In the next 55 minutes, this duckumentary explores the fall of Hollywood's brightest star who went from top dog to dead duck!
Stan Freberg at the end of the title sequence

Down and Out with Donald Duck is a TV special that aired on NBC on March 221987.


This "duckumentary", done in the style of 60 Minutes, traces the life of Donald Duck.

As Donald's fame grows, so does his ego. After being informed that Mickey Mouse would replace him as host of a variety show, Donald snaps. On the night of the show, Donald made a surprise appearance and attacked the studio audience with a machine gun in a crazed rage. This incident sends Donald's career and life into a downward spiral.

After Donald is fired from Walt Disney Studios, reporters interview Donald's family and former colleagues in an effort to determine the cause of the studio incident. Despite the interviewees' unanimous comments on Donald's fiery temper and massive ego, Donald himself dismisses these comments and believes himself to be a victim of unfortunate circumstances and an ungrateful public. Abandoned by his family and friends, Donald begins to slip into obscurity.

Faced with poverty, Donald attempts to find a job to support himself. With his monstrous temper continuing to hound him, however, Donald is fired from one job after another. Slowly realizing that he might actually have a personal problem but not quite willing to admit his own faults, Donald goes to the Research Institute of Duck Behavior for advice. After being told that relaxing could set his mind at ease, Donald tries a variety of methods for relaxation, including a visit to a carnival, a vacation in the countryside, and several hobbies, but to no avail.

Finally, Donald seeks psychiatric help from Ludwig Von Drake. Through Von Drake's session, Donald reveals that he has been deeply troubled by the seemingly minor setbacks in his life, such as his nephews' mischief, Pete's selfishness, and Mickey's grandeur. Because of these everyday negative events, Donald believes that everyone who offended him in some way are all involved in a mass conspiracy to ruin him. Von Drake then uses an insult machine as part of Donald's therapy, and he is seemingly cured. However, Donald quickly reverts to his temperamental self when he sees his psychiatric bill.

One night, having given up all hope, Donald has a series of bizarre dreams where he sees himself at his absolute worst - an evil, selfish monster with a frightening temper. After this terrible revelation, he finally accepts responsibility for his own faults and vows to reform. Donald makes amends with his family and friends and is re-hired by Walt Disney Studios.


Featured cartoon clips

From theatrical shorts
From Walt Disney anthology series episodes
From feature films



  • This is the first time Tony Anselmo voiced Huey, Dewey, and Louie. He would voice them again in Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse.
  • This is the only time in history where Tony Anselmo provided Daisy Duck's voice, and the first and only time both Donald and Daisy have shared the same voice actor since "Mr. Duck Steps Out", though unlike Clarence Nash, Anselmo gave Daisy a normal voice as opposed to a "duck voice".
  • The title card for this special parodies the movie poster for Down and Out in Beverly Hills, with Donald and Daisy substituting for Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler, respectively.