One of the most popular and enduring Disney TV cartoons hit the ground running with 65 season one episodes including a TV movie and a collection of four read-along sets.
DUCKTALES: WELCOME TO DUCKBURG
Disney Storyteller Book and Cassette #513-B (Mono)
Released in 1987. Read-Along Producer: Randy Thornton. Editorial: Ted Kryczko. Soundtrack Dialogue from Season 1, Episode 1, “The Treasure of the Golden Suns: Don’t Give Up the Ship,” broadcast in syndication on September 18, 1987. Story by: Jymn Magon, Bruce Talkington, and Mark Zaslove.
Teleplay by : Jymn Magon and Bruce Talkington. Running Time: 16 minutes.
DUCKTALES: SCROOGE’S TREASURE HUNT
Disney Storyteller Book and Cassette #517-B (Mono)
Released in 1987. Read-Along Producer: Randy Thornton. Editorial: Ted Kryczko. Soundtrack Dialogue from Season 1, Episode 18, “The Treasure of the Golden Suns: Wronguay to Ronguay,” broadcast in syndication on September 18, 1987. Writer: Ken Koonce and David Weimers. Running Time: 15 minutes.
DUCKTALES: LAUNCHPAD’S DARING RAID
Disney Storyteller Book and Cassette #515-B (Mono / 15:00)
Released in 1987. Read-Along Producer: Randy Thornton. Editorial: Ted Kryczko. Soundtrack Dialogue from Season 1, Episode 9, “Armstrong,” broadcast in syndication on September 24, 1987. Writer: Michael Keyes. Running Time: 15 minutes.
DUCKTALES: DINOSAUR DUCKS
Disney Storyteller Book and Cassette #516-B (Mono)
Released in 1987. Read-Along Producer: Randy Thornton. Editorial: Ted Kryczko. Soundtrack Dialogue from Season 1, Episode 19, “Dinosaur Ducks,” broadcast in syndication on October 7, 1987. Running Time: 15 minutes.
Voices: William Schallert (Narrator); Alan Young (Scrooge McDuck); Terence McGovern (Launchpad); Russi Taylor (Huey, Dewey, Louie); Hal Smith (Gyro Gearloose, Flintheart Glomgold); Frank Welker (Bigtime Beagle); Jim Cummings (El Capitán). “Duck Tales Theme” by Mark Mueller, Sung by Jeff Pescetto.
DuckTales is the first of the Disney TV Animation series to enjoy a successful reboot. That it resulted in two series should come as no surprise since it was inspired by epic comics that had captured the imaginations of readers worldwide–so much so that in several countries, characters like Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge are more famous for their comics than their cartoons. Millions thrilled to the adventures of Scrooge McDuck before they even knew who was writing and drawing them. When Carl Barks became a beloved legend to his readers (they simply called him “the good duck artist”), it was a matter of time before animation followed. DuckTales occasionally adapted Barks stories, giving “The Duck Man” screen credit for the first time.
Though Scrooge had already made media appearances, first on records and then on screen in 1967’s Scrooge McDuck and Money, it was 1983’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol (also based on a recording) that solidified his identity on screen. TV Legend Alan Young imbued the world’s richest duck with an authentic accent and a personality true to the visual. (Alan Young really should be named a Disney Legend by now–perhaps the new voice of Scrooge, David Tennant himself, could award it to him posthumously?) He was one of the longest-running actors actively continuing in the role of a Disney character, long after DuckTales had completed a total of one hundred episodes.
The fact that DuckTales reached 100 episodes was groundbreaking, not so much for television but as a Disney first. It might have once been unthinkable that any Disney animated product could sustain quality and popularity with such quantity. The series even spawned a theatrical feature, Treasure of the Lost Lamp.
In an unusual move, Disney actually followed Filmation’s successful programming pattern, as did the other studios who ventured into daytime syndication. Their She-Ra, Princess of Power spinoff of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was launched with a limited-run theatrical feature that was really the first week’s five episodes edited together. Entitled The Secret of the Sword, it starred both heroes (and we talked about the soundtrack album in this powerful Spin. The feature was then presented as a TV movie special to introduce the characters before the first week’s episodes began to run.
DuckTales premiered with a syndicated TV movie called Treasure of the Golden Suns, allowing viewers to get acquainted to the characters and the new format. It was established that Huey, Dewey and Louie would be living with Scrooge while Unca Donald was away in the Navy (as the Disney company was not yet ready to allow one of their prime characters into a regular TV series as yet).
Walt Disney Records adapted the first and last half hours of the TV movie into read-alongs and renamed them Welcome to Duckburg and Scrooge’s Treasure Hunt. Another early show, “Armstrong” (about a robot replacement for Launchpad McQuack) became Launchpad’s Daring Raid. Dinosaur Ducks worked well enough as a title so it was not changed.
For the theme song, Jeff Pescetto sang another vocal, but with a smaller combo, creating a somewhat accurate sound-alike to the soundtrack. Other than the dialogue, there is no soundtrack material on any of the Disney Afternoon-related read-alongs. All the background music comes from Walt Disney Records’ growing collection of cues assembled since 1976 when Jymn Magon first began to add music to the book-and-record sets.
The DuckTales recordings are the only Disney read-alongs narrated by veteran character actor and announcer William Schallert—known to fans of The Patty Duke Show as Martin Lane, a.k.a. “Pop-O,” and Mr. Pomfritt on Dobie Gillis, as well as for countless roles in TV, stage and film roles, including that of Professor Quigley in two Disney’s Kurt Russell romps, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and The Strongest Man in the World.