June 21, 1961 – The Donald Duck Short Film The Litterbug is Released to Theaters
“Still, we have no cause to be smug, for we’ve invented no poison, nor drug to settle the score with one pest we abhor and contemptibly call the ‘Litterbug.’”
On June 21, 1961, the Donald Duck short film The Litterbug was released to theaters. This was the last Donald Duck short ever made. Huey, Dewey, and Louie also make a cameo in this short. The short was directed by Hamilton Luske, with story by Bill Berg and Lance Nolley.
The short begins with several live-action shots of litter, before turning to the book Pest Control by Dr. D.D. Tee, who narrates. He runs through a few pests, including mosquitoes and termites, and how we have been able to stop their destruction. There is one pest, the doctor warns, that we have been unable to stop: the litterbug. Donald plays the part of the litterbug, leaving trash wherever he goes. When the season changes to spring, Donald (multiplied enough to fill a neighborhood) is seen cleaning his house, dumping trash on his neighbor’s lawn. The doctor then moves on the types of litterbugs, starting with the “unconscious carrier.” As Donald walks down the street, he leaves his trash everywhere, oblivious to what he is doing. As Donald starts smoking cigarettes and lighting matches, his careless tossing of the lit matches sets fires all over town.
The next type of litterbug is the “sports bug.” Donald runs out of a stadium game, carrying snacks and several other items, throwing his trash around in excitement, mimicking various sports actions, including bunting and punting. The narrator then moves on to the “sneak bug,” who hides his trash in various places, like mailboxes and potted plants. He then talks about children, who start innocent, but let their true littering nature soon shine through. We observe Donald’s nephews on the playground, leaving their trash from their lunches all over the ground. After this, Donald and his nephews travel for the summer, leaving trash everywhere, from the mountains to the beaches. When all the tourists leave their holiday destinations, they leave mountains of trash in their wake. As Donald trashes the mountains, all of the animals start singing a song about the shame of littering. However, as the short ends and we pull away from the book, we see that Dr. D.D. Tee is no different, with piles of litter surrounding his desk.