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Melissa Duck

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Melissa Duck
Looney Tunes character
File:MelissaDuck.jpg
Melissa Duck from The Scarlet Pumpernickel
First appearanceNasty Quacks (unofficial) December 1, 1945
The Scarlet Pumpernickel (official) March 4, 1950
Created byFrank Tashlin
Chuck Jones
Voiced byBea Benaderet (1950)
Gladys Holland (1953)
B.J. Ward (1987)
Janyse Jaud (2002–2005)
Information
SpeciesMallard
Significant otherDaffy Duck

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Melissa Duck is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons and the animated television series Baby Looney Tunes. She is featured as main character Daffy Duck's blonde girlfriend in several cartoon shorts but is only referred to as Melissa in one, The Scarlet Pumpernickel, where she is voiced by Bea Benaderet.

Character history[edit]

In the 1945 cartoon Nasty Quacks, Daffy's owner, a young girl, also becomes the besotted owner of a small, yellow duckling. When a jealous Daffy feeds the duckling growth pills, he is surprised to see it age into a white, female duck with blonde hair. By the end of the cartoon, the two have fallen in love and given birth to roughly ten black, white and yellow ducklings of their own.[1]p. 163 The blonde duck in this cartoon bears visual similarities to Daffy's girlfriend from 1953's Muscle Tussle and may represent the "origin" of the Melissa Duck character.

Melissa Duck first officially appeared by name in adult form in the 1950 short The Scarlet Pumpernickel which was, in 1994, voted number 31 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.[2] In the cartoon, she appears as a blonde damsel-in-distress and Daffy Duck's love interest. The plot followed Daffy attempting to save "the Fair Lady Melissa" from having to marry the evil Grand Duke Sylvester with whom she is not in love.[1]p. 208-209

Femme Fatale (aka "The Body", has also been referred to as Fowl Fatale or Shapely Lady Duck), from the 1952 Daffy Duck cartoon The Super Snooper, was a tall voluptuous bright blue-eyed, redheaded duck wearing red lipstick who bears a strong resemblance to Melissa Duck.[1]p. 241-242 In the cartoon, she fell madly in love with the inept detective Daffy was portraying at first sight. Femme Fatale also appears on the cover of volume 5 of the Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection, which indicates that she and Melissa may be considered the same character since unlike Femme Fatale, the identities of all of the other characters on the cover are well known Looney Tunes characters.

Later in Robert McKimson's Muscle Tussle (1953), Daffy Duck's girlfriend appears with him on a visit to the beach.[1]p. 247-248 The girlfriend's design in this cartoon is markedly more stylized than Melissa's appearance in The Scarlet Pumpernickel, but a contemporary comics adaptation of Muscle Tussle carried the name Melissa on to this new design as well. The voice of Melissa in this cartoon is obscure voice actor Gladys Holland, the narrator of UPA's classic 1952 adaptation of Ludwig Bemelmans's 1939 classic Madeline.

Another blonde, female duck featured in the Greg Ford and Terry Lennon 1987 cartoon The Duxorcist, the first Looney Tunes short released to theaters after the original series ended in 1969. A loose parody of William Friedkin's The Exorcist, the cartoon depicts the single, young duck as having become possessed by ghosts. Despite having paler feathers, the female duck from this cartoon physically appears very similar to Melissa from The Scarlet Pumpernickel; even more so than the designs in Muscle Tussle and Nasty Quacks.

Melissa Duck was also the possible inspiration for the Shirley the Loon (whose surname actually is "McLoon") character on Tiny Toon Adventures, a spin-off series which follows the adventures of the next generation of Looney Tunes; each character being, to a degree, modeled after the original Looney Tunes. Shirley the Loon is a similar-looking blonde, female waterfowl with a romantic interest in the male duck character, Plucky Duck, who in turn is inspired by Daffy Duck. Despite the comparisons between Melissa and Shirley's characters, Melissa Duck never featured in an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, despite other original Looney Tunes having done so.

Baby Looney Tunes[edit]

Melissa Duck's most notable role is from the series Baby Looney Tunes, which casts the adult characters from the original Looney Tunes theatrical shorts as their infant selves.[3] Melissa had a crush on Daffy Duck ever since she was an infant. However, unlike well-known male characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, female characters were rare in the original shorts; with Melissa Duck, Petunia Pig and the Tasmanian She-Devil only making few appearances each, while Lola Bunny was created for the 1996 movie Space Jam. In Baby Looney Tunes, Melissa, a yellow duckling with darker hair than her adult self, acts as a comedian and enjoys making her friends laugh, even though her humor sometimes gets her into trouble. She is voiced there by Janyse Jaud.

See also[edit]

  • Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies
  • The Looney Tunes Show (2011)
  • Baby Looney Tunes
  • Daffy Duck
  • Shirley the Loon

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Beck, Jerry (ed.) (1994). The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals. Atlanta: Turner Publishing.
  3. Erickson, Hal (2005). Television cartoon shows: an illustrated encyclopedia, 1949 through 2003. McFarland & Co. pp. 105–106. ISBN 07864-2255-6. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png


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