10 Things You May Not Know About Donald Duck
1. Donald Duck’s birthday is June 9, 1934, making him nearly six years younger than Mickey Mouse. Unlike Mickey, who had a name change after he was created, Donald’s moniker has always been the same. But Donald has something that Mickey doesn’t have: a middle name. Quick quiz, what is it?
2. Donald Duck was created partly because Mickey Mouse had become too “nice.” Audiences expected Mickey to behave and to be the good guy, so Donald was brought in to be his mischievous counterpart. But why a duck? You might expect that a great deal of market research and testing went into the decision, but the simple fact is that Walt Disney overheard voice actor Clarence Nash reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in a peculiar duck voice, and Walt liked it. Thus Donald was born.
3. That must have been some reading! Donald Duck went on to recite “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in the 1934 cartoon Orphan’s Benefit, which was his first appearance alongside Mickey Mouse. It wasn’t Donald’s first role however; that distinction goes to the 1934 short The Wise Little Hen. Donald wouldn’t star in his own feature until 1936’s Donald and Pluto.
4. Once Donald got that first leading role, he quickly rose to stardom. In 1937, he started headlining his own cartoons, and by the mid-1940s, he had become more popular than Mickey himself, starring in more than 100 cartoons over the next two decades.
5. Not only does Donald have flat feet (which you might expect; he is a duck after all), he’s also color blind.
6. Daisy Duck may be Donald’s true love, but she wasn’t his first. That honor goes to Donna Duck, who appeared in the 1937 cartoon short Don Donald. Daisy would make her debut three years later in Mr. Duck Steps Out.
7. Donald of course has a trio of famous nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and an equally famous uncle, Uncle Scrooge. But he also has a cousin, Gus Goose, and a grandmother, Elvira Coot. Not to be outdone, Daisy has a set of triplet nieces: April, May, and June.
8. Like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He received his in 2005.
9. Donald may have followed in Mickey’s footsteps when he got his star, but Donald has one honor that Mickey doesn’t have: that of being a mascot for a college athletic program. Donald serves as the fighting duck mascot for the University of Oregon, whose team is officially known as the Ducks.
10. Donald also holds the distinction of being the first classic Disney character to have a starring role in an Epcot attraction, when Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros opened in 2007. (By classic, we’re referring to the older animated characters. Nemo doesn’t quite fit the bill, even though the Seas with Nemo & Friends opened six months earlier.) By the way, of the Three Caballeros, Panchito Pistoles (the rooster) is the only true Mexican character of the trio. José Carioca (the parrot) is from Brazil, and of course Donald is from the good old U. S. of A.
Did you think we forgot? Donald Duck’s middle name is Fauntleroy.