Rewatching DuckTales! The show gets spooky (but only a little) in episode 9, “Magica’s Shadow War.”
Here’s what happens: The witch Magica Dispel is still after Scrooge’s lucky number one dime, so she casts a spell to make her shadow come to life and act autonomously. At Scrooge’s mansion, the nephews test out a new automatic camera Gyro has invented.
Magica travels to Duckburg and rents (buys?) a crumbling old house. All the while, she’s having more and more trouble keeping her newly sentient shadow under control. That night, the shadow sneaks into the mansion. Scrooge gets his dime back, and the shadow returns empty-handed.
Back at Magica’s house, the shadow casts a spell to make herself more powerful, and giving her the ability to speak. She then plots to steal the dime and control all shadows everywhere in the world.
Scrooge tries to trap the shadow in some lights, but the plan backfires, creating an army of evil shadows. Scrooge is forced to work out a deal with Magica, letting her use the power of the lucky dime to undo the spell. She weakens the shadow, and then the nephews use their new camera’s flash to eliminate it. Magica tries to run away with the dime, but the nephews use old-fashioned shadow puppetry to scare her off without it.
Humbug: Scrooge is shown in his money bin, carefully cleaning the money. One gold coin has a 10 cent symbol on it, and when a dollar bill turns from green to grey when exposed to bright light. What is money made of in this universe?
Junior Woodchucks: We like to think of Huey, Dewey, and Louie as generally good, but they’re real troublemakers in this episode, using their new camera to take embarrassing candid photos of everyone.
Fasten your seatbelts: Launchpad joins the action late in the episode, saying he doesn’t understand any of what’s going on. I guess magic/supernatural stuff isn’t his thing.
Maid and maiden: Mrs. Beakeley says she disapproves of the boys’ new camera, but at the end of the episode she says they can keep it. I guess that’s a character arc.
Foul fowls: Magica’s spooky new house in Duckburg comes complete with an incredibly creepy human-looking skeleton in basement. We’ll never know what the story behind this is, as the house never appears again.
Down in Duckburg: The guy Magica bumps into at the airport is named Vacation Van Honk. He’ll only have one other speaking role much later in the series, but the animators must have liked him because he pops up in backgrounds often throughout the show’s run.
Reference row: Keeping it in the Disney family, all this “living shadow” stuff recalls the antics with Peter and his shadow in Peter Pan.
Thoughts upon this viewing: The animators are having fun with the shadows vs. lights animation, and we get a better sense of the Scrooge vs. Magica rivalry with more scenes of them squaring off face-to-face. It’s another one that’s fun, but not a series highlight.
Next: Itty-bitty living space.
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