Rewatching DuckTales! It’s a little bit of world building and a lot of snow in “The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan.”
Here’s what happens: After a brief flashback to the time of Genghis Khan, we begin at the Duckburg Explorers Society, announcing a new competition for explorer of the year. The first one to find Khan’s lost crown in the Himalayas will get the prize. Scrooge, of course, is a member and wants to win. Scrooge recruits Lauchpad, the nephews, and Webby to join him. Sir Guy Standforth of the Explorers Society sabotages the others’ efforts climb the mountains.
Scrooge and company head up to Shadow Pass, the last known location of the crown. They face avalanches and snowstorms, all while Sir Guy keeps trying and failing to stop them. All the while, everyone keeps finding evidence of what could only by an Abominable Snowman. Our heroes investigate an ice cave, where they get separated.
Scrooge finds a treasure trove in the cave, including the crown. Launchpad and the boys nearly freeze to death, but they’re rescued by Webby, who has befriended the female Abominable Snowman, nicknamed “Snowy.” Just when it seems as well, Sir Guy returns and swipes the crown from Scrooge. Sir Guy is named Explorer of the Year, but Scrooge proves he was there first by showing up with Snowy in person.
Humbug: Scrooge appears to dislike the other members of the Explorers Society, but still participates in their contests. We’re told he’s won the award 33 years in a row.
Junior Woodchucks: The scene of the three nephews and Launchpad almost freezing to death is pretty dark for this show. When they agree to close their eyes and rest “for a little bit” it’s understood that they’re about to die. (But, remember, Webby and Snowy save them.)
Fasten your seatbelts: Launchpad is apparently a real ladies’ man, as there are a couple of jokes about how women chase him everywhere he goes. This of course leads to another gag where Snowy falls for him.
Maid and maiden: Webby continues to prove herself as an adventurer with her ability to befriend whatever strange creatures our heroes come across.
Foul Fowls: Sir Guy is given almost no backstory, just that he wants to win the Explorer of the Year award, and he’s not above cheating or even attempted murder to get it.
Down in Duckburg: The other members of the Explorers Society are Lord Battmountain, Percival, and a third unnamed one. Neither the Society nor its members have entries in the Disney wiki, so I’ll assume they never appear again.
Reference row: Trying to discover the origins of the old-timey “adventurer’s club” trope took me down quite the research rabbit hole. It has its roots way back in ancient Greece with the miles gloriosus (roughly translated, “braggart soldier”) comedic type of the Greek playwrights, an elderly former soldier exaggerating about his glory days.
This was later combined with English gentlemen’s clubs, where retired old guys sat around spinning yarns about their days in the Royal Navy, popularized in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Brigadier Gerard and P.G. Wodehouse’s The Oldest Member, among many others. (Not to mention Commander McBragg from Tennessee Tuxedo.)
Only two years after this episode of DuckTales, Disney would build a real-life Adventurer’s Club as part of its Pleasure Island attraction in Florida, which ran from 1989 to 2008.
Thoughts on this viewing: I think the female Abominable Snowman is supposed to be the big attention-getter for this episode, but I found the Explorers Society characters a lot more interesting. A lot of the episode is just the characters lost in the snow with not a lot happening, although one “ice slide” scene is impressively animated. I guess this one’s a mixed bag.
Next: Prison break.
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