TMcBee’s Top 10 Donald Duck Short Classics

Donald Duck is one of the most popular characters from Disney who brought his short temper personality into comedy gold. He became a loved and recognizable character from fans than any other Disney character, including Mickey Mouse.

I grew up watching a lot of Donald Duck cartoons as a kid and he literally became one of my favourite animated characters and my biggest inspiration in cartooning. Since Donald Duck just turned 78 this month, I’ll be counting down my top ten favourite Disney Classics starring Donald Duck. There are many great shorts starring Donald Duck and it was pretty tough to decide which ones would make it to my Top 10. Now here are the cartoons that I liked starring the sailor suit wearing duck.

10. Crazy with the Heat (1947)

 This Disney classic is one of my favourite cartoons starring Donald Duck and Goofy. Though Donald Duck is seen a bit less than Goofy here, but hey, it still counts as a Donald Duck classic.

Donald and Goofy are driving in the Sahara desert when their car runs out of gas. While wandering through the desert, Goofy checks his map, but accidentally catches it on fire with his magnifying glass. He wastes nearly all the water in Donald’s drinking jug to put the fire out, which leads both characters to separate and encounter mirages that would lead them to trouble.

Crazy with the Heat contains so much nostalgia as I remember watching this on a VHS copy titled Here’s Donald. The animations, the comedy and even the music scores were memorable to make it the to the top 10. However, it could never reach number one due to containing too many things happening for a 6 minute animated feature, especially in the ending where everything goes way too fast.

It may not be the best cartoon with Donald Duck in it, but mostly everything in this cartoon holds strong in my childhood. Just don’t get surprised by the depicted design of the Soda Fountain Owner. Remember, 1940s…different time period… I’ll stop right there.

9.  Donald’s Lucky Day (1939)

I don’t remember seeing this classic as a child, but seeing it a few years ago, I now appreciate this Donald Duck cartoon more.

Donald is on night shift to deliver an ominous package on Friday the 13th. What he doesn’t know that the package he’s delivering has a ticking time bomb in it. Donald runs through familiar signs of bad luck, including a black cat that he believes it will bring him bad luck, but in the end turns out to be the other way around.

What made me really appreciate Donald’s Lucky Day is the animations and backdrops, especially how lighting and shadows were displayed here. There is one scene where Donald Duck walks in a back alley to pick up the package. The way the light and shadows hit on him were really well done.

The visual creativity plays the theme of Friday the 13th really great, whether they were on signs or on items.  This was a great cartoon to watch, but I did find the length of the cartoon was a bit too long and could have been slightly shorter in length. Nevertheless this cartoon provides a happy ending and a message that the typical signs of bad luck will not give you bad luck… like black cats for instance.

8. Donald’s Better Self (1938)

Are you tired of seeing the good and bad conscious constantly on the shoulders of a cartoon character? At least with this short, the angel and devil conscious concept is taken into a quite different direction.

Donald wakes up to go to school with the help from his good conscious. As they are both walking to school, Donald’s anti-conscious stops Donald and tells him to skip school and go fishing instead. Unfortunately, he accepts this offer. At the fishing hole, Donald is under the pressure of smoking a pipe offered by his anti-conscious. Donald’s good conscious arrives seeing Donald sick and sorry and teaches the anti-conscious a lesson.

Donald’s Better Self illustrates some fine examples of both good and bad morals such as going to school on time, do not skip school and don’t smoke a pipe just because someone told you so. I also like the fact that Donald’s conscious and anti-conscious are played as spirits at his size and not little sized spirits set on his shoulders.

This short classic only reaches to number eight because the time duration of the cartoon did felt quite long and could have been shortened down with some scenes, like Donald Duck getting out of bed or him trying to smoke the pipe. But despite those nitpicking flaws, it’s still a great cartoon that you can learn a lesson or two from.

7.   Toy Tinkers (1949)

Donald Duck featuring Chip and Dale had many funny moments in Disney classics from the late 1940s to the present. So far, Toy Tinker’s is the best one.

Chip and Dale curiously witness Donald chopping down a tree and they follow him back to his house. They spot many walnuts through the window and decide to sneak inside Donald’s house to grab them. When Donald spots the two chipmunks taking his walnuts, he disguises as Santa Claus to cause some troublesome fun with Chip and Dale. Though Donald’s fun ends up fighting with war toys in full combat against the two thieving chipmunks.

Toy Tinkers was a very colourful short classic to view. Though I thought this cartoon used some of the same animations near the end, but the vivid colours did make it pretty appealing. The war combat scene with Donald, Chip and Dale shooting each other with toy cannons and guns in the third act was the best part of the cartoon.

I would have placed this higher on the list, but it seems that this cartoon had more scenes with Chip and Dale than with Donald Duck. But no matter what, this is one Donald Duck classic I still enjoy watching during the holidays. At least you get a few laughs from this cartoon compared to the other Chip and Dale short featuring Mickey Mouse.

6.  Donald’s Crime (1945)

It’s surprising that this Donald Duck classic got an Oscar nomination back in 1945. Even if Donald’s Crime lost to Tom and Jerry’s Quiet Please!, but you can see how this Disney classic got to be one of the nominations.

Donald is excited to take Daisy on a date, but realized he has no money to take her out. When Donald spots his three nephews’ piggy bank, he cunningly takes their change of $1.30 and heads to a night club with Daisy. Donald’s receives a comment from Daisy calling him a “big shot” and feels like a million bucks, but his conscious tells him that bank robbery is a federal offense. Donald imagines being chased down by the police for taking Huey, Duey and Louie’s money and has to owe them back in order stop this guilty act he caused.

Donald’s Crime is not only a memorable classic, but also a work of great storytelling. The voice of the conscious telling Donald the risks of what gangsters and criminals had to deal with daily was just brilliant. This short also had superb animations and unique background settings. The scenes with Donald running away from the police sirens were like stepping into a subtle nightmare, containing some surreal settings to the cartoon, like the distorted staircase in the apartment.

I may not have strong memories in watching this one as a kid, but I am fond by the presentation with this Donald Duck classic. It shows a strong message that stealing is wrong and it would lead you to trouble, including taking a different perspective of the good and bad conscious without using the angel and devil cliché. I think this is a great cartoon to show to children, just as long they don’t take the message the other way around thinking that Donald wearing a black trench coat in a clutched posture or smoking a big cigar is cool.

5. Donald’s Snow Fight (1942)

If you want to see some wintery fun with Donald and his nephews, then this is the cartoon to watch.

Donald Duck heads outside in the snow taking his sleigh wearing his big winter parka. He spots his nephews Huey, Duey and Louie building a snowman, where he decides to cause some fun by wrecking their snowman down with his sleigh. His nephews give Donald payback by taunting him to wreck their new snowman with a big boulder in it. This leaves Donald and his nephews to go on a three to one snow combat with one another.

Donald’s Snow Fight provides a lot of fun creativity with the animations, especially with Donald on his ice ship battling Huey, Duey and Louie’s snow fortress. There’s one scene where the nephews fire flaming coal arrows at Donald’s ship and hits the top part forming into a human skull, which I thought that looked cool.

This short is a classic with colourful scenes and comical moments. Even if this cartoon  would always play on TV during Christmas time (which has nothing to do with Christmas), I would still watch it. This one is close to near perfection, but I thought that the cartoon could have ended better, but either way, this is one hilarious cartoon that will strike you hard with laughter.

4. The Hockey Champ (1939)

I may not be a big fan of hockey (surprisingly a Canadian writer is saying this), but somehow Donald Duck and his nephews playing hockey together was overall entertaining.

As Donald is skating like Sonja Henning on the frozen pond, he then spots his nephews playing hockey in a messy way. Donald Duck shows off his hockey skills to Huey, Duey and Louie in which eventually lets his pride take a short fuse on them. His nephews take action by settling a playful score with their uncle Donald.

In my opinion, this is one of the better Donald Duck shorts featuring Huey, Duey and Louie. There were a lot of actions that were playful and funny in which overall made Donald Duck in a winter setting really amusing. Normally people prefer Donald’s Snow Fight more, but I find The Hockey Champ the superior cartoon featuring Donald and his nephews. There were some really neat animations in this one, like how Donald showed off his trophy or how he created a frozen wave as getting chased by Huey, Duey and Louie. Though I was quite uncomfortable seeing Donald hanging himself in the frozen well, which is now edited out when aired on TV.

The Hockey Champ is animated beautifully and was great from start to finish, though it could never goal towards being my number one choice. However, the cartoon deserves to be ranked in the top 5.

3. Wide Open Spaces (1947)

Wide Open Spaces is a Donald Duck classic will keep you wide-awake with its funny outcome.

Donald wearily arrives at a motel where the only available place to rest for the night is the cot on the porch. However, Donald refuses to pay 16 dollars for it and sleeps in the great outdoors instead. Unluckily, he doesn’t get a good night sleep with these crazy things disturbing his night such as dealing with a stubborn mattress pump or causing a rock slide to crash his car.

Wide Open Spaces takes a simple scenario and turns it into one effective short in results. The time duration for this cartoon is perfect for it wasn’t too long or too short, plus had an ending that will make you laugh and smile with a “Oh my goodness! You got to be kidding me”.  I found this Donald cartoon hysterical, but at the same time a bit uncomfortable in a couple of places. Seeing a flat, smirking Donald Duck breaking the 4th wall sort of gave me the creeps as a kid.

Even if I had great childhood memories watching this on my VHS copy of Here’s Donald, it could never be my all time favourite Donald Duck cartoon, though this cartoon rests well in the third spot of the countdown. *Sigh* Don’t you like using puns in written countdowns?

2. Chef Donald (1941)

If you want to get prepared to watch a great instant classic, this Donald Duck cartoon will delight you with its superb comedy.

After placing recipes in the scrapbook, Donald listens to his radio cook show hosted by Old Mother Mallard, who demonstrates how to make waffles to her viewers. Donald tries to follow the instructions to make the waffles, but somehow gets distracted and doesn’t realize he has placed rubber cement in the mixing bowl instead of baking powder. Donald struggles to get the batter waffle mix onto the waffle iron and takes drastic measures to take it out of the bowl.

In my opinion, Chef Donald contains the best comedy and slapstick humour you will view in a Donald Duck cartoon. Just looking at the plot about trying to cook waffles is perfect for this character, for he is too stubborn to not make a new batch if his first one is not working.  But then again, it’s Donald Duck, he is always impatient and just wants to get things done. Besides the comedy being good, even the animations were really fun in this one as it presented a lot of neat gestures and physics with Donald and the mixing bowl.

This cartoon was one of those shorts that felt great watching entirely, except I found the ending of the cartoon quite confusingly disturbing. Nevertheless, if you’re into watching old cartoons with great slapstick humour, I strongly recommend giving this one a try.

1. Donald’s Ostrich (1937)

This is not only my favourite Donald Duck cartoon, but also my favourite Disney short classic of all time.

As a custodian at the Wahoo Train Station, Donald grabs a big pile of luggage falling on top of him. He continues with his duties and sees that one package contains a live female ostrich named Hortense. Hortense wonders off in the station eating items and many balloons that causes her to get the hiccups. Donald tries to get rid of Hortense’s hiccups by scaring her with a tuba. Unfortunately, she continues to eat more and swallows up Donald’s radio. After eating the radio up, her body starts to react to what is being played on the radio. Donald needs to stop Hortense and do what he can to get the radio out of her.

Donald’s Ostrich is a personal favourite of mine and I love every second of it. The animations, the background settings, and its comedy was so delightful to watch. Also seeing Donald trying to take care of this ostrich has this odd feeling that you find rather both hilarious and adorable. In my opinion, this was one of those cartoons that the further you watch it, the better it gets. Even for a nine-minute cartoon, this Donald Duck classic was entertaining throughout. The best part was with Hortense reacting to the radio stations, causing Donald to get himself into the act or hurt constantly and it doesn’t disappoint me every time.  Seriously, even the way Hortense acts in this cartoon is just hysterical.

Another Donald Duck classic that also appeared in the VHS tape of Here’s Donald holds so much nostalgia that could never let me down. Donald’s Ostrich may not be a cartoon for everyone, but I know I am not the only one who adores this Disney classic featuring my favourite Disney character of all time.

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