Part 3 of 3 in a series about Porky Pig and Daffy Duck. Read Part 1 and Part 2.
And now we come to the final cartoon in this series, where we see the relationship between Porky and Daffy fully transformed into what it is today. For this post, it was a toss-up between this cartoon, and another favorite of mine, Robin Hood Daffy, but Duck Dodgers in the 24th ½ Century is most definitely the more iconic of the two, and is the one that spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs over the decades.
The short was directed by Chuck Jones, the director whom everyone working on these characters today seems to want to emulate. He’s the one ultimately responsible for establishing the status quo we see at play here between these two. Daffy, driven I assume by jealousy after the rise of Bugs Bunny, is now desperately trying to be the dynamic leading man type, while Porky, once Warner’s #1 star, has been relegated to sidekick status. You’ll also notice that by this point, Porky was no longer getting a mention in the titles of these team-ups. Daffy had officially overtaken him as the main attraction.
While I miss the “daffy” version of Daffy, this cartoon is a classic. The layouts and backgrounds (by Maurice Noble and Philip DeGuard respectively) are so unique and imaginative, especially in the opening seconds flying around the futuristic Earth city. Of particular note is a giant eye that watches Duck Dodgers as he enters the office of the Secretary of the Stratosphere. So weird! I love it!!
There are many other things to love here as well, not the least of which is fan-favorite character Marvin the Martian, who was first introduced in the Bugs Bunny short Haredevil Hare four years earlier.
So beloved was Duck Dodgers, Chuck Jones created a sequel, Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24th ½ Century in 1980, the first Pork & Daffy cartoon produced in 15 years. Dodgers continued making further appearances in various media, culminating in the wonderful Duck Dodgers TV series, which aired on Cartoon Network from 2003 to 2005. All of it was made possible by this original short, itself a parody of the popular sci-fi adventures of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and deservedly considered one of the greatest cartoons of all time.