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:
- 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: Inverted; it's the only thing that survives when Daffy gets shot.
- 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.
- 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
- Planet-X-Shattering Kaboom
- 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.