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Melissa Duck
Melissa Duck from The Scarlet Pumpernickel

First appearance

Nasty Quacks (December 1, 1945) (unnamed) The Scarlet Pumpernickel (March 4, 1950) (named)

Created by

Warren Foster Michael Maltese

Voiced by

Bea Benaderet (1950) B.J. Ward (1987) Janyse Jaud (Baby Looney Tunes) June Foray (Duck Dodgers, current)

Melissa Duck is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons and the animated television series Baby Looney Tunes. She is featured as main character Daffy Duck's blonde girlfriend in several cartoon shorts but is only referred to as Melissa in one, The Scarlet Pumpernickel, where she is voiced by Bea Benaderet.

Character history

Melissa Duck's most notable role is that from the series Baby Looney Tunes, which casts the adult characters from the original Looney Tunes theatrical shorts as their infant selves. Melissa had a crush on Daffy Duck ever since she was an infant. However, unlike well-known male characters, such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, female characters were rare in the original shorts with Melissa Duck, Petunia Pig and the Tasmanian She-Devil only making a couple appearances each in the original films, whilst Baby Looney Tunes character Lola Bunny was created for the 1996 movie Space Jam. In the series, Melissa, a yellow duckling with darker hair than her adult self, acts as a comedian and enjoys making her friends laugh, even though her humor sometimes gets her into trouble. She is voiced by Janyse Jaud.

Melissa Duck appeared in adult form in the original Looney Tunes short Chuck Jones's The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950) which was, in 1994, voted number 31 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.[1] In the cartoon, she appears as a blonde damsel-in-distress and Daffy Duck's love interest. The plot followed Daffy attempting to save Fair Lady Melissa from marrying the evil Grand Duke Sylvester with whom she is not in love. She also appeared in the American animated television series Duck Dodgers as a lady (voiced by June Foray), alongside Petunia Pig (also voiced by June Foray).

Later in Robert McKimson's Muscle Tussle (1953), Daffy Duck's girlfriend appears with him on a visit to the beach. The girlfriend's design in this cartoon is markedly different from Melissa's appearance in The Scarlet Pumpernickel in that this version is a more heavily-stylized version in the style which became popular by the mid-late 1950s, however, both are featured in the role of Daffy's blonde girlfriend. Additionally, in the 1945 cartoon Nasty Quacks, Daffy's owner, a young girl, also becomes the besotted owner of a small, yellow duckling. When a jealous Daffy feeds the duckling growth pills, he is surprised to see it age into a white, female duck with blonde hair. By the end of the cartoon, the two appear to have fallen in love and have given birth to roughly ten black, white and yellow ducklings of their own. The blonde duck in this cartoon bears visual similarities to Daffy's girlfriend from Muscle Tussle (as well as a vague resemblance to the female pigeon Hatta Mari from Plane Daffy, 1944) and as such may also represent the Melissa Duck character.

Another blonde, female duck featured in the Greg Ford and Terry Lennon 1987 cartoon The Duxorcist, the first Looney Tunes short released to theaters after the original series ended in 1969. A loose parody of William Friedkin's The Exorcist, the cartoon depicts the single, young duck as having become possessed by ghosts. The task of banishing the spirits falls to ghost-hunter Daffy Duck resulting in the pair falling in love as soon as they set their eyes on one another. They exchange two long kisses, one on the couch and another when she wraps her arms around him to congratulate Daffy for removing the ghosts from her body. As the ghosts chase him away, in a southern accent she says to Daffy "Y'all come back now ya hear!" The female duck from this cartoon physically appears very similar to Melissa from The Scarlet Pumpernickel (despite having paler feathers) even more so than Daffy's girlfriends from Muscle Tussle and Nasty Quacks.

When Melissa dons a red dress in The Duxorcist she also bears a resemblance to Femme Fatale from the Daffy Duck cartoon The Super Snooper that aired in 1952. Also like the female duck in Duxorcist, she was a bit taller than Daffy. Femme Fatale (AKA 'The Body,' has also been referred to as Fowl Fatale or Shapely Lady Duck) was a tall voluptuous bright blue-eyed, redheaded duck wearing red lipstick who fell madly in love with the inept detective Daffy was portraying at first sight. Femme Fatale pretty much threw herself at Daffy; she couldn't keep her lips off of him. She says to Daffy "Mmm! Mmm! Rawr rawr! Oh baby! You gorgeous hunk of duck," and told him she was guilty "Of being crazy about you (Daffy) sweetheart!" Femme Fetale tries to seduce Daffy several times by hiking up her skirt to expose her long curvaceous legs, turning off the lights so she can make out with him and she even asks the detective to "Search me!" She constantly batted her eyelashes at him, called him cute, pictured him wearing a bathing suit and gazed at him with what Daffy called "...that ol' ball and chain look in her eye!" The two were married by the end of the film. Some fans have referred to Femme Fatale as Melissa Duck to keep things simple. Femme Fatale also appears on the cover of volume 5 of the Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection. This also has led some people to believe that she and Melissa are considered to be one and the same now since unlike Femme Fatale, the identities of all of the other characters on the cover are well known Looney Tunes characters.

Melissa will return in the Cartoon Network show the Looney Tunes Show, though she appears to go by the name Marisol.

In other media

Melissa Duck became the inspiration for the Shirley the Loon character on Tiny Toon Adventures, a spin-off series which follows the adventures of the next generation of Looney Tunes; each character being, to a degree, modeled after the original Looney Tunes. Shirley McLoon is a similar-looking blonde, female waterfowl with a romantic interest in the male duck character, Plucky Duck, who in turn is inspired by Daffy Duck. Despite the comparisons between Melissa's and Shirley's characters, Melissa never featured in an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, despite other original Looney Tunes having done so. She was, however, one of the characters that appeared in toddler form on Baby Looney Tunes.

In the series Loonatics Unleashed, which takes place from the year 2772 onwards, one of the main characters, Danger Duck, is the descendant of Daffy Duck. Although the Danger Duck's ancestor, with whom Daffy mated with, is currently unknown, it may have been Melissa (or another female duck, see below). As seen in the cartoon Nasty Quacks, Daffy's blonde girlfriend has given birth to ducklings before.

Daffy Duck's other wives

Apart from his relationship with Melissa Duck, Daffy Duck has also appeared married in other Looney Tunes cartoons. For the most, Daffy's wife, usually referred to as Mrs. Daffy Duck, holds dominance over him in the marriage, forcing him to take an interest in their eggs or ducklings. In all the cartoons, the wife is portrayed as identical to Daffy but wearing female items of clothing (much the same way as the wives of the Tasmanian Devil and Porky Pig have been animated). In one short, Daffy's wife was given a name, Daphne Duck; she has also been nicknamed Honey Bunch and My Love.

In Wise Quacks (1939), Daffy is married to Mrs. Daffy Duck whose four eggs, which eventually hatch, must be protected by their father from a hungry buzzard. In The Henpecked Duck (1941), Daffy is unhappily married to his dominant wife, Mrs. Daffy Duck, who appears identical to her husband but with a brimmed hat and a skirt. She seeks a divorce from him as he, after commanded to sit on it, lost their egg. In the end, however, Daffy proves the egg is not lost and it hatches into a small black duckling, Junior. In The Stupid Cupid (1944), Daffy avoids being targeted by Cupid (played by fellow Looney Tune Elmer Fudd) as he is still suffering from their last encounter which forced him to marry a very dominant duck (whose father also managed to pressure the wedding by pressing a shotgun against Daffy during the ceremony). Again she looks very similar to Daffy in appearance; other than her white wedding dress shown in the family album, and the red hat she wears during the short which closely resembles her hat from The Henpecked Duck. The pair gave birth to six black ducklings including one which is two-headed. In Stork Naked (1955), Daffy is married to a duck named Daphne who, once again, appears very similar to Daffy but this time wears a blue bow in her head. Although, Daphne wants to have (possibly more) children, Daffy is against the idea and attempts to stop the egg-delivering stork from arriving at their human-like house. According to the Big Cartoon Database, Daphne Duck was intended to become the duck equivalent of Bugs Bunny's girlfriend Honey Bunny, although she failed to become as popular as Honey had.[2] Finally, in Quackodile Tears (1962), Daffy is once again married to a fairly dominant wife, nicknamed Honey Bunch, who forces Daffy to sit on their egg (similar to the scenario in The Henpecked Duck). She also appears very similar to Daffy, but wears a pink skirt and bonnet. In the end, the egg hatches into a black duckling but Daffy had, in the course of the short, lost the unhatched egg in the middle of an alligator's nest of eggs.

In the 1950 short, His Bitter Half, Daffy marries a different, large and grey duck for her money, but he soon runs away after experiencing her bossy ways and her son Wentworth's trouble-making which leads to Daffy getting scalped, beaten up and blown up by a firework.

There have been other women in Daffy's life of different species, such as the afore mentioned pigeon named Hatta Mari. There was also a pig he accidentally kissed feverishly in The Great Piggy Bank Robbery who fell in love with him. The female Martian, Queen Tyr'ahnee also develops feelings for him in Duck Dodgers (TV series). In a rather comedic episode of The Drew Carey Show, Daffy as a cartoon appeared and had a crush on Mimi Bobeck. He also had a thing for Dusty Tails (played by Heather Locklear) in Looney Tunes Back in Action. Still, Daffy has only been portrayed as being married to female ducks the few times he's been shown to be hitched.