Today marks Donald Duck’s 85th birthday. To commemorate this occasion, here are some fun facts about him.
- Donald’s birthday is June 9, 1934.
- Donald’s first film was The Wise Little Hen (1934).
- Donald was the first of the “Sensational Six” to debut in a color film.
- Technically, Donald Duck has two birthdays. A character’s birthday is set depending on the air date of their first film; Donald has two. One is June 9, 1934, when the film The Wise Little Hen was released. His other birthday is March 13, because of the film Donald’s Happy Birthday (1949), in which Huey, Dewey, and Louie planned to get Uncle Donald an awesome present of cigars, but Donald finds out and isn’t too happy thinking his nephews are taking up cigar smoking so he makes them smoke them all.
- In 1949, Donald Duck surpassed Mickey Mouse as being the most popular Disney character.
- The quackiness of his voice is one of the most identifiable voices of all animated characters.
- Donald is the mascot of the University of Oregon. Walt had a handshake agreement with Leo Harris, the Athletic Director of the University of Oregon, in 1947 to allow them to use Donald as the mascot. After Walt’s death in 1966, the Disney Company tried to get the use rights back from the university. Due to photographic proof of Walt with Leo sporting the University of Oregon attire, Disney granted them the use of Donald in 1973, but retained the right to say when and where Donald could be used. In 1984, Donald Duck was named an honorary alumnus of the University of Oregon during his 50th birthday celebration.
- He received his own star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame on August 9, 2004.
- Donald has appeared in 14 full-length animated features, more than any of the other Sensational Six – The Reluctant Dragon (1941), Saludos Amigos (1942), The Three Caballeros (1944), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), Melody Time (1948), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Mickey’s 60th Birthday (1988), A Goofy Movie (1995), Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999), Fantasia 2000 (1999), Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse (2001), Mickey’s House of Villains (2002), Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (2004), Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004).
- Out of collection of the “Sensational Six,” Donald has appeared in more shorts than any of them.
- Donald’s voice was performed by Clarence “Ducky” Nash from 1934-1983. Nash trained Tony Anselmo, who has been the voice of Donald from 1985 to present.
- Donald’s full name is Donald Fauntleroy Duck. This is first said in the animated short Donald Gets Drafted (1942).
- One of Donald’s films titled Der Fuehrer’s Face won an academy award in 1943, which has been the center of controversy over the decades. It depicted Donald as a Nazi who worked in the military for Hitler before finding out at the end that he was just dreaming.
- Donald has three nephews; Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
- Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s mother, Donald’s sister, is Della Duck (has also been called Dumbella Duck and Thelma Duck). Aside from the comics, she has only appeared in DuckTales (2017-present).
- Scrooge McDuck and Ludwig Von Drake are Donald’s uncles, brothers to his father.
- Donald’s cousin is Gladstone Gander. He has made his first appearance, so did Scrooge McDuck, alongside Donald in The Spirit of ’43 (1943). He wouldn’t show up until later in DuckTales (1987-1990) and DuckTales (2017-present).
(note: this film was made in 1943 during World War II and has Nazi symbolism present)
- From 1942 to 1944, Walt Disney released six short films depicting Donald Duck’s life in the U.S. Army. This series of films came to be known as the Army shorts. Cartoons in the series include Donald Gets Drafted (1942), The Vanishing Private (1942), Sky Trooper (1942), Fall Out Fall In (1943), The Old Army Game (1943), and Commando Duck (1944).
- A rumor started in 1977 that Donald comics and books were banned from Finland libraries and youth clubs because he wasn’t wearing any pants. The truth is that Finland felt that the money could be used elsewhere for bettering their youth programs.
- Donald Duck’s superhero alter ego is “Super Duck,” also called “Duck Avenger.”
- Donald can be seen as an Easter Egg in The Little Mermaid (1989) alongside Mickey and Goofy. They are in the scene when King Triton enters for the musical being pulled by the dolphins.
- He can also be seen as a skeleton in the film James and The Giant Peach (1996).
- Even though Donald made his official debut in The Wise Little Hen, his first appearance was on the back cover of a 1931 storybook called The Adventures of Mickey Mouse. He was also mentioned by name inside.
- He has the most published non-superhero comic books in the world.
- Donald is said to be modeled after the Crested Duck breed.
- When Donald celebrated his 50th anniversary, Disney had 50 Peking Ducks follow Donald around Disneyland.
- Donald has undergone a huge evolution within the park.
What is your favorite piece of Donald Duck trivia?
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