It was 1934 when the irascible Donald Duck came to life in a teeny bit of a part in "The Wise Little Hen" and proceeded to steal the show. From that point on nobody could hold him back, and the much loved cranky character went on to be the most prolific of Walt's "fabulous five." Now for the first time, you can enjoy the Donald in all of his solo starring shorts from "Donald And Pluto" in 1936 to "Chef Donald" in 1941. This volume also includes a loving tribute to the man who achieved immortality by inventing the voice of Donald Duck -- and performing as his alter ego for 50 years -- Clarence "Ducky" Nash. Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come. .
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Although the book The Adventures of Mickey Mouse (1931) listed Donald Duck as one of Mickey's friends, he didn't appear on screen until the "Silly Symphony" "The Wise Little Hen," three years later. Donald's personality began to gel in "The Orphan's Benefit" (1934, on Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White), when he threw his first temper tantrum. He began as dumpy-looking character with a long beak and thick legs, but was soon redesigned and made more appealing.
Donald's firecracker temper made him a favorite with audiences--and the Disney artists. By the late '30s/early '40s Mickey was no longer allowed to kick someone, break a window, or get into a really embarrassing situation. Donald was, and he did. If Donald encountered a mechanical device, from an outboard motor to a waffle iron to a riveting gun, the results were sure to be disastrous. He was routinely outwitted by chipmunks, ants, bees, and his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, who came to visit in 1938 and stayed for more than 60 years.
The Donald Duck shorts featured some of the broadest slapstick comedy the Disney studio ever produced. They lack the razor-sharp timing, extreme takes, and wild gags the animators at Warner Bros. and MGM were developing at this time. But they're still funny and retain a nostalgic charm, especially such classics as "Don Donald," "The Autograph Hound," "Mr. Duck Steps Out," and "Put-Put Troubles." (Rated G, suitable for ages 8 and older: cartoon violence, tobacco use, minor ethnic stereotyping) --Charles Solomon
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