Rewatching DuckTales! I get my Shakespearian freak on during episode twenty-three, “Much Ado About Scrooge.”
Here’s what happens: Scrooge gets a visit from Filler Brushbill, a famous (!) door-to-door salesman, who can sell anything to anyone. After various mishaps, Brushbill convinces Scrooge and co. to buy a room full of old junk. This includes a first edition of the complete works of William Drakespeare. Scrooge finds a letter in one of the books, hinting at a lost play in his castle on an island in England. Brushbill also catches wind of the letter and pursues them.
Our heroes arrive at the castle, hearing rumors that it might be haunted. Louie is separated from the rest. He encounters three witches, and he is rescued by Brushbill. Scrooge and the other nephews are attacked by Roman soldiers, only for Brushbill to rescue them as well. Scrooge and Brushbill agree to work together to find the lost play. The group meets a fawn named Pluck, and everyone realizes that everyone on the island are characters from Drakespeare’s plays come to life.
The gang finds Drakespeare’s castle, with built-in theater. They find the lost play behind a hidden door. Then the island residents reveal themselves to be actors, and agree to share the play’s profits. Then the lost play is revealed to be… MacDuck! It’s possibly about Scrooge’s ancestors.
The actors put on a quick performance. The play is terrible, and also sullies the Scrooge name. Scrooge and the actors agree to keep the play hidden forever, but Brushbill tries to steal it and cash in. Before Brushbill can escape, Louie says Brushbill will be cheating people by selling them a crappy play, so Brushbill gives it back. Scrooge makes a deal with the actors to bring audiences to the island, and Brushbill goes back to honest salesmanship.
Humbug: We don’t get to see much of the play MacDuck. It appears to be about Scrooge’s ancestor, who cares more about money than his loved ones, and at the end he gets dragged away in chains.
Junior woodchucks: Louie (the one in green) is the hero nephew this episode. He’s the one who appeals to Brushbill’s better nature, and he expresses desire to become an expert salesmen himself. And he’s the one running the computer in the mansion.
Foul fowls: Brushbill is interesting in how he’s able to get under Scrooge’s skin and convince him to waste money on a bunch of junk he doesn’t need. Brushbill’s other power is how he can pull anything he needs out of his valise, like Mary Poppins and her magic purse. You’d think they could do a lot more with this character, but he never appears again.
Down in Duckburg: Scrooge’s mansion has a high-tech anti-salesman system, which includes metal barricades on all the bars and windows. How this is different from an anti-burglary system is unknown.
Reference row: Stories about a lost William Shakespeare play have been around for centuries. More than 40 titles have been suggested as a possible lost play, with three most well-known being Love’s Labour’s Won, Cardenio, and Ur-Hamlet. Studying this stuff is nearly impossible, more mist-shrouded rumors than historical fact.
Thoughts upon this viewing: The episode is loaded with Shakespeare references, which makes it right up my alley. Beyond that, Brushbill is interesting character and the ancient castle/treasure hunt stuff is all great fun.
Next: I feel the need for duck speed.
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.