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Donald Duck: A Comic Genius in Germany

11 May

My darling Mr. Broke Hoedown was kind enough to bring my attention to a recent Wall Street Journal article about Donald Duck’s popularity in Germany. Turns out, a whole lot is gained in translation.

“Donald is so popular because almost everyone can identify with him,” says Christian Pfeiler, president of D.O.N.A.L.D. “He has strengths and weaknesses, he lacks polish but is also very cultured and well-read.” But much of the appeal of the hapless, happy-go-lucky duck lies in the translations. Donald quotes from German literature, speaks in grammatically complex sentences and is prone to philosophical musings, while the stories often take a more political tone than their American counterparts.

I’ve got a vacation trip to Germany on the books, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of this eloquent Donald! Thank goodness my son can translate for me . . . there’s really only so much I can pick up from the “learn German” CDs I picked up.

I must admit, when I think of Donald Duck and politics, a whole different thread comes to mind: The anti-Nazi propaganda shorts developed by Disney during World War II, most notably Der Fuhrer’s Face (which I’ll warn you has some impressively nasty racial stereotypes).

Darker Dose of Disney: Chicken Little 1943

28 Oct

Having watched Education for Death a while back, I checked out Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines from Netflix. I’ve only watched the first disc so far, but it’s full of darker and stranger Disney. Also worth watching is the strange and funny Minnie Mouse short, Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Firing Line (the version on YouTube is an edited-down version of the one on the DVDs, but you get the gist of it).

Cutest . . . Stormtrooper . . . Ever!

17 Jul

I mean really, couldn’t you just lay down and die?

(Photo found on Flickr, taken at ConnectiCon, courtesy of DS Daijoubu.)

1943 Walt Disney Cartoon: “Education for Death”

15 Jun

This haunting 1943 cartoon is among those featured on the DVD Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines. More details and commentary can be found on Wikipedia and IMDB.

Also currently available on YouTube is the 1942 cartoon Der Fuehrer’s Face, which features Donald Duck as a Nazi. I find some of the imagery too disturbing to include for viewing on my blog (for example, there’s a hideous stereotype of a man apparently of Asian descent). You might recognize the main song from the cartoon, as Spike Jones and his City Slickers rather famously covered it later on. Check out this Wikipedia article if you’re hungry for more info.

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