Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Duck Pimples

Go To

Duck Pimples is a 1945 Disney cartoon starring Donald Duck.

The short begins on a dark and stormy night. Donald is trying to relax by listening to the radio, but everything on is some combination of violent and terrifying. Then a mysterious, menacing stranger appears at the door... but he turns out to be a travelling book salesman.

Donald reads one of the crime novels the salesman leaves behind, and is quite literally pulled into the story when the characters in the novel accuse him of stealing a pearl necklace. And it gets much more bizarre from there.


This cartoon features the following tropes:

  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: The Cop uses one of these on Donald, but Donald is so wound-up he acts as if he's been shot for real. Pauline and King both freak out as well and make a break for it.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Pauline, who is exposed as wearing no unmentionables under her dress when she lifts it and this can be seen better in a freeze-frame.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Lesley J. Clark, the hot-iron salesman, is a caricature of Les Clark of Disney's "Nine Old Men".
    • Also, the author of the book, J. Harold King, is likely a caricature of Jack King, a longtime director of Donald cartoons.
    • The cop (and the one who stole the pearls) is H. Hugh Hennessy, named after one of the studio's top layout artists.
  • Deranged Animation: This is hands down one of the weirdest Disney shorts ever, with its bizzare dream logic plotting and surreal, constantly changing backgrounds.
  • Advertisement:
  • Dirty Cop: The Cop steals Pauline's bracelets. Then eats them like donuts. He also turns out (when the time comes for the author to choose the culprit) to be the one who stole the pearls and is clearly not above threatening anyone's lives after the fact.
  • Femme Fatale: Pauline, the dame whose pearl necklace got stolen.
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall: The characters in the crime novel Donald reads accuse him of stealing the pearls. Then the book's author shows up to explain everything.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Pauline and her brief moment of exhibitionism when she starts to flee.
  • Going Commando: Pauline. After Donald was falsely shot, a terrified Pauline lifts her dress and jumps as she gets ready to flee. As she bends one leg up in one frame, there's a flash of her side posterior cheek, so she is revealed not to wear undies.
  • Advertisement:
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: The author is dressed as one of these when he shows up to explain the plot.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The short opens on such a night at Donald's house.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: "CLARK! The hot irons!"note  The Cop later threatens Donald with a switchblade knife.
    "Hot! Hot! Hot!"
  • Killer Gorilla: One of the radio shows Donald listens to is about one. As he listens, the chair he's sitting one turns into a green gorilla about to strangle him before it immediately changes back.
  • Mexican Standoff: Played somewhat straight: in a scene often removed from TV broadcasts, the Cop has a switchblade at Donald's throat, while Pauline raises an axe above the Cop's head.
  • Mood Whiplash: The book salesman goes from menacing to jolly as he talks about the bicycle he could win selling magazine subscriptions.
  • Mind Screw: The whole story operates on surreal logic, where reality and fiction begin to blend very early on, where very eccentric characters change their moods at drop of a hat, backgrounds will change instantly into increasingly oddly angled locations often by the second, the author himself appears to explain the narrative of the story and Poor Donald slowly goes crazier as the short goes insane from being dragged into and experiencing these events.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Pauline.
  • Officer O'Hara: The Cop that threatens Donald is a textbook example.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Plays throughout the short.
  • Only the Author Can Save Them Now: An In-Universe example. And then it's subverted when the Cop threatens the author's life when he is found out to be the culprit.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: The short ends with Donald trying to brush off the whole experience as just his imagination getting away with him, only for the pearls to materialize on his neck.
  • Raincoat of Horror: Donald is greeted at his door by an intimidating-looking figure wearing a raincoat. It turns out to be a jolly character looking to sell him magazines.
  • Retcon / All There in the Manual: A (slightly more) sensical explanation for the events of the short was given in an animated prologue made during the sixties for a rebroadcast of the short on TV. In that version, Witch Hazel (the one from the Donald Duck cartoon "Trick or Treat") creates all those characters to confuse Donald and makes him think he's having a bad dream.
  • Screaming Woman: Pauline in horrified reaction to Donald after he was supposedly shot and collapsed.
    • Also, a woman can be heard screaming on Donald's radio when a narrator mentions "And a woman shrieks".
  • She's Got Legs: As revealed by Pauline when she lifts her dress.
  • Shout-Out: The whole short is basically the Disney equivalent of the Tex Avery short, Who Killed Who?, right down to the Ominous Pipe Organ music and the cop in both cartoons being voiced by Billy Bletcher.
  • Surreal Humor: Justified, as it's all supposed to take place in Donald's imagination.
  • Surreal Horror: At the same time, the equally as bizarrely skits will change into very uncomfortable situations, such as constantly changing backgrounds at a second's notice, characters will go from friendly to psychotic and it becomes obvious early on that the reality of Donald's home and the book start to blur gradually to the point that it's impossible to tell which is which as Donald starts going more hopelessly insane than usual.
  • Traveling Salesman: One of these shows up and gives Donald the book that kicks off the plot.
  • Vapor Wear: Pauline as she holds up her dress, jumps, and runs in place before fleeing. She's revealed to go without any knickers under it.
  • Your Radio Hates You: Donald tries to relax listening to the radio, but every station is playing either horror stories or crime dramas.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: