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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."

Duck Dodgers: I claim this planet in the name of the Earth!
Marvin the Martian: (lands his ship) I claim this planet in the name of Mars! Ain't that lovely, hmm?
Duck Dodgers: Look, bud. I have already claimed this bit of dirt for the Earth, and there just ain't room on this planet for the two of us!
Marvin the Martian: (pulls his disintegrating pistol on Dodgers) I do believe you are right.

"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 (whether or not it was intentional is unknown, but most modern viewers will interpret it as such), 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 Mutually 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.


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

  • 2-D Space: Averted. 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.
  • The 50 Greatest Cartoons: #4.
  • 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. Or even protect what it does cover, for that matter; only the Vest itself is Disintegration Proof.
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: The Ultimatum Dispatcher.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: The Eager Young Space Cadet.
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  • Brick Joke: Duck Dodgers claims that Planet X isn't big enough for the two of them (him and Marvin). By the time their fight is over, this is quite literally true.
  • Bulletproof Vest: The disintegration-proof vest is disintegration-proof... but not the guy inside it.
  • 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.
  • Comically Lopsided Rivalry: Given Marvin was designed to give Bugs Bunny a hard time, Daffy for the large part is completely at his mercy until he enforces a Pyrrhic Victory. Eager Young Space Cadet helps him get in a small Curb-Stomp Cushion with an explosive "birthday gift," however.
  • Complexity Addiction: Dodgers' ludicrously convoluted proposed route to Planet X.
  • Disintegrator Ray: Too bad it disintegrates itself rather than the target. Of course, while Marvin's pistol was A-1 brand, Daffy's pistol was Acme.
    Dodgers: And brother, when it disintegrates, it disintegrates.
    [the gun dissolves into dust]
    Dodgers: Well, what do you know? It disintegrated.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Or rather, Planet-X-Shattering-Kaboom, the result of Dodgers and Marvin using their Secret Weapons against each other.
  • Escalating War: Between Dodgers and Marvin the Martian.
  • Everything Explodes Ending: The cartoon ends with Dodgers and Marvin blowing up Planet X.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Instead of being the usual code name for an unknown planet, Planet X is literally “X” of the Alphabet Planets.
  • 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?
    Cadet: I d-d-don't know.
  • Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: The Trope Namer.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Porky Pig as the Eager Young Space Cadet.
    Duck Dodgers: Now do you know how to reach Planet X?
    Eager Young Space Cadet: Y-y-oh sure!
    Duck Dodgers: (surprised, then looking back at his star chart) Well, I wish you'd explain it to me some time, buster.
  • Instant People: Just Add Water!: The Integrating Pistol.
  • Ironic Echo: "There ain't enough room on this planet for the two of us!"
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: This is the one of the few classic shorts appearances by Marvin where he isn't trying to blow up the Earth, along with the only one he is pit against someone other than Bugs (though future projects would routinely pit him against Daffy again).
  • Layman's Terms: Dodgers explaining how they will navigate to Planet X.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: Illudium Phosdex — the Shaving Cream Atom.
  • Never My Fault: Dodgers blames Cadet for Marvin disintegrating him even though it was clearly Dodgers' own fault.
  • No Blood for Phlebotinum: The other Aesop.
  • Non-Natural Number Gag: The title of the short, and the time when it takes place, is the 24½th century.
  • Not Big Enough for the Two of Us: Dodgers delivers this line to Marvin the Martian. After the two blow up the planet during their Escalating War, it becomes quite literal.
  • Not Hyperbole: As noted, by the end, Dodgers is literally right that there's not enough room on what's left of Planet X for both him and Marvin.
  • Only Sane Man: The Eager Young Space Cadet.
  • 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 between the two of them Dodgers and Marvin end up blowing up Planet X, the very thing they were fighting over (including the supply of illudium phosdex Dodgers was sent to retrieve). Not that Dodgers realizes it at the time, as focused as he is on winning.
  • Retro Rocket: Both Dodgers' and Marvin's.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: Marvin's "Ultimatum Responder" simply fires a bullet within a bullet at Dodgers.
  • Serious Business: High I.Q sends Dodgers on his mission because the world is almost out of shaving cream.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: The disintegration-proof vest is all that is left after Dodgers is disintegrated.
  • Shout-Out: When the Eager Young Space Cadet gives Marvin the lit stick of dynamite, he says "Happy b-b-b-birthday, you, uh, thing from another world, you!"
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Duck Dodgers

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