Disney honors 90 years of Donald Duck

Walt Disney Animation Studios will release a new Donald short for the first time in 63 years.

ByAmy Becker OTRC logo
Saturday, June 8, 2024 12:42AM
Disney honors 90 years of Donald Duck
Disney celebrates 90 years of Donald Duck with a new animated short, the first since 1961.

LOS ANGELES -- For 90 years, Donald Duck has been a favorite character among children and adults alike.

When he first made his debut as a supporting character in the 1934 short "The Wise Little Hen," he couldn't help but steal the show... and our hearts.

On The Red Carpet spoke to the director of Walt Disney Archives, Becky Cline, about Donald's history.

"The U.S. government came to Walt Disney and said, 'Can we use your duck?' At that point, they started using him to do things like "The New Spirit' and 'The Spirit of '43,'" she explained. The two shorts were meant to encourage people to pay their taxes in order to help the war effort During WWII.

Donald's popularity was on the rise. In 1943, Donald starred in the anti-Nazi political satire "Der Fuehrer's Face," which won the Academy Award for the best cartoon short.

With over 150 short films under his belt (more than any other Disney character), you couldn't miss him. He had his own dolls. His face was on t-shirts. There was even Donald Duck-themed orange juice!

Now, in celebration of his 90th anniversary, Disney has created a line of Donald Duck merchandise.

"We're trying to stay true to trends. We're trying to stylize Donald character art as well, but keeping his character integrity, his personality. It's very, very important," said Stephane Kardos, Vice President of Character Art and Global Creative.

And, for the first time since 1961, Disney is releasing a new Donald Duck short called "D.I.Y. Duck."

"It's a small but mighty crew to put it all together," Mark Henn, a renowned animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios told us.

Current voice of the iconic character, Tony Anselmo, walked us through finding Donald's voice. "It's things I have to do in my mouth, muscles that I use that took years to tighten." He even gave us a sample.

"D.I.Y. Duck," along with two newly-restored shorts, "Crazy Over Daisy (1950)" and "Out on a Limb (1950)," will debut June 9 on Disney+, as well as Walt Disney Animation Studios' YouTube, Disney Channel, and Freeform.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney+, Disney Channel, Freeform and this ABC station.