Ludwig von Drake is one of Walt Disney's cartoon and comic book characters. He was introduced on September 24, 1961, as the presenter (and singer of "The Spectrum Song") in "An Adventure in Color", part of the first episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color on NBC. Ludwig is said to be a V.I.P. member of the Mickey Mouse Club, and an uncle of Donald Duck. He was supposedly named after either Ludwig von Mises or Ludwig van Beethoven. He is described as a scientist, lecturer, psychologist, and road traveler. The character displayed his "expert" knowledge on a variety of subjects in eighteen episodes of the classic anthology series as well as on a number of Disneyland Records, and has also appeared in many Disney Television Animation shows (such as Bonkers, Mickey Mouse Works, Disney's House of Mouse, and both versions of DuckTales) as well.
Paul Frees, who voiced many characters for Rankin/Bass and narrated several Disney films, was the original voice of Ludwig von Drake. Frees retired from the role before his death in 1986, and Walker Edmiston took over. As of 2019, Corey Burton currently voices the character.
Appearances in Christmas specials
The first Christmas production to feature an appearance by Von Drake was the Mickey Mouse Works segment "The Nutcracker". Appearing in the role of Godpapa Drosselmeyer, Von Drake presents the titular Nutcracker (which resembles Mickey Mouse), which he has spent all year building, as a present to Maria (played by Minnie Mouse) and becomes befuddled when the Nutcracker is shown being able to dance. Over the course of the scene, Ludwig continually argues with the John Cleese-voiced narrator and eventually gets kicked out of the story when he unscrews the Nutcracker's head off in trying to find out why it was dancing. He then returns at the end of the story to reclaim his scepter that was stolen by the Mouse King (Donald Duck), revealing that he is actually the King of the Sugar Plum Fairies, much to the confusion of the narrator.
Ludwig makes a brief cameo in the framing device for the compilation film Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse. Here, he hosts a segment about "The Science of Santa", in which he explains how Santa Claus is able to travel all around the world in one night. According to Von Drake, Santa drives a "Turbo-Charged Santa Sleigh", which travels so fast that Santa is capable of appearing in two places at once. Proving his point, a second Ludwig shows up driving the same sleigh, bringing with him his mother's cookie jar. This scene was recycled in the House of Mouse episode "Pete's Christmas Caper".
Ludwig's most recent appearance in a Christmas special was "Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special", an extended episode of the 2013 Mickey Mouse television shorts. In this episode, when he learns that his nephew Donald opted to stay in Disneyville for Christmas rather than traveling south for the winter, Ludwig explains to his fellow Duck family members that Donald could possibly die because, being a duck, he cannot handle cold northern weather (even though the Ducks were never shown to have such a problem in other Christmas specials).
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