- “Hello, 'dere'! Professor Ludwig Von Drake here. Certified scientist, and all-around expert on brilliant things!”
- ―Ludwig Von Drake
Professor Ludwig Von Drake is an anthropomorphic duck created by Walt Disney. The paternal uncle of Donald Duck, he is portrayed as a brilliant, yet eccentric lecturer and scientist, who frequenty displays his vast array of "expert" knowledge on a variety of subjects.
Ludwig debuted as a presenter in An Adventure in Color, part of the first episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color on NBC, making him the first Disney animated character created specifically for television.
Von Drake comes from Vienna, Austria, and has a fascination with knowledge. In Ludwig's second animated appearance, "The Hunting Instinct", Walt Disney says that Ludwig has obtained degrees from such universities as Oxford, Cambridge and Heidelberg, and, in one of his comic strip appearances, Ludwig himself claims that he has obtained "about 98 degrees" in total. He is often shown as having little social competence, however, and is often portrayed as being very forgetful, sometimes even somewhat senile.
In spite of being a world-renowned scientist, psychiatrist, and lecturer, Ludwig is incredibly wacky, somewhat bumbling and, as he puts it, "Kooky!". He is known for being extremely intelligent and more than likely to know nearly everything about a certain topic ranging from science to music. During many of his classic lectures, Ludwig was known to get sidetracked rather quickly, with the end results being comical shenanigans. Most of the professor's time is spent creating an array of magnificent inventions and therapies meant to make life easier for both himself and the rest of the world. However, more often than not, does one of the professor's creations go off the deep end.
Von Drake is rather pompous as a result of his genius. He prides himself in his intellect, and in House of Mouse, this is highlighted to the point where he is somewhat of an egotist. Outside of that series, however, the professor is kindly and humble for the most part, always choosing to put his intelligence to help others, such as Mickey. A notable recurring goal for the professor has been to discover the source of his nephew Donald's temper tantrums, mostly for the sake of Donald's health. He also has a habit of beginning the name of his inventions with "The Von Drake" heading.
His catchphrase is "Hello, there!", which he has been known to shout when greeting someone or at the beginning of one of his cartoons.
Walt Disney entered into television production as early as 1950. By 1954, he had his own weekly anthology TV series, called Disneyland, on ABC. In 1961, after a disagreement, Disney changed his loyalties to NBC and added color to the mix and renamed the show Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. In order to introduce this new feature, his company also created the brainy Austrian scientist Ludwig Von Drake. Additionally, Walt also viewed the new character as a way to keep animators around the studio busy with new content; he called upon seven of the legendary Nine Old Men to handle the animation for Ludwig's debut episode. He was originally designed and animated by legendary animators Milt Kahl and Ward Kimball. Kahl was said to have been inspired in part by Picasso when finalizing Ludwig's design. Von Drake's raspy, Austrian-accented voice was provided by Paul Frees, who was also well-known as the voice behind the Ghost Host in Disneyland's The Haunted Mansion attraction. Walt gave Frees a hefty amount of freedom and liberty when it came to shaping Von Drake's personality, as ad-libbing was encouraged, much of which was added to the script.
Ludwig Von Drake was introduced in 1961, with the introduction to Walt Disney's television series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. From there, he became a recurring character in Disney's related television projects, usually lecturing on a certain topic. In total, Von Drake would appear in sixteen episodes of the anthology series, spanning from "An Adventure in Color/Mathmagicland" in 1961, to "A Salute to Alaska" in 1967. The latter episode was also the last to feature Walt Disney as the host, who died months prior. On December 19, 1962, Von Drake starred in his only theatrical appearance, a featurette titled A Symposium on Popular Songs, which focused on Von Drake lecturing about music of bygone and contemporary decades, and notably received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short Film.
In the 1970s, Von Drake appeared in a few commercials promoting Gulf Gasoline, featuring newly recorded voice acting and animation.
After Ludwig's conclusion from the anthology series, the character would appear randomly in various spots, such as "Donald Duck's 50th Birthday" The Magical World of Disney broadcast in 1984 and "Down and Out with Donald Duck" in 1987, both of which featured Ludwig dealing with Donald's unstable temper. Also in 1987, Von Drake co-hosted "Disney's DTV Doggone Valentine" television special alongside Mickey and Jiminy Cricket. He also appeared as the host of the Disney's Sing-Along Songs series of videos, beginning with You Can Fly in 1988. Von Drake would later appear as the host of the following volumes: Fun With Music (a.k.a 101 Notes of Fun), Under the Sea, I Love to Laugh, and the final being Colors of the Wind, released in 1995.
In 1991, Von Drake hosted the television special Lifestyles of the Rich and Animated, where he takes a look at the "private lives" of classic Disney characters. Around this time, Von Drake made major a comeback with the premiere of the Disney Afternoon television block, making appearances in several of its programs (now voiced by Corey Burton), the first being the acclaimed series DucktTales, where he made a guest appearance.
In 1999, Mickey Mouse Works premiered on ABC, and featured Von Drake as the star of his own animated shorts, including the gag segments "Von Drake's House of Genius". In the following years, Von Drake regularly appears in television shows, comics, video games and other media centering Mickey Mouse and his friends, typically serving as the absent-minded scientist whose inventions and experiments comically cause mayhem.
Von Drake became a very popular recurring character and appeared many times hosting the weekly show, following his debut. In some instances, he would even interact with Walt Disney. In "An Adventure in Color/Mathmagicland", Walt introduced Ludwig as his "old friend and long-time associate" (despite needing a card to remember his name).
Several episodes were fairly significant to Ludwig's character. In "The Hunting Instinct", Walt revealed that the professor is the brother of Donald Duck's father. He further explained that the drakes (being Donald's paternal family branch) are the "eggheads" of the Duck clan. In the same episode, Von Drake was given a companion, Herman the Bootle Beetle, who would become a recurring sidekick to Von Drake; the latter refers to Herman as his best friend. In "Inside Donald Duck" (the first episode to showcase Von Drake interacting with his nephew) Ludwig tries to psychoanalyze Donald's problems with various different tactics. In "Kids is Kids", he once again looks to Donald for psychiatric research, focusing on his familial relationship with Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Von Drake's grandmother, whom Ludwig claims was none other than the original "Mother Goose", was also introduced in "The Truth About Mother Goose". In the same episode, Von Drake appeared as the host of the Mickey and the Beanstalk short (originally a segment part of the Fun and Fancy Free animated compilation). He and Herman replaced the film's original narrators, Edgar Bergen and his ventriloquist dummy Charlie McCarthy, respectively.
Von Drake made a guest appearance on DuckTales as Launchpad McQuack's psychiatrist, in the episode "The Golden Fleecing." In the episode, Launchpad claims to have experienced an encounter involving a band of harpies, visiting the professor to speak of the traumatizing matter. However, Ludwig scoffs the entire situation as a mere dream, but in the end, Launchpad returns with a lovesick harpie as proof, resulting in a nervous breakdown between himself and an astonished Professor Von Drake.
Von Drake reprised his psychiatrist role in several guest appearances on Bonkers, appearing mostly in the episodes produced by Duane Capizzi and Robert Hathcock.
He plays a key role in several episodes. In "Do Toons Dream of Animated Sheep?," he assisted Bonkers in finding out the cause of his missing dreams. In "The Toon That Ate Hollywood," Von Drake created an invention capable of increasing a toon's humor levels, considerably groundbreaking for the toon world. However, the invention is eventually stolen by two villainous clowns. In "Bobcat Fever," Von Drake teams up with Bonker's partner, Miranda, in stopping a toon microbe from infecting Bonker's brain. In "When the Spirit Moves You," ghosts begin haunting the police station, resulting in Von Drake concocting a way to bust them. In "Toon for a Day," Sergeant Grating believes he is a toon after getting hit in the head, resulting in the professor coming into the scene to solve the problem psychiatrically.
In Quack Pack, Von Drake resides in a laboratory in Duckburg and also runs a pizza delivery service which pays for his science equipment. In "The Really Mighty Ducks", Huey, Dewey and Louie visit Von Drake after Donald ordered them to clean their room. While there, they notice one of Von Drake's inventions and offers to test it. Ludwig allows them to do so and the machine gives them super abilities. Huey gains super speed, Dewey gains incredible knowledge and Louie gains super strength. Ludwig is also called for by the President during global crises and after the boys received their powers, they use them to fight crime. Later in the episode, Donald also uses the machine to become a super villain.
In this series, Von Drake was given his own short series entitled "Von Drake's House of Genius" where he creates a new invention meant to make life easier, but the creations backfire and often get destroyed in the end. He did, however, star in three regular cartoons--one being "Relaxing with Von Drake," where the professor attempts to ease Donald Duck's nerves. In "Hydro-Squirter," Von Drake accidentally creates a teleportation bathtub. In "Futurmania," the professor's latest invention is tested on Mickey, Donald, and Goofy.
Von Drake also made appearances in other characters' cartoons, most notably "Mickey Foils the Phantom Blot," where the professor asks Mickey, Donald, and Goofy to deliver his very valuable credit card to him in a different location at another time. The reason being that the professor is being hunted down by a criminal mastermind, The Phantom Blot. He also made a small cameo in "Locksmiths."
In the series, Ludwig's mother, who could be heard by voice only, was introduced. Later, her voice (provided by April Winchell) was heard again in House of Mouse.
Ludwig is a recurring character in this series as a "nutty professor"-type character.
He had roles in a few episodes where he was the main focus. The most notable of these was "Ask Von Drake". Here, Mickey tires of Von Drake knowing absolutely everything and challenges the professor throughout the entire evening. In the end, Mickey thinks of one last challenge: name every guest member at the club. Von Drake seemingly goes through the headcount of all the Disney characters with ease (in song) but afterwards, Mickey points out that he forgot one person - himself.
In other episodes, the professor was often called upon to help solve some of the problems in the club. In "Super Goof", Von Drake was called to determine where an oncoming meteor will strike. In "House of Crime", when all the guests go missing, Von Drake creates a device to lead the heroes to the culprit. Unbeknownst to them, the culprit was The Phantom Blot and he and the missing guests were inside Von Drake's machine. In "Dining Goofy", when Goofy gave the guests their wrong meals, Von Drake invented automated touch-screen computers for them to order food. Also, in "House of Genius", Ludwig creates robot duplicates of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto. At the end, when Ludwig brings in a robot duplicate of himself, Mickey tells the robot to send the real Ludwig packing.
Von Drake also appeared in the film Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, where he went on stage to lecture about The Science of Santa. This scene was later reused in the episode "Pete's Christmas Caper".
Here, Von Drake is a recurring character and the creator of the clubhouse. He created the clubhouse as a gift for Mickey equipping it with various accessories that make life much easier, including the Handy Helpers and Toodles. Ludwig often creates new inventions that go wrong accidentally.
Like his previous appearances, many of his inventions cause trouble such as when Donald drank his potion and transformed into a frog or when magical goo he created multiplied Goofy. Despite this, a number of inventions saved the day such as the time when the color was being drained from the world and he used a device to get it back. He is the most intelligent of the group and most problem solving are due to his ideas and innovations.
Ludwig returns in the Mickey Mouse animated series, first appearing in the episode "Down the Hatch" as a museum scientist and tour guide introducing various scientific marvels. These include a shrink ray, which falls into the hands of Mickey and Goofy, resulting in an adventure within Donald's internal caverns. In the end, Mickey and Goofy's shrink condition wears off, resulting in Donald laying an egg, hatching into the duo. An astonished Ludwig congratulates the trio on their discovery of "men from egg" and openly ponders on the idea of a further investigation, much to Donald's dismay and fear.
Von Drake also appeared in the episode "Wonders of the Deep", where he takes Mickey, Donald, and Goofy on a voyage to explore the wonders of the deep. An excited Mickey asks the professor if the voyage can next focus on finding legendary creatures such as mermaids and the kraken. The professor, believing the probability of finding the kraken to be low, begins calculating the exact percentage chance, before suddenly being jettisoned out of the submarine and into the sea and being eaten by a clam. The clam carries Von Drake off, leading to Mickey and Donald traveling to rescue him. Fortunately, they do, battling off the Giant Squid in the process. When the professor is freed from the clam inside the submarine, it is revealed that he was oblivious of any sort of danger, as well as the squid battle, as he was still calculating the probabilities of finding one. Ironically, he learns that there's still a chance and asks Mickey, Donald, and Goofy if they would like to search for it, resulting in a fearful Mickey and Donald jettisoning themselves out of the submarine in the same clam that ate Von Drake.
In "Split Decisions", Von Drake is visited by Mickey and Donald; the former explains that Donald's temper has been more unruly than usual, and a remedy is in need for the sake of his health and relationship with Daisy. Von Drake uses an invention to remove Donald's anger, though this creates two trouble-making incarnations of Donald: one who's obnoxiously happy, and another with a dangerously violent temper. While Von Drake works to recalibrate the machine, Mickey rounds up the two Donalds to revive the original.
In "Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special", Von Drake migrates to the south for the winter season alongside Daisy, Scrooge McDuck and Huey, Dewey and Louie as a family trip. Donald was meant to join, but according to Daisy, he stayed behind to celebrate Christmas with Mickey and the others. Ludwig mourns the loss of the guinea pig for his experiments, but more importantly explains that Donald is in grave danger should he stay in the north for too long, as a duck cannot survive in such weather. With Daisy and Scrooge believing Donald will join them soon, however, they try to enjoy their vacation. Von Drake asks Huey, Dewey and Louie if they're having fun, but like the others, they can't seem to enjoy themselves without Donald. Daisy then decides to save Donald from winter, but he arrives in the south with Mickey and the others in Santa's sleigh, which crash lands. When it appears Donald was killed in the crash, Ludwig covers Huey, Dewy, and Louie's eyes. However, he survived, and Christmas is thusly celebrated in the south. Ludwig is accidentally given Scrooge's money bag for the holidays, while Scrooge gets Ludwig's telescope, though the two exchange warmly. They are then seen playing checkers together as the day comes to an end.
Ludwig appears in the animated racing series, residing in Hot Dog Hills alongside the other characters. He has a laboratory beneath Mickey's garage, where he works on various inventions, and is able to communicate with Mickey and the others through a video monitor. Ludwig first appeared in the episode "Smarty Goof", where he invents a hat capable of turning its host into a genius. In "Mouse Vs. Machine!", he creates an A.I. car that challenges Mickey to a Roadster race to see if actual drivers are still necessary. In "Grandpa Beagle's Day Out", Ludwig is shown to sell high-tech bikes on the side from a garage in town.
Ludwig is set to appear in the reboot series. According to co-producer, Frank Angones, Ludwig's role will represent the "full ambition" of the show's story. It was revealed at the 2017 D23 Expo that Ludwig will appear in a flashback following Scrooge's past in the 1960's, where he served as Scrooge's scientist consultant, equipping him with various gadgets to use for his adventures (including the pogo-cane from the DuckTales video game). This role would later pass down to Gyro Gearloose.
In Raw Toonage, Ludwig Von Drake makes two guest appearances in the episodes 1 and 8, as an expert in toon-physics.
The Disney studio encouraged the writers of the Donald Duck comics to introduce this new character in print and already in September 1961, Von Drake started appearing in Al Taliaferro and Bob Karp's featured daily strips. However, aside from a brief appearance in a one-page story in Uncle Scrooge #54 (December 1964), the character was not used by leading Disney duck artist Carl Barks.
In 1961, Dell Comics launched a comic book series starring Von Drake that was illustrated by Tony Strobl, but it only lasted for four issues before being discontinued. The character did keep making subsequent appearances in other comic titles such as Walt Disney's Comics and Stories and in the Donald Duck newspaper strip.
In the comics, Ludwig usually visits his relatives Donald Duck and Huey, Dewey and Louie. On occasion, Daisy Duck would coax (or even trick) the professor into giving lectures and tours for her ladies' club. In recent comics, he works as a college professor at Duckburg's Coot University.
Nowadays, Ludwig is still a popular and frequently appearing character in Disney comics, especially those in Italy.
Von Drake was a supporting character in the game and was seen inside his laboratory which is visited by Mickey. Here, Von Drake must assist Mickey on his quest to find the mayor of Disneyville (Minnie Mouse) who has gone missing. After Mickey finds Minnie trapped in the tower of Pete's lair, he uses Von Drake's flying contraption to crash in and rescue her.
Ludwig was the organizer of the race tournament and journey to rescue Pluto. He is also a secret unlockable character.
Ludwig is a playable character in the game. To unlock him, a player must select Minnie Mouse and win a few games.
In Disney's Cartoon Arcade, Von Drake (through archive animation) leads the player through various Disney shorts and guides them through a mini-game based on said short.
In Goofy's Hysterical History Tour, Ludwig appears in the opening cutscene as Goofy and Pete's employer in the History Museum.
In Mickey's Racing Adventure, Ludwig (along with Magica De Spell in another part of the game) help the racer in the game. The player goes to Ludwig for car upgrades (in the payment of Disney Dollars) and he will also tell you where the test track is.
Ludwig Von Drake makes extremely rare appearances as a walk-around character at the Disney Parks. However, despite only appearing briefly in the past, since early 2013, Von Drake has made quite a few appearances throughout the Disney theme parks, usually alongside Scrooge McDuck.
In Mickey's Toontown, a window for Von Drake's Old Curiosity Shop can be seen on one of the buildings.
During the premiere of World of Color in 2010, Von Drake was featured in a special music video (co-starring alongside Walt) that played before the show. An animatronic Ludwig was also part of the former Mickey Mouse Revue, where he played the ukulele.
In 2013, Von Drake made meet-and-greet appearances in Disneyland as part of the Disney Dreamers Everywhere! events.
In 2008, Disney Parks released a promo starring Von Drake as he and a narrator explained Google Earth's feature that allowed users to tour Walt Disney World Resort in 3D on their computer.
In the Mouse Gear shops located around the different parks, most notably Epcot, a silhouette of Ludwig can be seen in the artwork surrounding the top interior of the shop.
In January 2013, Ludwig made special appearances at the Magic Kingdom as part of the Limited Time Magic event.
Along Mickey Avenue, Von Drake has a spot dedicated to him named Ludwig Von Drake's Fireworks Factory.
- Main article: Ludwig Von Drake Filmography
- Von Drake is the first Disney character made specifically for television.
- According to Walt Disney, Ludwig is the brother of Donald Duck's father. This relation was not carried over into the popular Donald Duck comic stories (specifically those written by Carl Barks and Don Rosa), as he was not included in the comic iteration of Donald's family tree. Instead, Ludwig's relation to the comic Duck family is inconsistent and has been altered on numerous occasions. Overall, only Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie and Scrooge McDuck have been consistently featured as Ludwig's relatives in both animation and comic stories.
- Writer Don Rosa featured the professor as the husband of Matilda McDuck, one of Scrooge McDuck's sisters. However, this could not be true, as Ludwig stated in "Kids is Kids" that he is a bachelor.
- Some 1960s Disney comics (including Tony Strobl's 6-pager Barn Dance Doctor, first published in 1961) state that Ludwig is Grandma Duck's cousin. This relationship was even further established in the German translation of Duckburg, U.S.A (first published in 1961). Here, Grandma reveals that Ludwig is the son of her maternal aunt and a certain Hofrat Von Drake. In contrast to these classic comics, a character profile poster of Ludwig in the German Disney comic magazine Micky Maus Magazin states that he is Grandma Duck's nephew rather than her cousin.
- In one story, Von Drake was treated as a distant relative that traveled from Austria to meet his American family. He was greeted by Donald, Scrooge, Grandma Duck, Gladstone Gander, Huey, Dewey and Louie, and Gus Goose. Rather than identifying his relationship to each character, Ludwig was simply referred to as their "distinguished relative".
- He is possibly ambidextrous, as seen in Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. He writes with his left hand briefly near the beginning and writes on the chalkboard with both hands.
- Before he was said to have married Matilda McDuck, Ludwig dated a duck lady named Alice in a series of 1985 newspaper comics. Alice and Ludwig met each other through the 'Absentminded Dating Club', and kept forgetting each others' names.
- When Ludwig first met Walt Disney, he assumed the latter that worked for Donald, despite it being the other way around.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Valerio, Britt (June 14, 2017). "Disney XD's New DuckTales Has a Premiere Date and an Amazing All-New Opening Title Sequence". Oh My Disney. Disney.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 "DID YOU KNOW? 8 GENIUS FACTS ABOUT LUDWIG VON DRAKE". (September 22, 2016).
- ↑ https://coa.inducks.org/story.php?c=YD+61-10-04
- ↑ Frank Angones on Ludwig Von Drake
- ↑ http://coa.inducks.org/hr.php?normalsize=1&image=http://outducks.org/webusers/webusers-char0/us_gpsb_04_02_006_gd.jpg
- ↑ http://www.duckipedia.de/images/2/2d/MMMPrimus.JPG
- ↑ 
- ↑ http://coa.inducks.org/character.php?c=Alice+from+YD&c1=code