This Is Your Life, Donald Duck is a 1960 cartoon and episode of Walt Disney Presents. It features Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck, Elvira Duck, Peg-Leg Pete, Chip, Dale, Daisy Duck, Donald's Angel, Donald's Devil, Dolores the Elephant, Humphrey the Bear, Mickey Mouse, Clara Cluck, Clarabelle Cow, Spike the Bee, Daisy's father, Daisy's mother, and Daisy's brothers (who might include Mr Duck and Fred). Ralph Edwards and Walt Disney are mentioned. The names of Kid de Coy and Wild Duck appear on posters seen in the background. There also exists what might be a reference to the General.
Also featured are Goofy, Minnie Mouse, J. Aubdon Woodlore, Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig, Practical Pig, Zeke Wolf, Ichabod Crane, Johnny Appleseed, Captain Hook, Lady, Tramp, Annette, Collette, and Danielle, Scamp, Cinderella, Jaq, Gus, Major, Bruno, Pluto, Bongo, Dumbo, Timothy Mouse, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, Cyril Proudbottom, Pecos Bill, Widowmaker, Peter, Ivan, Misha, Yasha, and Vladimir, Wolf, Snow White, Doc, Grumpy, Bashful, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox, Peter Pan, Br'er Bear, Reluctant Dragon, and J. Thaddeus Toad.
A very special episode of The Jiminy Cricket Show has been planned as the show's eponymous host, Jiminy Cricket, presents This Is Your Life, an episode that will tell the life story of the show's featured guest, in this case, Donald Duck. With help from special guests like Grandma Duck and Peg-Leg Pete, Jiminy tells the story of Donald's life from his infant years to his adulthood.
- Jiminy Cricket hosts The Jiminy Cricket Show.
- Jiminy describes Donald Duck as "a star of radio, screen, and television."
- Donald came out of his egg squawking and fussing, as stated by Jiminy Cricket and confirmed by a photo of his hatching.
- Grandma Duck has very poor vision.
- Grandma had a hand in raising Donald, saying that, "Every morning, I sent him off to school, neat and proper."
- Donald began smoking pipes when he was still a schoolboy.
- As a youth, Donald worked odd jobs every summer vacation on his red bicycle, including one year when he worked as a messenger boy.
- Donald attended college and seems to have graduated, as a photo of him in a graduation gown is labeled "graduation", though the picture itself shows Donald being literally and physically kicked out of college.
- Donald's first job (presumably, his first post-college job, as it has already been established that he worked some in his youth) was in the United States Army.
- Jiminy Cricket was a paratrooper, presumably in World War II.
- Don's first civilian, post-Army job was a zookeeper. At the zoo, he cared for Dolores the Elephant and met Chip and Dale, though it is unclear if this was his first time meeting them or if he knew them previously.
- According to Jiminy Cricket, Donald hadn't seen Chip and Dale for "quite a while" when This Is Your Life was recorded.
- At some point in his life, Donald signed a contract with Walt Disney. This was after he was noticed by a movie talent scout while he was performing during amateur night hosted by Mickey Mouse at his "neighborhood theater". Donald would go on to star in at least one film for Walt Disney Productions, Bee at the Beach.
- Donald boasts proudly about having never gotten married. According to his diary (found and presented to The Jiminy Cricket Show by Daisy Duck), he chose to never marry because of a nightmare he once had about marrying Daisy and his life going horribly downhill afterwards.
- This cartoon was adapted into the comic story of the same name (also released in 1960). Both versions share the same framing device of Jiminy Cricket featuring Donald Duck on an episode of his show, but there are some notable differences. Most notable is that the non-Donald special guests and the stories they tell are quite different in each version. The only characters who are shown as special guests in both versions are Grandma Duck and Daisy Duck, though they tell different stories in each version.
- This Is Your Life, Donald Duck includes several shorts or segments from shorts within its runtime that had been released separately at earlier dates. These shorts that are grafted into This Is Your Life, Donald Duck are the following, listed in order of when they appear in the special:
- Donald's Better Self (1938), shown with the framing device of Grandma Duck telling a story about Donald being late to school as a child.
- Donald's Lucky Day (1939), shown with the framing device of Grandma Duck telling a story about Donald having an adventure while working on summer vacation, thus establishing that the short takes place in the summer.
- Donald Gets Drafted (1942), shown with the framing device of Jiminy Cricket telling about the beginning of Donald's "army career".
- Sky Trooper (1942), placed right after Donald Gets Drafted with no commentary or introduction from Jiminy, Donald, or any other character, thus implying that it is a natural extension of and takes place just shortly after Donald Gets Drafted.
- Working for Peanuts (1953), shown with the framing device of Jiminy reminding Donald of his "first civilian job -- as a zookeeper". This implies that the short takes place shortly after Donald was discharged from the United States Army.
- Mickey's Amateurs (1937), shown with the framing device of Jiminy telling the story of how Donald became an actor. The entire short is not shown and newly animated footage of Donald arriving at the theater and deciding to perform is spliced in with it. Also of note is that the order of some things in the short is changed. In Mickey's Amateurs, Donald performs for the first time immediately after Pete's performance and before Clarabelle Cow and Clara Cluck's. In This Is Your Life, Donald Duck, Donald doesn't perform for the first time until after Clara and Clarabelle's performance.
- Bee at the Beach (1950), stated to have been an in-universe film produced by Walt Disney Productions and starring Donald Duck and Spike the Bee. Jiminy describes it as one of Donald's "great performances."
- Donald's Diary (1954) is revealed to portray what is written in Donald Duck's actual diary, which Daisy Duck brings onstage and allows to be read.
- Grandma Duck's hand in raising Donald is consistent with other stories, such as The Good Old Daze (1964), the Donald Duckling series, and another Donald Duck biography, From Egg to Duck (1984).
- When Jiminy tells Donald that someone from the latter's military days will be on the show, Donald mentions a certain "General". This might be an allusion to the General from The Vanishing Private as well as confirmation that the character survived the explosion at the end of Sky Trooper.
- Donald's work as an actor for Walt Disney Studios is consistent with other stories. Among these stories which share this factor is The Goofy Success Story (1955), which portrays Goofy, Mickey Mouse, and Donald as all having worked as actors concurrently.
Behind the scenes
This Is Your Life, Donald Duck was released on March the 11th, 1960 as an episode of Walt Disney Presents. Of course, all of the shorts featured within the special were produced and released much earlier, with the earliest, Mickey's Amateurs, dating back to 1937. The special, which was later adapted into a comic, was to tell the story of Donald Duck's life by using the framing device of The Jiminy Cricket Show to graft several previously released cartoons together.
According to its credits, the story for the special was written by Albert Bertino, David Detiege, and Nick George. It was directed primarily by Jack Hannah and C. August Nichols, though Jack Kinney served as a sequence director and had also previously directed Donald's Diary, which was incorporated into the special's runtime. Volus Jones, George Kreisl, Al Coe, Roy Jenkins, and Bill Justice provided the new animation for the special. Yale Gracey controlled the layout, Ray Huffine and Ralph Hulett created the backgrounds, and Tom Acosta edited the film. New music was provided by Joseph S Dubin. Bob McCrea is credited with "animation research", Robert O Cook handled the sound, and Harry Tytle was a production supervisor.
In some later airings of the special, the footage from Mickey's Amateurs was dropped, as was the entire explanation for how Donald became an actor. In other airings, while the Mickey's Amateurs footage was kept, the entire "Army" segment, including the footage from Donald Gets Drafted and Sky Trooper was eliminated.