June 20, 1947 – The Donald Duck Short Film Clown of the Jungle is Released to Theaters
“Here in a jungle paradise, nature’s little songsters blend in unforgettable harmonies.”
On June 20, 1947, the Donald Duck short film Clown of the Jungle was released to theaters. It features the Aracuan bird, a crazy bird that was first featured in the film The Three Caballeros, tormenting Donald much as he does in this short. The Aracuan makes another appearance in the film Melody Time. Clown of the Jungle was directed by Jack Hannah, with story by Ray Patin.
The audience is introduced to the jungle paradise of the South Americas, where the bliss is interrupted by the hyperactive Aracuan bird, known as the “slap-happy clown of the jungle.” The narrator then notices a strange sight in the jungle, and introduces Donald as a member of the Bird Lovers Photographic Expedition. Donald steps out of his tent to take pictures of birds, but the birds seem determined not to be photographed. Donald finally spies a sleeping stork and attempts to take a good picture, only to have the Aracuan step into the shot. Donald tries to send the Aracuan away, but the bird responds in a melodramatic fashion, acting as though it will commit suicide. The Aracuan is amused by Donald’s reassuring handshake, and starts “shaking hands” with everything he can get his hands on.
Donald, annoyed at the behavior, regains his enthusiasm for his expedition when he spots some hummingbirds. When he goes to take the shot, however, the Aracuan interrupts with a Russian dance. When Donald tries to attack the Aracuan, the Aracuan fights back, and Donald chases after the bird in a rage. Donald continues to be tricked by the comical Aracuan, including the Aracuan setting up a fake bird only to have Donald smacked with a hammer and blasted by a cigar. In the end, Donald sets up a machine gun and shoots the Aracuan, but is dismayed to find that he just destroyed his own tent, leaving the Aracuan unharmed. Donald then goes completely crazy, acting just like the Aracuan.