Poster

Donald's Penguin

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : August 11, 1939

Running Time : 7:45

Synopsis

Donald receives a strange gift; Tootsie, a baby penguin, who turns out to be more trouble than she is worth.

Characters

Donald Duck
Tootsie, the Penguin

Credits

Director
Jack King
Animation
Johnny Cannon
Jack Hannah
Al Eugster
Paul Allen
Backgrounds
Jim Carmichael
Story
Carl Barks

Cut Scenes

A scenes where a gun discharges after falling from Donald's lap was cut out at one time.

Video

Germany
Donald Ich bin der Größte
France
Donald Vedette de Television
Italy
La Storia de Paperino

Laserdiscs

Japan
This is Your Life Donald Duck

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Italy
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Sweden
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 54: More Goin' to the Birds
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 36
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 14
The Mickey Mouse Club : October 11, 1956

Technical Specification

Color Type: Technicolor
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : After the very different Mickey Mouse short, The Pointer, today’s subject seems like a return to form. After all, like many of the 1939 shorts, it’s a Donald Duck short, and it follows a familiar formula. Donald’s Penguin features Donald getting yet another strange person/animal sent to him, and hilarity ensues.

As you might imagine, in this case it’s a penguin that Donald receives, this time from “Admiral Byrd,” who is stationed in the Arctic. I could not find any reference to Admiral Byrd as a continuing character in the Donald mythos, but again, it’s an example of Donald building a back story and history with other duck/bird characters.

Also interesting is that the package is addressed to Donald in Hollywood, California. Just like Mickey, Donald has progressed from the farm animal that he was in The Wise Little Hen, to a suburban home owner. Not only that, but the idea of Donald living in Hollywood implies that he is a celebrity, and that the cartoon world is aware of it. It’s all very through the looking glass stuff, but interesting nonetheless.

Where this short takes a little different turn is when Donald introduces the penguin to his pet fish. It’s here that there is a darker turn to the proceedings, as the penguin decides that it’s time to eat the fish. There is a dance that goes on between Donald and the penguin as to whether or not he actually is going to eat them.

First, Donald accuses the penguin of eating the fish, even spanking the poor bird. But it turns out that he didn’t do it, and Donald is left in the embarrassing position of having punished him for no good reason. Any parent should be able to relate to that moment in the short.

Then, things turn again, as the penguin actually does eat the fish. It’s such a strange turn of events, that I didn’t expect it. You think about Disney shorts and don’t expect there to be such issues as life and death, but this one deals with it.

Donald, not to be outdone, pulls a gun on the penguin! Ultimately, he can’t shoot him, which is good, but ends up dropping the gun and nearly hitting the poor little guy anyway. The short ends with Donald and the penguin making up, but it left my head swirling.

We’ve seen this formula before, obviously, with the kangaroo, Donald’s nephews and even his Cousin Gus. But this time, rather than harmless pranks, the penguin is dealing with eating Donald’s fish, which is a natural thing to do, but still deals with life and death in a way we haven’t seen before. Donald’s reaction is to escalate the conflict with the gun, which is logical, but not all that funny.

This short wasn’t so much funny as it was mesmerizing. It was very interesting to see Donald’s reactions, especially when he was counting the fish as they kept disappearing. But the final moments of Donald pointing the gun at the penguin and the “death” of the fish were just so compelling, for a bunch of reasons. This is a must watch just for that last few minutes.


From Ajisai : A very sweet little short, although the scene with Donald pointing a shotgun at the penguin is really random and scary! But it has a cute ending, and is one of my favs.
From Julie Arsenault : Donald's my favorite Disney character, and this is one of favorite shorts from the 1930s. In this short Donald doesn't get just an Ostrich (Donald's Ostrich); but a Penguin. I have ordered "The Chronological Donald Duck #1" on DVD from Amazon.ca, and this short is on it. Like all theatrical short I've watched, it's both cute and funny at the same time.

The funny parts is when Tootsie (the Penguin) woke up with a start, and slaps Donald on the face. And also every time Donald turns around, the goldfishes disappear suddenly. The sweet part is when Donald just can't shoot Tootsie (for eating the goldfishes),and when the gun accidentally fell and blasted the wall, Donald thought the gun shot Tootsie and he looks for her; but she was really hiding in the closet, Donald found her, and all was forgiven.


From Baruch Weiss : Wonderful cartoon except that I hate to see how Donald attempted to shoot Tootise (penguins name), but thank G-D he didn't otherwise he'd be reported to the SPCA. The penguin was sure cute!
From Mike : This is a nice cartoon. I didn't know what to make of Tootsie at first. It just seemed like he wanted nothing to do with Donald. The fish scenes were worth a chuckle, and the ending was pretty good.