Who's got the sweetest disposition?
Donald first appeared in the Silly Symphonies short The Wise Little Hen in 1934, where he played one of the lazy animals in the fable, refusing to help the Hen make her bread and was thus denied a reward at the end. His distinct voice, given to him by Clarence "Ducky" Nash, singled him out for stardom. He quickly became a bit player in several other shorts before finally landing a role alongside Mickey and Goofy in 1935's Mickey's Service Station.
From there, he took off, gaining a supporting cast. In 1937's Don Donald he got a girlfriend, Donna (who was replaced by Daisy Duck in Mr. Duck Steps Out in 1940). In 1938 his "darling nephews" Huey, Dewey, and Louie came for a visit (officially in 1938's Donald's Nephews, but the story had been told in the comics a few months earlier). The nephews' mother, Donald's twin sister Della, was never seen or heard from again, and Donald became their permanent foster parent. The next year, Donald's Cousin Gus, introduced Gus Goose, his cousin.
Donald was nearly the complete opposite of Mickey. Unlike The Everyman, he was brash, quick tempered, and loaded with faults. Because of this, audiences loved him, and responded to him very positively. In 1939 he got his own Newspaper Comic, and in the 1940s Carl Barks began making an entire comic universe based around him. Barks' role was eventually inherited by Keno Don Rosa, and the stories by these two creators are the only ones that are officially considered canon within the Disney comics universe.
World War II was especially good to Donald. A series of Wartime Cartoons showed him enlisting in the army, and he won his only Academy Award for Der Fuehrer's Face in 1943. It was also during the 1940s that he was featured in four entries in the Disney Animated Canon: Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Fun and Fancy Free, and Melody Time.
After theatrical shorts fell out of favor his appearances slowed, but he was never quite out. He appeared in DuckTales (1987) as a supporting character, and starred in Quack Pack. Appeared in a famous crossover with Daffy Duck in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, got a segment in Fantasia 2000, reappeared with the gang in Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, and in 2005 he got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He also came back in Mickey Mouse Works and, more recently, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He appeared as a court mage in Kingdom Hearts, to say nothing of the few games he got to himself, such as the fondly remembered Quackshot.
And naturally, there are the comics. Donald Duck, unlike Mickey, has a specific universe associated with him. Whereas Mickey's father simply appears to be Walt Disney within the Disney franchise mythology, Donald's official family tree is very extensive and under strict canon rules. In many countries, Donald has his own weekly or monthly comic books and magazines: Double Duck and Paperinik New Adventures, to name a few. These comics often show just how much of a Badass that "loser duck" can be.
- The Wise Little Hen, released on 9 June 1934 – in a Silly Symphony cartoon
- Orphan's Benefit, released on 11 August 1934 – in a Mickey Mouse Cartoon, also remade and released on 22 August 1941
- The Dognapper, released on 17 November 1934 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- The Band Concert, released on 23 February 1935 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Mickey's Service Station, released on 16 March 1935 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Mickey's Fire Brigade, released on 3 August 1935 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- On Ice, released on 28 September 1935 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Cock o' the Walk: November 30, 1935, Ben Sharpsteen: In a Silly Symphony short. Makes a very easy to miss cameo in the opening, playing a drum.
- Mickey's Polo Team, released on 4 January 1936 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Orphans' Picnic, released on 15 February 1936 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Donald and Pluto, released on 12 September 1936 – in a Donald and Pluto cartoon
- Mickey's Grand Opera, released on 7 March 1936 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Moving Day, released on 20 June 1936 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Alpine Climbers, released on 25 July 1936 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Mickey's Circus, released on 1 August 1936 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Don Donald, released on 9 January 1937 – first Donald & Daisy Duck cartoon
- Magician Mickey, released on 6 February 1937 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Moose Hunters, released on 20 February 1937 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Mickey's Amateurs, released on 17 April 1937 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Modern Inventions, released on 29 May 1937 – the last Disney cartoon released through United Artists
- Hawaiian Holiday, released on 24 September 1937 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Clock Cleaners, released on 15 October 1937 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Donald's Ostrich, released on 10 December 1937
- Lonesome Ghosts, released on 24 December 1937 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Self Control, released on 11 February 1938
- Boat Builders, released on 25 February 1938 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Donald's Better Self, released on 11 March 1938
- Donald's Nephews, released on 15 April 1938
- Mickey's Trailer, released on 6 May 1938 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Polar Trappers, released on 17 June 1938 – in a Donald & Goofy cartoon
- Good Scouts, released on 8 July 1938
- The Fox Hunt, released on 9 July 1938 – in a Donald & Goofy cartoon--Name's the Same as an earlier Disney short.
- The Whalers, released on 19 August 1938 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Donald's Golf Game, released on 4 November 1938
- Mother Goose Goes Hollywood, released on 23 December 1938 – cameo, in a Silly Symphony cartoon
- The Standard Parade, released in 30 September 1939 – cameo, in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Donald's Lucky Day, released on 13 January 1939
- The Hockey Champ, released on 28 April 1939
- Donald's Cousin Gus, released on 19 May 1939
- Beach Picnic, released on 9 June 1939 – in a Donald and Pluto cartoon
- Sea Scouts, released on 30 June 1939
- Donald's Penguin, released on 11 August 1939
- The Autograph Hound, released on 1 September 1939
- Officer Duck, released on 10 October 1939
- The Riveter, released on 15 March 1940
- Donald's Dog Laundry, released on 5 April 1940 – in a Donald and Pluto cartoon
- Tugboat Mickey, released on 26 April 1940 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Billposters, released on 17 May 1940 – in a Donald & Goofy cartoon
- Mr. Duck Steps Out, released on 7 June 1940
- Put-Put Troubles, released on 19 July 1940 – in a Donald and Pluto cartoon
- Donald's Vacation, released on 9 August 1940
- The Volunteer Worker, released on 1 September 1940
- Window Cleaners, released on 20 September 1940 – in a Donald and Pluto cartoon
- Fire Chief, released on 13 December 1940
- Timber, released on 10 January 1941
- Golden Eggs, released on 7 March 1941
- A Good Time for a Dime, released on 9 May 1941
- The Nifty Nineties, released on 20 June 1941 – cameo, in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Early to Bed, released 11 July 1941
- Truant Officer Donald, released on 1 August 1941
- Orphan's Benefit, released on 22 August 1941 – in a Mickey Mouse Cartoon, remake of version released on 11 August 1934
- Old Mac Donald Duck, released on 12 September 1941
- Donald's Camera, released on 24 October 1941
- Chef Donald, released on 5 December 1941
- Donald's Decision, released on 11 January 1942
- All Together, released on 13 January 1942 – in a WII cartoon
- The Village Smithy, released on 16 January 1942
- The New Spirit, released on 23 January 1942
- Mickey's Birthday Party, released on 7 February 1942 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Symphony Hour, released on 20 March 1942 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Donald's Snow Fight, released on 10 April 1942
- Donald Gets Drafted, released on 1 May 1942
- Donald's Garden, released on 12 June 1942
- Donald's Gold Mine, released on 24 July 1942
- The Vanishing Private, released on 25 September 1942
- Sky Trooper, released on 6 November 1942
- Bellboy Donald, released on 18 December 1942
- Der Fuehrer's Face AKA Donald Duck In Nutzi Land released on 1 January 1943: One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
- The Spirit of '43, released on 7 January 1943, first appearance of Scrooge McDuck: One of the very few Disney cartoons in the Public Domain.
- Donald's Tire Trouble, released on 29 January 1943
- Lake Titicaca, released on 6 February 1943 segment of Saludos Amigos
- Aquarela do Brasil, released on 6 February 1943 segment of Saludos Amigos
- The Flying Jalopy, released on 12 March 1943
- Fall Out Fall In, released on 23 April 1943
- The Old Army Game, released on 5 November 1943
- Home Defense, released on 26 November 1943
- Trombone Trouble, released on 18 February 1944
- Donald Duck and the Gorilla, released on 31 March 1944
- Contrary Condor, released on 21 April 1944
- Commando Duck, released on 2 June 1944
- The Plastics Inventor, released on 1 September 1944
- Donald's Off Day, released on 8 December 1944
- The Clock Watcher, released on 26 January 1945
- The Three Caballeros, released on 3 February 1945 – in a Donald Duck, Jose Carioca & Panchito Pistoles movie
- The Eyes Have It, released on 30 March 1945 – in a Donald and Pluto cartoon
- Donald's Crime, released on 29 June 1945
- Duck Pimples, released on 10 August 1945
- No Sail with Goofy, released on 7 September 1945 – in a Donald & Goofy cartoon
- Cured Duck, released on 26 October 1945
- Old Sequoia, released on 21 December 1945
- Donald's Double Trouble, released on 28 June 1946
- Wet Paint, released on 9 August 1946
- Dumb Bell of the Yukon, released on 30 August 1946
- Lighthouse Keeping, released on 20 September 1946
- Frank Duck Brings 'Em Back Alive, released on 1 November 1946 – in a Donald & Goofy cartoon
- Straight Shooters, released on 18 April 1947
- Sleepy Time Donald, released on 9 May 1947
- Clown of the Jungle, released on 20 June 1947
- Donald's Dilemma, released on 11 July 1947
- Crazy with the Heat with Goofy, released on 1 August 1947 – in a Donald & Goofy cartoon
- Bootle Beetle, released on 22 August 1947
- Wide Open Spaces, released on 12 September 1947
- Mickey and the Beanstalk, released on 27 September 1947 – segment of Fun and Fancy Free
- Chip 'N' Dale, released on 28 November 1947
- Drip Dippy Donald, released on 5 March 1948
- Blame It On The Samba, released on 1 April 1948 segment of Melody Time
- Daddy Duck, released on 16 April 1948
- Donald's Dream Voice, released on 21 May 1948
- The Trial of Donald Duck, released on 30 July 1948
- Inferior Decorator, released on 27 August 1948
- Soup's On, released on 15 October 1948
- Three for Breakfast, released on 5 November 1948
- Tea for Two Hundred, released on 24 December 1948
- Donald's Happy Birthday, released on 11 February 1949
- Sea Salts, released on 8 April 1949
- Winter Storage, released on 3 June 1949
- Honey Harvester, released on 5 August 1949
- All in a Nutshell, released on 2 September 1949
- The Greener Yard, released on 14 October 1949
- Slide, Donald, Slide, released on 25 November 1949
- Toy Tinkers, released on 16 December 1949
- Lion Around, released on 20 January 1950
- Crazy Over Daisy, released on 24 March 1950
- Trailer Horn, released on 28 April 1950
- Hook, Lion & Sinker, released on 1 September 1950
- Bee At The Beach, released on 13 October 1950
- Out On A Limb, released on 15 December 1950
- Dude Duck, released on 2 March 1951
- Corn Chips, released on 23 March 1951
- Test Pilot Donald, released on 8 June 1951
- Lucky Number, released on 20 July 1951
- Out of Scale, released on 2 November 1951
- Bee On Guard, released on 14 December 1951
- Donald Applecore, released on 18 January 1952
- Let's Stick Together, released on 25 April 1952
- Uncle Donald's Ants, released on 18 July 1952
- Trick or Treat, released on 10 October 1952
- Pluto's Christmas Tree, released on 21 November 1952 (cameo) – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Don's Fountain of Youth, released on 30 May 1953
- The New Neighbor, released on 1 August 1953
- Rugged Bear, released on 23 October 1953
- Working for Peanuts, released on 11 November 1953
- Canvas Back Duck, released on 25 December 1953
- Spare The Rod, released on 15 January 1954
- Donald's Diary, released on 5 March 1954
- Dragon Around, released on 16 July 1954
- Grin & Bear It, released on 13 August 1954
- The Flying Squirrel, released on 12 November 1954
- Grand Canyonscope, released on 23 December 1954 – the first Disney cartoon released through the newly-formed Buena Vista Distribution
- No Hunting, released on 14 January 1955
- Lake Titicaca, released on 18 February 1955 (Stock Footage taken from The Three Cabarellos)
- Bearly Asleep, released on 19 August 1955
- Beezy Bear, released on 2 September 1955
- Up a Tree, released on 23 September 1955
- Chips Ahoy, released on 24 February 1956 – the last Disney cartoon released through RKO
- How to Have an Accident in the Home, released on 8 July 1956
- Cosmic Capers, released in 1957 (educational, cameo)
- Duck for Hire, composite film shown on Wonderful World of Color 23 October 1957
- Donald in Mathmagic Land, released on 26 June 1959 (educational)
- How to Have an Accident at Work, released on 2 September 1959
- Donald & The Wheel, released on 21 June 1961 (educational)
- The Litterbug, released on 21 June 1961 – the last regular Donald Duck cartoon
- Steel & America, 1965 (commercial)
- Donald's Fire Survival Plan, 1965 (educational)
- Planificacion Familiar, 1968 (educational, "Family Planning", produced for the U.S. Population Council and distributed by Asociación Chilena de Protección de la Familia, an affiliate of Planned Parenthood)
- Mickey's Christmas Carol, released on 16 December 1983 and re-issued in 24 December 1987 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon or movie from Donald Duck Classics after 1985 Walt Disney Pictures logo ends
- The Prince and the Pauper, released on 16 November 1990 – in a Mickey Mouse cartoon
- Stuck On Christmas, a segment of Mickey's Once upon a Christmas released direct-to-video on 7 December 1999
- Noah's Ark, the segment of Fantasia 2000 released on 1 January 2000
- Donald's Goofy World, released on 5 February 2001 – in a Donald and Goofy cartoon released on TV and not in theaters
- Adaptation Expansion: Carl Barks was challenged to take the classic 8-minute short Trick or Treat and adapt it for a 32-pages comic book story...And he succeeded. Not only did he invent great gags that were cleverly spun between the scenes of the original film, even elaborating on events that happened off-screen in the cartoon; he also justified Donald's Jerkass behavior toward his nephews, explaining that Don thought of youngsters bothering him for candy as an unwelcome violation of his privacy, Halloween or not...Plus, his proposed beginning has the nephews breaking into their uncle's house to flat-out steal his candy. It also has a more uplifting ending, where Donald warms up to the holiday and decides he’ll go trick-or-treating himself next year.
- Alliterative Name: Subverted as soon as you discover Don's middle name, Fauntleroy.
- Altum Videtur: The lawyer in The Golden Helmet lives and breathes this trope - at least until Donald tells him to "in aqua concus dipporum".
- And I Must Scream: The end of "Donald's Snow Fight", where Donald is frozen alive.
- Angrish: Very fluent speaker at that!
- Art Evolution: He emerged with his trademark sailor suit and feather/beak colors already, but he was much more close in look to a real duck, with his plumper body and larger neck. From 1936 onwards, he was redesigned to have more depth and a rounder shape. An easy way to confirm this is to compare Don's second appearance with the short's remake 7 years later.
- Banned in China: Not an actual example, but there's a popular rumor that he was banned in Finland for not wearing pants. Strangely, the choice of Finland in the urban legend might have to do with Donald Duck being really popular in Scandinavia.
- Badly-Battered Babysitter: Whenever he has to babysit Shelby the Turtle, or his nephews. Or anything.
- Big Red Devil: There have been many times when he's angry that he's resembled a devil. The cartoons "Rocket Ruckus", "Trombone Trouble", and "Soup's On" are just a few.
- Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: The title couldn't be any more misleading, but it's the premise for Donald's Golf Game, where Don's nephews start putting tricks on their uncle to entertain themselves, completely ruining the evening for him. All in the name of comedy!
- In a clear example of Characterization Marches On, Donald's nephews are out to help their uncle to defeat his cousin Gladstone Glander via a golf game. Interestingly, they're not even needed, as Don is lucky for once, completely pulverizing Glander in said game!...It doesn't last.
- More golf games appear in other comics and newspaper strips, and a House of Mouse short has Chip and Dale screwing the duck's fun by putting metal on his ball, keeping him from hitting it with a magnet's help.
- Blatant Lies: The theme song for the cartoons.
- Blinding Flash: In "Grand Canyonscope", Donald asks the ranger to photograph him atop his burro. The flash blinds the burro, leaving him stumbling along the steep Grand Canyon trail.
- Butt Monkey:
Who gets stuck with all the bad luck?
- By the Lights of Their Eyes
- Cartoony Eyes: Blue scleras in animation, white ones in the comics.
- Character Celebrity Endorsement: Donald never drank orange juice in the cartoons, not even once, but that doesn’t stop him from lending his name and image to Florida Natural Growers’ orange juice since 1940.
- To a lesser extent, Donald Duck is also licensed for the University of Oregon football team's ("the Ducks") merchandise.
- Chaste Toons
- The Chew Toy: Donald in most of the cartoons he was in.
- Chronically Crashed Car: Donald's 313.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: In one cartoon, "Double Date Don", Daisy's neighbor Clara Cluck falls in love with him, with him mostly trying to fend her off and finish building Daisy a brick wall. This seems to happen in a few other cartoons and comics as well. And poor Donald never knows what to do with all the attention. Parodied by a Disney Trading Pin saying "Chicks Dig Me!" while he's surrounded by actual baby chicks!
- Competition Coupon Madness: Several examples.
- Cool Car: Donald's old 313 straddles the line between this and The Alleged Car.
- Correspondence Course: His cousin Fethry takes quite a few, dragging Don to serve as a volunteer, taking no negatives for an answer.
- Donald himself is no stranger to these either. Several comic stories has him as the newly-educated "expert" on something after having taken a Correspondence Course or just read a book on the subject. In almost all these cases, his self-esteem is far greater than his actual skills, though sometimes he does show a remarkable talent.
- Couch Gag: Early on, Don would open every episode of The Mickey Mouse Club by striking a gong with humorous consequences . Matt Groening has revealed that Donald's gong gag having different outcomes every week actually inspired the TropeNamer.
- Courtroom Episode: The Trial of Donald Duck, he’s brought to court as he refused to pay for the food he brought himself. Admittedly, he was already in hot water not noticing the $5 cover charge card on his table after flaunting the nickel he carried with him, but still...
- Covered in Kisses: The ending to Mr. Duck Steps Out adds a nice visual gag to the trope; one of Daisy's lipsticky kisses has landed right in the middle of Donald's eyelids. He blinks. Cue illusion of lips smacking!
- The Cowl: In his super-hero alter-ego,Paperinik.Sometimes played straight(especially in Paperinik New Adventures),sometimes as an Affectionate Parody,and sometimes Played for Laughs.
- Cranial Eruption
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: His heroic alter-ego, Paperinik the Diabolical Avenger.
- Don't forget Maui Mallard/Cold Shadow
- Cute and Psycho: Donald in Mickey and the Beanstalk.
- Dangerously Close Shave: Donald almost gets one from an automated barber's chair in Modern Inventions.
- A Day at the Bizarro: Holy precious hell, it wouldn't be a surprise if half of the budget for Duck Pimples went to LSD for the animators.
- Deadpan Snarker: Usually reaches this point after various freakouts from whatever issue he was previously having.
- Deranged Animation / Disney Acid Sequence: You'll have a tough time convincing anybody that The Three Caballeros's final third was animated by people with a perfectly healthy nervous system.
- Wilfred Jackson
- Dick Lundy
- Jack King
- Jack Kinney
- Jack Hannah
- Ben Sharpsteen
- Burt Gillett
- Disguised in Drag: In Donald's Dream Voice, he briefly disguises himself as a girl in order to get back a voice-changing pill from an antisocial man (who, ironically, becomes quite friendly when he sees the disguised Donald).
- In Mickey's Big Break, he gets Dragged Into Drag by Mickey as they disguise themselves as their own girlfriends in order to take a replacement photo after accidentally breaking the old one.
- There's also Golden Eggs, where he intends to collect some eggs from his farm but an imposing rooster won't let him get close, so he dresses up as a chick (literally) to do the job. With predictable results.
- Keep in mind that the disguise consisted of nothing more than a sack of flour, a feather duster, and a glove that wouldn't stay on his head for very long.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Donald is often both the initiator and the victim to this trope, he and his foes often switching from playing mild pranks to trying to kill each other! A huge driving force in many of his shorts' Escalating Wars is that neither side knows where "an eye for an eye" ends. For example, Donald often plays a prank on, or otherwise annoys, some small woodland creature, which then retaliates in kind and sends Don into a rage, leading to an Escalating War. Usually results in nothing more than total humiliation for Donald, but major collateral damage is not unheard of. (One cartoon ends with Donald's house being blown to bits, while another has him blown straight down to China.)
- Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: An usual, effective resource that Donald uses to punish his nephews with when they’re too bratty to endure. However, very rarely is the bottom reddening directly shown; it’s mostly implied, with him frenetically chasing the trio while holding a tree’s branch. (He couldn’t use a belt for obvious reasons)
- Duck Dastardly Stops to Cheat: It happens twice in the comic story In the Swim. Don has the lead -by far- in a swimming race against his nephews. Not having enough fun, he stops to put mosquito oil, tickly shavings and laundry starch on their way. Unsatisfied, he swims back to their point and (hiding his newly rented submarine) bets he can still beat them while underwater. Of course he does!...not.
- Downer Ending: A lot of his shorts, one in particular being "Donald's Dream Voice".
- Dripping Disturbance: The main plot line of Drip Dippy Donald.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Donald's very first appearance, preceding even "Wise Little Hen", was in a 1931 Mickey Mouse story book The Adventures of Mickey Mouse. His original design looks nothing like we remember him as.
- Edutainment Show: Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land, still to this day a staple of math classes everywhere.
- Electrified Bathtub: How to Have an Accident in the Home
- Ensemble Darkhorse : Believe it or not, this was Invoked Trope; the book "Mickey and the Gang" by historian David Gerstein reveals that Walt Disney already thought Donald would be his next star, organizing press kits to theaters that were showing Don's debut, The Wise Little Hen.
- Escalating War: Used frequently in later shorts, usually against Chip and Dale.
- Even the Guys Want Him: One could argue that in The Three Caballeros Panchito and Jose are all over Donald. Even kissing him a few times. In the House of Mouse episode of the Three Caballeros, Donald also is forced to wear a dress before tearing it apart in a rage exposing his nude and toned body while the other two hoist him up...for all to see. In the comics The Three Caballeros Ride Again and The Magnificent Seven (Minus Four) Caballeros, they both praise constantly praise his machismo and bravery. Even Pete in "Music Store Donald" briefly falls in love with him when he hears Donald play the harp. Lastly, more cartoons have shown Donald naked or referred to his body than any other Disney character!
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: His shorts have been particularly guilty about this. Donald in charge of a lighthouse? Lighthouse Keeping. The duck's nephews come for a visit? Donald's Nephews. Donald loses his memory, becomes a singer and forgets about Daisy, who is stuck with the dilemma of her boyfriend abandoning her forever and being completely happy about it? Daisy's Dill...Wait, no, that one's actually called Donald's Dilemma. What do you know!
- Experimental Archeology: In one story, Donald gets involved in a bet to discover which means did the ancient Duckburgers use to immigrate from a local Easter Island stand-in.
- Feather Fingers: While his original design in The Wise Little Hen played this straight, his current design instead has actual human-like, feather covered, hands.
- Feud Episode: Many Carl Barks' comics revolve around Donald feuding with his neighbor Jones.
- Flower Pot Drop: In the cartoon "Donald's Dilemma", a flowerpot falling on Don's head gives him Identity Amnesia, making him think he's a great singer. Daisy brings him back to normal by dropping another pot on his head.
- Four-Fingered Hands
- Funny Animal
- Furry Confusion: Hilariously brought up in Fantasia 2000, where Donald notices a couple of non-anthropomorphized ducks passing by and realizes that evolution may have done him special favors. His face says it all.
- Genius Ditz
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the Walt Disney Treasures, Leonard Maltin warns audiences about the shorts that may have non-PC content by modern standards. In "Timber", Don is forced to work for the food he intended to steal, and equates his situation as being stuck in a concentration camp...Yet this cartoon is spared from Maltin's introduction.
- The cartoon came out in January 1941, before the term "concentration camp" came to be associated with the Holocaust, so the reference was not as tasteless as it sounds today.
- Glass Cannon: Literally part of Donald's character in many of the Classic Disney Shorts - he enjoys imposing on others, but when met with adversity he goes down fast. In other words, he can dish it out, but can't take it.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Attention, people! Donald Fauntleroy Duck is suspected of ditching Disney's good-natured Halloween party so he could spend All Hallow's Eve chillin' out with villains, donning a wise disguise! Here's undeniable evidence!
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: In GOLDARN spades. It often sounds like he's swearing for real because of his voice, anyway.
- Groupie Brigade: Donald's Dilemma
- Hair-Trigger Temper: The Duck doesn't enjoy the Universe screwing him over.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Who’s got the neatest exhibition…ism? One guess, guess who…
- Have a Gay Old Time: We’re three caballeros, three gay caballeros, they say we are birds of a feather!
- One Barks story deals with Donny’s attempts to become an expert on the subject of plants. Its title? Deflowered Donald.
- In Grin and Bear It, Donald arrives at Brownstone National Park, and is told "not to molest the bears". The connotation given to that verb in modern times makes Don's reaction hysterical.
- Hair-Trigger Temper
- Helium Speech: He could very well be the Trope Namer. Seriously, it's the official term if you check the Other Wiki!
- Heroic BSOD: In Donald's Happy Birthday, when Donald finds out about the gift cigars which he forced his nephews to smoke, he shrinks! Nice Job Breaking Your Nephews, Donald.
- A more serious variant in Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas, after the nephews decide to "liven up" Christmas with a rather cruel prank, the resulting mess completely destroys the celebrations, not to mention a lot of Donald's house. Expecting another temper tantrum from their uncle, they decide to make a run for it before noticing Donald...slumped over, very still and speechless, depressed at ruining his family's Christmas. It is this huge change in demeanor that leads the boys to realize that they took their antics too far this time.
- Inadequate Inheritor: In a Carl Barks story, Donald is unknowingly put on a test by his uncle Scrooge (who placed 1,000 dollars for him to find) to observe how his nephew will use the money and thus determine if the Duck inherits the buck. Don spends all of it on a new car...to cover a mere down payment; since it costed $2000, by the story's ending he still owes another thousand. His nephews end up being chosen instead.
- Inconvenient Itch: In the Wartime Cartoon "Donald Gets Drafted", Donald is instructed by Sergeant Pete to stand still. Unfortunately, he's standing on an anthill.
- Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: The Beagle Boys still wear their masks, and don't shave.
- Insane Equals Violent: Donald's hunger-induced nervous breakdown in Mickey and The Beanstalk.
- It's a Wonderful Failure: Donald was treated to a rare non-video-game example of this trope in the 1990 storybook Donald's Dream, in which he has a nightmare where he is shown the consequences of not doing the chores he has promised to do for his friends.
- Jerkass: In the shorts where he's the one who starts trouble for either Chip and Dale or his nephews. And then of course there's the short Donald's Penguin where he almost ends up shooting his pet penguin with a shotgun for eating his pet fish.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The gold part shows up far more often in the comics than in the cartoons, but... for all his faults, Donald does have a heart and will usually do the right thing in the end.
- The Key Is Behind the Lock: In Sagmore Springs Hotel, Donald, as a hotel manager, accidentally locks the combination to the hotel safe inside the safe. In his attempts to open it, he ends up devastating the entire hotel and destroying his uncle's important cheque.
- Kick the Dog: Sometimes he has a very cruel sense of humor and likes to mess with smaller animals or his own nephews, which leads to his undoing by the end of the short.
- Lampshade Hanging: Not so much in the cartoons, yet very common in the comics.
- The Lancer
- Large Ham
- Literal Ass-Kicking: This tends to happen to Donald...a lot.
- Lower Deck Episode: An old beetle’s narration of the encounters he’s had with the Duck gets the focus in "Bootle Beetle", "Sea Salts" and "The Greener Yard", the last one downplaying Donald's presence to an extended cameo.
- It also happened with an elderly bee playing the narrator in "Let's Stick Together".
- Mistaken for An Imposter: One cartoon, "Donald Duck and the Gorilla", has Donald's nephews pretend to be an escaped killer ape to scare Donald. He catches them, and when the actual killer ape shows, he slaps it around a few times before realizing what it is and running for his life.
- Also, in another cartoon, "Lion Around", two of Donald's nephews dress up in a lion costume to scare Donald while the third nephew goes for a yummy pie. However, one slip-up has Donald discover who the "lion" really is and shoos the nephews out of the house. Then a real mountain lion shows up and goes to Donald's house in an attempt to eat him and the pie. However, Donald thinks the actual lion is just his nephews in costume and tries shooing it away, but the lion persists and enters his house. At once Donald becomes infuriated and even attempts to rip off the lion's head, but then one of his nephews knocks on the window and tries convincing Donald that the lion is real by showing him the costume, which the nephews had taken off. It takes Donald a few seconds to realize that the "lion costume" he attempted to "take off" is actually a real lion, whom he had just ticked off! Oh Crap!
- Modesty Towel: It happens, logic be damned. This eventually got a Shout-Out on Friends, where Chandler discusses the subject with Phoebe.
- Morally-Ambiguous Ducktorate: Arguably the Ur Example as far as Western Animation goes. This very distinction it's what made him so famous so fast in the first place.
- Never Trust a Hair Tonic: "Black Wednesday", written by Carl Barks, features Uncle Scrooge selling hair tonic to the "Chillyboot Indians", which actually causes baldness. Donald later returns with a hair tonic made by Gyro Gearloose; that one works too well.
- Never Wake Up a Sleepwalker: In one cartoon, Daisy has to race ahead of a sleepwalking Donald to move obstacles out of his way. Considering he's doing gravity-defying tricks such as climbing up walls, it's quite a feat.
- Non Dubbed Grunts: The majority of Donald’s dubs around the globe preserve Clarence Nash’ original laughs, unintelligible tantrums, and so on.
- Saludos Amigos took it one step further; both Donald and Joe Carioca's entire dialogue in the segment "Aquarela Do Brasil" were left intact for the Latin American release. As if Donald's voice wasn't difficult enough to understand already...
- Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: In the Prince and the Pauper adaptation.
- Other Me Annoys Me: When forced to spend time with a duplicate of himself, he was annoyed.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Many times, his strength isn't just due to his Unstoppable Rage, but also sheer determination. In the Quack Pack episode, "Ducks By Nature", the camping leader is jealous of Donald and calls him "city wimp" but Donald carries BOTH their camping equipment (which includes a CANOE!) and then the camp leader challenges Donald to a race to climb up a cliff. Then, he cheats by secretly tying Donald to a tree with an EXTRA-STRONG Bungie cord. Donald struggles for a bit before his determination makes him so strong that he not only uproots said tree but literally SENDS IT INTO ORBIT and gets him to the cliff top faster than the camp leader! In "Bird Brained Donald", he lifts a metal rail in from its post in cement to use as a ladder! And he beats BOTH Mickey and Goofy in a pseudo tug-of-war in "Answering Service". And these are just a FEW examples!
- Polka Dot Paint: In "The Vanishing Private", Donald paints a field cannon with red, green and yellow stripes, and black polka dots. All at once, with a single brush and bucket.
- Public Domain Animation: The short "The Spirit of '43". However, you won't find it in any compilations—in fact, Disney halted the release of a public domain dvd with Donald displayed on the cover, pointing out that while the cartoon is Public Domain, Donald Duck isn't.
- Rain Dance: In the cartoon Grand Canyonscope, Donald fools around with a genuine raindancing costume and manages to summon a Personal Raincloud before the ranger catches him.
- Shock and Awe: Donald gets lightning powers from Zeus himself to pester Pete in response to bad Trombone playing in Trombone Trouble
- Smooch of Victory: At the end of the unfairly ignored Maui Mallard, a SNES/Genesis/PC videogame. As a reward for saving her island, a Hot Amazon duck pleases Don with the best kiss he's received on his entire existence, then teleports both of them to some unknown destination...Considering she promised to take him "on and adventure he'd never forget" and that the wedding march starts playing as they disappear...OH, LUCKY DUCK!
- In a more traditional, approved-for-kids instance, Daisy gives him one (on the cheek, mind you, after risking his life to save her from an evil magician with a wicked mind, come on now)- at the end of last gen's videogame, Goin' Quackers.
- Special Edition Title: "Trick or Treat". Donald’s face is painted on a fence at night, instead of the usual head shot on the starburst frame. The credits are featured on a house surrounded by dead trees’ shadows, which serves this Halloween short better than the ordinary red burlap design. Finally, the camera pans around before revealing the title, which is neatly painted on a broken window in a seemingly abandoned house.
- The rarely seen original opening for "Rugged Bear" depicts Don’s headshot as a portrait over a fireplace mantle, which pans down to the dark fireplace opening with the title and artist credits. After that, the camera pans down to a shot of a bear-skin rug with the cartoon's title.
- Species Surname: Curiously, a gag in House of Mouse revealed that Donald is seemingly part-goose, even more goose than duck, so his name ought to be Donald Goose. He’s terrified about people finding out, for it would ruin his career. This was likely something made out of thin air to give Don a secret in an episode where everyone had an embarrasing one, rather than a notion to be taken seriously. It was never been brought up before, nor has it been mentioned ever again
- That would explain why Gus Goose is his cousin...or maybe it was indeed made up in the spot...
- Gladstone Gander is confirmed as half duck and half goose, so there are geese in Don's family tree... but both his parents and all his grandparents were ducks.
- That would explain why Gus Goose is his cousin...or maybe it was indeed made up in the spot...
- Speech Impediment / The Unintelligible: Donald's voice is so hard to understand that it has caused at least two Mondegreens in the form of people accusing him of screaming "Fuck you!" in Clock Cleaners and calling Daffy Duck a nigger in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (he actually says "Sez you!" and "You doggone stubborn little...", respectively). This does not apply to him in the comics, though.
- Super Senses: In the story An Eye for Detail, an oculist declares that, by training his vision differentiating between his identical nephews for years, Donald’s retina has developed an incredible clarity, allowing him to discern microscopic details with ease (For instance, a mosquito bite behind Louie’s...ear. Louie’s a duck, mind you...). Scrooge sees big financial opportunities on it. Donald grows more and more stressed. As for the nephews? They can’t grasp the mere idea of them looking alike.
- Even more so amazing if you take into account that, according to Donald Gets Drafted, he's partially colour blind and cannot tell the difference between green and blue.
- Symbol Swearing
- Synchronized Swarming: In the cartoon "Inferior Decorator", Donald gets into a feud with a bee. Toward the end of the cartoon, it calls on all its friends, which swarm out of the hive and form a question mark, as if to say "Yeah, what do you want?"
- Tame His Anger: Trope Namer.
- Theme Tune: Originally, Donald’s cartoons were accompanied by diverse instrumental themes, each suiting the short featured, such as the Mexican melody in Don Donald. They would also play prominently within the short itself. This practice was later abandoned; the first two tunes that stuck can be heard here and here. Finally, in the second half of the forties, the theme we’re most familiar with appeared, an inversion of the Bragging Theme Tune, since most of the qualities it attributes to Donald are the complete opposite of his behavior in the cartoons.
- Three Amigos: Is a part of two trios: The Three Caballeros (with Jose Carioca and Panchito), and the more commonly known trio (with Mickey Mouse and Goofy).
- Through a Face Full of Feathers: On those rare occasions when Donald loses his temper, he will often turn scarlet—either in the face, or on occasion all over his body.
- Toothy Bird: Donald's Double Trouble's 5th minute takes it to dangerous heights.
- The Unintelligible
- Unrobotic Reveal: Scrooge fires his butler, gets Gyro Gearloose to build him a new robotic butler, and eventually requests that it have so many features that Gyro finds it easier to just dress his old butler in a robot costume.
- Unstoppable Rage: Varies. Donald's strength seems to be directly proportional to the person (or thing) he is trying to fight. He regularly beats the crap out of his ex-con neighbour, who's twice his height and three times his width, yet once got knocked out cold by a sleepy Volcanovian.
- He's lifted up and thrown a wardrobe and uprooted a telephone pole in Cured Duck, he punches out a huge shark in Sea Scouts, and head-butted a large mountain goat in Alpine Climbers. His strength seems to increase even when he's determined as well. In the House of Mouse episode Clarabelle's Christmas List, Donald effortlessly reeled in Monstro thinking it was the Naughty or Nice list. And in Answering Service, he rips a keypad off the wall and beats BOTH Mickey and Goofy together in a pseudo tug-of-war. He's also performed amazing feats of strength in the comics including: breaking free of strong ropes, pulling in a TRACTOR [dead link], among others. Basically, don't mess with this duck if he's determined or angry.
- "Dumbella" in her first appearance and still in some countries' canons