Written by: Michael Maltese
Directed by: Chuck Jones
Original air date: 1953
This Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies cartoon, one of the best cartoons of all time, brilliantly parodies Buck Rogers serials. It also marks one of the few appearances of Marvin the Martian, though he is never named in the cartoon. Duck Dodgers is portrayed by WB studio contract toon Daffy Duck. His space cadet assistant is played by beloved character toon Porky Pig.
Duck Dodgers and the young space cadet are dispatched to locate Planet X, the only known source of Alludium Phosdex, the shaving cream atom. They find Planet X and claim it for Earth, only to be immediately challenged by Marvin the Martian. Dodgers and Marvin proceed to destroy the planet in their escalating attempts to remove each other from competition for control of Planet X and its abundant reserves of Alludium Phosdex.
One wonders whether Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century might have been intended as a subtle yet pointed commentary on the environmental destruction that inevitably follows from indiscriminate resource extraction and the ultimate futility of competition/war to gain control of limited resources.
(Update 2006.06.15) SyntaxVorlon points out that the climax of the cartoon may have been a jab at the mutually assured destruction policy between the US and USSR.
You're not going to believe (or maybe you will) where I found the factual details: The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5