Daffy Duck Turns 82 – Highlights from the 4/17 Rock and Roll Revisited

Up Front:

Early taste tests of Coca Cola Orange/Vanilla sound promising. What’s your take? Via @FoodAndWine

Samsung debuted its pricey but promising Galaxy Fold phone. With Video Via @MarkGurman.

Spacex gets a $69-million NASA contract to deflect an asteroid. Via @Bloomberg

Travel Hacking: How Whatsapp can save you money on the road.

Shop Talk: It’s a leading (not lagging) indicator but as Fred Jacobs writes, there are definitely clouds on Facebook’s horizon where brands are concerned. An opening for an innovative competitor to disrupt. Via @jacobsmedia

Today In History:

1790, U.S. statesman, printer, scientist and writer Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia at age 84.

1912, The sister ship of the doomed RMS Titanic, the Olympic, radioed in that survivors of the ocean liner sinking were rescued and safely on board the RMS Carpathia.

1961, A force of anti-Castro rebels began the Bay of Pigs Invasion in an attempt to overthrow Cuba’s new communist government.

1964, Leading the band Them, an 18-year-old Van Morrison rocks the Maritime Hotel, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is the group’s debut performance.

1969, A jury found Sirhan B. Sirhan guilty of first-degree murder for the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

1970, With the world anxiously watching on television, Apollo 13, a U.S. lunar spacecraft that sustained a severe malfunction on its journey to the moon, safely returned to Earth.

1970, Paul McCartney‘s 1st solo album “McCartney” is released.

1971, All four Beatles have solo singles in UKcharts: Paul McCartney: Another Day, Ringo Starr: It Don’t come Baby, John Lennon, Power To The People and George Harrison: My Sweet Lord.

1993, A federal jury convicted two Los Angeles police officers and acquitted two others of violating the civil rights of Rodney King during his 1991 arrest and beating.

2003, Gillionaire philanthropist John Paul Getty Jr. died in London at the age of 70.

2018, Former first lady Barbara Bush died at the age of 92 after refusing medical treatment for her failing health. Her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, died less than one year later.

Happy Birthday to:
1896 Senor Wences (d. 1999)
1903 Louis Jean Heydt (d. 1960)
1918 William Holden (d. 1981)
1923 Harry Reasoner (d. 1991)
1934 Don Kirshner (d. 2011)
1937 Daffy Duck
1951 Olivia Hussey
1972 Jennifer Garner

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting: “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ~Kipling


Daffy Duck Turns 82.

Daffy Duck’s First Screen Appearance – 1937

Daffy Duck, a character second only to  Bugs Bunny in popularity in the Looney Tunes /Merrie Melodies cannon, made his first appearance on screen on this date in 1937.

Porky’s Duck Hunt,” directed by Tex Avery and animated by Bob Clampett turned the standard hunter/prey story on its head. It was the first time an assertive, completely unrestrained, combative protagonist appeared in a cartoon. “At that time,” Clampett later recalled, “audiences weren’t accustomed to seeing a cartoon character do these things. And so, when it hit the theaters it was an explosion. People would leave the theaters talking about this daffy duck.”

Daffy morphed into many different personalities, depending on who was directing him. He became less “daffy” over the years, but always retained his jealousy, egotism or attitude. Unlike Bugs, who never detoured much from his New York snark, Daffy was sometimes cast as either a sidekick or star, often with Porky Pig, when the Warner team wanted to send-up a popular movie or TV program. In The Great Piggy Bank Robbery(1946) he was “Duck Twacy” (Dick Tracy). In Drip-Along Daffy (1951), his character parodies Hopalong Cassidy. In Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (1953), a parody of Buck Rogers, Daffy trades barbs (and bullets) with Marvin the Martian. In Rocket Squad (1956), a parody of Dragnet and Racket Squad Daffy and Porky are teamed again. Being a DC Comics kid, my favorite spoof was Stupor Duck where Daffy had super powers ala the Adventures of Superman. (Video Clip)

13 actors have given Daffy his voice. Mel Blanc is the most famous, Mel Tormé is the most unlikely and Frank Gorshin (The Riddler in the Batman TV series) voiced one short in 1996. Blanc’s characterization of Daffy held the world’s record for the longest characterization of one animated character by his or her original actor: 52 years.

In all, Daffy appeared in 130 shorts during what enthusiasts call “The Golden Age“. Bugs starred in 167 while Porky was featured in 160.

Not many remain who saw Looney Tunes as first-runs in the theater. The closest I got to a sense of how audiences reacted was when I was in high school in Ann Arbor. For some reason, a Jay Ward Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon was patched in front of a feature at the Campus theater. Just like Looney Tunes in its day, this was a cartoon aimed not at children, but at an adult audience. The kids may have liked the slapstick, but the grownups totally connected with the subtle comedy sensibilities. For many that night, it was the first time they had seen what their kids were watching. And they loved it.

In the days before television, a visit to the picture show included a newsreel, the latest chapter of a cliff hanger serial, a cartoon and the main attraction. People were in the habit of forking over a bit of their income for a few hours escape from the realities of life. We have a little more control over the content today with the plethora of cable, Internet and on-demand options, but the business model is still the same.

There’s a bit of Daffy in every anthropomorphic creation that has sprung from creative minds since Leon Schlesinger’s team first distilled the formula. Even without the historical context of the time when his films were created, Daffy Duck remains a timeless entertainer that many of us never still love.

What might he say about his enduring popularity? “Desthpicable.”

Learn more about Daffy Duck’s history here.