Donald Duck is a cartoon character created by The Walt Disney Company.
Donald’s middle name is Fauntleroy, a name he understandably does not use that often.
He is an ill-tempered, squawking cartoon duck who was Walt Disney’s second most famous cartoon character after Mickey Mouse and who enjoyed worldwide popularity as the star of animated films, newspaper comic strips, comic books, and television.
Donald is an anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He typically wears a sailor shirt and cap with a bow tie.
Donald is a lovable character with a good heart who usually tries to do the right thing. He takes humiliation and keeps on going. He never backs down from a fight. Donald may be hard to understand most of the time but he always has a lot to say. He is easily calmed down by his beloved Daisy who can simply soothe his brow to make him happy. Donald is the character well known for his short fuse, his many fights, and his need to be as good as Mickey Mouse.
The character is known for possessing an only partly intelligible voice, developed by Donald’s original performer, Clarence Nash. The voice actor produces sounds by forcing air through the mouth using the muscles of the cheek, rather than from the lungs as in typical speech. Nash reputedly originally developed the voice as that of a “nervous baby goat” before Walt Disney interpreted it as sounding like a duck.
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 do not go as he had planned or do not work properly, he often says, “What’s the big idea!?” When he gives up on something he is trying to do, or something he hopes will happen, he tends to say, “Aw, phooey!” When he confronts someone/something that is antagonizing or frustrating him, he tends to exclaim, “So!!” He greets his girlfriend Daisy, and occasionally others, with, “Hiya, toots!” And when he is very excited about something, he usually mutters, “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy…” under his breath.
Donald Duck is ridiculously popular around the world. In South America, he’s a firm favourite thanks to his movie appearances with fellow fowls, Brazilian Jose Carioca and Mexican Panchito Pistoles. In Europe, kids continue to buy his comics in their hundreds of thousands. In some Nordic countries, it’s a Christmas tradition to watch a certain Donald cartoon. There’s even a Donald Duck political party in Sweden, though sadly it has never won an election.
Donald Duck was created at Walt Disney Productions in 1934, and made his first appearance on 9 June, which marks his birthday.
Donald Duck’s first film appearance was in a supporting role in The Wise Little Hen (1934), which was an episode of Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies series of cartoon shorts.
Burt Gillett brought Donald back in a 1934 Mickey Mouse cartoon, Orphans’ Benefit. 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.
By 1936, Donald went through a makeover that made him appear rounder and cuter. The next year, he began starring in his own films, starting with “Don Donald.” He was then given his own love interest named Donna, who later evolved into Daisy Duck.
In 1938, Donald become the uncle of three nephews called Huey, Dewey and Louie. It was at this point that Donald overtook Mickey in popularity, and became part of the famed Mickey Trio, which included their pal Goofy.
A series of six short films was produced for the US Army, which charted Donald’s fictional military career began with Donald Gets Drafted (1942). These films chronicled his training right through to his eventual deployment to the Pacific theatre in Commando Duck (1944). While these films were intended to display Donald as a good patriot and encourage American citizens to sign up for military service, they also tell us how the United States was thinking about their enemies.
After the film Chips Ahoy (1956), Donald appeared primarily in educational films before eventually returning to theatrical animation in Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983).
Donald Duck also gained popularity in the television series of Duck Tales that aired from 1987 to 1990. Donald cartoons are widely popular in the United States and across the world.
His last appearance in a theatrical film was in Fantasia 2000 (1999).
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.
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.
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.
Asteroid 12410 was named after Donald Duck.