Donald Fauntleroy Duck is a cartoon character created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions. Donald is an anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He typically wears a sailor shirt and cap with a bow tie. Donald is known for his semi-intelligible speech and his mischievous and temperamental personality. Along with his friend Mickey Mouse, Donald was included in TV Guide's list of the 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time in 2002. He has appeared in more films than any other Disney character, and is the most published comic book character in the world outside of the superhero genre.
Donald Duck appeared in comedic roles in animated cartoons. Donald's first appearance was in The Wise Little Hen (1934), but it was his second appearance in Orphan's Benefit which introduced him as a temperamental comic foil to Mickey Mouse. Throughout the next two decades, Donald appeared in over 150 theatrical films, several of which were recognized at the Academy Awards. In the 1930s, he typically appeared as part of a comic trio with Mickey and Goofy and was given his own film series starting with Don Donald (1937). These films introduced Donald's love interest Daisy Duck and often included his three nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. After the film Chips Ahoy (1956), Donald appeared primarily in educational films before eventually returning to theatrical animation in Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983). His last appearance in a theatrical film was in Fantasia 2000 (1999). However, since then Donald has appeared in direct-to-video features such as Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004), television series such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006–2016), and video games such as QuackShot (1991).
Beyond animation, Donald is primarily known for his appearances in comics. Donald was most famously drawn by Al Taliaferro, Carl Barks, and Don Rosa. Barks, in particular, is credited for greatly expanding the "Donald Duck universe", the world in which Donald lives, and creating many additional characters such as Donald's rich uncle Scrooge McDuck. Donald has been a popular character in Europe, particularly in Nordic countries where his weekly magazine Donald Duck & Co was the comics publication with the highest circulation from the 1950s to 2009. In Italy, Donald is a major character in many comics in which his juvenile version Paperino Paperotto and his superhero alter ego Paperinik (Duck Avenger in the US and Superduck in the UK) were created.
History with the Macy's Parade
Original Donald Duck
Donald first appeared as a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1935, joining a wave of Disney balloons that had been created the previous year. Appearing alongside him were three smaller Donald balloons. Modeled after an early Christmas ornament, Donald sported the skinny neck, plump body, and long beak of his cartoon counterpart. Unfortunately, an extreme amount of rain caused the balloon's neck to give way, resulting in his head and neck struggling to stay aloft. Perhaps due to this, the balloon was retired after its only appearance in 1935, alongside all the other Disney balloons.
Modern Donald Duck
Over twenty-five years later, Macy's teamed up with Disney to create a brand-new Donald balloon, making the dyspeptic duck the first cartoon character to ever receive more than one balloon in the parade. Smaller balloons based on Huey, Dewey, and Louie were intended to accompany him, but concerns about them appearing disproportionate to their uncle caused them to be scrapped. The 60-foot balloon made its debut in 1962, echoing its predecessor by being swamped with rain. Unlike the first duck, however, it was kept in the lineup for a second year, a move that quickly allowed Donald to be established as one of the parade's classics. The balloon was set to be retired after 1971 due to wear and tear, but intense wind and rain resulted in the balloon appearing in the following year's parade. In contrast to most balloons, Donald's retirement was mentioned on the NBC telecast, with Lorne Greene and Betty White breaking the news.
Twelve years after his final flight, Donald was restored to pristine condition to celebrate his fiftieth birthday and was given the honor of leading the parade to Herald Square in 1984. Donald also made appearances in the 1985 and 1986 editions of the Macy's-Egleston Christmas Parade, after which he was retired for good.
In early 1991, Macy's began taking out Goodyear balloons and testing them out, seeing which ones were still considered flyable for that year's 65th anniversary Parade. Surprisingly, one of these balloons were Donald Duck, alongside the Linus, Happy, and Smokey balloons. Despite of the temperamental duck being in good condition, he never made it to the 1991 Parade or any Parade afterwards most likely due to licencing issues, even though all of the other aforementioned balloons returned to the line of march at some point between 1991-1993.
Sometime after the balloon's 1991 test flight, the parade studio would make it seem as if the balloon would never fly again, and as such, Donald was disposed of alongside many of his Goodyear contemporaries.
Two floats featuring Donald were created in 1939 and 1946, respectively. Both floats were retired after their debut. Walkarounds of Donald appeared on Disney floats from the late 1960s into the 1980s. A more recent walkaround appeared in the 2005 Parade on the 50th Anniversary of Disney Parks Magic float, along with Mickey, many other Disney characters, and country singer LeAnn Rimes, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Disney parks and resorts.
- In 1962, When the balloon was going through 40th Street. The balloon was caught in a wind swirl, The balloon-tipped forward and his nose scraped the pavement below, Fortunately, The balloon was not damaged.
- In 1963, one of the Goodyear workers accidentally stepped on the balloon's left foot, causing it to deflate.
- In 1971, Donald, along with every other balloon, could not be inflated due to extreme weather.
- In 1972, he had his right hand deflated by a tree.
- In 1935, the balloon's handlers had problems with keeping the balloon's neck straight because of his design at the time, so he was looking at the sky for most of his appearance due to the winds.
- The second Donald Duck balloon's arms were bent in most of his appearances.
Listed below are the music tracks that played during the balloon's appearances on the NBC telecast.
- "Huckleberry Duck", composed by David Caroll (1962-1972)
- As mentioned before, Donald is the first character to receive 2 balloons in the parade.