Amusing Monday: Daffy Duck still on the hit list

Daffy Duck, my favorite cartoon character, underwent quite an evolution through his career — from a small duck swimming on a pond in 1937 to the witty, wisecracker of my childhood, the Daffy we know today.

The earliest Daffy Duck was basically an out-of-control nitwit. During the 1940s, when he starred in more than 40 films, Daffy’s personality changed “from uncontrollable maniac to maniac with brains, who was insane but in control of the situations he found himself in,” according to Matthew Hunter’s “What Makes Daffy Duck?”

During the 1950s, developer Chuck Jones experimented with Daffy’s greed for money. Jones made him “skinnier, beakier and scruffier-lookier,” as Hunter described him.

Daffy was often paired up with Bugs Bunny through the 1950s and ‘60s, and he joined with Speedy Gonzalez in some adventures. The 1970s and ‘80s brought television specials featuring up-to-date animation and a host of Looney Tunes characters all featured in cartoons together.

The first video on this page shows the evolution of Daffy Duck in a WatchMojo feature called “The Origins of Daffy Duck.” The second video, called “Daffy Duck’s Daffiest Moments,” is a 22-minute random wandering throughout Daffy’s acting history.

One of my favorite cartoons is “The Great Piggy Bank Robbery” (1946), in which Daffy becomes “Duck Twacy.” I’m not sure why I like this one so much. It might be because my brother and I used to mimic Daffy’s reaction to the bad buys in the cartoon: “Neon Noodle? Neon Noodle!”

My judgment can’t be all bad, since animation professionals voted “The Great Piggy Bank Robbery” as 16th on the list of the 50 all-time best cartoons. Check out the full list on Wikipedia. The full version of “The Great Piggy Bank Robbery” — including what is now a censored shooting scene — is the third video on this page.

During World War II, Daffy played a role in several patriotic shorts. It’s worth mentioning that Daffy became the mascot for the Army’s 600th Bombardment Squadron. See World War II Bomb Group insignias.

I don’t know if it relates to Daffy’s wartime experience, but he is the subject of an amusing game I found on the Internet. You’ve got to try it out: “Daffy Duck: Parachute Jump.”

If you’re interested in cartoon histories, WatchMojo tells some amusing stories about cartoons down through the years. Check out “The Origins of …”

See also, “The History of…”

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