Published on July 11, 2016
Donald Duck is a cartoon character created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions. Donald is an anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He typically wears a sailor shirt and cap with a black, red or blue bow tie. Donald is most famous for his semi-intelligible speech, his mischievous and temperamental personality, and his being depicted without pants. 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. He has appeared in more films than any other Disney character, and is the most published comic book character in the world outside of the superhero genre.
Donald Duck rose to fame with his comedic roles in animated cartoons. Donald’s first appearance was in 1934 in The Wise Little Hen, but it was his second appearance in Orphan’s Benefit which introduced him as a temperamental comic foil to Mickey Mouse. Throughout the next two decades Donald appeared in over 150 theatrical films, several of which were recognized at the Academy Awards. In the 1930s, he typically appeared as part of a comic trio with Mickey and Goofy, and was given his own film series in 1937 starting with Don Donald. These films introduced Donald’s love interest Daisy Duck and often included his three nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. After the 1956 film Chips Ahoy, Donald appeared primarily in educational films before eventually returning to theatrical animation in Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983). His most recent appearance in a theatrical film was 1999’s Fantasia 2000. Donald has also appeared in direct-to-video features such as Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004), television series such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006–2013), and video games such as QuackShot (1991).
Beyond animation Donald is primarily known for his appearances in comics. Donald was most famously drawn by Al Taliaferro, Carl Barks, and Don Rosa. Barks in particular is credited for greatly expanding the “Donald Duck universe”, the world in which Donald lives, and creating many additional characters such as Donald’s rich uncle Scrooge McDuck. Donald has been a very popular character in Europe, particularly in Nordic countries where his weekly magazine Donald Duck & Co was the most popular comics publication from the 1950s to 2009. Disney comics’ fandom is sometimes referred to as “Donaldism”, a term which originated in Norway (Norwegian: Donaldisme).