Donald Duck: A Quack Check

Donald Duck made his debut on June 9, 1934.

Published Jun 8, 2021

Mickey Mouse may get top billing in the United States, but Disney's Donald Duck is no slouch. On June 9, 2021, as the semi-intelligible, quick-to-anger, and all-around infamous Duck celebrates his 87th birthday, we take a look at some things you might not know about the Donald. 

Donald Duck's Middle Name is Fauntleroy?

True. In the opening shot of the 1942 short “Donald Gets Drafted,” Donald Duck’s full name, Donald Fauntleroy Duck, is listed on his induction form. 

Where Does Fauntleroy Come From?

Donald Duck’s middle name reportedly comes from an 1880s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett called “Little Lord Fauntleroy.” The Walt Disney blog notes that the Little Lord Fauntleroy character was a bit of a spoiled brat (which some might see in Donald himself) and that the Fauntleroy was also a style of garment involving a sailor suit and hat, somewhat similar to the dress of Donald Duck (minus the pants).

The above-displayed picture shows Freddie Bartholomew in the 1932 movie of “Little Lord Fauntleroy” and Donald Duck from his cartoon debut. 

When Did Donald Duck Make His Debut?

Donald Duck's first appearance came in "The Wise Little Hen," which was first released on June 9, 1934. Disney updated this cartoon for its "Rhymes and Rhythms" program on Disney Jr. :

Is Donald Duck's Birthday Friday the 13th?

While we celebrate "Donald Duck Day" on June 9 because it marks the anniversary of his first appearance, this may not technically be Donald Duck's birthday. In the 1944 live-action animated musical film "The Three Caballeros," Donald Duck's birthday is listed simply as "Friday the 13th." In the 1949 film "Donald’s Happy Birthday," it is shown to be March 13. 

Donald Banned in Finland Because He's Pants-Less? 

FALSE. We covered this story more in-depth here, but here's the gist:

This rumor traces its origins back to the 1970s when local Finland politician Markku Holopainen proposed that a cash-strapped city stop purchasing Donald Duck comics for a youth center. When Holopanainen’s election came around, his opponent branded him “the man who banned Donald Duck from Helsinki.” Holopainen lost his election bid and when his story was picked up by “weird news” outlets, the story was exaggerated and turned into Donald Duck being banned from the country for not wearing pants. 

Speaking of ...

Why Doesn’t Donald Duck Wear Pants?
Because he’s a duck. 

Then Why Does Mickey Mouse Wear Shorts?

Because he’s a cartoon. 

Has Donald Duck Ever Worn Pants?

We’re offering up a mention in this very article for anyone who can find us a picture of Donald Duck in pants. While we can’t definitively say that Donald Duck has NEVER worn pants, we’re not aware of anytime that he did. 

Oddly enough … Donald does wear a bathing suit when he goes swimming.


Why is Donald Duck So Popular in Nordic Countries?

Mickey Mouse may be Disney character number 1 in the United States, but Donald Duck is far more popular in other places in the world, such as Sweden and Finland. This may be in part because Donald Duck has been the star of Finland's biggest weekly magazine, Aku Ankka, since the 1950s. 

Donald in print is also fairly different than Donald in the movies. In fact, the print medium has allowed Donald to appeal to adults as well as children. 

One of the reasons Donald Duck is still so popular in Finland is that it’s not simply a children’s comic book. The Finnish translations of the stories are multilayered so that while a ten-year-old boy – like my son – will enjoy the adventures and funny goofs on the page, his father – that would be me – will also enjoy the goofs, and the rich language.

Is it Illegal to Vote for Him in Sweden?

FALSE. This rumor stems from an article published on ABC in 2006 about Donald Duck’s humorous history as a write-in "protest" candidate. The Kalle Anka-partiet or “The Donald Duck Party” was a traditional protest party that has been receiving votes as recently as the 2014 election

Unfortunately, you probably won't see the Donald Duck Party receiving any votes in future election. Unless, that is, they register as an official party. A spokesperson for Sweden's Election Authority told us that the country now only counts votes for registered parties. While it is not illegal to cast a protest vote for Donald Duck (doing so would not break any laws or result in any punishment), a vote for Donald Duck (or any other non-registered candidate or party) would simply be recorded as an invalid vote. 

Did Donald Duck Once Call Daffy Duck the N-Word?
FALSE. This rumor comes from a scene in the 1988 movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” where Donald and Daffy Duck have a heated piano duel. Some viewers claimed they heard the N-word but really, this was just a somewhat unintelligible Donald Duck being somewhat unintelligible. 

Has Donald Duck Heiled Hitler in a Cartoon?
TRUE. While Donald Duck has never used a slur word, he has said “Heil Hitler” on multiple occasions. In the 1943 Oscar-winning short film "Der Fuehrer's Face" Donald Duck finds himself at the mercy of the Nazi regime. It turns out all to be a dream, however, and closes with Donald saying he’s so proud to be a citizen of the United States of America.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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