83 Years Ago Today, Daffy Duck Debuted in “Porky’s Duck Hunt”
On April 17, 1937, Daffy Duck made his debut as a secondary character in a Porky Pig cartoon. However, in "Porky's Duck Hunt", the over-the-top-crazy fowl stole the pic from the pig. The cartoon short, directed by animation legend Tex Avery, featured Porky Pig as the frustrated hunter and Daffy as the maniacal duck taunting him(and mugging for the camera) every step of the way. "Porky's Duck Hunt' proved to be very popular with movie audiences. At the time, people were not used to seeing a cartoon character that was so completely unrestrained, unhinged and combative. Porky was the star, but people were leaving theaters talking about the crazy duck.
As a child watching classic Warner Bros. cartoons, I always considered Bugs Bunny to be my favorite character. Now as an adult(although I still love the "wascally wabbit"), I've learned to appreciate Daffy a whole lot more. Daffy's cartoons, it seems to me now, are funnier. And because of Daffy's personality, he could be paired with almost any other character in the Warner Bros. cartoon stable. He and Bugs appeared in several cartoons together that are absolute classics such as the "Duck Season/Rabbit Season" trilogy, "Ali Baba Bunny", "The Abominable Snow Rabbit", "The Million Hare" and "A Star is Bored". There are several others featuring the duo.
Perhaps my favorite Daffy cartoons, though, are the ones that team him up with Porky Pig. If you took a look at a list of the greatest/funniest cartoons of all-time, chances are that you'll find several on that list featuring the duck and the pig. From the early 1050's thru the mid-1960's, animators had the idea to parody popular movies and TV shows and they almost always used Daffy and Porky. Classics too numerous to mention but including, "Drip-Along Daffy"(a parody of Westerns and Hopalong Cassidy), "Robin Hood Daffy", "Duck Dodgers in the 24 and a Half Century"(a parody of Buck Rogers), "The Scarlet Pumpernickel", "Rocket Squad"(a parody of Dragnet), and "The Ducksters"(a parody of game shows with Daffy putting Porky through some incredible tortures until Porky gets his revenge in the end).
My favorite Daffy cartoon might have to be one where he was all by his lonesome. "Duck Amuck" from 1953 is considered to be one of the greatest animated masterpieces of all time. Director Chuck Jones has Daffy tormented throughout the entire cartoon by the paintbrush of the unseen animator who continually alters the scenery, the settings, even Daffy himself. Of course, by the cartoon's end, we learn just exactly who the animator is:
Daffy, thanks for 83 years of laughter. You Da Man!!! Ooops! You Da Duck!