Daffy Dumas (also known by Sheldon or Armando) Duck is an animated cartoon character produced by Warner Bros. Animation. He has appeared in cartoon series such as Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, where he usually has been depicted as a rival and occasional best friend of Bugs Bunny. Daffy was one of the first of the new "screwball" characters that emerged in the late 1930s to replace traditional "everyman" characters who were more popular earlier in the decade, such as Mickey Mouse and Popeye. Daffy starred in a whopping 133 shorts in The Golden Age, making him the third-most frequent character in the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons, behind Bugs Bunny's 166 appearances and Porky Pig's 159 appearances. Daffy was ranked #14 on TV Guide's list of top 50 best cartoon characters of all time and was featured on one of the issue's four covers as Duck Dodgers with Porky Pig and the Powerpuff Girls (all of which are Time Warner-owned characters).
Daffy first appeared on April 17, 1937 in Porky's Duck Hunt directed by Tex Avery and animated by Bob Clampett. The cartoon is a standard hunter/prey pairing for which Leon Schlesinger's studio was famous, but Daffy (barely more than an unnamed bit player in this short) was something new to moviegoers: an assertive, completely unrestrained, combative protagonist. Bob later recalled: "At that time, audiences weren't accustomed to seeing a cartoon character do these things. And so, when it hit the theaters it was an explosion. People would leave the theaters talking about this daffy duck."
This early Daffy is less anthropomorphic and resembles a "normal" duck, being short and pudgy, with stubby legs and a beak. The only aspects of the character that have remained consistent through the years are his voice (provided by Mel Blanc) and his black feathers with a white neck ring. Mel's voice for Daffy holds the world record for the longest voice-acting of one animated character by his/her original actor: 52 years.
The origin of Daffy's voice is a matter of some debate. One often-repeated "official" story is that it was modeled after producer Schlesinger's tendency to lisp. However, in Mel Blanc's autobiography, That's Not All, Folks!, he contradicts that conventional belief, writing, "It seemed to me that such an extended mandible would hinder his speech, particularly on words containing an s sound. Thus 'despicable' became 'dethpicable.'"
Daffy's slobbery, exaggerated lisp was developed over time, and it is barely noticeable in the early cartoons. In Daffy Duck & Egghead, Daffy does not lisp at all except in the separately drawn set-piece of Daffy singing The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down in which just a slight lisp can be heard.
In The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1949), Daffy has a middle name, Dumas, as the screenwriter of a swashbuckling script, a nod to Alexandre Dumas. Also, in the Baby Looney Tunes episode The Tattletale, Granny addresses Daffy as "Daffy Horacio Tiberius Duck." In The Looney Tunes Show (2011), the joke middle names "Armando" and "Sheldon" are used.
In Looney Tunes: Back In Action, Daffy is sick of Bugs and goes on an adventure with DJ to battle The ACME Company and save DJ's Dad, but his real purpose of coming is to get the Blue Monkey diamond.