Ducky (a.k.a. Devoted Ducky, as she is called in her bio on the official site, and referred to as by fans), originally voiced by the late Judith Barsi, later by Heather Hogan and finally Aria Noelle Curzon, is one of the original five main characters in the Land Before Time films and television series, and one of only three characters to appear in every movie and episode of the TV series.
Her species has been disputed by fans and critics to be one of such species as Saurolophus, Anatosaurus, and Parasaurolophus. Though her appearance bears more resemblance to Saurolophus, and she has been identified as one in The Land Before Time Sing-Along Songs video, she has been called a Parasaurolophus in most other official merchandise and media, and has even been called an Anatosaurus in a Land Before Time coloring book. She is one of many creatures called a "swimmer", and is also called a "big mouth", or a "duck-bill" by the characters in the films.
Ducky is very out-going and positive, and is loving to her friends and family. She lives with her mother and father, multiple biological siblings, and an adopted Stegosaurus (which is referred to as a "Spiketail" in the series) named Spike, who is also a main character in the series. Together, they are friends with the other main characters, Littlefoot, Cera, Petrie, Chomper, and Ruby. In most cases, Ducky is listed after Littlefoot and Cera, and before Petrie and Spike, Chomper, and Ruby, but sometimes Spike is listed after Cera and before Ducky.
The character of Ducky has been received well by critics, and has had considerable influence on culture, being featured in a large amount of The Land Before Time-related merchandise, and being a focus point in numerous fanfictions. She is most well known for frequently saying "Yep, yep, yep" and "Nope, nope, nope", both of which are frequently quoted in everyday culture and media.
Ducky has a very sweet, optimistic and innocent personality. She is gentle and sympathetic, and often tries to make peace during group conflicts. An example is in The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire, when she felt sorry for Petrie after he had been hurt by Cera's accusations that he was inquiring Littlefoot about the stone in order to give his uncle the information, and wanted to comfort him over it. Another example is in the TV episode "The Star Day Celebration", when she, after the others failed to convince Kosh to let them have any grapes (called "Sweet bubbles" by the characters) softly explained to him that they needed them to give to Ruby for her star day (a Land Before Time term for "birthday"), which caused him to change his mind. Also, in the episode "March of the Sand Creepers", Ducky was the only one in the Great Valley who readily accepted the Sand Creepers, and she attentively watched over them, making sure that they stayed out of the dinosaurs' way, and that they were quiet when the other residents of the valley were sleeping. Her friendship with the sand creepers and her optimistic outlook lead them to call her, in their language "Smiley Softshell".
Ducky does not express anger very often, and is in fact so unused to being angry, that in the The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze she had to ask Cera for advice on how to show her feelings when she was mad at Spike for keeping her awake at night and eating her treestars. However, upon taking Cera's advice, and giving Spike the cold shoulder, she found she did not like behaving in this way and gave it up. At the end of the movie she was grateful that Spike had decided to return to the Great Valley, and that their mother had saved him from drowning after he accidentally fell into a pool of deep water, and she told him she would no longer mind if he snored (referred to as "sleep rumbling" by the characters) at night.
She is also very naive, and can be easily manipulated to believe that some things may be right when in fact they might lead to trouble. This was first shown in The Land Before Time, when Cera convinced her that a certain route to The Great Valley was easier than the way up a mountain of loose rocks. This leads to danger, as Ducky and Spike ended up lost, and almost swallowed up by lava. Earlier, she believed Cera's claims that she bravely stood up to the Sharptooth in the big underground, without hesitation, while Littlefoot remained much more skeptical.
A different side to her personality is seen in the episode "Search for the Sky Color Stones". When Ducky had better luck finding the sky-color stones (which resemble geodes) than Cera and Ruby, she became greedy and secretive, trying to find as many of the stones as she could, and hiding them away. She also put her hunt for the stones in front of helping Spike, who at the time was stuck halfway through a small entrance within the cave, where the stones were located. She reformed, however, after tripping over her stash and nearly falling down a cliff, together with all of the stones, and being rescued by the other girls.
Ducky has a number of speech-related issues, although hers are not as severe as Petrie's. Ducky tends to avoid using generalizations and contractions, except on a few occasions when she is singing. She also misuses past-tense words such as Found or Ate; preferring to say "Finded" and "Eated".
Ducky has a mother and father, fourteen biological siblings, and an adopted brother named Spike. Her parents appear to be very accepting of other species, as they readily accepted Spike (who is a Spiketail, or a Stegosaurus) into their family. Ducky's mother is a recurring character in the films and in the television show, but her father has only ever been seen in the background and has never had even a speaking role. As stated on the Internet Movie Database, fans have sometimes questioned if the father's reclusive role is because Ducky's original voice actress and her mother were murdered by her father. Ducky has an extremely strong bond with her mother, and seems to have inherited many of her maternal instincts.
Ducky's biological brothers and sisters are not apparently as adventurous as she is, and prefer to stay close to their family. Ducky still appears to get along well with them, and is often seen playing in the water together with them. Like her father, none of her siblings have had any speaking roles, save for occasional mixed laughter and chattering while at play, however this can contradicted since in the song "Family" they heard talking while Ducky sings. Interestingly, Ducky states in The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock that she and her thirteen siblings hatched at the same time; yet in the original movie, there were a half dozen eggs, and in The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure, another litter of eggs hatched at the end of the film (this is presumably a mistake on the scriptwriters part).
Ducky is also very close to her adopted brother, Spike, possibly because not only did she get him to come out of his egg, but it's unknown if he would have even hatched if she hadn't stumbled upon him. She realized that the baby could not be left alone, and so cheerfully offered for him to join herself and the others in their quest to find the Great Valley. She stayed close by him the entire time, and explained to him important things, such as why the Sharptooth had to be avoided. When the gang finally reached the Great Valley, she brought Spike to her family, who then took him in. After this, Spike continued to hang around primarily with Ducky, Littlefoot, Cera and Petrie.
In the eighth film, The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze, Ducky's relationship with Spike became temporarily strained when his snores (referred to by the characters as "sleep rumbles") kept Ducky awake at night, and when he ate the treestars their mother had packed for Ducky on their first day of school. After talking over how to express these feelings with Cera, she behaved coldly and distantly towards Spike, but after he began to spend more time with his new friend, Tippy, Ducky began to miss him and regret her actions; further so when out of frustration she told him to go off with Tippy's herd during the cold times in the valley. She then ventured off into the Mysterious Beyond, to find him. As it happened, Spike led the herd to a pool of warm water with vegetation surrounding it, where Ducky and the rest of the Great Valley had refuged during the cold. There, the two of them made up, and Ducky promised not to get mad at Spike for snoring again.
In The Land Before Time XII: The Great Day of the Flyers, Ducky mentions that she has an aunt who swims in her sleep.
Ducky met Littlefoot first, in the original film, and as such they have developed a strong bond, though not nearly as strong as her friendship with Petrie, which seems on the borderline of a crush (On the note to when Ducky kisses him). Ducky and Cera at times seem to be confidants, like in The Big Freeze (mentioned above). She is also very confiding with Ruby in the television series. She gets along very well with Chomper; being one of the most trusting characters towards him, after Littlefoot and Ruby.
In the first film, Ducky was voiced by Judith Barsi. When questioned about it, Barsi stated that of all her acting roles, Ducky had been her favorite. The Sullivan-Bluth Studio was so enthralled by Barsi's performance as Ducky, that it lead Don Bluth to hire her as the voice for Anne-Marie in All Dogs Go to Heaven, which was her final role before her death.
From the second film to the fourth, Ducky's voice actress was Heather Hogan, but after Hogan left, the character was voiced by Aria Noelle Curzon. To the present, Curzon is still the voice provider for the character. As she voiced Ducky her voice seemed more calmer than opposed to her previous voices. Charles Grosvenor and Rocky Solotoff, respectively director/producer and associate producer on The Land Before Time franchise, have said that they believe Curzon brings life into the character, and understands her very well.
The character Ducky was one of the well received aspects of the 1988 theatrical animated film The Land Before Time, and has maintained mostly positive reviews through the releases of the straight-to-video sequels. She was described by Wendy Miller, a reviewer for the Mohave Daily Miner, as "adorably gregarious", and with potential to please the audiences. Rotten Tomatoes critic Steve Rhodes described Ducky as his favourite character, and praised her catchphrase of "Yep, yep, yep!". In his review on The Land Before Time IV: Journey through the Mists, Rhodes, who had considered the movie to be slow-paced and formulaic, said that the catchphrase was one of the few worthwhile things he saw in the film. In contrast, Brian Webster on Apollo Guide said in both his review on The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock and on The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze that he thought it tiring to hear her say the negative version of her catchphrase, "No, no, no!", all the time. Joe Leydon on Variety.com considered Ducky to be "exuberant", in his review on the fourth installment of the film series, and British journalist MJ Simpson described her as "cute", in his review of The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure.
Mary Kalin-Casey, on Reel.com, briefly expressed annoyance over Ducky's inability to understand her feelings towards Spike in The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze, saying that even the youngest of the viewers will know what "something inside my tummy, hot, hot, hot," means, and why she feels this way. Ducky was labelled as "timid" by James Plath in his review of The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration, while the character's use of phrases such as "I'm all alone and lonely" in the original The Land Before Time lead Ian Wojcik-Andrews to describe her as "helpless" in his book, Children's Films: History, Ideology, Pedagogy, Theory.
Aria Noelle Curzon received a Young Artist Award in 2002, for Outstanding Young Voice-over, for her role as the character, specifically in The Mysterious Island, The Secret of Saurus Rock, The Stone of Cold Fire, and The Big Freeze. She also received a DVD Premiere Award nomination for performing as Ducky during the song sequence for "Imaginary Friend" in The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water, which was shared with Jeff Bennett in the role of Petrie, Anndi McAfee as Cera, Thomas Dekker as Littlefoot, and the songwriters Michele Brourman and Amanda McBroom. However, their nomination lost to Jennifer Love Hewitt and Chris Canute for the song "I'm Gonna Love You", from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame II.
- Main article: Dispute over Ducky's species
Though Ducky is consistently identified in official material, including the official website, as a Parasaurolophus, there seems to have been much confusion over what she is, with fans often pointing out that the way she is drawn makes her more resemblance of another crested hadrosaur, Saurolophus, and critics frequently calling her an Anatosaurus (possibly due to the broadness of her bill).
Ducky has become a favourite among fans of the series, over the course of the film and television series' runs. On the official website of The Land Before Time, the character is given the nickname "Devoted Ducky"; to reflect her loyal and loving personality. The nickname is often used by fans when referring to the character.
Ducky has consistently remained prominent in merchandising for the Land Before Time franchise. Pizza Hut teamed up with Sullivan/Bluth Studios and issued hand puppets of the characters from The Land Before Time (1988), including Ducky and Littlefoot, Cera, Petrie, Spike and Sharptooth, in an effort to promote the film. Since then, there have been many toys such as action figures, beanies plush dolls, and other items, featuring the character.
Alongside the films and the television series, Ducky has also been featured in many of the Land Before Time books, in both of the music videos, and in many of the video games. She is the central figure of the current front cover of the themed DVD Good Times & Good Friends, featuring four episodes from the television series.
The character Ducky is featured in numerous fanworks, often as the central figure in a story. Because of the character's closeness with the character Petrie in the Land Before Time franchise, fanfiction often has them develop a romance with each other, despite the difference of their species. Often, if the story is set in their adult years, the two characters either plan on marrying, or actually do so.
Ducky's most notable catchphrase the effervescently spoken "Yep, yep, yep!" or the seriously spoken "Nope, nope, nope!", uttered whenever agreeing or disagreeing with something, or when stating a personal opinion. Other variants the character has said throughout the series include "Yes, yes, yes!" and "No, no, no!", sometimes with the inclusion of "Oh," in front. This catchphrase earned considerable fame after her original voice actress, Judith Barsi, was murdered. On Barsi's gravestone, the affirmative version of the catchphrase was used in the quote at the bottom of the engraving: "Our Concrete Angel - Yep! Yep! Yep!". The phrase was also used on her mother's marker, which reads "The wind beneath JEB's (Judith's initials) wings - Yep! Yep! Yep!". But Ducky says Yep! Yep! Yep! at three times.
Ducky appeared in three adult comedy shows in "Mad TV (Cartoon Network)" she appeared with her friends as skeletons in "The Land After The Land Before Time" in another skit of Mad TV, Ducky appears in "Outtagascar" when Manny from Ice Age refers her as a "he" and Ducky talking about The Land Before Time Series having 13 movie sequels. In "Animation Domination" in "Childhood Ruined" Ducky appears as a carrot cream color saurolophus the song informs the death of Judith Barsi.
References in media
- The affirmative version of Ducky's catchphrase, "Yep, yep, yep" at three times. was spoken as an homage by the character Tanana in the Disney movie Brother Bear. Other homages to Ducky's catchphrase have been extended to many other shows, one of these shows in example would be the Nickelodeon cartoon series Spongebob Squarepants.
- Ducky and the other main characters are referenced in the book Children's Films: History, Idealogy, Pedagogy, Theory, by Ian Wojcik-Andrews.
- Ducky and the other main characters were featured in the 1997 Easter Egg Roll at the White House.
- Ndamukong Suh, the defensive tackler for the Nebraska Cornhuskers' men's football team, is called "Ducky" by the other team members, in reference to the Land Before Time character.
- Ducky, Cera, and Littlefoot are referenced in the 1993 book Children's Voices: Children Talk about Literacy, by Sally Hudson-Ross and Mara Casey.
- The original main characters (Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike) are all together referenced in question 43 of "Test 6: Animation", in Test-Prep Your IQ with the Essentials of Film, in which the question concerns which character is not a dinosaur.
- They are referenced together again in the "Throwback Trivia" in The Good Book for Great Times by Connor Pritchard and Dominic Russo.
- A definition for the character is included on page 69 of Ducking: Webster's Quotations, Facts and Phrases, by Icon Group International, Inc., although it states that the information is derived from the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
- Ducky is referenced on page 170 of The Rorschach Technique: Perceptual Basics, Content Interpretation, and Applications, by Edward Aronow, Marvin Reznikoff, and Kevin Moreland.
- As she informs, Cera in The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock, Ducky can speak fluent baby-talk as herself being a twin. According to her, when the day she hatched during the first film, their were 12 other siblings within the nest, however from the movie's perspective, Ducky was apart of a nest that clutched only 7 eggs (with Ducky being the eighth).
- Ducky at the Internet Movie Database.
- Ducky's fanlisting.
- Yahoo! Answers.com 2006 discussion amongst fans, over The Land Before Time character Ducky's species.
- Video of Ducky meeting Littlefoot on YouTube.com.
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