Celebrating an animated icon

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A mere 88 years ago today, June 9, 1934, Walt Disney’s character Donald Duck debuted.
He began essentially as a comic-book character and by many accounts remains the most published “non-superhero” ever.
The popularity has led to National Donald Duck Day, which is an opportunity to recognize the duck that often loses his temper and finds himself getting into rather comical situations. Certainly not as funny as Goofy, who came along later, Donald’s character fit into a variety of roles.
Legend has it that Disney wanted a more “edgier” character which would kind of counter-balance the always upbeat and optimistic persona of Mickey Mouse.
Wearing the blue sailor suit coupled without pants, he apparently has appeared in more short films and feature films than any other Disney character. Perhaps one feature that connects Donald to the audience is his ability to keep finding himself in unique situations and is left to his own devices to find a way out of those challenging situations.
In addition to his signature outfit, Donald Duck’s major defining feature is his unique voice.
Many grew up watching Donald Duck cartoons, and the character certainly has been influential.
He is one of 17 animated characters to have a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This occurred nearly two decades ago, in Aug. 9, 2004.
Donald appeared in nearly 130 short animations during the 1940s, and this led to his rapid growth in popularity.
Donald Duck’s debut short was titled “Don Donald” and lasted just eight minutes. In 1942, Donald was shown in several animated short films with World War II themes.
Donald even won an Oscar the animated film “Der Fuehrer’s Face” in 1943.
Walt Disney studios stopped most of its production in the 1940s, but Donald appeared in many of its propaganda films.
Donald Duck has appeared in seven animated feature films, which is more than all of his other Disney friends. Later in the 1940s (1947 to be exact), Walt Disney approved Donald Duck as the official mascot for the University of Oregon’s Fighting Ducks.
Perhaps younger audiences fondly remember Donald as the uncle to Huey, Dewey and Louise, the trio that lived with Scrooge McDuck in the short-lived “DuckTales” cartoon show. Those three often found themselves in one adventure after another while Scrooge attempted to keep others away from his Number One Dime, which was carefully protected in his tower.
Donald was not a regular in that series. However, in the Donald Duck comics, he lives in the town of Duckburg. The cast of characters in that late 1980s show constantly finds themselves battling villains Flint Glomgold and Magica, as well as the Beagle boys.
In addition to Donald Duck Day, two days from now marks another signature day event on the entertainment history calendar. The science fiction film, ET, which was produced for an estimated $10 million and made nearly $800 million, was released in theatres Friday, June 11, 1982. Yes, this June 11, marks the 40th anniversary of that film’s release.
It’s one of just six films that spent 10 weeks or more in the no. 1 spot at the box office. E.T. was the top film in the country for 16 straight weeks, beating out Titanic (15 weeks), Tootise and Beverly Hills Cop (both 14 weeks), Home Alone (12 weeks), Back to the Future (11 weeks) and Ghostbusters (10 weeks).
-Thanks (again) for reading!
Daniel Winningham is the managing editor of the Republic-Monitor. He can be reached at 573-547-4567, ext. 227 or email editor@perryvillenews.com.

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