As a child of the fifties, I grew up reading comic books. Though I was more a fan of the superhero variety, I occasionally read the "lighter" titles, which included such fare as "Archie" and Carl Banks' "Uncle Scrooge." It is the latter that served as the basis for the series from which this compilation is culled.
Premiering as a weekday show in 1987, "Disney's DuckTales" brought a new dimension to television animation. Though primarily geared for a young audience, the show had enough in jokes and historical/pop culture references to appeal to the children's parents. Well done parodies of "Star Trek," the "Indiana Jones" series, John Wayne, the Kentucky Derby, James Bond, fairy tales and world mythology, and even primetime's biggest soap opera, "Dallas," can be found among this 24-episode collection.
The highlight, of course, is "Treasure of the Golden Suns," the five-part pilot that introduces Uncle Scrooge and tells how he became guardian to nephew Donald's younger charges, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. The episode also shows the transition of Scrooge from miserly to a bit more compassionate to others as a result of his new-found "parenthood."
In addition to these characters, there is the introduction of Mrs. Beakly, the nanny, and her grandchild, Webby; the butler, Duckworth; inventor, Gyro Gearloose; erstwhile pilot Lauchpad McQuack; the boys' friend, Doofus; and McDuck's chief financial nemesis, Flintheart Glomgold. Filling out the cast are the recurring appearances of The Beagle Boys and sorceress Magica De Spell.
Voicing these characters is a talented array of voice actors. Leading the pack is Alan Young ("Uncle Scrooge"), primarily known for his memorable turn as Wilbur Post, owner of the "Mr. Ed" of television fame. Young brings vivid life to the sometimes cantankerous yet lovable duck millionaire. Terence McGovern has fun as "Launchpad," while Russi Taylor has a field day providing all the voices of the younger ducklings.
Hal Smith, forever "Otis" on the old "Andy Griffith Show," assays the duel roles of Gyro and Glomgold, as well as other incidental characters. Jim Cummings and Peter Cullen are other actors that bring voice to a myriad of characters.
And the legendary June Foray, the voice behind "Rocky the Flying Squirrel," utilizes her distinctive pipes as "Magica De Spell."
Besides the great writing, Ron Jones, composer of arguably the best score in "Star Trek: The Next Generation's" history ("The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II") is responsible for the exciting music that would be used throughout the series run. Much better than the usual fare that accompanies television 'toons, Jones deserved an Emmy for his compositions.
In all, "DuckTales" belongs in the cartoon hall of fame as a prime example of a program that is definitely "family friendly" and non-condescending to small fry, stimulating as well as entertaining.