At some point while reminiscing, I devolved into blathering blatherskite.
I can’t remember what sparked my interest in the Disney Afternoon. Likely the friendly corporate name in the programming block’s title gave my parents the confidence to approve some dedicated viewing in the ’80s. Through this, I discovered Donald Duck’s extended family on DuckTales. The world included adventurous tillionaires, inquisitive nephews, time traveling cave ducks, accidental superheroes, bungling criminals, dry-witted butlers, enchanting sorcerers, and extremely important dimes.
Even before the TMNT reinforced my interests, these anthropomorphic ducks established a template of stories I either loved or would come to love, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark. There were swashbuckling excursions, ancient castles, globetrotting investigations, treasure hunts, plane crashes (actually, there were quite a lot of crashes…), ghost stories, secret agents, and disastrous (and occasionally useful) inventions. Of course I loved the show! DuckTales’ serialized stories fascinated me the most
Fenton Crackshell, aka Gizmoduck, was always my favorite character. The down-on-his-luck-guy stumbled upon a suit of armor and accidently mentioned the pass phrase to activate its power. Over the course of a TV movie (I remember it being billed as “an event”), Fenton assumed the Gizmoduck persona to save the day, yet still proved the importance of civilian identity. An insanely precise bean counter seems like the perfect Scrooge McDuck employee after all.
I’d later discover the TV writers refined the structure Stan Lee perfected in his ’60s Marvel stories. It makes perfect sense these derring-do, often-serialized stories influenced what I’d watch and read for decades. DuckTales’ spinoff would only reinforce this fact…