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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that DuckTales was a huge hit with fans during its four-year run in the '80s and continues to entertain today with quality stories, wild adventures, and classic Disney characters such as Scrooge McDuck and the dynamic trio of Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Because the stories often are set in far-flung places such as Greece, Antarctica, and the Klondike, kids are introduced to basic concepts of geography and diverse world cultures. Other episodes take the ducks back in time to visit events such as the American Civil War, so there's also some exposure to history and mythology. Every story touches in some way on positive social messages about kindness and philanthropy as well. Because of the timeless nature of the characters and stories, this is a fantastic series for the whole family.
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What's the story?
In DUCKTALES, wealthy business tycoon Scrooge McDuck (voiced by Alan Young) lives in the bustling town of Duckburg with his three mischievous grandnephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie (all voiced by Russi Taylor). Being the richest duck in the world often makes Scrooge a target for villains such as the Beagle Boys and Flintheart Glomgold (Hal Smith), whose schemes usually aim to steal his money or land him in trouble with the law. Fortunately for him, his family and friends -- including his pilot, Launchpad McQuack (Terry McGovern); his housekeeper, Mrs. Beakley (Joan Gerber); and her granddaughter, Webby (Taylor again) -- would go to the ends of the earth to save him...and his money.
Is it any good?
As cartoons go, this one is a quality offering with complex stories set in fascinating places and even, in some cases, time periods. The show has fun with cultural references to movies and famous story characters and often puts a kid-friendly spin on historical figures and events. It's a pleasing, well-rounded series that has a lot to offer kids while doubling as a fun trip down memory lane for parents who may have loved it as kids themselves.
Disney's Ducktales centers on characters from a comic book series by Carl Banks. Some, like the rascally young triplets, are familiar from other Disney projects involving their uncle, Donald Duck; others are new but prove to be instant crowd pleasers. Even the bad guys are easy to like, with their ill-fated plots and their hearty helpings of just desserts in the end. And of course it's impossible to not love Scrooge, whose name is such a contradiction to his jovial personality and his kind and generous spirit.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how DuckTales has aged. Is the animation style markedly different from that of modern shows? Do these differences make it any less appealing to watch? What qualities does it have that are better than what's out there today?
Scrooge's kind and generous nature seems to contradict his love of money. In what ways do you share your time and resources with others? How does philanthropy make you feel? How does it strengthen your community?
This show introduces a number of historical and geographical concepts that families can explore further together. Use maps or electronic resources to learn about the places the characters visit. How are different cultures presented in the stories? What do you learn about past events and important figures from the stories?
- Premiere date: September 18, 1987
- Cast: Alan Young, Hal Smith, Russi Taylor
- Network: Disney Channel
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, History
- Character strengths: Gratitude
- TV rating: TV-G
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
- Last updated: February 19, 2020
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