Ducktales: A History
I first wrote this blog for the Disney amino back when the reboot was just about to start and know this week the last episode was aired, it seems a good time to look back at the history once again.
lets start at having a look at the man behind the main duck.
The Good Duck Artist
Carl Barks started worked at Disney in 1935 he started off as a inbetweener (someone who drawers the pictures between the more extreme drawing so that the characters can move), when he was doing this he came up with ideas for gags he showed a knack for creating comical situations so in 1937 he was moved to the story department. The first story he did was the climax of Modern inventions, in a sequence a robotic barber chair gives Donald a haircut on his bottom.
In 1937 when Donald Duck got his own solo series Barks was paired with Jack Hannah the curated story ideas that were made in to storyboards and if Walt Disney approved it, it was then put into production some of the cartoons that he collaborated on were Donald’s Nephews (1938) Mr. Duck Steps Out (1940) and Timber (1941).
in 1942 Barks moonlighted as a comic book artist curating Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold with Jack Hannah. It was adapted by the comic strip writer Bob Karp. It had 64-page story was published in October in 1942 in #9 four color comics it was the first Donald Duck story produced for an American Comic which had Donald and his nephews in the story the four characters what treasure hunting.
after quitting Disney Barks relocated to Hemet/San Jacinto area in the semi-desert Inland Empire region east of LA where he wanted to start a chicken farm.
to make some money he started making Donald Duck story’s for the monthly Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories.
he surrounded Donald and his nephews with a whole host of characters: Gladstone Gander, Gyro Gearloose, the Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell, Flintheart Glomgold, John D. Rockerduck, The Junior Woodchuck Daisy’s nieces April, May and June, Donald’s neighbour Jones and Scrooge McDuck.
the last thing to say about Carl Barks is the like many people who worked for Disney were anonymous; stories would only carry Walt Disney’s name. Even though Barks name was not on his work readers recognised his drawing style he also signed many stories with a small image of a barking dog. He was non as the good Duck Artist a name that stuck with him, Even after 1960 when he received a visit from the Spicer brothers and Ron Leonard he was no longer anonymous, as word of his identity spread.
Scrooge: a Brief History
You may think that Scrooges first appeared in a Mickey’s Christmas Carol, I say this because I thought that but in fact he appeared 27 years before the film in a comic series four colour.
It was #178 and it was titled Christmas on Bear Mountain it was released in December 1947.
In this story Scrooge was a bearded, spectacle wearing, wealthy old duck, who leaned on his cane and lived on his own in a huge mansion.
Barks has said that Scrooge was originally only going to appear in one comic but then decided that he could be useful for motivating further stories. He has also said that Scrooge in Christmas on bear Mountain was too old and weak so later on that he had to make Scrooge more active as Barks could not make a old guy do things he wanted him to do.
Scrooge continued to be in comics. in March 1952 Barks was able to persuade Dell (the publishers of Four Colour) to try him out as a lead in an issue of four colour which was called only a poor old man it was issue #386 of Four Colour comics.
after two more Four Colour issues Scrooge got his own title in December 1952 starting with #4 (as they counted the three Four Colour comics) The Menehune Mystery the comics were titled Uncle Scrooge.
the first 70 issues mostly consisted of story lines written and drawn by Carl Barks the after that it was written Barks and drawn by Tony Strobl.
It has been published by many different comic book companies over the years but you can still get it to this day there has in fact been 416 issues. The original writer for the comic was Barks but of course there have been other writers such as Tony Strobl, Pete Alvarado, Van Horn and Roman Scarpa.
In the comics Uncle Scrooge is often accompanied by his nephew Donald Duck and grandnephews Huey, Dewey and Louie when he is on his adventures.
Ducktales was inspired by the early comics of Uncle Scrooge and some of the episode are adapted from the story’s that were written by Barks for the comics as well.
Scrooges first animated appearance was in a short that was released in 1967 the short was called Scrooge McDuck and money in the short Scrooge taught his nephews basic financial tips.
Then in 1983 he was in Micky’s Christmas carol playing Ebenezer Scrooge the character that originally inspired his name. Alan young played Scrooge, but Scrooges biggest role out side of comics was Ducktales.
The Nephews an Brief History
Huey, Dewey and Louie were created by Ted Osborne and Al Taliaferro, they first appeared in a comic strip in 1937 and the animated short Donald’s Nephews in 1938.
In both the comics and animated short the boys were dropped of to stay with Donald for a short tv by there mother Della, in the comic it was because there father was in hospital after the boys did a practical joke on him.
In most cases the three boys are identical to each other and are only distinguishable by there different courses as they have the same voice actor and personality, but in quack pack which was released in 1996 and the reboot of ducktales they have a different actor for each boy and personalities.
The Tv Show
DuckTales first episode “The Treasure on golden sun aired on 18 September, 1987 in the first episode Donald Duck takes his nephews to Scrooge as he was going to the navy. Meanwhile El Capitán freed the Beagle Boys from jail so they can help him steal Scrooge’s treasure map.
This first five episodes were aired over the weekend as they followed on from each other. Ever since it has been a part of the regular rotation of the series as a five-part serial and was released as a feature-length movie on 3 August, 1990.
there were two other five-part serials that premiered as television movie specials which were Time is Money in November 1988 and Super DuckTales in March 1989.
In the end there were a total of 100, 22 minute episodes spanning over four seasons the first season had a whopping 65 episodes while the second season had 10 the third had 18 and the fourth only had 4.
the first season of the show was produced by Fred Wolf and 2-3 season was Bob Hathcock.
the show was Developed by Jymn Magon the same man who developed such shows as Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Goof Troop and Darkwing Duck. (basically all are childhoods).
The amazing DuckTales them was written and composed by Mark Mueller a pop music songwriter and it was performed by Jeff Pescetto.
In the reboot Felicia Barton performs the theme. Also in the reboots opening three of the scenes are based on Carl Barks paintings
DuckTales is notable for being the first Disney animated television series to be produced for syndication, paving the way for the shows I mentioned above.
at one put DuckTales was one of the longest running Disney animated shows in terms of the number of episodes but it has been over taken by Phineas and Ferb and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
The last episode aired on 28 November 1990. It was a two part special called The Golden Goose.
there was a large number of Characters, from heroes to Villains here are just a few:
Scrooge McDuck was voiced by Alan Young
Russi Taylor voiced Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby Vanderquack
Launchpad McQuack voiced by Terry McGovern
Betina Beaey voiced by Joan Gerber
Gyro Gearloose voiced by Hal Smith
Doofus Drake voiced by Brian Cummings
Fenton Crackshell a.k.a. GizmoDuck Voiced by Hamilton Camp (which is quite funny as Lin Manuel Maranda the is now voicing him)
Bubba the Cave Duck voiced by Frank Welker
Glittering Goldie voiced by Joan Gerber
Duckworth voiced by Chuck McCann
There were eight different the Beagle Boys who were voiced by Frank Welker, Chuck McCann, Peter Cullen, Terry McGovern, Brian Cummings Don Messick.
The other villains were
Flintheart Glomgold Voiced by Hal Smith
June Foray voiced Ma Beagle and Magical De Spell
Argus McSwine voiced by Bernie Kopell
Frank Welker voiced Poe De Spell, Phantom Blot and Lawrence Loudmouth
El Captain voiced by Jim Cummings
Pete voiced by Will Ryan
Dijon voiced by Richard Libertini
Cinnamon Teal Voiced by Haunai Minn
Millionara Vanderbucks voiced by Tress MacNeille
Fritter O’Way voiced by Aron Kincaid
In August 1988 Gladstone Publishing released the first DuckTales comics, it ran till March 1990 and had thirteen issues.
Each of the issue had at least one story based specifically in the show’s continuity, and many issues also had reprints of Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge stories and drawings. The first two issues were both 64 pages in length, which contained adaptations of the episodes Armstrong, Jungle Duck and two Barks story’s that had also been made into DuckTales episode Lost Crown of Genghis Khan and Giant Robot Robbers. After the ninth issue the series went back to having 64 pages. they including a guide with a descriptions of every episode in season 2 listed in order. It also included which episodes were adaptations of Barks stories, it started from issue 3 and ended with issue 12.
Then Disney Comics took over starting in April 1990 and ended in September 1991. There were eighteen issue and unlike Gladiators they didn’t have multiple story’s in one comic, this means that there were non of Barks Uncle Scrooge stories. The comics were Multi-part adventure stories they were: Scrooges Quest issues #1-7, The Gold Odyssey issues #9-15 and Dime in Time issues #17-18. Also both Scrooge’s Quest and The Gold Odyssey had 182 pages in total, were tied For the longest multi-part story from Disney comics.
then in 2011 Boom! Studios had a go at making the comics. It was written by Warren Spector who also curated the Epic Mickey comics. Like the Disney comic it was a multi-part story, unfortunately the comics only lasted two arcs and six comics.
On the 3 of August 19 DuckTales the movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp was released, As a bit of a final. it was the first film produced by DisneyToon. The running time was 74 minutes.
it was directed and produced by Bob Hathcock also producing was Jean-Pierre Quenet, written by Alan Burnett and the music was by David Newman.
All the cast returned for the film with the addition of two new characters:
Gene the genie was voiced by frank Welker
Merlock the Magician voiced by Christopher Lloyd
The films budget was $20 million and it made a gross revenue of $18,115,724.
The DuckTales Reboot
the new reboot was first arid on the 12 of August 2017 with a new cast of Voice actors and hundreds of references to the old show, comics and even other 90 Disney tv show.
The show aired from 12th of August 2017 till the 15th of March 2021 it had 69 episodes spanning over 3 seasons. The first 2 episodes Woo-oo! and day trip of doom! They were shown on a loop all that day on the Disney channel, the last episode was called The Last Adventure.
Season 1 of the show had 23 episodes, season 2 had 24 and season 3 had 22
The show was developed by Matt Youngberg and Francisco Angones, they both grew up watching the original series and have said that they always wanted to develop an updated show for a newer generation. Youngberg said, “We’re hoping that in thirty years, the kids who watch our show will then be bringing back the next version of DuckTales because they loved what we did so much.”
As I said previously there are lots of references in the reboot from the art work in the theme song being Carl Barks panting to the art style of the TV show being similar to the comics and there’s more such as: this is the first time Donald wears a black sailor suit instead of blue on screen, the black suit was something he wore in the comics.
there are cameos from many classic 90s shows including Goof Troop, Chip and Dale Rescue Ranges, Tale Spine, Darkwing duck and the three Cabarous.
This is also the first on screen debut for Della as well as Cousin Fethry, John D. Rockerduck, Jeeves, the Gilded Man, Neighbor Jones, Phooey, Bombie the Zombie and Matilda McDuc.
In this version of the show, Donald is one of the main characters, but in the original Donald was only really in the show as cameos to set up storylines, this was because there was edict from the Walt Disney Company. This meant that the television studio couldn’t use any characters from the Disney Golden Age shorts. This restriction was lifted shortly after the original version ended, thankfully as some of my favourite shows have Mickey, Donald and Goofy in it.
David Tennant played Scrooge McDuck (this is the first time that a scotsman has voiced Scrooge)
Danny Puid played Huey
Ben Schwartz played Dewey
Bobby Moynihan played Louie
Kate Micucci played Webby Vanderquack
Tony Anselmo plays Donald Duck (he has been the official voice sine 1985) also in one episode Russi Taylor played young Donald (he of course is the original voice for the nephews)
Beck Bennett played Launchpad McQuack
Toks Olagundoye as played Mrs Beakley
Paget Brawster played Della Duck
Lin Manuel Miranda played Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera aka gizmo duck
Keith Ferguson played Fintheart Glomgold (Duke Baloney)
Allison Janney played Goldie O’Gilt
Kimiko Glenn played Lean
Josh Brener played Mark Beaks
Jim Rash played Gyro Gearloose and bulby
Catherine Tate played Magica De Spell
David Kaye played Duckworth
Julie Bowen played Penumbra
John Gemberling played Doofus Drake
just as a added factoid 8 actors have been in both Versions of the show: Tony Anselmo, Michael Bell, Corey Burton, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Keone Young, Russi Taylor and Tress MacNeille.
There are 21 issues of the comic book series which were released between 2017 to 2019, the first 14 issues were 10 pages long but Monsters are due at McDuck Manor was a two part comic (and ever issue after) which then makes them 20 pages.
the first 8 issues were prequel the first 4 showing Donald, Huey, Dowey and Louis befor the events of Woo-oo! And then the 4 after that showed the adventures of Scrooge, Donald and Della before her disappearance.
the Stories were produced, generally by American Writers Steve Behling, Joe Caramagna and Joey Cavalieri. The art was done by Italian artists most notably Luca Usai and Gianfranco.
and that is it for the history I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed learning.