Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century
(an obvious parody of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
) is a 1953 Chuck Jones
short featuring Daffy Duck
as the eponymous Duck Dodgers, a cocky, spectacularly inept space hero who, with the help of an Eager Young Space Cadet played by Porky Pig
, battles Marvin the Martian for control of Planet X, only known location of "Illudium Phosdex", the shaving cream atom.
Also an obvious send-up of the Cold War
, with Earth representing the United States
and Mars ("the Red
Planet") the Soviet Union
. The escalation of their conflict is a perfect illustration of the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction.
The popularity of this short led to a number of subsequent Duck Dodgers adventures, including a Duck Dodgers
cartoon series fifty years later.
This short is also No. 4 on The 50 Greatest Cartoons
Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century provide examples of the following tropes:
- 2-D Space: Actually subverted in a small way. When plotting a course to Planet X, Dodgers demonstrates that while you navigate space with North, South, East and West, you also use Up and Down (and relative terms such as Downeast), just as you would when navigating in three dimensions.
- An Aesop: Whether obvious or not, the creative team behind this short stated that it is an allegory for the Cold War. This can be read in the 50 Greatest Cartoons book.
- Armor Is Useless: The Disintegration Proof Vest works perfectly. Too bad it doesn't cover the whole body.
- BANG Flag Gun: The Ultimatum Dispatcher.
- Beleaguered Assistant: The Eager Young Space Cadet.
- Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: Or, to be more specific... DUCK DODGERS, IN THE TWENTY-FOURTH AND A HALF CENTURY!
Cadet: B-b-big deal.
- Disintegration-Proof Vest: Only the vest is disintegration-proof, not the guy inside it.
- Disintegrator Ray: And brother, when it disintegrates, it disintegrates.
- Escalating War: Between Dodgers and Marvin the Martian.
- Everything Explodes Ending: The cartoon ends with Dodgers and Marvin blowing up Planet X.
- Exact Words: Dodgers' Disintegrating Pistol and his Disintegration-Proof Vest. Also, by the end, "This planet ain't big enough for the two of us."
- Glad I Thought of It: Finding the way to Planet X. Gad, how does he do it?
- Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: The Trope Namer.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Porky Pig as the Eager Young Space Cadet.
- Instant People, Just Add Water: The Integrating Pistol.
- Ironic Echo: "There ain't enough room on this planet for the two of us!"
- Large Ham: DUCK DODGERS! IN THE 24th AND A HALF CENTURY!
- Layman's Terms: Dodgers explaining how they will navigate to Planet X.
- Messy Pig: Only in Duck Dodger's head.
- Mineral MacGuffin: Illudium Phosdex — the Shaving Cream Atom.
- Morally Ambiguous Ducktorate
- Not Big Enough for the Two of Us
- Only Sane Man: The Eager Young Space Cadet
- Planet-X-Shattering Kaboom
- Pyrrhic Victory: Dodgers technically wins in the end, but destroys Planet X in the process. Lampshaded by the Eager Young Space Cadet: "B-b-b-b-big deal."
- Pyrrhic Villainy: By the hero, yet, since Dodgers ends up blowing up Planet X and the very thing he was supposed to be retrieving. Not that he realizes it at the time, as focused as he is on winning.
- Retro Rocket: Both Dodgers' and Marvin's.
- Screw Your Ultimatum!
- Shaped Like Itself: See Disintegrator Ray, above.
- Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: The disintegration proof vest is all that is left after Dodgers is disintegrated.
- Space Cadet: As in, Eager Young.
- Stating the Simple Solution: Instead of the ridiculously complex route that Dodgers draws up to reach Planet X, Space Cadet suggests simply following a series of conveniently alphabetized planets. Dodgers first laughs at the notion, then takes it as his own.
- The Television Talks Back: Marvin shoots Dodgers from the screen on which Dodgers is watching him.
- This Means War!: "That's the last straw! Now I use my secret weapon!"
- Title Drop: Duck Dodgers himself is prone to this.
- Trick Bullet: Dodgers fires an Ultimatum Gun at Marvin, which shoots a bullet that stops in mid-air, opens and out pops a written ultimatum. Marvin responds with an Ultimatum Responder, which fires a bullet that stops and shoots a bullet of its own. Dodgers fires the Ultimatum gun again, and this time the bullet's message reads "Ouch!"
- Visual Pun: Planet X's name. The unknown zone has all the planet by letters and begins with Planet A. And have the letter printed in them.