Poster

Flying Jalopy

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : March 12, 1943

Running Time : 7:21

Synopsis

Donald buys a used plane from Ben Buzzard who tries to sabotage it in order to collect on a forged insurance policy.

Characters

Donald Duck
Ben Buzzard

Credits

Director
Dick Lundy
Animation
Art Babbitt

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 11 : The Continuing Adventures of Chip 'n' Dale
Germany
Pluto auf der Jagd
Donald Duck in die Größte Show der Welt
France
Donald Superstar
Italy
Video Parade 7

Laserdiscs

Japan
Donald's Golden Jubilee

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 54: More Goin' to the Birds
The Mickey Mouse Club : December 31, 1957

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 : The Flying Jalopy sees Donald pitted against Ben Buzzard, a new character that comes across as pure evil. This isn’t a character like Pete, who’s trying to playfully torture Mickey or Donald. Ben’s motivation is literally to kill Donald. Not tease him or cheat him out of money, but actually to kill him. Kind of frightening, no?

See, the short unfolds with Donald trying to buy a plane. It’s a great nod to the war films, where all Donald wants to do is fly a plane, but gets stuck peeling potatoes instead. This time, Ben Buzzard convinces him to buy a “used” plane. I put used in quotes because there is a sign at the beginning of the short that says “Wrecked Planes” where Ben has crossed out the word “wrecked” and put up “used” instead.

In order to take the plane up, Ben has Donald sign an insurance policy that apparently reads that Donald would get $10,000 if something happens. However, when the buzzard unfolds the policy, it reveals that Ben Buzzard is the beneficiary, meaning that he would have every reason to watch Donald crash and burn.

From the moment the plane takes off, Ben tries to make Donald a dead duck. He shoves the plane towards a cliff face, he tries to take the wings off the plane, and ends up attempting to light the gasoline from the fuel tank on fire. Like I said, this is a vicious guy.

I don’t know if we’ll see more Ben Buzzard in the future, but I somehow doubt it. He seems much more cruel than the other Disney villains, at least in the shorts. Also, with the villain being so much harsher, Donald doesn’t really get a chance to shine. This short is much more about Ben doing harm to Donald than Donald expressing his frustrations. As I have said before, Donald’s at his best when getting increasingly frustrated and being annoyed. This one doesn’t fit that bill, but it’s fun nonetheless.


From J. D. Weil : This Donald Duck short is quite atypical of the series and this is why it stands out. The Flying Jalopy was Dick Lundy's last short for Disney and in a way could be seen as a resume for his later work at the other Walt's studio... Walter Lantz. In fact this cartoon runs pretty much like a Lantz cartoon from this time. It would not be hard to imagine Woody Woodpecker in place of the duck... right down to the laugh at the end of the short. Another telling feature is the character of Ben Buzzard. Lundy would later revive him at Lantz's as Buzz Buzzard, one of Woody's foils. In short, this cartoon is a strange blending of the two Walt's.
From Ryan : Donald Duck buys a dilapidated plane from Ben Buzzard, a crooked airplane salesman. As pointed out in previous comments, the Buzzard is similar to a character from the Woody Woodpecker series (I have never seen a Woody Woodpecker cartoon, but have just seen a similar character on Woody Woodpecker merchandise). I really enjoy the background art of this cartoon, especially the high mountain. That was so nicely done (and all by hand too.) I find this to be a funny Donald Duck short that I enjoy watching from time to time.
From Baruch Weiss : This is one of my favorite Donald Duck cartoons. I especially enjoy the part where he's flying and he blacks out!

Referenced Comments