Dinky Duck.


Original Medium: Theatrical animation
Released by: Terrytoons
First appeared: 1939
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By the late 1930s, Disney was having great success with irascible but entertaining Donald Duck and Warner Bros. was starting to do the same with irascible but …

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… entertaining Daffy Duck. Terrytoons responded with Dinky Duck — but tho they got the species and the surname right, they missed the "irascible" part. Dinky (no relation, by the way) was so non-irascible, he was downright cute.

Dinky Duck made his debut in The Orphan Duck, which was directed by Connie Rasinski and released October 6, 1939. Terrytoons, never an innovator, was finally starting to experiment with color by then, but this was a black & white cartoon. Dinky made four more appearances during the next three years, all by Rasinski and only one, The Lucky Ducky (1940), in color. He was such a minor character that when, in 1942, Marvel Comics licensed the studio's properties for comic books, Dinky wasn't even included.

In fact, the character disappeared from animation that same year, tho he was picked up again in 1946. Nine more Dinky Duck cartoons (all in color) were released between then and 1953, all directed by Rasinski, Eddie Donnelly or Mannie Davis. The three were career Terrytoons men, and among them directed a large majority of the studio's releases over a period of about 20 years. Dinky's voice was provided by Paul Frees, also the voice of Ludwig von Drake, Crow (of The Fox & the Crow) and Rocky & Bullwinkle's Boris Badenov.

After that, hard times befell all the established Terrytoons characters. Founder Paul Terry retired, selling his studio to CBS. The new owner installed hotshot young Gene Deitch, straight from UPA Studio and Gerald McBoing-Boing, as creative director. Under Deitch, even stars like Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle went out of production, replaced by Tom Terrific, Silly Sidney and other 1950s-style characters.

But a couple of years later, a few of the old characters started peeking out again. In 1957, Dinky appeared in It's a Living, directed by Win Hoskins. Hoskins was not one of the old Terrytoons regulars, and this fifteenth and final Dinky Duck cartoon was radically different in style from any that had gone before. The character then went out of production for good, as the studio moved on into bold, new directions such as Luno, Hector Heathcote, Astronut, and others equally memorable.

Even while the old characters were going out of production, they were getting new exposure on TV, as CBS exploited its Terrytoons properties to the hilt. During this period, they were licensed by a couple of minor comic book companies, St. John and Pines, where Dinky (a regular on The Heckle & Jeckle Show in the late '50s) finally made it into print. He was published in his own comic from 1951-58, 19 issues in all. He also appeared in the back pages of a few Dell and Gold Key comics during the early 1960s. The last time he even came close to having his own title was in Deputy Dawg Presents Dinky Duck & Hashimoto-San, which Gold Key published in 1965.

Dinky Duck was last seen in on local TV stations, which ran him as part of a package that also contained Gandy Goose, The Mighty Heroes and other Terrytoons characters. Even there, however, he faded into complete obscurity around the late 1980s.


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