One of the most recognizable voices has to belong to the cranky Donald Duck.The history of where that infamous voice comes from, and the techniques used to make sure Donald’s sound resembles a duck – if they could talk – is amazing.
Walt Disney had wanted to create a character that was pessimistic, the opposite of happy Mickey Mouse, so that they could play off of each other. When Walt Disney heard Clarence Nash doing his “duck” voice while reciting ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’, the bad-tempered Duck was born. Nash voiced the character from 1934 to 1983 (almost 50 years!), training Tony Anselmo to take over.
An extra fun fact: A special microphone, The Neumann TLM-170, was used to record Donald’s voice. Preferred for its warmth, this microphone also rounds out the high tones and soothes the “splat” in Donald’s voice.