Ludwig von Drake is an anthropomorphic duck.
Ludwig von Drake is Donald Duck's Austrian uncle, and he is the scholar of the family. Credited with at least 98 dilplomas, Von Drake claims to be an expert on everything. However, though his vast knowledge is undeniable, he is also unbelievably wacky; whenever he tries to explain anything (which he often does, unfortunately, being fond of lecturing), he digresses about varyingly crazy subjects until even himself has forgotten what the lecture was supposed to be about to begin with. Ludwig is also vain, naive and very absent-minded.
After various brilliant studies that earned him the aforementioned 98 diplomas, young Professor Von Drake moved to the United States, where he claims to have been responsible, in the following years, for the inventions of several types of popular music, starting with Charleston (he claims the first Charleston, Charleston Charlie, was a rip-off of his earlier Louisville Ludwig). He also lost much of his fortune during the Great Depression, though he allegedly did pull through thanks to a new composition of his.
In 1961, he was invited by Walt Disney to give a lecture about color on television, and for that purpose moved to Duckburg; initially housed by his nephew Donald, Ludwig eventually settled in Duckburg for good, buying a luxurious villa to accommodate him and his personal library. At some point after 1961, he also married Scrooge McDuck's sister Matilda McDuck.
By the late 2000's at least, and throughout 2010's, Ludwig von Drake, still living in Duckburg, taught unspecified subjects at Coot University and also worked at the Hall of Science, where he had set up a laboratory where (occasionally joined by Gyro Gearloose) he would create new and marvelous, but often dangerous, machines. He occasionally oversaw and hosted exhibits in the Hall specifically showcasing his latest creations. Neither of these jobs were so time-consuming, however, that Ludwig couldn't carry on being his eccentric self and occasionally setting out on wacky endeavors such as his own submarine expedition into the unexplored depths of the ocean.
Behind the scenes
Ludwig von Drake debuted in 1961.
Ludwig used not to appear in Egmont stories, as the publishers enforced a policy that he (like Fethry) was "legally dead" as far as they are concerned — in other words, non-canonical. Don Rosa was a long-time opponent of this policy, and managed to sneak cameos by Ludwig in two of his stories for Egmont. The ban had never applied to Italy, French and Brazil, allowing Ludwig's legacy to survive even beyond his regular appearances in animation, and sometime in the 2000 it was lifted even in Egmont.
Ludwig's exact relation to the Duck family has long been a point of contention; early statements suggest that he really was Donald Duck's uncle (or "sort of uncle"), while others imply that he is a cousin of Elvira Duck or even an in-law of hers. There are even some fans to dispute the fact, introduced by Don Rosa, that he became the husband of Matilda McDuck (although that idea is only a failsafe to explain how he might be related to Donald, and does not contradict any of the other theories).
- Paul Frees (Classical voice from 1961 to 1986)
- Wayne Allwine (Ludwig's Think Tank)
- Albert Ash (Down and Out with Donald Duck)
- Corey Burton (Classical voice since 1987; also voiced an alternate version of the character in DuckTales 2017)
Notes and References
- The cartoon and the comic were released on the very same day.
- Ludwig von Drake gives all this information in A Symposium on Popular Songs.
- The lecture is shown in the animated made-for-TV film An Adventure in Color, Ludwig's first appearance.
- He still described himself as a bachelor in 1961's Kids is Kids.
- Wiener Schnitzel Woes.
- Down the Hatch, Split Decision, Outta Time.
- Wonders of the Deep
- The Beagle Boys and the Last Pirate.