Daffy Duck is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons, often running the gamut between being the best friend or arch-rival of Bugs Bunny. Daffy was the first of the new breed of "screwball" characters that emerged in the late 1930s to supplant traditional everyman characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Popeye, who were more popular earlier in the decade. Daffy would appear in 129 shorts in the Golden Age, third among Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons behind Porky Pig's 152 and Bugs Bunny's 166 appearances.
Virtually every Warner Bros. cartoon director put his own spin on the Daffy Duck character, who may be a lunatic vigilante in one short but a greedy gloryhound in another. Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones both made extensive use of these two very different versions of the character.
Daffy was #14 on TV Guide's list of top 50 best cartoon characters, and was featured on one of the issue's two covers as Duck Dodgers with Porky Pig and the Powerpuff Girls (all of which are Time Warner-owned characters).
Daffy first appeared on April 17, 1937, in Porky's Duck Hunt, directed by Tex Avery and animated by Bob Clampett. The cartoon is a standard hunter/prey pairing for which Leon Schlesinger's studio was famous, but Daffy (barely more than an unnamed bit player in this short) represented something new to moviegoers: an assertive, combative protagonist, completely unrestrainable. As Clampett later recalled, "At that time, audiences weren't accustomed to seeing a cartoon character do these things. And so, when it hit the theaters it was an explosion. People would leave the theaters talking about this daffy duck."
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Official Site: Warner Bros.
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