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A Few of Donald Duck’s Theme Songs

In 1947, a new Donald Duck Song made its debut:

Who’s got the sweetest disposition?

One guess, guess who

Who never, ever starts an argument?

Who never shows a bit of temperament?

Who’s never wrong, but always right?

Who’d never dream of starting a fight?

Who gets stuck with all the bad luck?

No one but Donald Duck!

This theme first appeared at the beginning of the Jack Hannah cartoon Bootle Beetle and was used until 1956, on the Jack Kinney short Chips Ahoy.  It was, as far as I can tell, sung by a group called Judd Conlon’s Rhythmaires, who worked on Ichabod and Mr. Toad, but are probably most famous for singing the theme song to The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.  Oliver Wallace is given lone credit for the song; he also worked on Disney films like Fun and Fancy Free, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.

Tony Anselmo has been quoted as saying that he prefers a nicer Donald in artwork, because Donald is actually a really nice character – he just loses his temper when things go wrong.  The 1947 song seems to mock this, asking sarcastically, for the sake of humor, about what a nice, easy-going guy Donald is.  It’s done fondly, though.  The only place you could find snark in those post-war patriotic days was in George Sanders’ salon.

My preference has always been for the version I learned as a child:

Quack, quack, quack, Donald Duck
He’s my little pal
Quack, quack, quack, Donald Duck
Daisy is his gal
Quack, quack, quack, Donald Duck
In his sailor suit
Quack, quack, quack, Donald Duck
Gee, I think he’s cute

I like the way he waddles
And I like to hear him talk
And when somebody makes him mad
Quack, quack, quack, how he can squawk

Quack, quack, quack, Donald Duck
Cocky as can be
Quack, quack, quack, Donald Duck
Here’s what he taught me
When someone knocks you down
Get right up again
Show some pluck like Donald Duck
Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack

It just seems, to me, to capture Donald’s character better.  He’ll lose his temper, but he’ll never give up and walk away from a challenge. This upbeat theme was introduced in an episode of Disneyland (the TV show) in 1956 called A Day in the Life of Donald Duck.  Jimmie Dodd sings the song both in this Disneyland episode and in the Sing-a-Long-Songs: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious video.  He wrote this song as well as The Mickey Mouse March and others for Disney.  There’s also a third version, used early in Don’s career, with no lyrics.

Both Clarence “Ducky” Nash and Tony Anselmo are more than deserving of the well-earned laurels heaped upon them for their work as the world’s most beloved waterfowl, Leslie Denison is often overlooked.  He appeared as Donald’s lookalike in the eponymous short, and as Donald’s inner voice in THAT eponymous short.  Uncredited, he was often mistaken for Ronald Coleman when playing the part, and many Disney historians still list Donald’s dulcet tones as being voiced by Coleman.  Denison also appeared in The Million Dollar Mermaid and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad as well as Peter Gunn and went on to direct television shows like Father Knows Best.  He died in 1992.  I wonder if Mr. Anselmo can do a good Ronald Coleman.  I bet he can.  His Carol Channing is magnificent.

A raise of the martini glass to:

Jimmie Dodd

Oliver G. Wallace

Clarence Nash

Tony Anselmo

Leslie Denison

Jack Hannah

Jack Kinney