It may seem like Mickey and Donald have always been friends…But Donald didn’t come into the cartoon picture until June 9, 1934 – 6 years after Mickey and Minnie made their successful debut in Steamboat Willie. This marks June 9th as Donald Duck Day! (or does it…keep reading)
Donald enters the scene as a character in the Silly Symphonies cartoon The Wise Little Hen. This is Disney’s adaptation of the fairy tale, the Little Red Hen. In the cartoon we see a playful duck and his friend Peter Pig dancing and playing to avoid helping. In the end wise Mrs. Hen teaches the animals the value of labor.
Like other Disney characters, this may not have been the actual first time Donald appeared as one of Mickey’s friends. In the book The Adventures of Mickey Mouse Donald appears with some other yet-to-be-seen-in-cartoon-friend’s of Mickey!
In this book Donald is seen wearing pants. A rarity indeed.
He may have had a “late start” as one of the Sensational Six (The 6 main characters in the Disney franchise.), however Donald Duck is credited with appearing in more feature films than the Mouse himself. Donald is also the proud owner of an Oscar, for his role in the 1943 animated short Der Feuhrer’s Face (an anti-Nazi cartoon).
Traditionally a Character’s “Birthday” is celebrated based on the day of their first appearance – making June 9 Donald’s Birthday. Fans also come up with character Birthday’s based on their findings. According to some, Donald was born on March 13, 1914. The concept behind this comes from the 1949 cartoon “Donald’s Happy Birthday”. In this cartoon it is revealed his birthday is March 13th. In Walt Disney’s The Life of Donald Duck, his authorized biography, published in 1941, we find out he was born on Friday the 13th. Some dedicated fans found all of the instances of Friday, March 13 and, using other clues from the Duck-verse, determined that Donald was born on March 13, 1914. It’s fitting that this over the top Duck who loves to be in the spotlight would have 2 days in which we can celebrate as DONALD DUCK DAY!
You can also celebrate today with a FREE download of THE SENSATIONAL SIX by Happy Hive / Homeschool Holiday. This Set includes activities for EACH of the 6 main characters in the group.
For each character there is a brief history, information about their first animated appearances as well as some fun facts. I have linked to the best quality version of the cartoons mentioned as possible, for educational / historic purposes only.
I have also included a brief explanation of the literary terms personification and anthropomorphism. This is aimed at older learners in grades 5 and above as all of the characters except Pluto are considered anthropomorphic.
There are Comic Book Templates, a Cartoon Discussion guide as well as a link to a short video on the 5 Types of Animation all included for extension activities. This is a JAM PACKED FREEBIE! to celebrate 6 Amazing characters and their impact on cartoon culture.
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