DuckTales (Main title)

DuckTales is an American animated television series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. Based on Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge comic book series, it premiered on September 18, 1987 and ended on November 28, 1990 with a total of four seasons and 100 episodes. An animated theatrical spin-off film based on the series, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, was released widely in the United States on August 3, 1990. The voice cast from the series played their roles in the film also.

The viewer follows the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his three great-grandnephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. Important secondary characters, that often take part in the adventures, include Donald Duck, Scrooge's pilot Launchpad McQuack and butler Duckworth, the inventor Gyro Gearloose, and the nanny Mrs. Beakley and her granddaughter Webby. The most notable antagonists in the series are the Beagle Boys, the witch Magica De Spell, and the industrialist Flintheart Glomgold. In a typical story, the villains are after McDuck's fortune or his Number One Dime; another common theme is a race after some sort of treasure. Although some stories are original or based on Barks' comic book series, others are pastiches on classical stories or legends, including characters based on either fictional or historical persons. The series is known for its many references to popular culture, whether it be Shakespeare, Jack the Ripper, Greek mythology, James Bond or Sherlock Holmes - to mention a few.


The show features the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his great-nephews. The nephews, who were originally living with their uncle Donald, are left in Scrooge's care when the former joins the Navy.

Though Scrooge is the richest duck in the world, he constantly tries to find ways to increase his wealth. Many episodes involve protecting his wealth from villains who want to rob Scrooge of all his money. The prominent recurring antagonists in the show include the Beagle Boys and Magica De Spell who are always finding ways to rob and swindle Scrooge and his nephews. Scrooge's nemesis in the show is Flintheart Glomgold, who always tries to devise plans to unseat Scrooge McDuck from his "Richest Duck in the World" title. A few of the stories also surround Scrooge's "Number One Dime" which is the source of Scrooge's good luck and wealth. Scrooge keeps the dime in a glass jar in his money vault, and constantly protects it from the villains on the show.

The show's second season saw the addition of characters Fenton Crackshell and Bubba Duck. Along with them came stories that generally shifted away from the globetrotting plots of the first season, and revolved primarily in the contemporary setting of Duckburg. Episodes would feature either Bubba or Fenton but rarely both.

Although Scrooge and his nephews were the show's main characters, some episodes focused on other characters like Launchpad or Gyro. Some members of Scrooge's extended family (The Duck Universe), like Gladstone Gander who had extremely good luck, were also seen in the series. Characters like Gladstone were often seen in the early Carl Barks comic book stories.

Some episodes are based upon Carl Barks stories or simply have elements from such stories. For example, the episode "The Unbreakable Bin" is based on Barks's story The Unsafe Safe.[citation needed]


The series is notable for being the first Disney cartoon to be produced for syndication,[1] and paving the way for future Disney cartoons, such as Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers and TaleSpin. DuckTales also spawned spin-off series Darkwing Duck.

A world broadcast premiere television movie (entitled "The Treasures of the Golden Suns") first aired during the weekend of September 18–20, 1987 (date and time varied by market). Since then, it has been shown in the series' regular rotation as a five-part serial. A feature-length movie was released in theatres on August 3, 1990. The hundredth episode (which was also the series finale) aired on November 28, 1990.

The show was the most successful of Disney's early attempts to create high-quality animation for a TV animated series (earlier shows included The Wuzzles and Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears in 1985).[2] Disney invested a far greater amount of money into the TV series than had previously been spent on animated shows of the time. This was considered a risky move, because animated TV series were generally considered low-budget investments for most of the history of TV cartoons up through the 1980s. Most of the DuckTales episodes were animated in Asia by companies such as Cuckoo's Nest Studios, Wang Film Productions of Taiwan, and Tokyo Movie Shinsha of Japan.[3]

Many critics[who?] say that Disney's own animation studio had lost most of its luster during the period from Walt Disney's passing through the 1980s. However, the studio took a number of risks that paid off handsomely, and DuckTales was one of those risks that won big. The studio gambled on the idea that a larger investment into quality animation could be made back through syndication—a concept that worked well with live-action TV reruns, but which had only been used with inexpensive cartoon series that either recycled theatrical shorts from decades past or only featured limited, low-budget animation.

The 1987-1988 season of DuckTales consisted of 65 episodes (the standard length for a Disney TV show). Two more five-part serials - "Time Is Money" and "Super DuckTales" - premiered as television movie specials in November 1988 and March 1989, respectively. The rest of the second season (fall 1989 - winter 1989) included an additional 18 episodes. In the second season, Bubba the Caveduck and his pet triceratops, Tootsie, and Fenton Crackshell and his alter ego Gizmo Duck appeared. DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp was released in August 1990. In September 1990, The Disney Afternoon block started, including DuckTales. Seven final episodes premiered that fall (including three produced for season two but held back for airing, and four produced explicitly for season three), bringing the total to 100 episodes—making DuckTales one of the longest-running Disney shows in terms of number of episodes.

The show was successful enough to spawn a feature film, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, and spin-off series Darkwing Duck. The success of DuckTales also paved the way for a new wave of high-quality animated TV series, including Disney's own The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1988 on ABC.[citation needed]

The 1989 series Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers was paired with DuckTales in an hour-long syndicated show through the 1989-1990 television season. In the 1990-1991 season, Disney expanded the idea even further, to create The Disney Afternoon, a two-hour long syndicated block of half-hour cartoons. DuckTales was one of the early flagship cartoons in the series.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie all appeared in the drug prevention video Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. Scrooge and Launchpad appeared in Disney's short-lived animated series Raw Toonage (originally aired on CBS in 1992 and 1993).


Main article: List of DuckTales charactersThe main characters of the series, who appear in almost every episode, are Scrooge McDuck and his grandnephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Scrooge McDuck is a serious businessman, the richest duck in the world, a tightwad who accumulated a fortune by being "smarter than the smarties, and tougher than the toughies". Despite his harsh business ethics, Scrooge is caring to his family. Huey, Dewey, and Louie are Scrooge's great-nephews, who are left in his care during the entire length of the series. Although fairly hyperactive, the nephews are also clever and intelligent.

The series also features a mix of established characters carried over from the comics, as well as new ones created for the show. Scrooge's household also consists of his butler, Duckworth; Mrs. Beakley, a nanny hired to look after Huey, Dewey and Louie; and Webby Vanderquack, the granddaughter of Mrs. Beakley.

Initially, recurring characters included the absent-minded inventor Gyro Gearloose, the heroic but not too bright pilot Launchpad McQuack and the loyal but somewhat foolish Doofus Drake. During the second season, Bubba, a caveduck from the past, and an accountant, Fenton Crackshell, who had the dual identity of Gizmoduck, were added to the cast. [1][2]Magica De Spell and three of the Beagle Boys.The show's primary villains consist of characters Magica De Spell, Flintheart Glomgold and the Beagle Boys. Although they are all financial threats to Scrooge in one way or another, they each have different motives: Magica wants Scrooge's Number One Dime to complete her magic spell, which will enable her to take over the world; Glomgold wants to replace Scrooge as the "Richest duck in the world"; and the Beagle Boys want to rob Scrooge of his fortune. While the comics originally depicted Glomgold as a native of South Africa, his origin was changed to Scottish descent just like Scrooge. New villains created for the show include Ma Beagle, mother of the Beagle Boys, and Poe De Spell, Magica's brother who has been transformed into a raven.

Other minor, but notable characters include Donald Duck, who left Huey, Dewey and Louie in Scrooge's care at the start of the series; Gladstone Gander, Scrooge's inexplicably lucky nephew; Scrooge's old flame, Glittering Goldie; Merlock, a powerful magician who served as the movie's main villain; and Dijon, a thief who worked either on his own or for Merlock.


Main article: List of DuckTales episodes

DVD releasesEdit

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has released some of the series on DVD; three volumes have been released in Region 1 thus far featuring the first 75 episodes of the series. The first was released on November 8, 2005 (containing episodes 1-27), the second on November 14, 2006 (containing episodes 28-51) and the third volume on November 13, 2007 (containing episodes 52-75).[4][5][6]

In Region 2, one volume has been released in the UK.[7] The first Region 2 DVD release contains seven fewer episodes than the first Region 1 release, due to the Region 1 set having only one language track and the Region 2 release having multiple language tracks.

The episodes are in the order that they originally aired (except for the five-part serial "Treasure of the Golden Suns," placed at the beginning of Volume 2). None of the DVD sets contain any special features.

DVD Name Ep # Release date
DuckTales: Volume 1 27 November 8, 2005
DuckTales: Volume 2 24 November 14, 2006
DuckTales: Volume 3 24 November 13, 2007
DuckTales: Volume 4 25 TBA


Main article: Duckburg


The series theme song was written by Mark Mueller,[8] an ASCAP award-winning pop music songwriter who also wrote the theme song to Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.[9] Episode background music was written by composer Ron Jones.[10] In contrast to how other composers were creating a "patronizing" and "cute" score for the show, Jones says he composed the music with regard to the audience and its intelligence.[11]

The DuckTales Theme was sung by Jeff Pescetto. There are four different versions of the theme song. The original version contained one verse, chorus, bridge, and then chorus. A shorter version of the opening theme was used in The Disney Afternoon lineup with the line, "Everyday they're out there making Duck Tales, woo-ooh," taken out. A full-length version of the theme song was released on the Disney Afternoon soundtrack. The full version contains a second verse, and it includes a guitar solo, which is performed with a wah-wah pedal while making duck-like noises. It also has a fadeout ending, unlike the other versions. There is also a rare extended version that was used in the read along cassettes in 1987. It has a sequence order of verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-instrumental break-chorus.


Main article: DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost LampDuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp was released wide in the United States on August 3, 1990 by Walt Disney Pictures. The film follows Scrooge McDuck and his nephews as they try to defeat the evil warlock Merlock from taking over the legendary magic lamp.


In January 2009, IGN listed Ducktales as the 18th best show in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows.[12]

Awards and nominationsEdit

1990 - Outstanding Film Sound Editing - Rich Harrison, Charlie King and Rick Hinson (won)


Video and computer gamesEdit

Main articles: DuckTales (video game), DuckTales 2, and DuckTales - the Quest for Gold

Comic books and trade paperbacksEdit


DuckTales had two series of comic books. The first series was published by Gladstone Publishing and ran for 13 issues from 1988 to 1990, and the second series was published by Disney Comics and ran for 18 issues from 1990 to 1991. Disney also published a children's magazine based on the show, which also featured comic stories, one of which was the only story written by Don Rosa without any illustrations by him. Subsequent comic stories were also printed in the magazine Disney Adventures from 1990 to 1996.

On August 29, 2007, Disney released a trade paperback of Scrooge's Quest and later The Gold Odyssey.

Ducktales: Scrooge's Quest
Ducktales Volume 2 #1-7
Ducktales: The Gold Odyssey
Ducktales Volume 2 #9-15
Walt Disney Treasures
Trade Title Issue Reprinted
Disney Comics: 75 Years of Innovation (2006) Ducktales Volume 1 #4
Uncle Scrooge: A Little Something Special (2008) Ducktales Volume 1 #7

Carl Bark's Greatest DuckTales StoriesEdit

On May 24 and July 19, 2006, Gemstone published a two-volume trade paperback, Carl Barks's Greatest DuckTales Stories. The trades contain reprints of stories written by Carl Barks which were specifically adapted into television episodes of DuckTales.

Both volumes start out with an introduction and compare the original comic story with its DuckTales episode counterpart. Volume 1 also includes a two-page article delving into details on the adapting the show from the comic series.

Volume 1
Issue Number Story
Four Color #456 Back to the Klondike
Uncle Scrooge #13 Land Beneath the Ground (The episode was titled "Earthquack")
Uncle Scrooge #65 Micro Ducks from Outer Space
Uncle Scrooge #9 Lemming with the Locket (The episode was titled "Scrooge's Pet")
Uncle Scrooge #14 The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan
Uncle Scrooge #29 The Hound of the Whiskervilles (The episode was titled "The Curse of Castle McDuck")
Volume 2
Issue Number Story
Uncle Scrooge #58 The Giant Robot Robbers (The episode was titled "Robot Robbers")
Uncle Scrooge #12 The Golden Fleecing
Uncle Scrooge #3 The Horseradish Story (The episode was titled "Down and Out in Duckburg")
Uncle Scrooge #41 The Status Seeker
Uncle Scrooge #38 The Unsafe Safe (The episode was titled "The Unbreakable Bin")
Uncle Scrooge #6 Tralla La (The episode was titled "The Land of Tra-La-La")

2011 revivalEdit

On February 17, 2011, BOOM! Studios announced that a new Ducktales comic series would be brought to life in May 2011. The series was written by Warren Spector (author of the Epic Mickey videogame).[13] It lasted for 6 issues, with the final two crossing over with Darkwing Duck.

Ducktales: Rightful Owners
Ducktales #1-4
Darkwing Duck/Ducktales
Ducktales #5-6Darkwing Duck #17-18

Uncle Scrooge #392-399 Like A Hurricane, Messes Become SuccessesEdit

Issues 392-399 of the Uncle Scrooge comic book published by BOOM Kids (later called Kaboom!) featured DuckTales comic book stories never before seen in the US, and were collected into two trade paperback volumes, "Uncle Scrooge in DuckTales: Like a Hurricane" on 2011-01-12 and "Uncle Scrooge in DuckTales: Messes Become Successes" on 2011-05-25.[14]


A 4-part crossover story with Darkwing Duck, titled "Dangerous Currency", was also released with parts 1 and 3 for DuckTales #5 and #6, and parts 2 and 4 for Darkwing Duck #17 and #18.


The success of DuckTales led to the translation of the show into many languages. DuckTales was the first American animated TV series to be officially broadcast in syndication in the former Soviet Union.[citation needed] Featured together with Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers in a Sunday evening program titled Walt Disney Presents, the show premiered in 1991. One year later, DuckTales spin-off Darkwing Duck was also added to this lineup.[15]

The show's theme song (written by Mark Mueller and originally sung by Jeff Pescetto), however, remained in English for a number of episodes. The first Russian version of the song was replaced mid-way through the series with an alternate rendition that contained completely different lyrics. Similarly, the German and Swedish version changed the lyrics of the theme into local language halfway through the series.[citation needed] The series aired in India on Doordarshan, dubbed in Hindi.

In Hungary the term "DuckTales generation" (Kacsamesék generáció) refers to the people who were born in the early-to-mid-1980s, because the death of József Antall, the first democratically-elected Prime Minister of Hungary was announced during a DuckTales episode in 1993. This was the generation's first encounter with politics.[16]

In many countries the DuckTales song was performed by well-known singers (like in Finland, where it was sung by Pave Maijanen or in Germany, where it was sung by Thomas Anders).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Syndication. Toonopedia. Retrieved on March 23, 2008.
  2. ^ Wuzzles and Gummi Bears from Toonopedia. Retrieved on March 23, 2008.
  3. ^ Solomon, Charles (September 20, 1987). "The Duck Stops Here. . .". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  4. ^ "DuckTales - Volume 1: Alan Young, Russi Taylor, Terence McGovern, Chuck McCann, Frank Welker, Hal Smith, Joan Gerber, Hamilton Camp, June Foray, Peter Cullen, Brian Cummings, Tress MacNeille: Movies & TV". Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  5. ^ "DuckTales - Volume 2: Alan Young, Russi Taylor, Terence McGovern, Chuck McCann, Frank Welker, Hal Smith, Joan Gerber, Hamilton Camp, June Foray, Peter Cullen, Brian Cummings, Tress MacNeille: Movies & TV". Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  6. ^ "DuckTales - Volume 3: Alan Young, Russi Taylor, Terence McGovern, Joan Gerber, Frank Welker, Peter Cullen, Jim Cummings, Linda Gary, Rob Paulsen, Clive Revill, Chuck McCann, Hal Smith, Bob Hathcock, David Block, James T. Walker, Jamie Mitchell, Terence Harrison, Anthony Adams, Bruce Coville, Bruce Reid Schaefer: Movies & TV". Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  7. ^ "DuckTales - First Collection [DVD: Ducktales: Film & TV"]. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  8. ^ IMDb - DuckTales Soundtrack Listing
  9. ^ IMDb Profile - Mark Mueller
  10. ^ "Main Profile Page-Ron Jones". 2007-03-07. Archived from the original on 2007-03-07. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  11. ^ "Reel Cool: Ron Jones Interview".
  12. ^ "IGN - 18. DuckTales". Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  13. ^ "Ducktales return to comics on May 2011". Boom Studios blog. February 2011. Retrieved on March 14, 2011.
  14. ^ "What To Do? Just Grab Onto Some DUCK TALES June 2010". Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  15. ^ "Darkwing Duck".
  16. ^ "Egy generáció politikai eszmélése: vasárnap fél 6 körül megszakadt a Kacsamesék". Népszabadság. April 6, 2009. About the Duck tales generation. (Hungarian).

External linksEdit