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April 17: Daffy Duck

April 17, 2014

Daffy Duck Cartoon Vector 1-500x500Daffy Duck made his first appearance on this date in 1937 as a bit player in “Porky’s Duck Hunt,” starring Porky Pig. Mel Blanc provided the voice for Daffy, and would do so for 52 years, a world record. In the hands of various cartoon directors, Daffy proved to be a very elastic character, but always with a hint of hysteria and hyperactivity. During World War II, Daffy battled a Nazi goat intent on eating Daffy’s scrap metal in “Scrap Happy Daffy,” and also hit Adolf Hitler over the head with a giant mallet in “Daffy the Commando.” In the 1950s and ’60s, Daffy Duck was frequently paired with Porky Pig and, in a rivalrous manner, with Warner Brothers’ most popular character, Bugs Bunny (all three characters were voiced by Blanc). Film critic Steve Schneider calls Daffy “a kind of unleashed id” that “expresses all of the things we’re afraid to express.” Today, the irrepressible duck is voiced by Jeff Bergman, who also has replaced the late Mel Blanc for Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and numerous others. To see Daffy in action in 1943, look below.

“Well, kids, don’t let anyone tell you this show isn’t realistic!” -Daffy Duck