On this Day in Movie History, June 9, 1934: Donald Duck Debuts

Donald Duck

It was on this day, June 9, 1934 Walt Disney’s famous ducky made his first appearance (as a bit player) on film — in “The Wise Little Hen”. Donald Duck is a funny animal cartoon character created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions. An anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet, along with his friend Mickey Mouse, Donald is one of the most popular Disney characters and was included in TV Guide’s list of the 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time in 2002.

Donald Duck rose to fame with his comedic roles in animated cartoons. Donald’s first appearance was in The Wise Little Hen (1934), but it was his second appearance in Orphan’s Benefit which introduced him as a temperamental comic foil to Mickey Mouse.

After the 1956 film Chips Ahoy, Donald appeared primarily in educational films before eventually returning to theatrical animation in Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983).

Beyond animation Donald is primarily known for his appearances in comics, both in newspaper strips and comic books. Donald was most famously drawn by Al Taliaferro, Carl Barks, and Don Rosa. Barks in particular is credited for greatly expanding the “duck universe”, the world in which Donald lives, and creating many additional characters such as Donald’s maternal uncle Scrooge McDuck.

Today Donald is a very popular character in Europe, particularly in the Low Countries and Scandinavian countries where his weekly magazine has remained the most popular comics publication for over 50 years.

Birthdays
1926 – Mona Freeman (actress: National Velvet, Black Beauty, Dear Ruth, Battle Cry)

1931 – Joe Santos (Minieri) (actor: The Rockford Files, The Panic in Needle Park, Shamus, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Blue Thunder, The Last Boy Scout, Sinatra, Trial by Jury)

1935 – Diana Van der Vlis (actress: X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, The Incident, The Girl in Black Stockings, Ryan’s Hope; died Oct 22, 2001)

1936 – Jackie Mason (Jacob Moshe Maza) (comedian: Chicken Soup, The World According to Me, The Jerk, Caddyshack 2, History of the World: Part 1; ordained rabbi)

1961 – Michael J. Fox (actor: Back to the Future, The Secret of My Success, Bright Lights Big City, Doc Hollywood, Greedy, For Love or Money, Family Ties; voice of bulldog puppy in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey)

1963 – Johnny Depp (John Christopher Depp III) (actor: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Arizona Dreams, Nick of Time, Dead Man, Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco, Don Juan DeMarco, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Edward Scissorhands, Platoon, A Nightmare on Elm Street, 21 Jump Street, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)

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