DuckTales rewatch – Sphinx for the Memories

Rewatching DuckTales! In episode 7, “Sphinx for the Memories,” we’ve got mummy action in Egypt. All the old paintings in the tomb, they do the sand dance, don’t you know. If they move too quick…

Here’s what happens: Donald Duck has shore leave again, arranging to meet Scrooge and the nephews in a marketplace in Egypt. A couple of cultists mistake Donald for a mythical figure, “the Garbled One.” They abduct him and take him to their palace, with Scrooge and boys in pursuit.

In the ancient city of Garbabble the high priest rules with an iron fist, and doesn’t like Donald here to usurp his power. While Donald enjoys his chosen one status (complete with harem!) the others end up trapped in an underground maze. The high priest uses dark magic to summon a mummy to deal with Donald. Donald escapes death through various mishaps. When he remembers he has to return to his ship, the cultists won’t let him leave.

The cultists hold a ritual, in which Donald is possessed by the spirit of the original Garbled One. This gives us… evil Donald Duck?!? Donald orders Scrooge and the nephews be put to death, but Scrooge convinces him they build him his own pyramid. This buys them time for the nephews to disguise themselves as the mummy. There’s a fight (of sorts) with the real mummy, and Scrooge works to undo the spell on Donald. When the spell is undone, both the spirits of the Garbled One and the mummy are freed, and Donald makes it back to his ship on time.

Humbug: Scrooge is not involved in any business plans or treasure hunts in this issue. Instead, he’s merely on vacation with the nephews. This furthers my theory that the series is about him learning his family is more important than his wealth.

Junior Woodchucks: In order to escape the underground maze, the nephews open the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook to translate the exact hieroglyphic in front of them. I believe this confirms the Guidebook is just plain magic.

In the Navy: We get to know Donald Duck’s superior officer Admiral Grimitz for the first time. He does not like Donald, and makes Donald swab the deck – of an aircraft carrier!

Foul fowls: The evil high priest is the second villain we’ve seen in the series who has built a kingdom for himself to rule, all by playing off the superstitions of the locals. One more character like this and we can call it an ongoing theme in DuckTales.

What’s all this, then? This is currently the only episode of DuckTales not available on Disney Plus. No reason has been given as to why it’s been excluded. A lot of episodes could be considered culturally insensitive (if you want to go there), so singling out this one is all the more baffling.

Reference row: Mummy movies never go out of style. With reincarnation kinda/sorta a theme, this would bear the most similarity to 1944’s The Mummy’s Ghost.

Thoughts upon this viewing: A step down in quality from previous episodes. It’s a lot running around and slapstick, but not as much plot. A few of the laughs aren’t bad, and the mummy is pretty creepy (for this show, anyway), so it’s a mixed bag.

Next: Make it so.


Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.

About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH.
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