Happy 81st Birthday to Donald Fauntleroy Duck who made his first appearance in “The Wise Little Hen”, a Silly Symphony cartoon, on June 9, 1934. Donald’s original animators were Dick Huemer and Art Babbit, but Dick Lundy is credited for developing him as a character. Donald was originally voiced by Clarence “Ducky” Nash from 1934 until 1983. Since 1985 the voice of Donald has been provided by Disney Artist Tony Anselmo. Believe it or not, Donald didn’t lose his temper for the first time until August 11th, 1934 in Orphan’s Benefit, and from that point on his temper has always been a fan favorite.
During his 81 years of fame and employment with the Walt Disney Company, Donald has tried his hand at almost too many on screen jobs to name. Some favorites though include fire chief, logger, musician, clock cleaner and paranormal Investigator. In 1984 he was was named an honorary alumnus of the University of Oregon.
Being the patriotic American that he is, Donald has also been very active in the U.S. Military. He was drafted and served actively in the U.S. Army from 1942-1944. While in the army he served as a paratrooper and commando. Donald’s years of Army military service can be seen in his shorts Donald Gets Drafted, The Vanishing Private, Sky Trooper, Fall Out Fall In, The Old Army Game and Commando Duck and the nose artwork of virtually every type of WWII Allied combat aircraft. Donald was officially discharged from the U.S. Army in 1984 during his 50th Birthday work tour, during his Army service Donald worked up the ranks from private to sergeant.
While in the Army, Donald also did a little side work for other U.S. Military departments appearing on patches, wings and other military items for the United States Army Air Force and U.S. Navy. What many don’t realize is Walt also authorized Donald to be a US Coast Guard mascot and is still seen on bases and cutters today dressed in a pirate’s outfit where he vigilant against any potential threats to the U.S. Coast. Wanting to expand his nautical horizons he also joined the U.S. Navy while filming Duck Tales with his nephews.
Jealousy of co-star Mickey Mouse has always been a personal struggle for Donald, but he actually appears in more attractions and shows in Disney Theme Parks then Mickey Mouse does. Our favorite duck can probably never be called a fashionista like Minnie and the love of his life Daisy, as usually seen in a blue sailor shirt without pants. But for some odd reason he has been known to get flustered if he doesn’t have a towel around his waist after a shower and has been known to wear swimming trunks when out at the beach, lake or pool.
Donald’s work has been nominated for several Academy Awards for his work in Disney Animated shorts like Through Air Power, The Three Caballeros (Best Original Score); Donald in Mathmagic Land (Documentary Short Subject) Truant Officer Donald, Donald’s Crime, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Tea for Two Hundred, Toy Tinkers, Rugged Bear, No Hunting (Best Short Subject: Cartoon/Animated Film); and the double nominated Saludos Amigos (Best Original Score and Best Original Song). His 1943 short Der Fuehrer’s Face won an Academy-Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoon/Animated Film. In 2005, Donald Duck even received his own star on Hollywood Walk Of Fame located at 6840 Hollywood Blvd.
Donald is also a member of the Disney Cruise Line staff. He is an Admiral on the Disney Dream and his statue can be found in the ship’s main atrium. Along with his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, he hosts the Aquadunk on the Dream and Fantasy and the Aquadunk on the Magic. Over on the Wonder, Donald lacks a rank and can usually be seen doing manual labor on the aft of the ship.
Donald even appears on several prestigious awards that the Disney Company gives out to cast members and other individuals. The most common Disney given award Donald graces is the company’s 5-year service award pin which features Donald with the number 5 on it. The next Disney award that Donald appears on is the Duckster, the word Duckster is a combination of the words Oscar and duck. The Duckster is a little known about in-house award given for multiple reasons (service to the company, service to the community etc.) The first Duckster ever given out was awarded to Walt Disney in 1952. Other notable winners of the Duckster include Clarence Nash, Roy Disney and Carl Barks. At least ten people have been given Duckster awards by the Disney Company.
So today while we celebrate Donald and all of the accomplishments (and tantrums) from the last 81 years, we here at TMSM leave you with video of Donald’s very first appearance in “The Wise Little Hen” to enjoy and wish Donald a “Happy Birthday”!
Info and Graphic Sources: wikipedia.org; thefactsite.com; wwiisquadronpatches.com; parkhop.com; dizscoop.com; blogs.disney.com; fanpop.com; dnaindia.com; phactual.com; buzzfeed.com; d23.com
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