Rewatching Ducktales! Let’s everybody get problematic when going over episode 27, “Launchpad’s Civil War.”
Here’s what happens: I’ll keep this short. It’s about Launchpad joining a Civil War reenactment, playing the role of his cowardly ancestor. Launchpad discovers a group of actual Civil War soldiers, found still alive like Rip Van Winkle in a cave. Launchpad and the old guys join the reenactment, only fighting for real so they can win it this time. Launchpad and the soldiers restore their honorable statuses and prove themselves as heroes.
This blog is not the appropriate place to get into the politics and societal concerns regarding the Civil War, not mention the thorny discussion of the Civil War could possibly have happened in the DuckTales Universe. The Disney Wiki states that this episode was recently removed from Disney Plus, along with Dumbo, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp. Those movies can still be accessed in some of special adults-only section, but the DuckTales episode seems to be just plain gone.
Junior Woodchucks: Huey, Dewey, and Louie tag along on the trip, often acting as the voice of reason. They’re also seen at the start helping Launchpad wash his plane.
Fasten your seatbelts: Launchpad expresses a dislike for horseback riding, saying he prefers crashing planes to crashing horses.
Do the doo: Doofus tags along, with a running gag about his camera blinding everyone with its flash. You’d think would be of use in the final battle, but it doesn’t come up.
Fowl fouls: The villain is Colonel Beauregard, descendent of a Confederate soldier. His only plan is to humiliate Launchpad, for no other reason than pettiness.
Reference row: Washington Irving published Rip Van Winkle in 1819. It’s about an English colonial who falls asleep after a night of drinking, only to wake up 20 years later, having slept through the Revolutionary War. It’s often considered to be one of the first depictions of nostalgia in modern (well, modern-ish) literature.
Thoughts upon the viewing: I don’t know. There’s a lot of really funny gags with the bumbling old guys, and a nice emotional story about stepping up when given a second chance. But all this good stuff is portrayed with Confederate flags all over the place. But then, there’s a lot of Disney history that’s romanticizes the Old South, Gone With the Wind-style, so the problems with this episode are kinda/sorta the problems with Disney… and, I guess, society.
Next: Not the younglings, Anakin!
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.