07 June 2009

Donald Duck ...the War Hero

Donald Duck’s 75th birthday is this upcoming Tuesday. Hatching out of a successful role in the 1934 feature The Wise Little Hen, Donald has been quacking us up ever since. With his mix of emotional turmoil, from outright frenzied fury to one of the most warm hearts of any Disney character, and his inability to be understood, Donald has secured his place in the hearts of many.

25 years ago, for Donald’s 50th birthday, The Disneyana Collector ran an article entitled Donald Duck …the History Maker …the War Hero …the Award Winner. While the entire article is terrific, the section on Donald during World War II was particularly fascinating. Presented below, in honor of his upcoming birthday, is that unique section.
World War II served to reinforce Donald’s established stardom at the Disney Studios. He was drafted into the Army early in the war, his induction notice dated March 24, 1941.

On January 1, 1943, Disney Studios released one of its wartime cartoons, Der Fuehrer’s Face, starring Donald in Nutziland. The Studio received an Academy Award for Der Fuehrer’s Face, judged the best cartoon subject of 1942-43.

Of the more than two thousand emblems and insignia created by Disney artists for the various services during World War II, more than 400 of them featured Donald Duck, making him the number one Disney character favored by the armed forces. It seems that Donald was better suited to portray rage against the enemy than any other character. The designs were used on buttons, special flags, decals, wall plaques and lapel pins; some were made into patches to be worn by servicemen; and still others decorated ships, tanks, and the noses of Air Force bombers.

1 comment:

Princess Fee said...

Happy Birthday Donald Duck #1!!