June 9th is Donald Oliver Duckling’s birthday. Who’s that, you ask? Come on, you’ve heard of him! He has also been called Donald Fauntleroy duck. Really? Still nothing? What about…Donald Duck? There it is. Yep, June 9th is Donald Duck Day and, arguably, his birthday.
Sure, Mickey Mouse appeared in 135 theatrical cartoons, had his own afternoon T.V. show, and is universally recognized as the most identifiable trademark. It’s always nice to realize a cartoon character is far and away more successful than we are. Donald Duck, however, is the only cartoon character to have his family tree exposed via comic book volumes. Take that, Mickey! He’s also the only animated character to serve as the mascot for the University of Oregon’s sports team. They’re The Ducks, by the way.
Let’s see–what else does Donald Duck have to show for himself? Well, he’s the fifth-most-published comic-book character in the format’s history. He’s behind Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and Wolverine–but come on, they’re superheroes. They can do anything. Donald Duck is a duck. A pretty cool duck…but still a duck.
He first appeared in the Silly Symphonies cartoon “The Wise Little Hen,” which was released on June 9 — makes sense, doesn’t it? — 1934. For most of his 79 years, Donald Duck has looked the same: He’s a white duck wearing a sailor’s suit — because that’s what ducks do, okay? — without any pants, and a red or black bow-tie. He’s also pretty hard to understand because his words are more squawked than enunciated. But, hey, what did you expect? Donald Duck is also well known for his hot temper. He’s loud, stubborn, and he brags a lot. Actually, he sounds a lot like a toddler, doesn’t he?
Who do we have to thank for this stubborn, half-naked duck? There’s Dick Lundy, who designed Donald Duck’s basic look; Clarence ‘Ducky’ Nash, who provided the inspiration for Disney to create the duck and also gave him his voice from 1934 until 1985; and Carl Brooks. Brooks is the guy who drew and populated the town of Ducksburg with cubist pygmies and assorted duck relatives, such as Uncle Scrooge McDuck and The Beagle Boys.
So, here we are celebrating Donald Duck on his birthday, which is also known as Donald Duck Day. Maybe you still have a few comics lying around in your basement. Now’s the time to show them off to your kids. While Donald Duck might have a short temper, his undeniable loyalty to his friends makes him a great role model for your little ones. Let them follow in his footsteps — just make sure they wear pants.