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An obvious parody of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, this 1953 Chuck Jones short featured 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 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 list.
Tropes Employed in this Cartoon Include:
- 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
- Berserk Button: "That's the last straw! Now I use my secret weapon!"
- Disintegration Proof Vest
- Note that only the vest is disintegration proof, not the guy inside it
- Captain Space, Defender of Earth!
- Disintegrator Ray: And brother, when it disintegrates, it disintegrates.
- Well, what do you know? It disintegrated.
- 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: See Disintegrator Ray, above.
- 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 Fosdex — the Shaving Cream Atom
- Morally-Ambiguous Ducktorate
- Planet X Shattering Kaboom
- Pyrrhic Villainy: By the Hero, yet. (See What the Hell, Hero?, below.)
- Retro Rocket: Both Dodgers' and Marvin's
- Screw Your Ultimatum
- Space Cadet: As in, Eager Young
- The Television Talks Back: Marvin shoots Dodgers from the screen on which Dodgers is watching him.
- 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 unknow zone has all the planet by letters and begins with Planet A. And have the letter printed in them.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Dodgers ends up blowing up the only known supply of the Shaving Cream Atom.