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Modern Mouse Radio #85: DuckTales and the Disney Afternoon

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Matt Parrish (@Schmadvertising) from Wedway Radio joins the show this week as he and Josh discuss the television cartoon boom starting in the late 1980s and going all through the 1990s. Discussing what led to Disney pushing for more syndicated television shows instead of adding to their lineup on the then premium Disney Channel. The introduction of shows like Gummi Bears brought interest from children to a Disney product on television but the television model was perfected by Disney until their biggest hit, DuckTales.

DuckTales not only started a Disney television renaissance, it started a boom from several studios to produce children’s television that expanded beyond the limits of Saturday morning. Soon we were seeing children’s animated programming everywhere including weekday afternoons and Disney held the market there with it’s television block called “Disney Afternoon”. The block debuted a number of Disney shows including Darkwing Duck, Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, Tale Spin, Good Troop, and many more.

DuckTales also expanded beyond the network television scene with comics, video games, and merchandise. It was a sensation and rivaled any princess movie with a big fan base of not just kids. Now we look back with fondness at Uncle Scrooge, the money bin, that sweet theme song, and what DuckTales really meant to the Disney television renaissance.

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Top 5: Disney Cartoons You Completely Forgot About

I’ve been a fan of animation my entire life and I fondly remember Disney shows I watched growing up. Classics like Tale Spin, DuckTales, and Darkwing Duck are shows I now own on disc and I always loved the compilation half hour shows of classic cartoons with Mickey and Donald. Going back in time though, there were tons of shows that aired in the afternoons or Saturday mornings that I just forgot about and I’m sure you did too. Shows that barely lasted a season, or got buried into the lineups on Saturday mornings. It’s a shame as I look over this list and remember these shows now as well with fond memories. So, I give you my top 5 Disney cartoons you probably forgot about!

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#5-Marsupilami. During the early 1990s, Disney picked up on Andre Franquin’s comic book character called Marsupilami. The character began as a segment on CBS’s Raw Toonage, but in 1993, the character got his own show. Marsupilami ran as a 13 episode series that featured new Marsupilami segments, paired with with old ones from Raw Toonage, and other segments not featuring the character. The show was quick and funny, but unfortunately never got the opportunity to really show it’s true colors.

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#4-Quack Pack. Disney’s 1996 reinvention of DuckTales only lasted one season. Quack Pack, originally titled Duck Daze, was about Donald, his now teen nephews, and Daisy traveling the world as a news team. They get into some wacky antics a la DuckTales, but the show only lasted 39 episodes and died off along with the Disney Afternoon show.

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#3-The Wuzzles. Hybrid’s of two animals that look an awful lot like Care Bears. That’s pretty much how to sum up this entire 1985 show. It was cute, kinda weird, and only lasted 13 episodes. Originally airing on CBS, reruns came to ABC and Disney Channel, but no new episodes were made.

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#2-Jungle Cubs. Jungle Cubs was a minor success running on ABC in 1996 but lasted only 2 seasons before appearing on Disney Channel and Toon Disney in reruns. A fun show about a youthful pack of animals from Disney’s The Jungle Book. (Similar to Muppet Babies or Flintstone Kids.) The show’s forgetfulness comes from it’s lack of a real 2nd season. Much of the second season was chopped up parts from the first season. Plus the two seasons combined only give us 20 episodes. Hardly a reason to keep this show in reruns.

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#1-The Schnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show. A spinoff from the Marsupilami show, Schnookums and Meat were characters on the edgy side. Disney was competing with Nickelodeon’s Ren and Stimpy and Warner Brother’s Animaniacs. It’s answer was this show, but it seems like Disney fans didn’t connect with the characters and the show only lasted one season. Pith Possum, Tex Tinstar, and the characters Schnookums and Meat were all well animated and fun personalities but the show only lasted 13 episodes. It had reruns on Toon Disney but was never advertised or brought any attention. It is the least memorable, and sadly abandoned cartoons.

Have any other cartoon series that are forgotten or hardly remembered? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

Josh Taylor
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