Disney is gearing up for the first season of the revival of one of its favorite 1980s properties, but the original premiered 30 years ago today! Let’s head on down to Duckburg to solve a mystery! Or rewrite history! DuckTales! Woo-ooh!
DuckTales was the anchor of what would eventually become the Disney Afternoon block of animated television, focusing on Scrooge McDuck and his grand-nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. McDuck and his various entourage would go on globe-trotting adventures either to enhance Uncle Scrooge’s wealth or to keep his rivals from stealing his various riches.
Of course, it had a theme song that’s still catchy, 30 years on.
The adventures the show’s heroes went on were a mixture of original ideas and adaptations of Carl Banks’ comics featuring Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck and the nephews. But as a young kid, I knew nothing about any of that. The original DuckTales was just a really well-done cartoon featuring prominent Disney characters that we could watch every day after school. Soon enough, it would be joined by Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers, Tale Spin and the quasi-DuckTales spin-off, Darkwing Duck (which featured Scrooge’s pilot, Launchpad McQuack).
The original DuckTales spanned 100 episodes from 1987 to 1990. In that time, we got a DuckTales video game (one of the best licensed games produced at the time, in my opinion) and a theatrical movie, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp.
The legacy of the series looms so large that Disney decided to bring the show back. After an announcement back in 2015 that a new series was being developed, it finally premiered on Disney XD last month with an updated art style and a pretty impressive cast, including David Tennant as Scrooge, joined by the likes of Danny Pudi, Kate Minucci and Bobby Moynihan. Tony Anselmo, who has been the voice of Donald Duck since 1985, continues that role here.