Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Duck

If you hate sports, have never been to Oregon and live in a cave you STILL know the mascot for the University of Oregon's football and basketball teams.

The reason is simple- he's Donald Duck.

Yup, the beloved Disney fowl has been pumping up the crowd at games since 1947. In fact, Donald is the ONLY major cartoon character to serve as a mascot for any major team in the United States.

So how did that happen? Why Donald? Why OREGON?

It all started back in the 1920s when the football team adopted a live duck to serve as it's mascot. The duck was named "Puddles" and he would waddle around the sidelines. I'm not sure how football fans could get riled up by a LIVE duck, but I think this was during prohibition. Without booze, sometimes a live duck is all you need.

I think I might trademark that and get it printed on T-Shirts an greeting cards and stuff.

"Without booze, sometimes a live duck is all you need."

Anyway, sometime in the 1930s the team started incorporating a cartoon duck in logos and signage. The duck looked like Donald.

Believe it or not, Disney was okay with this use of their character. So much so that Walt Disney met with the schools athletic director and made a handshake deal for them to use Donald (in good taste only.)

And they did.

Then, Mr. Disney died. The Disney company then requested proof of this "handshake deal." The best the school could produce was a photo of Mr. Disney wearing a sweater with the Donald Duck logo on it.

Soon after a new deal was reached and the school still has exclusive mascot rights to the character. There have been some restrictions, however. The school is not supposed to sell Donald merchandise OUTSIDE of the state of Oregon.

They also usually don't call him Donald. They usually call him "The Duck."

His gal Daisy also appears at some games under the name "Lady Duck."

So, now you know all about Donald's other job. EVEN if you hate sports and have never been to Oregon.

Of course if you DO live in a cave you probably don't have an internet connection and you haven't read any of this. Stupid cave people.

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