Happy 79th Birthday, Donald Duck!
On June 9, 1934, Walt Disney released The Wise Little Hen, in which we were introduced to a duck named Donald.
Before long, the easily exasperated duck with the distinctive delivery style was a cartoon star on his own. And within a decade, Donald Duck was making animated films not just for Walt, but also for Sam.
Uncle Sam, that is.
A ducky tax proponent: During the height of World War II, Disney worked with the War Activities Committee of the Motion Picture Industry to produce an animated short encouraging folks to pay their income taxes.
In the six-minute feature, released in early January 1943, Donald portrays an average working duck who has just gotten paid.
With all that cash on hand, Donald is tempted by a spendthrift duck to blow the bucks. A countering good duck persona, however, encourages him to save some of the money to pay his income taxes.
Maybe there was some suspense 70 years ago, but today we all know how it turned out.
Donald is a good and patriotic American. He refuses to "spend for the Axis" and instead "saves for taxes."
Bad duck vanquished. Cue patriotic montage. Roll credits.
More patriotic duck tales: The next year, Donald Duck was even more involved in the U.S. war effort. In 1943's Der Fuehrer's Face, Donald was a worker in a Nazi Germany factory where he helped build artillery.
Of course, we know from Donald's earlier pro-tax work that this could never happen. It was, well before anyone dreamed of explaining away J.R. Ewing's fate, a nightmare.
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