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Western Animation / Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century

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"What he doesn't know is I have on my disintegration-proof vest. Ha ha ha. You may fire when ready, Grisly."
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"Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century" (an obvious parody of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century) is a 1953 Chuck Jones-directed Merrie Melodies 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. The cartoon is also listed as #4 on The 50 Greatest Cartoons list, and is one of The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes.

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"Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century" provide examples of:

  • 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!"
  • Ungrateful Bastard: After the Cadet reintegrates Dodgers, the latter accuses him of butting in just when he had Marvin beat.
  • 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.

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