May 21, 1948 – The Donald Duck Short Film Donald’s Dream Voice Premieres in Theaters
“I can talk…I can talk! I can talk! Oh, boy! I can talk!”
On May 21, 1948, the Donald Duck short Donald’s Dream Voice was released to theaters. It was directed by Jack King, with a story by Roy Williams, and features Clarence Nash as the voice of Donald Duck, Leslie Denison as the suave voice of Donald Duck, and Ruth Clifford as Daisy Duck. The suave voice of Donald is a case of topical humor; he sounds like screen actor Ronald Coleman, who was very popular with audiences of the ’40s.
The short begins with Donald going door to door, peddling brushes. At the first door, the owner of the house tells Donald that he can’t understand him, and demands that he leave, which makes Donald angry, but he lets it dissipate before he knocks on the door of the next house. Unfortunately, the lady of the house hears Donald and slaps him for “using such language in [her] presence.”
Donald is next seen looking rather defeated at Daisy’s house, but she insists that he not give up, as she has faith in him. She kisses him and encourages him to try again, and Donald excitedly cartwheels out of the house, determined once more to try. Again, much to Donald’s dismay, he is misunderstood and sent packing by the owner of the house. Humiliated and angry, Donald continues to walk the city streets, until he passes a peddler selling “voice pills” for only 10 cents. Donald doesn’t believe it, but is willing to try anything once, so he buys a box.
Donald tries a pill, and instantly, his voice changes to sound like Ronald Coleman. Shocked, he tests it out a bit before bursting into rapturous praise. He begins to rush home to tell Daisy, when he decides to instead go sell his brushes, come home to her as a success, and ask her to marry him – although the pill wears off before he can actually state the last part of his plan. Popping in another pill, he completes the statement.
With his new voice, Donald approaches a house, where the woman who lives there remarks on his fine, forceful voice and she can’t help but buy several brushes. Suddenly, several hands appear waving money, wishing to buy brushes from the duck with the amazing voice. Donald then runs home, popping in another pill as the other one wore off. As he runs, he trips on the sidewalk, and the pills pop out of his pocket and fly into the sewer, save for one that Donald manages to retrieve. With only one left, he decides he has to save it for the moment he proposes to Daisy.
Arriving at Daisy’s house, Donald is ready to ask the question when the pill wears off. Grabbing the last remaining pill, it slips from his hand and bounces down the sidewalk, falling into a sewer hole. A large, thug-like man emerges from the hole, with the pill safely in the top of his hat. Donald follows the man, trying to get the pill, but the man yells at Donald, informing him that he hates people. Donald then tries the approach of grabbing the pill from the man’s hat through a nearby window, but accidentally grabs the man’s nose.
As a last ditch effort, Donald walks by, dressed as a woman, hoping the man will lift his hat in a polite greeting. He does so, and as the pill bounces away, Donald quickly slips down the street and races after the pill as he turns the corner. The pill bounces into a farmyard labeled “no trespassing,” and Donald watches in horror as it slips into a cow’s open mouth. The duck bursts into the fenced in yard and starts screaming at the cow, when the cow, now with the voice of Ronald Coleman, tells him to shut up and that the sign says “no trespassing.” As Donald tries to get the pill back, the cow informs him that he can’t understand a word the duck says, causing Donald to fly into a rage.