Rewatching DuckTales! Sci-fi meets slapstick in episode sixteen, “The Money Vanishes.”
Here’s what happens: The Beagle Boys escape from jail, and after a wild chase from the cops they end up at Gyro’s place. Gyro has just invented teleportation tech, done by covering an object with a spray, and then hitting it with a teleporting ray. The crooks pose as doctors to steal Gyro’s tech.
The Beagle Boys next pose as TV pitch men to convince Scrooge that “money months” are going to eat his money, and sell him the teleporting spray. While Scrooge sprays everything in the money bin, the nephews get suspicious. The Beagle Boys teleport the money out of the bin, leading Scrooge to believe it’s all been eaten by moths.
The nephews figure out what’s going on, and use the spray on themselves. They are then teleported to the Beagle Boys’ hideout along with all the cash. The spray becomes a cloud that floats all about the city, teleporting people and zoo animals to all kinds of wacky places. The nephews get a hold the ray and use it against the Beagle Boys, teleporting them back to jail. They return all of Scrooge’s money, and Scrooge insists that Gyro not invent anything else for the rest of the year.
Humbug: When the nephews return Scrooge’s money, he tells them they are the best friends he’s ever had. This continues my hypothesis that Scrooge’s series-long character arc is him learning his family is more important than his fortune.
Junior Woodchucks: The nephews watch a pretty cool-looking werewolf movie on TV, saying it’s not scary even though they’re clearly scared.
Best brain: This is the first appearance of Gyro’s tiny robot sidekick, basically a lightbulb come to life. In the original comics, this character was named Helper. But for some reason DuckTales has renamed him Little Bulb. When DuckTales aired in Italy, he was named Edison.
Foul fowls: The Beagle Boys this time are Big Time, Burger, Bouncer, and the first appearance of Baggy Beagle, apparently named for his baggy shirt.
Down in Duckburg: Lots of Duckburg locations in this episode. The zoo is basic animals in cages rather than proper habitats. The Beagle Boys’ hangout is a boarded-up derelict apartment building that is within eyesight of the Money Bin. We also get a look at the Duckburg Marathon, which goes nearby the Beagles’ hideout.
Reference row: When Dewey says to the Beagle Boys, “Go ahead, take my ray,” this is of course a shoutout to the fourth Dirty Harry film, Sudden Impact.
Thoughts upon this viewing: While DuckTales is written with lots of jokes, the jokes are often the least interesting part of any given episode. This one is wall-to-wall comedy, and the hokeyness is a little too hokey this time.
Next: Medieval times.
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