First Appearance Of Daffy Duck
On April 17, 1937, Daffy Duck made his first appearance in Porky’s Duck Hunt.
Created by Tex Avery and Bob Clampett, Daffy was little more than an unnamed bit player in Porky’s Duck Hunt. But he was also something new, something people didn’t see in cartoons of the day, an assertive and unrestrained protagonist.
As animator Bob Clampett recalled, “At that time, audiences weren’t accustomed to seeing a cartoon character do these things. And so, when it hit the theaters it was an explosion. People would leave the theaters talking about this daffy duck.”
Based on this popularity, the studios’ animators added Daffy to several cartoons, with each director offering his own take on his personality. Sometimes he was a crazy vigilante and others he was a greedy glory-seeker. In many early cartoons Daffy was a wild screwball bouncing around the screen yelling “Hoo-hoo! Hoo-hoo!”
Legendary voice actor Mel Blanc voiced Daffy from his very first appearance. Daffy’s famous lisp evolved over time. While some believe Blanc based his voice for Daffy on producer Leon Schlesinger, Blanc had a different take. He claimed, “It seemed to me that such an extended mandible would hinder his speech, particularly on words containing an s sound. Thus ‘despicable’ became ‘desthpicable.’”
Daffy Duck and Porky Pig were an established team during Daffy Duck’s early years of stardom. The duck’s aggressive style complemented the pig’s less confident demeanor. Although Daffy Duck and Porky Pig became a successful duo, producers later developed a more volatile combination: Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.
The Daffy Duck character became less wild and more sly when faced with the naturally cool and quick Bugs Bunny. Daffy Duck’s greed, haste, and disregard for warnings set him up for failure every time, and his attempts to outwit Bugs Bunny were always unsuccessful. Perhaps the duos most beloved appearances together were in the “Hunting Trilogy” of the 1950s, also known as the “Duck Season/Rabbit Season Trilogy.”
Though Bugs Bunny was the studio’s most popular character, Daffy was popular in his own right. He frequently parodied famous characters including Dick Tracy, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Hopalong Cassidy, Buck Rogers, and Robin Hood.
In addition to animated shorts, Daffy Duck has also starred in movies, television shows, and Saturday morning cartoon programs as well as several comic books and video games. Over the years he appeared in 130 shorts (third-most after Bugs and Porky).
Mel Blanc voiced Daffy for 52 years, which is the current record for longest run of voice acting for a cartoon character.
Click here to watch Porky’s Duck Hunt and here for more Daffy cartoons.