This article is about the character. For other uses, see Donald Duck (disambiguation).
- “One of the greatest satisfactions in our work here at the studio is the warm relationship that exists within our cartoon family. Mickey, Pluto, Goofy, and the whole gang have always been a lot of fun to work with. But like many large families, we have a problem child. You're right, it's Donald Duck.”
- ―Walt Disney[src]
Donald Duck is an animated character created by Walt Disney. He is a white, anthropomorphic duck that made his debut in the 1934 theatrical short The Wise Little Hen. Normally depicted wearing a sailor shirt, cap, and a red or black bow tie — but no trousers at all — he is presented as a best friend to Mickey Mouse, whom he sometimes envies.
Donald's fiery temper and his humorous "duck" speech has made him one of the most recognizable and beloved cartoon characters in history, with an impressive filmography that eclipses that of any other Disney character, and a popular series of comics that have been enjoyed by generations of readers on a global scale.
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 "Little Lord Fauntleroy" suits). The Quack Pack episode "All Hands on Duck" and Disney's website also stated his full 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", while in Donald's Happy Birthday, it is elaborated to be March 13th.
Although not shown chronologically, Donald's most youthful appearance was a flashback to when he was a hatchling, featured in the animated TV special "This is Your Life, Donald Duck" and the comic book story of the same name. In both the animation and the comic, presented by Jiminy Cricket, Donald was shown hatching from his egg and throwing one of his famous tantrums simultaneously, making the losing his temper his first ever action as a living creature. Only in the comic, it is shown that Donald got his hat from a sailor when he was a baby, when his grandmother took him for his first visit to Duckburg.
Donald has been described as a "problem child" by Walt Disney. True to this, he is a rather — albeit humorously — controversial character in nature, with his most famous personality trait being his uncontrollable temper. After being pushed to a certain point, Donald will throw a tantrum by quacking aggressively and bouncing in place while flaunting his fists, usually as a threat to whomever (or whatever) caused him his latest annoyance. He is also arrogant, and can be quite the show-off, especially when he is skilled at something. This has a tendency to get him into trouble, however, as he often gets in over his head. Much of Donald's comedy comes from his superiority complex, rude behavior and the comeuppance he receives for such behavior. For example, Donald finds enjoyment in bullying, and has been known to prank and humiliate others for his own amusement. What he can not tolerate, however, is his victims fighting back against him—as such, these battles often lead to Donald's humiliation.
Contrast to these negative traits, Donald is a warm and loving character down to his core. When not dealing with a problem, Donald can be quite jovial and friendly, and he usually tries to keep his temper under control for the sake of his relaxation and contentment. Additionally, Donald shares a very loving relationship with Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and treats them as his own children, despite their rivalries. They obviously love their "Unca Donald" with a particular scene in the first episode of DuckTales showcasing them having a heartfelt goodbye moment as Donald prepares to leave for the navy. Donald also has shown signs of humility, most notably in Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, when Huey, Dewey, and Louie's pranks ruin Christmas for him and the whole family. When the tree falls on him, instead of yelling at his nephews, he stays sadly silent, humiliated, and defeated, while Daisy comforts him.
For all his bravado, Donald is secretly insecure about himself. He takes offense to those who cannot understand his voice, and is notoriously envious of Mickey Mouse's popularity. Donald's bad luck also plays a part in his low self-esteem, as he sometimes sees himself as a failure due to his frequent mishaps. Donald tends to hide this with a boisterous veneer, though he has confided in Daisy about his inhibition on occasion. Daisy is also one of the very few Disney characters capable of pacifying Donald's psychotic temper even though she has ironically lost hers with him on occasion What Donald sometimes lack in confidence, he makes up for with perseverance. His aggressive nature can act as a double-edged sword; while it at times is a hindrance and even a handicap for him, it has also helped him in times of need. When faced with a threat of some kind, Donald may get frightened and even intimidated (mostly by his nemesis Pete), but rather than getting scared, he gets mad and has taken up fights with ghosts, sharks, mountain goats and even the forces of nature.
Donald is often portrayed as having great difficulty holding down a job, and can be described as a typical "Jack of all trades, master of none". His attempts at these professions often go comically wrong, with Donald causing one calamity after the other.
Donald has a few memorable phrases that he occasionally comes out within given situations. "What's the big idea?" is a common one, which Donald usually says when stumbling across other characters in the midst of planning some sort of retaliation or prank, and sometimes when certain things do not go as planned or do not work properly. "Aw, phooey!" is another memorable saying Donald makes, usually after giving up on a particular action or event. "So!" is Donald's usual declaration when confronting someone (or something) antagonizing him. Another popular phrase Donald says, in particular to Daisy, is "Hiya, toots!". "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!" is yet another common phrase Donald uses, usually muttered to himself when he's very excited about something.
- “Donald, I can't understand a word ya say.”
Donald's voice, one of the most identifiable voices in all of animation, was performed by voice actor Clarence "Ducky" Nash from 1934 up until Mickey's Christmas Carol in 1983, which it would be Nash's last feature film as Donald. However, this did not mark his final performance as the duck, as Nash would continue to provide Donald's voice in a few more various Disney projects such as Donald Duck's 50th Birthday in 1984, and for commercials, promos, and other miscellaneous material until his death in 1985. 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 rises to stardom. Since 1985, Donald has been voiced by Tony Anselmo, who was trained by Nash for the role.
His form of speech would be duplicated for other characters such as his girlfriend, Daisy Duck, and his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. However, over the years, these characters (particularly Daisy Duck) were given more distinct voices of their own, most likely to keep Donald's voice a unique aspect to his character.
As a running gag in most of Donald's appearances, mostly in animation, the other characters around him (especially Mickey) prove to have difficulties understanding the duck, especially when he's upset or in a panic, often pointing it out, much to Donald's frustration.
Donald's unique and semi-intelligible voice was the focus of the short Donald's Dream Voice, where the sudden detest for the duck's voice prompts him to purchase pills capable of enhancing his vocal chords incredibly.
- “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!”
- ―Theme Song to most of Donald's cartoons
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 edges 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. His iconic voice, done by its originator Clarence Nash, is also the same. Notably, the manner of speech in which the characters' voices are based on their respective animals is used for every character, rather than being a trait belonging solely to Donald. Donald's personality is not developed either; in the short, he merely 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, 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 humiliate him, leading the duck to fly into a squawking fit of anger. This explosive personality would remain with Donald for decades to come.
Although Orphan's Benefit was Donald's second appearance, the film was the first to significantly develop his character. Many of Donald's personality traits first seen in Orphan's Benefit would become permanently associated with him, such as his love of showmanship, his fierce determination, belligerence, and most famously his easily provoked temper. The film also introduced some of Donald's physical antics, such as his signature temper tantrum of hopping on one foot while holding out one fist and swinging the other. This was the creation of animator Dick Lundy who termed this Donald's "fighting pose."
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 Mouse, 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.
After the success of Mickey's Service Station, Donald would often be grouped with Mickey and Goofy in several shorts, where the trio's laughable flaws would cause mayhem to befall upon them. This went on from 1935 up to 1938 with the release of Polar Trappers, which would be the first of the cartoon series starring only Donald and Goofy as a comedy duo, with Mickey being taken out of the mix due to his laid-back, everyman persona making it difficult for the animators to create gags. However, it should be noted that the trio was reunited that same year with The Whalers.
Donald was redesigned in 1936 to be a bit fuller, rounder, and cuter, starting from Moving Day (1936). He also began starring in solo cartoons, the first of these being Don Donald, released on January 9, 1937. This short also marked the first appearance of Donald's long-time love interest, Daisy Duck (here called "Donna Duck"), as well as Donald's car, 313.
Donald's nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, would make their first animated appearance a year later in the 1938 film, Donald's Nephews, directed by Jack King (they had earlier been introduced in the Donald Duck comic strip). By that year, Donald started to surpass Mickey Mouse in popularity.
After the 1938 success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney began production and planning for several animated films to follow suit. However, with World War II hitting, Walt Disney Studios was forced to go on a standstill, only having the ability to produce package films. Donald, with his stardom rising, would appear in four (the first of which being Saludos Amigos, which introduced him to José Carioca), usually as the primary draw. It was in these package films that Donald would appear alongside characters Panchito Pistoles and the aforementioned José Carioca in 1944's The Three Caballeros to form the film's titular trio, which would go on to become one of Donald's most recognizable roles.
After the war, Donald's popularity continued to grow, and as his cartoon roles expanded, he would be paired with several, recurring foils, including Pete, a villain famous for antagonizing Mickey Mouse, and most notably Chip and Dale, a pair of chipmunks who were first introduced to Donald in the 1947 short Chip an' Dale (though they first appeared as antagonists of the Pluto short Private Pluto) and from that point regularly appeared in shorts, facing the hot-tempered duck in a comical battle of wits. Notably, Donald's first, and only Academy-Award winning animated short, Der Fuehrer's Face, premiered around this era, in 1943.
At this time, Donald Duck had become one of the most recognizable icons in the world, as well as one of the most popular, surpassing Mickey Mouse as the company's biggest animated star. With such a title, Donald would begin appearing in every form of media and merchandise as Disney's poster-boy and primary audience draw. Much like Mickey and Goofy, Donald's role became a tad tamer. Shorts like Drip Dippy Donald, Sleepy Time Donald, and Crazy Over Daisy, portrayed Donald as an easily frustrated everyman, and most of his cartoons centered struggling with everyday life, parenting his nephews, and battling Chip and Dale. The 1950s also marked Walt Disney's entry into television, in which Donald would become a staple, making regular appearances in the Disneyland television series. While many theatrical short subject series (Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Chip & Dale) ended production during the 1953-1954 season, Donald Duck continued to appear in theatrical cartoons after that season. Donald's last regular animated, theatrical short was Chips Ahoy, which premiered in 1956.
Afterward, Donald began appearing in several educational shorts, often broadcast on the series, including Donald in Mathmagic Land, How to Have an Accident at Work, and Donald's Fire Survival Plan. In 1958, Donald co-hosted the 30th Academy Awards ceremony alongside a number of popular film personalities at the time.
As the 1960s rolled in, and after the death of Walt Disney, Donald would notably retire from films, along with Mickey and the rest of the classic cast, and wouldn't reappear again until the 1983 short Mickey's Christmas Carol, where Donald played the role of Nephew Fred.
Later throughout the 1980s, Donald was the focus on several television specials, including Donald Duck's 50th Birthday in 1984 (which was a global event), and Down and Out with Donald Duck in 1987. Also in 1984, in honor of his 50th birthday, the Academy Awards held a special tribute to Donald. Clarence Nash attended the ceremony in Donald's honor.
In 1988, Donald appeared at the 60th Academy Awards, where Mickey was set to present the award for Best Short. Believing he was to co-present, Donald joined Mickey on the stage but was furious to find the position was already taken by a human.
After the historic comeback, Donald would return as a mainstream icon, along with Mickey and the others, appearing in numerous forms of media from television, to video games, to films and new shorts. Since, he's made appearances in the 1990's short, The Prince and the Pauper, and in 2012, Donald appeared in the animated short starring Minnie Mouse, Electric Holiday, as a brief cameo.
Donald's first film was Saludos Amigos. In the first part of the film, Donald visits the famous real-life lake of Lake Titicaca, located at the border of Peru and Bolivia. He looks around, learns about the lake's traditions and makes a failed attempt at sailing a boat before setting off on a journey through the mountains atop a llama. He panics when the llama is busy walking across a wooden suspended bridge, eventually resulting in his fall. He lands in a pottery shop, shattering some pots and taking others with him.
In the second, Donald meets and befriends the suave José Carioca, during his trip to Brazil. Being a huge fan of Donald's, José immediately offers to take the duck into a tour through the town, showing him the rhythm of the samba, the fine wine, and one of the popular clubs.
Donald reappears in The Three Caballeros, a 1944 sequel to Saludos Amigos. The film consists of several segments, connected by a common theme. In the film, it is Donald Duck's birthday, and he receives three presents from friends in Latin America. The first present is a film projector, which shows him a documentary on birds. During the documentary, he learns about the Aracuan Bird. The next present is a book given to Donald by José Carioca himself. This book tells of Bahia, which is one of Brazil's 26 states. José shrinks them both down so that they can enter the book. Donald and José meet up with several of the locals, who dance the samba. Donald ends up pining for one girl. After the journey, Donald and Jose leave the book.
Upon returning, Donald realizes that he is too small to open his third present. Jose shows Donald how to use black magic to return himself to the proper size. After opening the present, he meets Panchito Pistoles, a native of Mexico. The three take the name "The Three Caballeros" and have a short celebration. Panchito then presents Donald's present, a piñata. Pancho tells Donald of the tradition behind the piñata. José and Panchito then blindfold Donald and have him attempt to break open the piñata, which eventually reveals many surprises. The celebration ends with Donald Duck being fired away by firecrackers in the shape of a bull (the firecrackers are lit by José with his cigar).
Throughout the film, the Aracuan Bird appears at random moments. He usually pesters everyone, sometimes stealing José's cigar. His most famous gag is when he re-routes the train by drawing new tracks. He returns three years later in Disney's Melody Time.
In the segment Mickey and the Beanstalk, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy portray three commoners living in the wasteland formerly known as the prosperous and beautiful Happy Valley. Living in deep poverty and bordering death by starvation, Donald begins losing his sanity, though Mickey decides to sell their cow in exchange for food. However, he returns with only three beans, said to be magic, much to Donald's complete and utter frustration. After discarding them, the beans grow into a beanstalk, accidentally taking the trio to the castle of Willie the Giant, the villain responsible for the despair their kingdom is facing due to kidnapping their ruler, the Golden Harp. After discovering her, the heroes decide to rescue their queen but are soon discovered. After escaping the chest Willie has imprisoned them in, they retrieve the harp and make way down the beanstalk to the kingdom, though Willie is in hot pursuit. Donald and Goofy cut the beanstalk once they reach its end, sending Willie toppling down to his defeat. With the harp rescued and returned home, peace is restored to the land.
Donald appears in the traditional animated Christmas film as a supporting character. He first appears in the first segment, Donald Duck: Stuck on Christmas, where Huey, Dewey, and Louie wish for an everlasting day of Christmas. Little did they know, Christmas every day would become mundane and beyond annoying, and although they were aware of the course, Donald and the rest of the family were oblivious. Eventually, in an attempt to break the cycle, the boys decide to "livin' things up", causing mayhem, playing nasty pranks and destruction throughout one of the repeated Christmas days, unintentionally causing despair to fall upon their well-meaning family. Donald even uncharacteristically blames himself for everything that happened. In the end, the boys finally learn the true meaning of Christmas and do their best to make it the grandest they've ever experienced, going as far as to using their snowboard gifts from Donald to create a new sled-boat, much to their uncle's surprise and happiness, and with their lesson learned, the spell is finally broken. After the last segment, Donald makes a cameo with the other characters, singing a melody of Christmas carols as a grand finale.
Donald stars in his own segment set to the March "Pomp and Circumstance". In this chapter of the feature, he is the assistant to Noah and husband of Daisy Duck. A powerful storm is near and Donald must round up all the animals (including two non-anthropomorphic ducks) and humans onto the Ark. During checking, Donald realizes Daisy isn't aboard the ark. He rushes back to the hut to get her and doesn't notice her walk right passed him into the ark. When a giant wave arrives, Daisy witnesses from the ark's window, Donald trying to escape it. She covers her eyes in fear and fails to see Donald jumping aboard at the last minute. When Donald is aboard he sees his and Daisy's house being swept away with, he thinks, Daisy in it. Both Donald and Daisy believe each other to be dead.
A few days later, Donald sends out a male dove to check for land, while in the process angrily pulling him away from his mate when he tries to sneak back without leaving. Donald realizes that he is missing Daisy more and more. Daisy feels the same.
When the ark lands, Donald looks out as the animals climb off. Noah ruffles Donald's head feathers affectionately as he walks by him. Donald pulls out a picture of him and Daisy and looks at it sadly. Daisy is walking down the plank when she realizes that her locket with a picture of her and Donald inside has fallen off its chain. Donald is sweeping just inside the ark and sees the locket on the floor. He and Daisy reach for it at the same time and see each other. They are both overjoyed to see the other is alive. Daisy kisses Donald and they walk out together and admire their new home.
Donald is a janitor in Paris, France. Like Mickey and Goofy, he dreams of becoming a musketeer after being rescued by Aramis, Athos, Porthos, and D'artangian as a child. The only thing standing in Donald's way is the fact that he's a complete coward in the face of real danger. Pete, the leader of the musketeers, plots to take over France and after Princess Minnie demands bodyguards he uses Donald, Mickey, and Goofy believing they'll do a terrible job. Donald meets the princess and develops a crush on her assistant Daisy,so he initially strikes a pose to her by saluting her, but she wasn't interested until the end).
After proving themselves worthy by defeating the Beagle Boys, Donald is kidnapped in the middle of the night by the Beagle Boys while Goofy is kidnapped by Pete's lieutenant Clarabelle. The Beagle Boys take Donald to Pete's lair, where the duck is nearly decapitated. Fortunately, he escapes his death and rushes back to the palace to warn Mickey. Mickey, however, wants to stay on his job but the fear of Pete prompts Donald to quit. Later on, Goofy, who was freed by his newfound love Clarabelle, convinces Donald to change his mind and the duo rushes to help Mickey.
After the princess is saved, Donald and Daisy proclaim their mutual love and along with Mickey and Goofy, Donald becomes a royal musketeer.
In the 2004 computer-animated sequel to Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Donald appears in the first, second, fourth and fifth stories. In the second story called Christmas: Impossible, Huey, Dewey, and Louie realize they need to put their names on Santa's List themselves, as they haven't been too good this year. In the end of the segment, Donald's only gift was The Big Book of Manners.
Donald later appears in his own segment, Donald's Gift, where he is exhausted, wanting nothing more than to relax in peace and quiet with a cup of hot cocoa; however, We Wish You a Merry Christmas plays continuously, torturing him. Donald tries relaxing with a cup of cocoa, but Daisy forces him to take the boys to Mousey's holiday display. Donald, tired and becoming increasing angered, starts hearing the song from everywhere around him; this leads to him destroying the Mousey's display in a panic to end it. Feeling sorry, Donald finds an off-key chorus attempting to sing the song and teaches them to sing in harmony.
Donald also appears alongside the others in the fifth and final segment of the film, Mickey's Dog-Gone Christmas, in which he joins the search party for Pluto. After Pluto is found on Mickey's roof by Huey, Dewey, and Louie, everyone (including himself) head into Mickey's house for Mickey's Christmas gathering to sing Christmas carols. Donald, funnily enough, begins to sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas, which he initially showed no appreciation for in the earlier segment.
Other animated films
Donald also appears in Melody Time, in the sixth segment called "Blame It on the Samba", where he and José are seen moping in a cafe. The Aracuan Bird sees them both and introduces them to the Samba, which manages to cheer them up.
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Donald made an appearance at the Ink and Paint Club competing against his rival and Warner Bros. counterpart, Daffy Duck in a "dueling pianos" act, as both are playing "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2". He also appears at the end of the movie when the toon characters look at the melted remains of Judge Doom.
In The Little Mermaid, Donald made a cameo with Mickey and Goofy at the beginning of the film, in the crowd of merpeople who were waiting for the concert of Ariel and her sisters. They can be briefly spotted before King Triton illuminates the coral chandelier.
In James and the Giant Peach, a skeletal duck resembling Donald appears.
Throughout the 36-year run of the Walt Disney anthology television series, Donald played a central role in many of the specials that originally aired as episode of the series. These particular specials were all compilation films consisting of various classic shorts featuring Donald, bridged together by new linking animation. Episodes of the series that focused on Donald include The Donald Duck Story, A Present for Donald, A Day in the Life of Donald Duck, At Home with Donald Duck, Donald's Award, Duck for Hire, Two Happy Amigos, This is Your Life, Donald Duck, Kids is Kids, Inside Donald Duck, and Donald Takes a Holiday.
In On Vacation with Mickey Mouse and Friends, Jiminy Cricket has to call the armed forces to search for Donald and bring him to the studio, and in Mickey's 60th Birthday, Donald demands to be featured in Mickey's birthday special; this leads to Donald being falsely accused of kidnapping Mickey when the mouse seemingly goes missing.
Donald made recurring appearances in the live-action wrap-around skits alongside the other costumed characters and celebrity guests.
Donald had a rather small part in the 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 appears in two parts of the series premiere "Treasure of the Golden Suns", as well as the Season 1 episodes "Sphinx for the Memories", "Home Sweet Homer", "Catch as Cash Can", "Spies in Their Eyes", "All Ducks on Deck", and "Till Nephews Do Us Part". Aside from making physical appearances, Donald is often mentioned by the other characters in the series, often by the nephews and Scrooge.
Donald makes a non-physical appearance in DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, where a picture frame of him can be seen briefly in Scrooge's home when Webby wishes that everything was back to normal.
Six years after DuckTales ended, Donald starred in his own Disney Afternoon television show, Quack Pack. This series featured a modernized Duck family. Donald was no longer wearing his sailor suit and hat, but instead wore a Hawaiian shirt (which he would wear again as Maui Mallard in the video game Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow). Following the conclusion of his naval tour of duty (disregarding a single day he was later forced to shore up in the episode "All Hands on Duck"), Donald has taken up residence in Duckburg, serves as the primary caretaker of the now-teenage Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and continues to date Daisy. No other Duck family members besides Ludwig Von Drake appear in Quack Pack and all the other Duckburg citizens are humans rather than anthropomorphic animals.
In the series' storyline, Donald works under the narcissistic Kent Powers as a cameraman for the latter's television series entitled What in the World?, a new show that features Daisy as a reporter, also working under Kent. Donald's job is often complicated by his fun-loving tendencies, his perpetual bad luck, and the strong contempt directed at him from Kent, who uses every possible opportunity to fire Donald to no avail. Ironically, the one time Kent finally managed to rid himself of Donald, every last replacement turned out to be far worse than him.
Though the show mainly focused on Huey, Dewey, and Louie, several of the episodes revolved around Donald. These included "Leader of the Quack", where Donald was revealed to be the ruler of the country of Quaintinia after accidentally saving the land from a dragon during a vacation. In "Snow Place to Hide", Donald's terrible jealousy is put into the front when he suspects Daisy is having a romantic rendezvous with Kent Powers.
Donald next played an important role in Mickey Mouse Works. In the Mouse Works shorts, his role was more or less the same as in the classic shorts. In these shorts, though, he garnered a new adversary in the form of a baby turtle named Shelby, whom he would often have to look after and have a hard time doing so. The series also featured Donald in a series of mini-shorts titled Donald's Dynamite, in which his activities are interrupted by the appearance of a bomb that he then has to try and rid himself of.
At the end of the show's intro in each episode, Donald would attempt to display a large sign reading "Starring Donald Duck" or "Duck Works" covering the show's logo, but an accident would occur, harming Donald and ridding the sign.
Donald appears once again in the series House of Mouse as a greeter and co-owner of the club. In the series, Donald secretly despises Mickey's role as the leader and wishes to someday be in charge. A recurring gag in the series is other characters referring to Donald as "Dooald", sometimes by mistake and other times to annoy him.
Several episodes revolved around Donald. In "Donald's Pumbaa Prank", after an April Fool's revenge joke from Mickey, Donald was corrupted by Pete who claimed Mickey was the enemy. To get back, Donald was to use Pumbaa to stink up the club. However, after Donald learned he was to be given an award that night, he called off the prank and apologized to Mickey for his actions. In "Dennis the Duck", Donald was shown to have a disliking for some black-and-white characters. In "Donald Wants to Fly", he attempted to gain the ability to fly. The entire evening proved unsuccessful until Peter Pan arrived. With Tinker Bell's pixie dust, Donald was able to live his dream.
Donald also appeared in the show's spin-off films. In Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, Mickey, Minnie, and all the Disney guests are snowed in at the House of Mouse on Christmas Eve. While trapped, the gang decides to have a Christmas party, but Donald doesn't have any Christmas spirit. Everyone then tries to change Donald's mood, only to fail. Eventually, Mickey asks Donald to put the star on the tree, finally showing Donald the Christmas spirit. In Mickey's House of Villains, Donald spent Halloween night trying (and failing) to scare everyone.
Donald Duck reappears as a main character in the computer animated series. He joins in nearly every adventure Mickey and friends set off on and helps the gang solve many puzzling problems. But sometimes he loses his temper so to mix-up the problems. He is usually an unwitting target for many of the gags on the show and tends to say "Why does this always happen to me?" whenever something bad happens to him. A recurring gag in the series is Donald seeing a Mickey Mouse symbol and muttering to himself "Why is it always Mickey Mouse?". Another recurring gag appears in recent episodes where Donald and Goofy often bicker over childish things.
Donald is also the second main character to be used as a mouseketool, which took place in the episode "Mickey's Clubhouse Rocks".
Interestingly, at the beginning of the series, Donald's temper was a rarity. However, as the series progressed, his temper, attitude, and stubbornness would increase more and more. Many episodes revolve around Donald, including Donald's Hiccups, Donald's Ducks, Donald and the Beanstalk, and Space Captain Donald. In the series, Donald has a new pet and beloved friend and gem, Boo-Boo Chicken. Donald is also the star of the movie/special "Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland". Donald is also a major character in the spin-off Mickey Mousekersize.
Donald returns in this animated series starring Mickey and the gang.
Donald's first appearance in the series was in the episode "No Service". In this episode, Donald and Mickey are planning to have a picnic on the beach with Minnie and Daisy and intend on ordering take-out at a snack shack, but Goofy denies serving them, as the shack's policy strictly states "No shirt, no shoes, no service". However, Mickey comes up with the idea to have one of the duos wear a full outfit and go into the shack to order take-out for everyone. They draw straws and Donald cheats his way to victory. Taking Mickey's shorts and shoes, Donald heads inside to order but spends much of his time laughing at Mickey's expense while the mouse tries to prevent Minnie and Daisy from seeing him nude. In the end, however, Donald is literally kicked out of the shack for attempting to pay with a credit card and Mickey's ID, causing his entire outfit to fall off just as Minnie and Daisy arrive, humiliating the duck.
While Donald was portrayed as a trickster in "No Service", his appearances in "Stayin' Cool", "Potatoland", and "Tapped Out" follow his more dominant personality, where he is easily aggravated by the antics of Goofy and the wholesomeness of Mickey, often leading to the duck getting himself harmed and humiliated comically.
Donald can also be extremely selfish at times, such as in "Wonders of the Deep", where he initially refused to journey into the ocean to save an endangered Ludwig Von Drake. In "No", he initially refused to help Mickey overcome his difficulties in saying the word "no". Despite this, Donald can pull through and act with heroism, as he eventually did in both instances.
The first episode to fully revolve around Donald is "Flipperboobootosis", where Donald comes down with a rare foot disease but refuses to have it properly treated because of his fear of the doctor. After several failed attempts to cure the duck themselves, Mickey and Goofy eventually force Donald to the hospital, though it pays off in the end, as the Bear Doctor was able to cure the Flipperboobootosis.
Other episodes where Donald plays a key role include "The Adorable Couple", "Down the Hatch", "Bronco Busted", and "Split Decisions". He also had a starring role in "Captain Donald", where his deepest, darkest secret is revealed — he can't actually sail. It was also revealed that Donald got his sailor suit from Daisy because she likes men in uniform.
In "Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special", Donald decides to live out his dream of experiencing Christmas by staying in the north with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto as opposed to migrating to the south with Daisy and the rest of his family. Being a duck, however, the harsh winter weather sickens Donald to a deadly degree. By the end, Mickey and the others manage to transfer him to the south, where they learn that Christmas can be celebrated anywhere in the world.
Donald appears in the madcap racing series taking place in the town of Hot Dog Hills. He works alongside Mickey in a local car garage, and has a transforming roadster modeled after his boat home known as the "Converting Cruiser". Unlike the other racers who typically participate for the fun of it, Donald is somewhat obsessed with winning and being praised as the best racer in town.
Donald is a major character in the 2017 DuckTales series. He plays a significantly larger role compared to the original series.
Ten years prior to the start of the series, Donald and Scrooge were partners and regularly embarked on fantastical adventures. For reasons evidently regarding the disappearance of his twin sister, Della, Donald and Scrooge became estranged, to the point of Huey, Dewey, and Louie having no idea that Scrooge was their great-uncle at the start of the series. In "Woo-oo!", Donald prepares for a job interview and, out of desperation, leaves the boys in Scrooge's care for the time being. He gets the job, but the employer is Flintheart Glomgold, who enlists Donald on his search to find the jewel of Atlantis (which Scrooge and the boys are also after). Though they are left in the city for dead by Glomgold, Dewey uses the wisdom he gained from Scrooge to rescue them. Impressed, Donald warmly allows the boys to remain in contact with their great-uncle, as he believes Scrooge will, at the very least, teach the boys how to get out of the dangers they'll inevitably face throughout their adventurous lives. Unfortunately, Donald's home catches fire, which prompts Scrooge to charitably invite his four nephews to live in his mansion. Though they accept, Donald still retains his houseboat, only now it resides in Scrooge's pool.
Other television shows
In the animated opening of the original Mickey Mouse Club television series, Donald was prominently featured. Here, as the "Mickey Mouse March" played and the other characters sang along, Donald enviously shouted his name; showing a jealous hatred for the song, as well as a craving for the spotlight. At the end of the theme, Donald would be tasked with ringing the "Mickey Mouse Club" gong, only to have some injury befall him each time.
Though he does not appear in that series, Donald was mentioned at least twice in Darkwing Duck. In "Film Flam", when Drake Mallard refuses to believe something Gosalyn is telling him, he sarcastically remarks "Yeah right, and I'm Donald... Duck?" Also, in "A Star is Scorned", when Darkwing and Gosalyn arrive at the studio, the security guard thinks that Darkwing is Donald, saying he didn't recognize him without his sailor suit. Later, when trying to get back into the studio, Darkwing and Gosalyn manage to get in disguised as Donald and Louie, respectively.
Donald made a notable cameo appearance in the first episode of Bonkers, where he is taking a walk through the park before getting captured by a mugger. Bonkers D. Bobcat happens upon Donald and, unaware that the duck is being mugged at the moment, asks for a guest part in his next picture before eventually coming to his rescue when Lucky Piquel shows up to nab the mugger.
In the first episode of 101 Dalmatians: The Series, "Home is Where the Bark Is" when the pups chase Cruella back to the Dearly Farm, they ride on top of a subway train. Donald's silhouette can be seen as one of the passengers.
Donald in comics
- Main article: Donald Duck 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, mostly in Norway and Finland, but many other countries are right behind - most notably Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
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 (adapted from the storyboards of the unproduced animated film Morgan's Ghost, starring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy). The new publisher meant new illustrators, in this case, 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 adventures of the duck as both writer and illustrator. Under his pen, Donald developed more in the comics, becoming more adventurous, yet keeping his trademark temperamental character. Pete was the only other major character from the Mickey Mouse comic strip to feature in Barks' new series of Donald Duck comics.
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), Neighbor Jones (1944), and John D. Rockerduck (1961). Many of Taliaferro's characters made the move to Barks' stories as well, including Donald's pet Saint-Bernard dog Bolivar, Grandma Duck, and 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, accompanying his rich uncle around the globe.
- Main article: Donald Duck in video games
Like Mickey, Donald has made numerous appearances in video games over the years, both with major and minor roles. With some titles, Donald appears as a supporting character in the storyline, though with most, he appears as the lead, often following a heroic adventure. Some titles include QuackShot, Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers!, and Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow.
The most prominently known game series featuring Donald as a supporting character is the Kingdom Hearts series. In this storyline, Donald is the Royal Magician of Disney Castle. As such, his weapon of choice is a magical staff that allows him to cast spells. He often provides comic relief more than advancing the plot despite the amount of camera time he has in the series. He is rash and has an aggressive personality, but he is loyal to his friends. Though he initially only cares about Sora (the main protagonist of the series) as a means to track down King Mickey, Donald soon grows to deeply care for him as a friend.
Donald has also appeared in Disney INFINITY: 2.0 Edition as a playable character, exclusive to the Toy Box.
Donald is an extremely common character in the Disney theme parks for meet-and-greets and appears in almost every show and parade.
In California, Donald can be found along Main Street, U.S.A.. In the past, Donald co-starred alongside Steve Martin in The Disneyland Story: The First 50 Magical Years and headlined his own float in Mickey's Soundsational Parade.
In World of Color: Season of Light, Donald stars in a segment alongside José and Panchito. The trio perform a rendition of "Feliz Navidad", in honor of the holidays.
In Mickey's PhilharMagic, Mickey is the conductor of an orchestra. It was up to Donald to set up the instruments before the start of the show. Donald fell asleep on the job, however, but was woken up by Mickey, who had to rush backstage to finish preparing. As Mickey runs off, he specifically tells Donald not to touch the sorcerer hat. Defying his orders, Donald takes it anyway and begins to play with the now-living musical instruments. Soon enough, Donald provokes them and is attacked. He loses the hat and travels through scenes from various Disney films to try and retrieve it.
In the former Dream Along With Mickey show at the Magic Kingdom, Donald states that he does not believe in dreams. Once Maleficent, Captain Hook, and Mr. Smee crash the party, Donald, with the help of Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy uses the power of dreams to foil the three villains. Donald believes again and peace is restored to the kingdom.
In the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros in Epcot, Donald Duck has run off, prompting Panchito and Jose to set off on a frantic search for their missing friend. Donald tours Mexico with Jose and Panchito riding on a magic sarape, looking for him. Later, Donald meets some Mexican girls, which brings Panchito and Jose to pull Donald away from those girls and get to their scheduled concert on time.
For meet-and-greets, Donald can be found at Pete's Silly Sideshow at the Magic Kingdom, and can also be seen during Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire and Festival of Fantasy Parade. In 2018, Donald began making regular appearances in Disney's Animal Kingdom for Donald's Dino-Bash.
Donald also has a spell card known as "Caballero Donald's Pinata" in the attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.
In One Man's Dream II: The Magic Lives On, Donald is in love with Hollywood starlet Daisy Duck. He thinks in order to win her heart, he must become an actor. He tries, but the cast and crew won't stop goofing off. He eventually gives up, until Daisy informs him she likes him the way he is, which pleases Donald.
In Tokyo Disneyland, Donald headlines the confectionary shop, Duck Family Chocolate Competition, alongside other relatives and close relations. Donald and his family also headline Villa Donaldo Home Shop, in Tokyo DisneySea.
Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse have a complicated relationship history. As Donald was conceived as the polar opposite of Mickey, their personalities conflict often, and this was utilized by the Disney artists as early as The Band Concert, in 1935. The short established Donald's refusal to adhere to Mickey's leadership, and Mickey's frustration with Donald's perversity. This would continue in Magician Mickey in 1937, and was further emphasized near the end of Symphony Hour in 1942. By the time The Mickey Mouse Club aired on television, it was shown that Donald was not only agitated by Mickey's usual position as leader, but was also jealous of the constant praise and admiration given to the mouse. Walt Disney, in his Wonderful World of Color, would sometimes make reference to the rivalry. One time, Walt presented Donald with a gigantic birthday cake and commented how it was "even bigger than Mickey's", which pleased Donald. Television specials such as 1984's "Donald Duck's 50th Birthday" and 1988's "Mickey's 60th Birthday", would also highlight this rivalry; the latter special included a plot in which Mickey is cursed by a sorcerer to become unnoticed, causing the world to believe Mickey to have been kidnapped. Donald Duck is then arrested for the kidnapping of Mickey, as he is considered to be the chief suspect, due to their rivalry.
The rivalry between Mickey and Donald has also been featured in House of Mouse. It was shown that Donald wanted to be the Club's founder and wanted to change the club's name from House of Mouse to House of Duck. In the episode, "Everybody Loves Mickey", Donald's jealousy is explored and even joined sides with Mortimer Mouse. However, Donald had a change of heart when Daisy reminded him of how much of a friend Mickey is to him.
In Mickey Mouse, their relationship is a focal point of many episodes, due to their conflicting personality traits. Producer of the series, Paul Rudish, describes Donald and Mickey as the "ultimate odd couple", referencing their close bond despite Mickey's extreme benevolence and Donald's unstable temper.
Despite the rivalry, Donald seems to be an honest friend of Mickey's and will be faithful to him in tough situations, such as working with Mickey and Goofy as a team akin to the Three Musketeers. In the Kingdom Hearts games, Donald is quite loyal to Mickey, even briefly leaving Sora to follow King Mickey's orders.
- In the Disney Studios, Donald is often referred to as "The Duck".
- Walt Disney himself referred to Donald Duck as "the problem child" of Disney.
- Appearing in over 150 theatrically released films and shorts, Donald has the record for most theatrical appearances for a Disney character and he is the most published non-superhero comic book character in the world.
- A duck skeleton that looks like Donald can be seen in James and the Giant Peach.
- A float that looks exactly like Donald Duck appears in the Safety Smart in the Water episode from the Timon and Pumbaa's Wild About Safety series.
- Because of his middle name, Fauntleroy, Donald is currently the only major Disney character with an official middle name.
- In the Kingdom Hearts series, Donald has the highest Magic stat in every game he is a playable/party character in, going as far as surpassing Xemnas, leader of Organization XIII and Nobody of Xehanort, in 358/2 Days, in which they are both playable.
- Strangely, aside from the first game and 358/2 Days, Donald has only been shown to use the four basic spells (Thunder, Fire, Blizzard, and Cure). Though it showed in the series that he is responsible for transforming the gang into underwater creatures and supernatural monsters.
- Thunder may be Donald's signature spell, as in each game, it is either the first spell we see him use or the first attack he knows by default (with the exception of 358/2 Days, where him using and learning it first is optional). In Chain of Memories and its remake he even tries to cast it on a member of Organization XIII in one of the first cutscenes of the game.
- When in the universe based on The Lion King, Donald becomes a flying animal called "Bird Donald". This is strange considering that Donald is technically a bird, to begin with.
- Though Donald has black eyes, they sometimes appear to be blue in 2-D artwork or in his 3D models and artworks, such as his Kingdom Hearts III artwork. Donald's eyes could possibly really be blue, as when Pete had a close up in Mickey, Donald & Goofy: The Three Musketeers, he had brown irises.
- There is a common urban legend stating that Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland just because the character does not wear pants.
- Donald Duck is the only popular film and TV cartoon character to appear as a mascot for the sports team of a major American university, namely, the Ducks at the University of Oregon.
- Donald's name and image are also used in numerous commercial products, one example being Donald Duck Orange Juice, introduced by Citrus World in 1940.
- Disney Studios once received an Army draft notice on behalf of Donald Duck.
- He resembles a species of duck called Crested Duck.