Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century

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Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century
Merrie Melodies (Daffy Duck/Porky Pig/Marvin the Martian) series
Looney Tunes 'Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century' - screenshot.jpg
"You may fire when ready, Gridley."
Directed by Charles M. Jones
Produced by Eddie Selzer
Story by Michael Maltese
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl Stalling
Animation by Lloyd Vaughan
Ken Harris
Ben Washam
Harry Love (special animation effects)
Layouts by Maurice Noble
Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard
Distributed by Warner Bros.
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date(s) July 25, 1953 (USA)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7:00
Language English

Duck Dodgers in the 24½th (twenty-fourth and a half) Century is a Merrie Melodies cartoon created in 1952 and released on July 25, 1953, starring Daffy Duck as space hero Duck Dodgers, Porky Pig as his assistant, and Marvin the Martian as his opponent. Marvin the Martian had been introduced as an unnamed villain in Haredevil Hare (1948) playing opposite Bugs Bunny (and was given the title 'Commander, Flying Saucer X-2' in 1951's The Hasty Hare), but this cartoon was the first of many appearances of Duck Dodgers. The title is a pun on the comic book character Buck Rogers, and especially on one collective title of his adventures in particular, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

In 1994, it was voted #4 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. In 2004, it was retrospectively nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Plot[edit]

Lobby card for Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century.

The plot of the cartoon involves Duck Dodgers (Daffy) in his search for the rare element Eludium Phosdex, "the shaving cream atom." In the future, the only remaining supply of the element is on the mysterious "Planet X". After Dodgers plots an enormously complicated course to Planet X by way of rocket, his assistant, the "Eager Young Space Cadet" (Porky) points out that they can simply follow a path leading from Planet A, through Planets B, C, D, and so on (each planet features a single landmass in the shape of the letter itself). Dodgers takes credit for this idea and the two soon arrive on the planet.

Just as Dodgers claims the planet in the name of the Earth, Marvin the Martian lands in his Martian Maggot rocket and claims it in the name of Mars, setting the stage for a battle of wits (or lack thereof) between the two. Dodgers explains he already claimed the planet for Earth and that there wasn't enough room for the two of them. Marvin replies by pulling out his disintegrating pistol saying "I do believe you are right." Dodgers tells the audience that this isn't a problem as he is wearing a "disintegration-proof vest" but when Marvin fires, Dodgers is still disintegrated (although the vest survives). The Cadet revives Dodgers with an "integrating pistol" but Dodgers blames him for interference in the duel and orders him back to the ship. Dodgers then tries to get the drop on Marvin with his own disintegrating pistol but it literally disintegrates when he fires and he runs into the ship. The Cadet comes out and gives a dynamite stick to Marvin, claiming it is a birthday present. The dynamite blows up in Marvin's hand, causing him to hide in his helmet and retreat to his ship.

Next, believing Marvin has had enough, Dodgers sends him an ultimatum by means of an "Ultimatum Dispatcher". The ultimatum is delivered by a bullet that opens up to reveal a message telling Marvin to "Surrender, or be blown into 17,670,002 micro-cells". Marvin responds by using his own "Ultimatum Answerer" to send a similar bullet to Dodgers, but when this bullet opens up, it shoots him in the face. Dodgers sends another ultimatum in reply, this time saying "OUCH!" Later, Dodgers tries to see what Marvin is up to by a "Super Video-Detector set", but when Marvin materializes on the screen, he shoots Dodgers in the face through the screen.

Dodgers finally snaps and deploys his "secret weapon" in attempt to destroy Marvin, not knowing that Marvin is doing the same with his own. Both fire their weapons at the same time, resulting in the complete destruction of Planet X. The cartoon ends with Dodgers dramatically claiming the last remaining chunk of the planet for Earth, while Marvin and the Cadet hang helplessly from a root below, the latter delivering the final punchline (relating to Dodgers' Pyrrhic victory), "Eh, b-b-b-b-big deal."

Credits[edit]

The cartoon was directed by Chuck Jones (credited as Charles M. Jones), with the story by Michael Maltese, voices by Mel Blanc, and original music by Carl Stalling. The animation was credited to Lloyd Vaughan, Ken Harris and Ben Washam, with Harry Love receiving a credit for effects animation. The distinctive layouts were designed by Maurice Noble and the backgrounds produced by Phil DeGuard.[1]

Uncredited is the noteworthy quotation of "Powerhouse" by Raymond Scott in the score by Stalling.

Sequels[edit]

Other media[edit]

  • When the main character of the science fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) wakes up, after trying all night to make contact with the aliens, his daughter is watching "Duck Dodgers".
  • In Planet of the Apes parody webtoon Planet of the Taz, Daffy and Porky are first seen in their Duck Dodgers and Cadet outfits from this short.

Availability[edit]

This cartoon is available on Disc 2 of Volume 1 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection and on disc 2 of the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1 Blu-ray box set with the cartoon restored in high definition.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]