Dinky Duck is a character created by John Foster and Connie Rasinski. He is a young duck that lived on a farm with ducks, chickens, and other typical farm animals. Dinky often took on the role of an Ugly Duckling.
The character was created as an answer to other animation studios whom already had popular Duck characters (Such as Donald Duck or Daffy Duck), given the name 'Duckie' he first appeared in 1939 short "The Orphan Duck" directed by TerryToons veteran Connie Rasinski. The cartoon showed Duckie being hatched an orphan and trying to win the parental love of a Hen and cigar smoking Rooster, the cartoon was silent with all the characters speaking in animal noises, it was also shown in both Black & White as well as color.
Duckie would go on to appear in 4 other cartoons all of which were also released in both color and B&W, and continued the idea of none of the characters speaking English, they were all directed by Connie And so for the next several films Duckie kept playing the role of an ugly duckling, appearing before the chicken couple and others hoping to find a home, with the expectation of "Much Ado About Nothing".
Duckie never became popular like fellow Terrytoons characters Mighty Mouse, the magpie duo of Heckle and Jeckle, and the silliest Gandy Goose, poor Duckie was such a minor character that when, in 1942, Marvel Comics licensed the studio's properties for comic books, he wasn't included, even though he was billed as one of the stars, in fact, the character disappeared from animation that same year.
Luckily for Duckie, he was picked up again in 1946, and he was also given the new name of 'Dinky Duck'. 9 more Dinky Duck cartoons were released between then and 1953. Some were directed by Rasinski, while others were done by Eddie Donnelly and Mannie Davis. With this new series of cartoons also came a new plot formula, each cartoon would begin with a chorus of singers introducing the audience to Dinky through song as well as a problem he suffers from, before Dinky would try and deal with said problem only to be laughed at by his friends, before finally quickly overcoming this problem by the end, and the singers would tell us a moral, the only cartoons not fallowing this were "Dinky Finds A Home" and "The Beauty Shop". The biggest change to the cartoons was that now the animals were given voices, Dinky's voice was provided by a sped-up Paul Frees. Dinky was once again retired in 1953.
On odd thing to note is the smoking rooster, in a hand full of the cartoons he served as an unwilling father to Dinky, he'd always show his immense hatred for the bird before being won over by him saving one of his biological children, none of these cartoons shared continuity, because back then they couldn't be sure if you had seen any of their cartoons before, and even if they could it would get in the way certain stories they may wish to tell which only work by ignoring the previous films, as such the smoking rooster also changed several times. In "Welcome Little Stranger" he's white as opposed to being his normal shade of brown. Starting with the short "Dinky Finds a Home" he stopped being drawn with a Cigar (Since it was a cheater using footage from previous cartoons that meant they had to redraw any scene with the Cigar to remove it). In the '50s Dinky was given a voice but the not rooster, in "The Orphan Egg" he for some reason still spoke only in chicken noises. His final cartoon was "The Timid Scarecrow" which finally gave him a voice.
In 1955 the retiring Paul Terry decided to sell the studio along with their characters to CBS and 20th Century Fox, The new owner installed Gene Deitch in charge of things, under his direction characters like Mighty Mouse or Heckle & Jeckle were phased out in favor of new creations, and yet there was something about Dinky that interested new director Win Hoskins in creating a cartoon starring him. And so Dinky's (Voiced here by Allen Swift) final theatrical appearance was in 1957's "It's a Living", (released 4 years after his last cartoon) in which he sheds the role of the cute youthful duck living on a farm and takes on the role of a disgruntled animation actor who quits his cartoon character job to try his hand in television commercial acting, only to find it far more embarrassing and painful than his original gig. Being a cartoon about him quitting his job of working in cartoons only to return by the end, it is the epitome of a swan song.
And so with a total of 15 cartoons from 1939 through 1957 his career, at last, came to its end.
While that may have been the end of new cartoons starring the character, it wasn't the end of everything, for around that time in 1956 The Heckle and Jeckle Cartoon Show had begun airing on CBS, where Dinky's shorts were shown regularly, giving the character newfound exposure.
During this period, several TerryToon characters were licensed by a couple of minor comic book companies (St. John and Pines) into comic books, where Dinky 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 had something of his own title was in Deputy Dawg Presents Dinky Duck & Hashimoto-San, which Gold Key published in 1965.
Dinky Duck appeared in the 1999 pilot Curbside in which he was Heckle and Jeckle's pal helping them with their talk show, he was in charge of trying of working behind the camera to keep things in check you see. In this pilot, he was voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
- It's A Living (Filmed in CinemaScope and curve screen. Submitted to Oscars in hope that it'd be nominated, it wasn't.)
Dinky may at first seem like an unimportant character, however throughout his entire career despite being shot down several times, he always popped back up in some form or another, even in Curbside he was gifted a larger role than that of the other TerryToons characters. One thing is for sure, there appears to be something about him which keeps pulling people towards the character.
It's rather clear that Dinky will always be remembered as the star he wishes to be, maybe because he is downright ducky.
- The drawing of Dinky in TV title cards for his cartoons look nothing like how he actually appeared in them, except for "It's a Living" which was animated by Gene Deitch and had the same animators who also drew the TV title card.
- He was born onscreen twice.
- "It's a Living" was the only cartoon Win Hoskins ever directed.