22 Quacktastic 'DuckTales' Facts for Children of the 80s

RealClear Staff


In case you didn't hear, 1980s Disney cartoon, DuckTales, is getting an official reboot in 2017. Before that happens, though, you should take a moment to discover that their is a giant bank vault's worth of facts you probably didn't know about this kiddie classic.

Such as:

1. It Wasn't On for All That Long

While DuckTales has gone on to be a fondly remembered 80s cartoon, it wasn't really on the air all that long. It only ran four seasons, from 1987-1990. It Did, however, run for 100 episodes. 

But the math is a little funny.

2. They Really Front-End Loaded the Show

We're not sure why, but they really started hard on the show and then sputtered out. Here's how many new episodes were released each year.

1987: 65 episodes.

1988: 10 episodes.

1989: 18 episodes.

1990: 7 episodes. 

3. DuckTales Went Out with a Bang

Or, at least, it tried to. August of 1990 was when Scrooge's first feature length theatrical movie came out, DuckTales the Movie: The Treasure of the Lost Lamp.

However, it failed to earn what Disney had hoped, going against movies like Problem Child that summer. Within a few months, the TV show was canceled, too, in November. 


4. What Exactly Happened to Donald?

In the regular Disney universe, Uncle Donald is in charge of his nephews, Huey, Dewy and Louie, right?

Well, in DuckTales' first episode he has decided to ship out with the Navy...seriously. So, Donald leaves the boys with his uncle, who just happens to be the world's richest duck. 

5. The Show's Best Villain

There were a huge cast of villains on the show, but for our money the most interesting was Flintheart Glomgold. Besides looking like Scrooge in disguise, he was the second-richest duck in the world and was always trying to rob or outdo our hero to take the top spot. While it's subtle, that's a pretty great allegory for the money-hungry 80s.

6. Glomgold Also Had the Most Famous Voice

Speaking of Scrooge's nemesis. Glomgold was voiced by Ed Asner of Mary Tyler Moore Show fame for a few episodes. This is noteworthy, because there were no celebrity voices in the show. 

7. Scrooge Was Actually Created in 1947

While DuckTales might have been most kids' first introduction to Uncle Scrooge in 1987, the character was actually created in 1947 for a Donald Duck Christmas comic and then went on to have his own comic series, which featured a lot of the same villains as the cartoon 40 years later. 

8. Duckburg is Hard to Find

Much like The Simpsons' hometown of Springfield, we never really know where the town is located. The comic book creator said he modeled it after Eureka, CA. However, in the cartoon, a map shows the town to be somewhere near Virginia. 

9. Post-DuckTales Careers Weren't So Hot

Sure, they're cartoons and don't have real careers, but after the box office flop the DuckTales movie, the cast couldn't get arrested in Hollywood. The best anyone did was Scrooge and his buddy Launchpad McQuack appearing infrequently on a short-lived (and poorly titled) program called Raw Toonage.

10. Despite All This, It Was Still A Success

It was short-lived, but DuckTales lives on as quite a success story. Most insiders said pouring the high budget that Disney did to produce a quality afternoon cartoon was a mistake. Traditionally, those programs had been done cheaply. 

However, the accountants deemed the show a success and it paved the way for other high-quality afternoon programs to come. 

11. It Was the First to Use Grown-Up Music

The high quality of the show spilled over into its music, even. Said composer, Ron Jones:

"I would not play the score like a kid's show at all. If they went on an adventure I would play it serious like Raiders of the Lost Ark."

12. There is Actually A Longer Version of the Theme Song

The iconic theme song is actually only a portion of a much longer tune. It has extra verses and even a blistering funky guitar solo. It also runs about 2:50, which explains why they didn't keep it all. 

13. It Was Voted One of the Best

In 2009 IGN published a poll of the best animated television shows ever produced and DuckTales finished a respectable 18th, holding its own with the likes of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Flintstones.

14. Darkwing Came From DuckTales

Cult cartoon hit, Darkwing Duck, not-surprisingly was a spinoff from DuckTales. The crime fighter appeared in a few episodes before striking out to fill the gap in 1991 when DuckTales was canceled. Darkwing was only on for a year, though. 

15. They Weren't All Winners, Though

While Darkwing made the leap from bit-part to spinoff show, not all characters did. Take, for example, the poor planning of Bubba the Caveduck and his pet Triceratops, Tootsie. The duck time traveled back to Duckburg but, thankfully, didn't catch on enough to break into a solo career. 

16. Spanish DuckTales Sounds Way Cooler

The show went on to be syndicated into many languages, though none had the flair of Spanish. DuckTales was translated into Pato Aventuras, which sounds cool, but not as great as Scrooge becoming: Pato McRico. 

Now that's million-dollar name.

17. Special Place in Russia

DuckTales' international appeal was so strong it became the first American cartoon shown in the USSR after the end of the Cold War in 1991. 

18. The Video Game Was Huge

The Nintendo game that stemmed from the show was huge. It sold a million copies in both Nintendo and GameBoy formats. Even Nintendo Power Magazine begrudgingly admitted it was a good game, despite being a Disney promotional tool. 

Turns out there was a good reason for that...

19. The Mega-Man Connection

You could say that there are certain esthetic similarities between this game and Nintendo's smash hit, Mega-Man. There's a good reason for that, since the same principle team worked on both. 

However, Disney was highly involved this time around...

20. They Had to Disneyfy The Game

Disney has family friendly standards and reportedly made the video game makers change a few things, like: Changed crosses on coffins to RIP; made it so Scrooge couldn't lose all of his money; most odd that hamburger power-ups were replaced by...ice cream cones. 

21. The Indiana Jones Connection is the Best

Doesn't it seem strange that the DuckTales movie borrowed so heavily from Raiders of the Lost Ark?

Not really, when you consider that it was originally the other way around


Turns out, Raiders of the Lost Ark's idol and boulder opening were directly inspired by old Uncle Scrooge comics. So, the film version of DuckTales repaid the honor by making a lot of the movie like an Indiana Jones adventure.  

22. There's a LOT of Money in Scrooge's Vault

Someone much smarter than us looked at that giant bank vault that Scrooge swims in and calculated how much money was in there. 

Don't ask us how.

Turns out, it's a tidy, Warren Buffet-esque $31.2 billion.  

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