Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century
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|Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century|
|Directed by||Charles M. Jones|
|Produced by||Edward Selzer|
|Story by||Michael Maltese|
|Music by||Carl Stalling|
|Animation by||Lloyd Vaughan|
(special animation effects)
|Layouts by||Maurice Noble|
|Backgrounds by||Philip DeGuard|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
The Vitaphone Corporation
Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (spoken as "twenty-fourth-and-a-half") is a 1952 Merrie Melodies color cartoon from Warner Bros., first released on July 25, 1953, that stars Daffy Duck as space hero Duck Dodgers, Porky Pig as his assistant, and Marvin the Martian as his opponent. This cartoon marked the first of many appearances of the Duck Dodgers character.
Marvin the Martian had been introduced as an unnamed villain in Warner's cartoon Haredevil Hare (1948), playing opposite Bugs Bunny. He was later given the title 'Commander, Flying Saucer X-2' in 1951's The Hasty Hare. The Duck Dodgers cartoon is an extended parody of the pulp magazine, newspaper comic strip, and comic book character Buck Rogers, and his longtime run of space adventures, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
In 1994, Duck Dodgers was voted #4 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. Because he was such a fan of the short in particular, Star Wars creator George Lucas requested that the short be shown before the original Star Wars film during its initial run in theaters. In 2004, at Noreascon 4, the 62nd World Science Fiction Convention, it was retrospectively nominated for a Retro Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation—Short Form.
The storyline involves Duck Dodgers (Daffy) in his search for the rare element Illudium Phosdex, "the shaving cream atom". In the future, the only remaining supply of the element is on the uncharted "Planet X", and as such, Dodgers' task is to find Planet X. After a few small mishaps, Dodgers and his assistant, the "Eager Young Space Cadet" (Porky) head on their way by rocket. Once in flight, Dodgers plots what turns out to be an enormously complicated and inefficient course to Planet X, but the Cadet suggests that they simply follow a nearby path of planets bearing the letters of the alphabet which lead from Planet A, through Planets B, C, D, and so on (each planet's letter is a single landmass with similarly shaped flora and geography). Dodgers initially laughs at the idea calling it "ridiculous" and a "stupid suggestion" but the suggestion then inspires him to rethink of the same thing and he takes credit for the idea and the two soon arrive on Planet X, near planets Y and Z.
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 that he already claimed the planet for Earth and that there is not enough room for the two of them. Marvin replies by pulling out his A-1 disintegrating pistol saying "I do believe you are right." Dodgers tells the audience that this is not a problem as he is wearing a "disintegration-proof vest", and indeed when Marvin fires on Dodgers' command, the vest survives as Dodgers disintegrates. The Cadet brings Dodgers back to normal with an "ACME integrating pistol" but after Dodgers regains his bearings, he accuses the cadet of interference ("Oh, you, huh?! Just when I had him going, you had to butt in!") and orders him back to the ship. Dodgers then tries to get the drop on Marvin with his ACME Disintegrating Pistol, but it literally disintegrates when he pulls the trigger. He runs into the ship after avoiding another shot from Marvin. The Cadet comes out and gives a stick of dynamite 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 that Marvin has had enough, Dodgers sends him an ultimatum with an "Ultimatum Dispatcher". The ultimatum is delivered in the form of 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, only when this bullet opens up, it shoots Dodgers in the face. Dodgers sends another ultimatum in reply, the message reading, "OUCH!". Later, Dodgers tries to see what Marvin is up to with a "Super Video-Detecto set" but when Marvin materializes on the screen, he simply shoots Dodgers in the face, through the screen.
Dodgers finally snaps saying "That's the last straw! Now, I use my secret weapon!!!" which is a container which dispenses multiple fireworks around Marvin's ship to destroy him, who does the same with a similar weapon of his own. Unaware that both of their weapons are prepared to destroy the other's ship, they both detonate their weapons at exactly the same time, causing Planet X to be destroyed except for a small chunk. As they stand on the last remaining tiny chunk of the planet, Dodgers reminds Marvin that he said the planet wasn't big enough for the two of them, and after he pushes Marvin off, dramatically claims the chunk, essentially the planet, for Earth "... in the name of Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century!". The Cadet and Marvin hang helplessly beneath, from a cluster of roots, and the former delivers the final punchline (relating to Dodgers' Pyrrhic victory), "B-b-b-b-big deal". (The same sort of thing would happen in Haredevil Hare with Bugs and Marvin the Martian.)
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.
- Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century (1980)
- Tiny Toon Adventures: "Duck Dodgers Jr.", segment in the episode "The Return of the Acme Acres Zone" (1990)
- Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension (1996), a 3-D cartoon
- Superior Duck (1996)
- Attack of the Drones (2003)
- Duck Dodgers (2003–2005), television series on Cartoon Network
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, as well as Disc 1 of The Essential Daffy Duck.
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
- List of cartoons featuring Daffy Duck
- List of Marvin the Martian cartoons
- List of cartoons featuring Porky Pig
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