‘You're Despicable!’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About Daffy Duck

‘You're Despicable!’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About Daffy Duck

Daffy Duck truly is the character who brings the loony to Looney Tunes. Originally created by legendary animators Tex Avery and Bob Clampett, the toon who made his debut under Leon Schlesinger Productions is known for his kooky and fiery temperament — and he sure is quick to tell whoever crosses his path how “deththpicable!” they are. Chuck Jones, who got to direct many of Daffy’s finest cartoon short films and whose version of the often malicious mallard is the best known, once explained, “Daffy has courage that most of us just don’t have. Daffy expresses all the things we’re afraid to express.”

Click right here to get the best of Cracked sent to your inbox.

What follows is a look at Daffy’s humble origins as a no-name duck and the many evolutions the character has had over the years, including that time he was used to dunk on those damn Nazis…

What’s in a Name?

The black duck with his signature white ring around his neck first popped up in the 1937 black-and-white Tex Avery cartoon Porky’s Duck Hunt as a wily little fella who thwarts Porky’s hunting plans. He didn’t have a name yet, and only referred to himself as “a crazy, darn-fooled duck,” but he already had the markings of his signature speech pattern and his penchant for mischief.

It’s also important to note that Daffy Duck technically debuted before Bugs Bunny since Bugs’ first ever appearance (as his earliest version) would only happen a little over a year later in Porky’s Hare Hunt.

Daffy Duck Was an Immediate Hit

“At that time, audiences weren’t accustomed to seeing a cartoon character do these things,” Clampett once explained following the release of Porky’s Duck Hunt. “And so, when it hit the theaters, it was like an explosion. People would leave the theaters talking about this ‘daffy duck.’” Daffy was officially christened in his follow-up 1938 short, Daffy Duck and Egghead.

Chuck Jones Gave Daffy His Intemperate Personality

Over the years, many animators and directors have had their hand in the evolution of the little duck who just wanted to swim in his pond and not have anyone point a gun at him. While Avery and Clampett created the toon’s voice and look, it was Jones who feathered out Daffy’s personality as a self-serving, more aggravated cartoon duck. Jones’ 1952 Merrie Melodies short, Rabbit Seasoning, is an example of Daffy being the peevish character we all know him to be today.

Robert McKimson was responsible for the redesign of Daffy (as first seen in the 1946 short, Daffy Doodles), and animator and director Friz Freleng worked closely with Jones and McKimson to transform the character “from being less loony to more greedy.”

’Duck Amuck’ Is a Cartoon Masterpiece

The 1953 short that sees Daffy trying his best to get on with his business while his surroundings keep changing at the hand of some mysterious animator (spoiler: it’s Bugs) is not only regarded by many as one of the best cartoon shorts ever, but in 1999 the one where Daffy gets turned into a flower was also added to the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

All the Voice Actors in the World

A total of 27 actors have been credited for voicing Daffy over the years — in everything from cartoons to commercials to that one time he showed up on Robot Chicken. Mel Blanc, of course, remains the famous voice behind the lisping duck, but Sir Tom Jones once provided his own voice for Daffy in Duck Dodgers, and Clampett supplied Daffy’s vocal effects in the fantastic Fantasia parody, A Corny Concerto.

Daffy’s Voice Is Believed to Be Based on Leon Schlesinger

It’s widely believed that the animators decided on Daffy’s high-pitched voice because it closely resembled that of their producer. Schlesinger thought the voice was hilarious but apparently didn’t know he was the inspiration behind it.

Daffy’s War Hero Years

Daffy was, in many ways, a vehicle for animation directors to vent their frustrations with both Hollywood studios and the world at large. During the early 1940s, Daffy would often be seen as some hell-bent patriotic hero taking on any Nazi fascist with absolute lunacy. Steve Schneider, author of the book, That’s All Folks!, wrote that Daffy’s new evolution made sense at the time: “If the duck’s lack of self-restraint permits him to do anything, let him do it against the enemy.”

Daffy’s Greedy Years

The years between 1954 and 1957 have been dubbed Daffy’s “Greedy Bastard Years” as Jones went all out on the duck’s lust for anything that shines. During this time, Daffy’s only motivation seemed to be money and riches, seeing him willing to do any old despicable thing to satisfy his greed. It’s during this time that one of his famous catchphrases, “Mine, mine mine!” was developed — as seen in the clip below from the 1954 short Ali Baba Bunny.

Daffy’s Dark Years

While the voice and style of Daffy remained within certain parameters throughout his evolution, every new director and/or animator who got to work on the sufferin’ waterfowl brought their own interpretation to the table. Between 1965 and 1968, Warner Bros. outsourced their production to DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, and it was during this time that Daffy — paired with Speedy Gonzales for some inexplicable reason — became more antagonistic, malicious and begrudging.

The 1968 short, See Ya Later Gladiator, is regarded as the worst cartoon ever made by Warner Bros. and ended up being the last time Daffy and Speedy would appear together as the studio realized they had to make some changes.

Silent for Two Decades

Following the blunder that was Daffy’s cartoons in the 1960s, Warner Bros. focused on some of their newer properties as well as the syndication of their cartoons, and our favorite loony mallard all but disappeared from screens for nearly two decades. In 1987, on Daffy’s 50th anniversary, The Duxorcist was released in theaters, and Daffy was officially back.

George Lucas Wanted Daffy Duck to Screen Alongside ’Star Wars’

In 1953, Jones and company created Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century, where Daffy first appears as space hero Duck Dodgers, who blows up an entire planet alongside Marvin the Martian. Lucas was a mega-fan of the short — so much so that he wanted the short to open for his first space saga entry back in 1977. According to Mark Hamill, they couldn’t get the rights for it in the end. “Lucas said that he saw Duck Dodgers the year it came out when he was eight years old, and he said that it impressed him so much that he decided he wanted to make movies,” Jones told animation historian Jim Korkis.

Still, Lucas tried, suggesting they do a sequel to the first Duck Dodgers short to open for The Empire Strikes Back, but Jones said it just couldn’t happen at the time because “Warners had been closed for years. Friz and I had been doing some television specials using the characters, but I had to work hard to reassemble some of my old team.” Jones said that they did try to create a sequel, but it wasn’t finished in time for the 1980 Star Wars release. However, the whole thing did spawn the bit in the 1980 TV special, Daffy Duck’s Thanks-for-Giving Special, where Daffy pitches a sequel of Duck Dodgers to the studio.

Jones Related to Daffy Duck, A Lot

Jones told NPR during an interview that while all the characters were a part of him, Daffy Duck and Wile E. Coyote were more so than the others. “Particularly Daffy and the coyote, because they made the kind of mistakes that most of us make only multiplied a bit,” Jones explained. “Daffy was an interesting character, I think because he could — he would rush in and fear to tread at the same time, and he also could be fawning and overbearing at the same time. And I think that happens with very many of us when we — sometimes in the reverse — when we go in to talk to the boss and ask for a raise, we’re overbearing. When we get inside, we’re fawning. But Daffy is both at the same time.”

Daffy Has Been Used in Most of the ‘Looney Tunes’ Movie Spoofs

While Looney Tunes have often parodied movies and movie genres, Daffy Duck seems to be the go-to character for these funny lampoons. It makes sense, too, since Daffy is a wise-cracking, holds-no-prisoners kind of fella with a keen understanding of all things wacky.

Daffy Duck Single-Handedly Changed the Definition of a Word

Before Daffy called Elmer Fudd a “nimrod,” and folks took it as an insult in the vein of saying “buffoon,” the word had a less negative meaning as it simply referred to a “mighty hunter.” Daffy Duck, then, is clearly an example of how easy it is to conjure up a negative connotation to a word — just say it with sarcasm.

Daffy Duck Had an Album That Charted in the U.K.

Called Party Zone, the album managed to peak at number 58 on the U.K. charts in 1991.


Scroll down for the next article


Forgot Password?