Poster

Truant Officer Donald

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : August 1, 1941

Synopsis

Donald is responsible for making sure his nephews get to school when they attempt to play hookey.

Characters

Donald Duck
Huey, Dewey and Louie

Credits

Director
Jack King
Animation
Ed Love
Paul Allen
Jim Armstrong
Andy Engman
Art Fitzpatrick
Story
Carl Barks
Jack Hannah

Awards

Nominated for an Academy Award (Short Subjects - Cartoons.) The award went to "Lend a Paw."

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 5 : Disney's Best of 1931-1948
France
La Bande a Donald
Une Cervelle D'oiseau
Italy
Paperino Guai in Vista

Laserdiscs

United States
Disney's Best of 1931-1948
Japan
All Star Cartoon Review

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 51: Triple Trouble
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 51
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 8

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 : Yesterday, we saw Donald at his finest, in a solo setting. Alone in a room, the animators managed to turn Donald’s struggles with going to bed into a great bit of comedy. Today, we get to see how he plays off others, specifically his nephews, in Truant Officer Donald.

From a pacing and story standpoint, this is a very, very strong short. Donald starts off with a clear objective – getting the boys into school – and pursues that goal vigorously throughout the short. And as things go on, the obstacles get bigger and bigger, until he finally reaches his goal. It’s exactly what you would want any good writer to do.

I still can’t distinguish between the nephews, but I don’t think that’s important for their comedic value. In fact, it’s probably better that way. Donald doesn’t show favoritism to any of them, as he uses a net and a suction gun to capture them initially. Donald’s gadgets are a fun addition to the short, and seems to foreshadow some of the things to come in the Duckverse many years later (Darkwing Duck for one example.)

The boys breaking out of the truancy van is also a great bit. The timing is crucial, as we see the boys bust out their Swiss Army knives, then the van goes through a patch of trees, and we see nothing. When the van emerges on the other side, it has not back anymore, and the boys are gone. It’s a subtle thing, but the easy way out would have been to just show the boys sneaking out the back. Using it this way, with the obscured view, was much funnier.

The second half of the short shows Donald trying to coax the boys out of their clubhouse, using a variety of methods. Things escalate like crazy. It gets to the point where Donald tries to smoke them out, by setting a fire outside the door. That’s where I think things get very creative.

The boys decide to hide some conveniently placed nearby roasting turkeys in their beds, so Donald will think he has roasted them. Seeing Donald’s reaction when he comes into the room and sees the roasted birds is priceless. But as always, the boys go one step too far, dusting one of them with flour and posing as an angel, which Donald sees through eventually.

The shot of Donald coming forward and menacing the boys was a favorite of mine. Unfortunately for him, when he finally has them rounded up, he heads to the school, only to discover…well, you need to watch it to see, but it’s a perfect comic ending to the short. Don’t miss this one if you want to laugh.


From Ryan : Donald Duck plays a truant police officer in this short. We've got his nephews playing hooky (or so we think when we first see the short). I liked the part where Donald grabs the nephews and puts them in a bag until he throws them in his truck (you'd think he'd go a little easy on his nephews don't ya?). Then, while he's lecturing them about how crime doesn't pay and how an education is very important, they saw through the bars of the truck while going through a heavily wooded forest. Donald sees them running off and chases them in their hideout. I also laugh at the scene where Donald tries to smoke them out. The nephews put three turkeys in their bed and their hats on each one. Donald then thinks he killed them. When I saw this short for the first time, I thought the nephews really were playing hooky. They weren't. As soon as Donald dragged them to school, he saw a sign that read: SCHOOL CLOSED FOR SUMMER HOLIDAY. This is definitely a classic Donald Duck short and would fall into my "favorites" categories.
From Bo Engwall : Here is a another example of a theme sometimes later used by Carl Barks himself in his 10-pagers for Walt Disney´s Comics & Stories. Both in a 1946 and a 1949 story, even with reused gags. In the late fifties Barks somewhat copied himself in similar fashion from earlier comic book work, but that is another story.
From Baruch Weiss : This cartoon is quite similar to a Little Audrey cartoon titled "Fish Tackler" it's pretty much the same in both cartoons with the exception of the ending. In this cartoon Donald deflates, but in the Little Audrey cartoon the Truant Officer becomes a slave to the cute little girl!

Referenced Comments