Daisy replaced (or, according to some sources, represents a later form of) a short-lived early love interest named Donna Duck, who first appeared in the cartoon "Don Donald" in 1937.. In a short 1951 comic strip continuity, Donna returned, ret-conned into an unrelated Mexican girl duck who functioned as a rival for Donald's affections.
The short is important for introducing a love interest for Donald. But one should note that Donna had little in common with Daisy other than both being female ducks and sharing a temper. Donna was more or less a female version of Donald both in design and voice. Her voice was provided by Clarence Nash and was a slightly higher version of that of Donald. Donna was not intended as a recurring character and the Donald shorts of the following three years featured no female companion for him.
Daisy Duck in her familiar name and design first appeared in Mr. Duck Steps Out (June 7, 1940). The short was directed by Jack King and scripted by Carl Barks. There Donald visits the house of his new love interest for their first known date . At first Daisy acts shy and has her back turned to her visitor. But Donald soon notices her tailfeathers taking the form of a hand and signaling for him to come closer. But their time alone is soon interrupted by Huey, Dewey, and Louie who have followed their uncle and clearly compete with him for the attention of Daisy. Uncle and nephews take turns dancing the jitterbug with her while trying to get rid of each other. In their final effort the three younger Ducks feed their uncle maize in the process of becoming popcorn. The process is completed within Donald himself who continues to move wildly around the house while maintaining the appearance of dancing. The short ends with an impressed Daisy showering her new lover with kisses.
The short stands out among other Donald shorts of the period for its use of modern music and surreal situations throughout. The idea of a permanent love interest of Donald was well established following it. But Daisy did not appear as regularly as Donald himself. Her next appearance in A Good Time for a Dime (May 9, 1941) features her as one of the temptations threatening to separate Donald from his money.
The short The Nifty Nineties (June 20, 1941) . featured Mickey and Minnie Mouse in an 1890s setting. But Daisy made a cameo following Goofy and alongside Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie. This was an indication Daisy was a permanent addition to the supporting cast of Donald. This short was directed by Riley Thompson.
However she would make no further animated appearances until Donald's Crime (June 29, 1945). . The short featured Donald having arranged a date with Daisy at a nightclub but not having enough money to pay for it. He proceeds to take $1.35 from the piggy bank of his nephews. The crime of the title is theft and the rest of the short focused on Donald feeling guilt. His own imagination provided increasingly disturbing and nightmarish visions of the possible repercussions of his actions and resulted in Donald resolving to return the money.
Her second appearance in the same year was in Cured Duck (October 26, 1945). . The short starts simply enough. Donald visit Daisy at her house. She asks him to open a window. He keeps trying to pull it open and eventually goes into a rage. By the time Daisy returns to the room, Donald has wrecked it. She demonstrates that the locking mechanism was on and critizizes his temper. She refuses to date Donald again until he learns to manage his anger. She claims Donald does not see her losing her own temper. Donald agrees to her terms and follows the surreal method of mail ordering an "insult machine", a device constantly hurling verbal and physical insults at him. He endures the whole process until feeling able to stay calm throughout it. He visits Daisy again and this time calmly opens the window. But when Daisy shows her boyfriend her new hat, his reaction is uncontrollable laughter. Daisy goes into a rage of her own and the short ends by pointing out that Donald is not the only Duck in need of anger management training. There is a continuation regarding her temper at one episode in Mickey Mouse Works where she and Donald have a date in a restaurant wherein they both end up with a bad temper.
Their relationship problems were also focused on in Donald's Double Trouble (June 28, 1946). . This time Daisy criticizes his poor command of the English language and his less-than-refined manners. Unwilling to lose Daisy, Donald has to find an answer to the problem. But his solution involves his own look-alike who happens to have all the desired qualities. His unnamed look-alike happens to be unemployed at the moment and agrees to this plan. Donald provides the money for his dates with Daisy but soon comes to realise the look-alike serves as a rival suitor. The rest of the short focuses on his increasing jealousy and efforts to replace the look-alike during the next date. However a failed attempt at a tunnel of love results in the two male Ducks exiting the tunnel in each other's hands by mistake. Daisy walks out all wet. She jumps up and down and sounds like a record played too fast as Donald and his look-alike run away.
Daisy makes a mere cameo in Dumb Bell of the Yukon (August 30, 1946) . but she once again factors on the motivation of Donald. This time he was hunting bears in Yukon, Canada in order to provide Daisy with a fur coat. The cameo involves his daydream of her pleased reaction.
Her next appearance in Sleepy Time Donald (May 9, 1947) . involved Daisy attempting to rescue sleepwalking Donald from wandering in danger. The male Duck is loose in an urban environment and the humor results from the problems Daisy herself suffers while trying to keep him safe.
Daisy was also the actual protagonist of Donald's Dilemma (July 11, 1947). . The short starts simply enough. Donald and Daisy are out on a date when a flower pot falls on his head. He regains consciousness soon enough but with some marked differences. Both his speaking and singing voices have been improved to the point of being able to enter a new career as a professional singer. He also acts more refined than usual. Most importantly Donald suffers from partial amnesia and has no memory of Daisy. Donald goes on becoming a well-known crooner and his rendition of When You Wish upon a Star becomes a hit. He is surrounded by female fans in his every step. Meanwhile Daisy can not even approach her former lover and her loss results in a number of psychological symptoms. Various scenes feature her suffering from anorexia, insomnia and self-described insanity. An often censored scene features her losing her will to live and contemplating various methods of suicide. She narrates her story to a psychologist who determines that Donald would regain his memory with another flower pot falling on his head, but warns that his improved voice may also be lost along with his singing career. He offers Daisy a dilemma. Either the world has its singer, but Daisy loses him; or Daisy regains her Donald, but the world loses him. Posed with the question "her or the world", Daisy answers with a resounding and possessive scream of "Me, Me, Me". Soon Donald has returned to his old self and has forgotten about his career. His fans forget about him. But Daisy has regained her lover. This is considered a darkly humorous look at their relationship.
Donald would also face problems resulting from his own voice in Donald's Dream Voice (May 21, 1948). . He works as a door-to-door salesman but his customers do not understand a word he is saying. His attempts at politeness are misinterpretated and customers react angrily to imagined insults. But Daisy convinces him otherwise "Don't give up! I have faith in you!" His problems seem to end when Donald buys a box of "voice pills", a medicine temporarily improving his voice. He gets confident enough in his newfound voice to prepare his marriage proposal for Daisy. But due to an accident he loses all but one of his pills. The rest of the short features his frustrated attempt to regain this last pill in order to propose to her. Something which he is eventually unable to do. After a few minutes of trying to get it, the pill ends up getting swallowed by a cow and makes it able to talk. And tells Donald he can't understand what he's saying. Donald then throws a tantrum.
Daisy would not appear again until Crazy Over Daisy (March 24, 1950). . The short took place in an 1890s setting. At first Donald seems in good mood and on his way for his date with Daisy. But when Chip 'n Dale start ridiculing his appearance the short results in one of their typical fights. Interrupted in the end by Daisy herself who accuses Donald of being cruel to the two innocent chipmunks. The short ends with Donald having to forget about that date.
Daisy's final animated appearance in the Golden Age of American animation was in Donald's Diary (March 5, 1954). . There she played the role of a young lady who manages to start a long-term relationship with Donald. But after having a nightmare about the anxieties that would come from married life, Donald runs out on her and joins the French Foreign Legion. Several scenes of the short imply that Daisy has had several previous relationships with men. Donald carves their names on a tree. Not noticing than the opposing side of the tree features her name alongside that of several other boyfriends. The marriage scene in Donald's dream featured a group of sailors waving goodbye to Daisy and mourning the loss of their apparent lover.
Daisy returned to animation came in Mickey's Christmas Carol (October 20, 1983). . She was cast as Isabelle, the romantic partner of a young Scrooge McDuck. Daisy made a cameo alongside several Disney characters in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (June 21, 1988).
Curiously, Daisy never appeared on DuckTales, but she was in its spin-off. In the 1996 television series Quack Pack, Daisy was presented as a much more assertive and liberated woman than in her previous appearances, where she was employed as a television station reporter, with Donald as her cameraman. In Quack Pack, Daisy had a pet Iguana named Knuckles.
Daisy also has appeared in the later television series Mickey Mouse Works, Disney's House of Mouse and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as a regular character. She was featured alongside Donald in the "Noah's Ark" segment of Fantasia 2000. She has also appeared in the direct-to-video films Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, and Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers.
Their common last name points to both Donald and Daisy being members of the Duck family. Several stories consider them cousins but none has specified their relationship. Current speculation by Donaldist Maurice who has studied and compared various versions of the family tree is that the two are second cousins. Don Rosa has however said that he considers Donald and Daisy to be nonrelated and that Duck simply is the Duckburg universe equal to Smith, being a common surname.
Donna Duck served as a precursor for Daisy in both animation and comics. She first appeared in a one-page illustration titled "Don Donald" and published in Good Housekeeping #3701 (January, 1937). The page was illustrated by Thomas "Tom" Wood (1870s - October 4, 1940) who was head of the Walt Disney Studios' publicity department from 1933 until his death. She went on to appear in the "Donald and Donna" comic strip published in Mickey Mouse Weekly from May 15 to August 21, 1937. The Weekly was a United Kingdom publication and the strip was illustrated at the time by William Arthur Ward. However her co-starring role was brief.
Daisy made her first comics appearance on November 4, 1940. She was introduced as the new neighbor of Donald and his potential love interest. The Donald Duck comic strip was at the time scripted by Bob Karp and illustrated by Al Taliaferro. She was seemimgly soft-spoken but had a fiery temper and Donald often found himself a victim to her rage. For example one strip had Daisy waiting for Donald to carve their names and their love for each other on a tree. Only to discover the male Duck had carved "Daisy loves Donald" with her name hardly visible and his name in prominent bold letters. Resulting in her breaking her "umbrella" on his head and dismissing him as a "conceited little pup".
Her first original comic book appearance was in the story "The Mighty Trapper" by Carl Barks, first published in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #36 (September, 1943). However this was only a cameo when Huey, Dewey and Louie ask her to lend them an old fur coat. Barks would not use the character again until "Donald Tames His Temper" (January, 1946) when Daisy demands that Donald learns to manage his anger as a New Year's resolution. Donald has to agree but points early on that Daisy herself has the temper of a "wild-eyed wildcat.
Her next appearance by Barks in "Biceps Blues" (June, 1946) introduced a key concept to their relationship. When Daisy seems impressed by a certain type of male, Donald is forced to emulate that type. No matter how unsuited Donald is for emulating it successfully. In this early case Daisy envies her "old school chum" Susy Swan for dating a notable weightlifter. Donald at first protests that she seems too impressed by a "gorilla" just because the "muscle-bound buffalo" can lift 300 pounds. But when Daisy simply ignores him and daydreams about dating Hercules, Donald decides to start weightlifting. The rest of the story focuses on his ineptitude at exercising and the eventual efforts of Huey, Dewey and Louie to cheer him up by various tricks pointing to Donald becoming stronger. But when Donald arranges a demonstration for Daisy, Susy and her boyfiend , their tricks are not able to save him from ridicule. Daisy then chases Donald in anger while Susy boasts about her luck in men to her weightlifter boyfriend, who simply grunts and nods and fails to understand her words. Daisy failed to see that Susy's boyfriend is strong but otherwise not too gifted, whereas Donald is one who would go great lengths for her.
Daisy continued to make frequent appearances in stories by Barks but the next important one for her development was "Wintertime Wager" (January, 1948). There she first attempts to act as the voice of reason between competing cousins Donald Duck and Gladstone Gander and in fact manages to prevent Donald losing his house to Gladstone because of a wager. This story established that both of them wanted to be in her good graces. Their next joined meeting in "Gladstone Returns" (August, 1948) has Donald and Gladstone competing in raising enough money for her charity effort.
Their rivalry would only increase when "Donald's Love Letters" (December, 1949) revealed that both cousins were romantically interested in Daisy. From then on many stories by both Barks and others would develop around this love triangle. Daisy in turns dates both of them but this fact does not prevent the two competing suitors from attempting to earn more of her affection or trying to embarrass each other in front of her. Daisy can be counted on to be making regular appearances alongside either of them for several years to come. Often it would appear as if Gladstone had the upper hand in winning Daisy due to his luck, only to find fate thwarts his plans, such as a contest where the man who hunts the most turkeys gets to have dinner with Daisy, who has won a beauty contest. Gladstone wins the turkey hunt but finds himself having dinner with an ugly woman who is the runner-up queen, as Daisy is incapacited, and Donald is the one nursing her.
Similarly, Daisy's precursor Donna and Daisy herself were featured together as rivals for Donald's affection in a newspaper strip published on August 7, 1951. In her last appearance, on August 11, 1951, Donna had a fiancé, a caricature of Disney cartoonist Manuel Gonzales, establishing a distinction between her character and Daisy.
In the comics, Daisy is also a member of a local gossip group called the "Chit-Chat Society," which plays bridge and sponsors charity fundraisers. The core membership seems to consist of Clarabelle Cow, Clara Cluck and a character named "Dora," though occasionally some other unnamed characters appear.
In later years, Carl Barks 'modernized' Daisy in two stories: 'The not-so-ancient mariner' and 'Hall of the mermaid queen'. In the first story, Daisy is wearing a lot of different wigs and outfits. Gladstone Gander is also seen wearing a wig and a new wardrobe in the story. In the second story, Daisy has short, curly hair and a bow that's much smaller than usual.
In the 1950s, Disney launched the series "Daisy Duck's diary", where Daisy was given more of a leading role. This series, originally by such cartoonists as Dick Moores, Jack Bradbury, Tony Strobl and Carl Barks have continued to the present day in Italy.
Since the early 1970s, Daisy has been featured as a crimefighter in Italian Disney comics. The character of "Super Daisy" ("Paperinika" in Italian) was designed as a female counterpart to "Super Donald" ("Paperinik" in Italian). While the character of Super Donald was originally created to place Donald into situations where he was finally a "winner" (versus his usual portrayal as a "loser"), when Super Daisy appeared in the same story as Super Donald, she then became the "winner" and Donald was once more relegated to the role of "loser." This upset some children, who complained to the comics' editors, which resulted in the Italian comics ceasing to use Super Daisy, though the Brazil Disney comics continue to make use of Daisy's superhero alter ego.
As Super Daisy, Daisy has no superpowers, but instead uses devices created by high society fashion designer Genialina Edy Son. Genialina personally designed Daisy's costume, as well as supplying her with crimefighting gear such as sleeping pills and a James Bond-esque sports car. Very frequently, Super Daisy will both fight alongside and against Super Donald. In the Brazilian stories, Super Daisy often teams up with other Disney comic superheroes, such as "Super Goof" (Goofy) , "Super Gilly" ("Gilbert"), the "Red Bat" (Fethry Duck), etc.
Since 1999 Daisy, like Donald Duck, has her own magazine in the Netherlands. She had one in Brazil between 1986 and 1997, and a short lived series in 2004 with republications of old stories.
At the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and on the Disney Cruise Line ships, Daisy is a semi-common character for meet-and-greets, parades and shows, though she doesn't make as many appearances as Donald or Minnie. Her semi-elusiveness has made her extra popular to an extent, adding to the fact that Daisy is an 'unofficial' member of the Fab Five (with Daisy, the Sensational Six; with Chip-and-Dale, the Excellent Eight; with Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar , the Tremendous Ten ), therefore making Daisy merchandise even more appealing to collectors.
In the early Donald Duck shorts, she was a duck with a red dress, and she had a bow in her hair. The next appearance change was in the Barks-story 'The not-so-ancient mariner'. The third change was in the theme parks, when she arrived with a pink dress and indigo bow. The fourth change was during the Mickey Mouse Works shorts, when she gained a yellow dress and a green bow instead of red. Disney's House of Mouse got her a waitress look-a-like outfit, with a blue bow, and a long ponytail. In Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Daisy regained her purple dress and bow, familiar to the theme park visitors. But she also had yellow earrings, and also a short ponytail, similar to the longer one seen in Disney's House of Mouse. For instance, in 1996 the television series Quack Pack gave Daisy Duck a more mature wardrobe and hairstyle, and cast her as a career woman with a television reporter job. In House of Mouse, Daisy wears a modern blue dress and has her hair in a gigantic ponytail..