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Donald Duck


Donald debuted in the cartoon The Wise Little Hen June 9, 1934 (IMDb entry). His first appearance in comics was in the comics adaptation of that the same year in the Silly Symphonies comic series.

Related characters

Donald lives in Duckburg with his three nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. Other than that his most important relatives are his uncle Scrooge McDuck, his cousin Gladstone Gander, and Grandma Duck.

Probably the only time he refers to his mother in a story by Barks is in WDC 57 where he has disguised himself and says: My own mother wouldn't know me now!

He has a girlfriend, Daisy Duck.

In some Italian stories Donald has a super-hero alias, Superduck.


There is nothing in the works of Carl Barks that indicates what Donald's birthday is.

One early reference is in the movie The Three Caballeros (1945) (IMDb entry), which takes place on Donald's birthday, which then fell on Friday the 13th. If the movie is supposed to take place in 1944 the only Friday 13 then is in October. In 1945 April and July would be possible, but in that case the movie took place in the future, as it was released in February 1945.

When a month has been given explicitly it has been March 13, like in Donald's Happy Birthday from 1949 (IMDb entry). That has been adapted into a comic story by Freddy Milton and Daan Jippes.

(Note that there are legends about these dates that associate them with actual dates in our world, like the day Donald first was drawn at the Disney studio. There is no truth to this, though.)

Nowadays most often the date of Donald's screen debut (June 9) is used for his birthday inside the frame as well. That's the case in Don Rosa's stories for example.

In Marco Rota's Buon compeanno, Paperino (= Happy Birthday, Donald) Donald says that he was born September 16, 1934 (i.e., date of first appearance in comics), but in the Italian reprint ten years later that was changed to June 9, 1934.

The year of Donald's birth is 1920 according to Don Rosa.


[By David Gerstein:]

On covers Donald has a blue sailor suit, but in the comics he has a black sailor suit. That may seem strange, but there is a rational explanation.

In cartoons, Donald's shirt is of course blue. Combined with his white body, it makes for great, visually appealing contrast. When Donald first appeared in comics - in the full-color Sunday funnies - the desire for contrast continued, so the blue was kept.

The problem came when Donald entered daily (i.e. non-colored) newspaper comics of his own, in 1938. The shirt that had been colored blue would now print as white. No contrast. So the decision came to make the shirt black - thus preserving the desired contrast even on a black-and-white newspaper page.

When Western Publishing reprinted these daily newspaper strips in their comic books (starting in 1940), it was easier simply to leave the shirt black - even in full color - than to bleach it out and recolor it blue.

And when Western then began to create Donald Duck comic book stories of their own (1942), they wanted them to be of-a-piece with the DD newspaper strips they were then running. The majority of these strips, at the time, were dailies (i.e. black shirt). So Barks and others gave Donald a black shirt in the new comic book stories, disregarding the reason that the black shirt was originally used.

Other sources

Rich Bellacera's HooZoo page.

Find the names in other languages for: Donald Duck

Last updated April 23, 2000.

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