Donald was created by Walt Disney after hearing voice performer Clarence Nash using a duck-like voice to recite the nursery rhyme ‘Mary had a little lamb’. Thereafter Nash continued to supply his voice to the character for fifty years. Having found an ideal voice, Walt Disney then created a cartoon series, ‘Silly Syphonies’. Donald first appeared on 9 June 1934 in ‘The Wise Little Hen’. The director of this first cartoon brought Donald back in his Mickey Mouse cartoon ‘Orphan’s Benefit’ in August of the same year.
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Character traits of Donald Duck
Donald’s clothes, with a sailor suit and bow tie, have changed little over the years, though since his first appearance his body is now plumper and his feet bigger. Many of his character traits, such as his belligerence and easily provoked temper, are also similar to the original.
Family of Donald Duck
Donald’s nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie first appeared in the 1938 film ‘Donald’s Nephews’, whereas Daisy Duck had already featured as Donald’s girlfriend in a 1937 cartoon. Around this time Donald began to overtake Mickey Mouse in popularity. His uncle Scrooge McDuck, who first appeared in 1967, is also very well known and appears in many cartoons.
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During the Second World War Donald appeared in propaganda films against the Nazis. Due to these films he became a mascot for various US aircraft squadrons and also appeared in educational films. He is also featured in many books and comics large and small and is as popular as ever. One of the best examples of American propaganda was a cartoon showing Donald working in a factory operated by the Nazis in Germany. It was a satire called ‘Der Fuehrers Face’. The film received an Oscar in 1943 as the Best Animated Short Film. In 1994 the film was voted number 22 of ‘The Greatest Cartoons of All Time’.