orange juice, introduced by Citrus World in 1940.
- Donald Duck was temporarily listed as a "hired" employee in the database of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development as late as 1978. Given a $99,999 salary — more than double the $47,500 take federal civil servants were legally limited to be paid at the time — the name was unchallenged by a computer intended to catch government payroll fraud. Picked as one of thirty fictitious names by the Government Accounting Office, the use of it was a test to see if the payroll system of the HUD could be manipulated to defraud the government.
- Donald Duck's head and neck, wearing a radio headset and wrapped in earphone wires with an expression of pain on his face and with crossed crutches below, was the nose art on Lieutenant Ted W. Lawson's B-25 Mitchell bomber, the Ruptured Duck, on the famous Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in 1942.
- 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.
- Although Donald's military service has most been recognized as him in the US Army from his wartime cartoons (and to a lesser extent having Donald in the US Navy from Duck Tales), Walt Disney had authorized Donald to be used as a mascot for the US Coast Guard. The Coast Guard image shows a fierce-looking Donald Duck dressed in a pirate's outfit, appearing vigilant against any potential threats to the coastal regions in the United States. This image is still often used on many Coast Guard bases and Coast Guard cutters today.
- Donald Duck is referred to in the song "The Village Green Preservation Society" by The Kinks: "We are the Village Green Preservation Society/ God save Donald Duck, vaudeville and variety..." The reference is ironical, as the singer is lamenting the disappearance of perceived traditional English cultural artifacts.
- Donald Duck makes a cameo appearance in the cartoon sequence in 200 Motels (1971).
- 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, which 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 is planning to give me any legal action; all I have to do is remove my fake beak."
- 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 2005, Donald received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6840 Hollywood Blvd joining other fictional characters such as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, The Simpsons, Winnie the Pooh, Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Godzilla and Snow White.
- Donald's fame has led Disney to license the character for a number of video games, such as the Kingdom Hearts series, where Donald is the court magician of Disney Castle. He accompanies Goofy and a young boy named Sora on a quest to find King Mickey Mouse, defeat the Heartless and Nobodies, and put an end to the evil Xehanort and Organization XIII. He is voiced by Tony Anselmo in the English version and Kōichi Yamadera in the Japanese version.
- Italian Power Metal Band Trick or Treat have a song called "Like Donald Duck" in their debut album " Evil Needs Candy Too" (2006).
- Asteroid 12410 was named after Donald Duck.
Selected short films
- DuckTales (1987–1990, as recurring guest)
- Donald Duck Presents (compilation of classic Disney shorts)
- Donald's Quack Attack (compilation of classic Disney shorts)
- Bonkers (1993–1995, cameo)
- Quack Pack (1996–1997)
- Mickey Mouse Works (1999–2000)
- House of Mouse (2001–2003)
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006)