When someone mentions the cartoon DuckTales, two things immediately come to mind; the theme song and the scene where Scrooge McDuck dives into his massive pool of coins and swims through them. If you were a kid in the 80s and watched DuckTales, I can guarantee that you wondered at least once if that was possible, and you secretly wanted to dive into your own coin pool. I mean, at least I did. So what’s the story behind 1987’s most highly rated cartoon?
The show itself was produced by Walt Disney Television Animation and was based on the comics such as Uncle Scrooge, which Carl Barks created. While the show featured different writers, Ken Koonce and David Wiemers would write most of the episodes. In addition, they hired Brad Landreth as art director and Michael Peraza as the layout stylist in the art and story department. The catchy theme song was written by Mark Mueller and sung by Jeff Pescetto. Disney held exceedingly high standards for their animations, so to afford that higher quality, they outsourced the animation production to TMS Entertainment based in Japan and Wang Film Productions based in Taiwan.
The first episode debuted on September 18, 1987, and it ran for a total of four seasons with a total of 100 episodes. What was different about the debut of DuckTales is that instead of running the premier during their Saturday morning cartoons like they would normally do, they decided to premiere it on a weekday in the afternoon. Even though this was a risk, DuckTales would go on to become the most highly rated cartoon that year. The final episode aired on November 28, 1990.
The main characters of DuckTales were Scrooge McDuck, his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, their nanny Mrs. Beakley and her granddaughter Webby, their butler Duckworth, pilot Launchpad McQuack, inventor Gyro Gearloose, and Doofus, who was a friend of theirs who lived in the neighborhood.
Huey, Dewy, and Louie were sent to live with their Uncle Scrooge McDuck in Duckberg after their father, Donald Duck, went off to join the Navy. The series followed the main characters as they searched for treasure or fought off the villains, trying to steal Scrooge’s money.
Since Scrooge McDuck is known for being the richest duck in the world, this often meant his riches were targeted. Some of the villains that regularly appeared on the show were the Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell, and Scrooge’s main archnemesis Flintheart Glomgold.
The second season of DuckTales introduced two new main characters, Fenton Crackshell and Bubba. Fenton Crackshell was Gyro Gearloose’s intern and was also the superhero, Gizmoduck. Bubba is a caveduck’ who Scrooge McDuck saved when he and Gyro took a trip back to the prehistoric age. Bubba ended up hiding in Gyro’s time machine and was transported into modern-day Duckberg. They built him his own little cave, and he went to school with Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
The DuckTales series spawned comic books, video games, read-along books, action figures, clothing, and more. There was even a successful revival of DuckTales that premiered on Disney XD on August 12, 2017. The series would last for three seasons, with the final episode airing on March 15, 2021.
If you haven’t checked out DuckTales yet, I highly recommend it. But, be warned, you’ll find yourself humming that theme song throughout the day. And if you sing the word “ducktales” in public, you’re guaranteed to have at least one person sing back with a “Wooohooo!”