The Birth of a Notion

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The Birth of a Notion
Looney Tunes (Daffy Duck) series
Directed by Robert McKimson
Produced by Edward Selzer (uncredited)
Story by Warren Foster
Voices by Mel Blanc
Stan Freberg (uncredited)
Music by Carl Stalling
Animation by Richard Bickenbach
I. Ellis
Cal Dalton
Rod Scribner
Anatole Kirsanoff
Fred Jones
Layouts by Cornett Wood
Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) April 12, 1947 (USA)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 minutes
Language English

The Birth of a Notion is a Looney Tunes cartoon animated in 1946 and released in 1947. It was reissued as a Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies cartoon, retitled Birth of a Notion, with the ending theme song still being that of the Looney Tunes cartoon. It features Daffy Duck, as well as a dog named Leopold and an unnamed mad scientist. Director Robert McKimson used his "Barnyard Dawg" character design as Leopold, while the scientist is a caricature, both visually and vocally, of Peter Lorre. The title is a play on The Birth of a Nation, but there is no other connection to that 1915 film.

The Birth of a Notion is one of three shorts that had been scheduled for direction by Bob Clampett before he left Warner Bros. Cartoons; the other two were Bacall to Arms and The Goofy Gophers, both of which were finished by Arthur Davis. Mel Blanc voiced Daffy Duck, Leopold and Joe Besser Duck, while an uncredited Stan Freberg voiced the mad scientist.


Daffy is not going to fly south for the winter like other ducks. He manages to convince the rather simple-witted dog, Leopold, to let him stay for the winter by pretending to have saved Leopold's life. Unfortunately, Leopold's master is a mad scientist who needs the wishbone of a duck for his experiment.

Daffy is insulted by the scientist's requirement and tries to get rid of him, while Leopold interferes to save his master. At one point, Daffy throws a baseball bat at the scientist from behind, and Leopold grabs it, but cannot stop it in time from hitting the man. The scientist misunderstands, taking the bat away and calmly scolding Leopold while breaking the bat into many pieces with his bare hands before going to sleep. Daffy's assassination attempt fails and the scientist turns the tables, trying to kill Daffy with numerous booby traps around the house. Meanwhile, Leopold feels left out of the cartoon.

Daffy finally leaves, but the master wants a dog's wishbone, so Leopold flees as well. As Daffy tries to con his way into another house, a grey duck (with a Joe Besser-like personality) is already occupying the place and kicks Daffy into the sky, southbound. On his flight, he is surprised to find he has company: Leopold, aided by a fan strapped to his back, is flying south, too.

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