I have more patience when Donald Duck goes up against Chip ‘n’ Dale than when he goes up against his nephews, goodness knows. Even when the nephews have provoked him, he always takes it to extremes—and they are not just children but his relatives. Often, he seems to be their guardian. It’s disconcerting. But with Chip ‘n’ Dale, you can at least broadly say that they’re vermin and he’s protecting his property. On the other hand, he so often stole from them first.
As in this cartoon! Donald runs a nut butter stand out of a giant walnut. One day, he’s cheerfully creating his product when he turns out to have run out of nuts. So he goes in search. He spots the chipmunks, follows them, and drills a hole in their tree to steal their nuts. They follow him and swoon at the sight of The World’s Largest Nut. Then, Chip gets a taste of the nut butter and is a big fan. Enter conflict between those age-old enemies, duck and chipmunks.
In short, Donald stole from the chipmunks first. But because Donald lives in human society and the chipmunks live in the wild, he can be seen as having more rights, if you’re kind of a terrible person. He’s not stealing; he’s scavenging, and tracking wild animals to their lair is a legitimate way of doing that. I mean, I’m not saying I think that way, and certainly I believe that Chip ‘n’ Dale have proven sentience and should be treated as other intelligent beings, but if you go down that particular rabbit hole, Disney cartoons get very complicated.
As for the building, yeah, I believe that there was probably at least one establishment of that sort in Northern California or the Central Valley somewhere at the time. (Because that seems a more likely source of nut butter than Southern California.) Novelty architecture is a whole different rabbit hole and one well worth exploring. It wouldn’t surprise me to discover that the idea for the cartoon came when a Disney animator was on a road trip and saw a building in just that shape. It was the sixth Chip ‘n’ Dale short, and they seem ideal for the idea.
I kind of think the obvious solution here is for the three to go into business together; Chip ‘n’ Dale probably know good places to get nuts, and Donald’s big enough to gather more than they can. So together, they can produce more nut butter, and let’s face it, the chipmunks are probably delighted to get paid in the stuff. But that’s not how Donald works. Why get what you want by cooperation when you can have all your stuff taken because you’ve had a meltdown?
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