Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck probably seemed like a great idea at the time – a movie about a misplaced giant mallard, cigar in hand, walking the streets of Cleveland in search of a way back to Duckworld. Hey, it worked in a comic book. Why not on the big-screen?

Sure, there were plenty of naysayers – that’s to be expected in the midst of great ideas – but it didn’t dissuade William Huyck, writer of the iconic American Graffiti or even executive producer and former collaborator George Lucas from making Howard the Duck in 1986. In hindsight though, perhaps it should have.

Filled to overflowing with an onslaught of cringe-worthy duck puns, Howard the Duck told the fanciful tale of a Howard, a man-sized cigar smoking duck who is plucked from his home planet thanks to a laser experiment that ran afoul.

While trying to figure out how to get back to Duck World, Howard manages to save Beverly Switzer (played by Lea Thompson), lead singer for a rock band called The Cherry Bombs, from a roving gang of thugs. The two become friends and together, they seek out Dr. Jennings, the laser scientist that was responsible for Howard’s uprooting.

Jennings and his assistant, Phil, agree to hide the beaked one from the authorities until they can figure out how to get him back home. Unfortunately, the good doctor has managed to suck another alien from the universe – an evil being that now inhabits his body. Only Beverly, Phil and Howard can save the world.

Now, if they could have only saved the movie from the merciless attacks of critics, who quickly deemed the film one rotten egg. Even the enormous amounts of pre-release hype couldn’t save the film, once audiences realized that Howard the Duck wasn’t all it was quacked up to be.

With the exception of kids who predictably laughed at the duck antics, audiences tended to agree with the reviews and the film failed miserably. Even George Lucas waddled away in mid-production, after footing the bill for a two million dollar duck suit. He refocused his efforts on outer space – sans duck, of course – and did quite well as a result.

Meanwhile, are you one of the few that remembers seeing Howard the Duck back in the 80s? We would love to hear all of your memories in our comments section below.

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