Saturday Matinee #124, Pedro Week: "Mr. Duck Steps Out" (June 7, 1940)
Published May 18, 2013
by Albert Gutierrez
Happy Pedro Week! Much like last month's week dedicated to Alex McVetty, this week has been focusing entirely on everyone's favorite Gamer Tuesday writer, Pedro Hernandez! By now, you should know a lot about Pedro. He likes Beauty and the Beast and The Sword in the Stone, and his favorite theme park memory was his day at Animal Kingdom. Given how important and live-changing this theme park trip was, it seemed only appropriate that Saturday Matinee celebrate another character going out for a good time. We take a look at one of Pedro's favorite shorts by stepping out for a date with Daisy in 1940's "Mr. Duck Steps Out."
Donald is getting ready for his date with Daisy. Armed with a box of chocolates and ready to cut a rug, he gest ready to leave. Also prepared and equally eager to have a night on the town are his nephews: Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Donald tricks them into marching back into the closet, which he locks. Donald then continues on his way, unaware that the three have cut a hole in the wall (!) in order to get to Daisy's house. When Donald arrives, the boys are gracious for his gift of chocolates. Naturally, Donald chases after them, but Daisy finally emerges from the kitchen. To save face, Donald says he brought them with him. He then bribes them to leave by giving them money for ice cream.
Now alone, Donald tries to get fresh with Daisy on the couch, only to be interrupted by his nephews once more, now back with the ice cream. Quick-thinking Donald decides instead to ask Daisy to dance the jitterbug with him. They get along well until one of the nephews decides to cut in. Donald sends him back to the couch and continues his dance with Daisy. But now, the boys are all intent on getting a dance with Daisy, be it one at a time or all at once. They sabotage Donald's latest dance with Daisy through popcorn, ultimately using the beat he's popping with random household objects to create a live band. Perhaps now they just want to have fun, rather than dance with Daisy. Daisy doesn't seem to mind, she's having quite a ball. And by the end of the date, everyone's happy. Maybe Donald should bring his nephews out more often.
Donald and his nephews have already battled before, namely in their introductory short, "Donald's Nephews" (1938). However, this would be the first of three shorts from the classic era in which they interact with Daisy. The other two shorts in which all five ducks share screen time are 1941's "The Nifty Nineties" and 1954's "Donald's Diary." In all three appearances, Daisy doesn't seem to mind Donald's nephews; she finds them to be absolutely adorable. Granted, their appearance in "The Nifty Nineties" is little more than a cameo, while "Donald's Diary" rewrites history somewhat and seems to establish that the boys are part of Daisy's family. Thus, we can only look to "Mr. Duck Steps Out" to see how Daisy feels about them. And she obviously holds as much affection for them as she does Donald.
I've always been a huge fan of the Donald vs. His Nephews shorts, and this is a rarity among them, as everything ends up okay for everybody. Donald has a successful date, the nephews had their ice cream earlier, and were even allowed to stick around and play. Happy endings usually aren't common for Donald, he almost always loses in his one-upmanship with whomever he is rivaling, be it the boys, Chip 'n' Dale, Spike the Bee, etc. It's refreshing to see everything work out by the end.
"Mr. Duck Steps Out" was first made available on DVD in a 2004 compilation disc entitled "Mickey and Minnie's Sweetheart Stories." Later that year, it was released in "Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald, Volume One." 2006 saw it released a third time, now in "Classic Cartoon Favorites, Volume Ten: Best Pals - Donald and Daisy." All three releases are out of print.