Rewatching DuckTales! Because the series was syndicated, episodes had to be stand-alones because the creators had no control over when or how they would air in each market. Episode 37, “A Drain on the Economy,” goes against this by being part one of a five-part serial, titled “Catch as Cash Can.”
Here’s what happens: In the country of Macaroon, a glowing fruit called Firefly Fruit could potentially replace the lightbulb. The country’s leader, the Grand Kishki, has decided only the world’s wealthiest duck has the wherewithal to handle all business transactions regarding the fruit. Scoorge and Glomgold have been summoned to Macaroon to determine which of them is the wealthiest.
It’s determined that the two ducks’ fortunes can only be measured in weight (?), so Scrooge and Glomgold are given nine days to transport all their money in physical form from Duckburg to Macaroon. Glomgold busts the Beagle Boys from prison and offers them the resources to break into Scrooge’s money vault once and for all. The Beagle Boys round up all their cousins for a full-on battle-of-Helm’s-deep style assault on the money bin, fighting their way through Scrooge’s many security traps.
Scrooge drives off the Beagle Boys, but decides more security is needed before they return. He installs a giant cannon he calls “Bertha,” only for it to backfire and put cracks up and down the money bin. The Beagle Boys return and get inside more easily this time. Only a crack in the money bin’s floor has sucked the money all down into the city sewer. Huey, Dewey and Louie enter the crack and discover all the money has washed away.
The Beagle Boys obtain blueprints to the city sewer in pursuit of the money. They open a floodgate, washing the money to a nearby reservoir, taking the nephews with it. Scrooge and the Beagle Boys fight for control of the city sewer plant, causing the boys and the money to take a wild ride through the sewer and ending up bursting though pipes in a fancy apartment. The Beagle Boys attack one last time, only for Scrooge to bury them under the weight of it. The cops arrest the Beagle Boys, and Scrooge mentions a “secret plan” to transport all the money to Macaroon.
Humbug: My thesis for this rewatch is that the series-long arc of DuckTales is about Scrooge learning his family is more important than his money. This episode goes way against that, with his constant refrain of “My money!” It’s only part one of five, though, so maybe he’ll turn around by the end.
Junior Woodchucks: The nephews are somehow able to know that every cent is accounted for when the find the money in the sewer. I guess they’re just that smart and capable.
Foul fowls: The main four Beagle Boys in this episode are Big Time, Baggy, Burger, and Bouncer. Other Beagle Boys seen or mentioned are Boom-Boom, Banzai, Buckaroo, Beanball, Blitzkrieg, Bifocal, Bumpkin, Babyface, Butterball, and Bullseye.
Down in Duckburg: More questions are raised about the interior of the money bin. There are more offices on the lower floors, and long winding stairway, and even a fake vault to fool and entrap burglars.
This is the second appearance for the unnamed real estate agent character, having last been seen in “Magica’s Shadow War.”
Reference row: The Beagle Boys escape jail via a parade balloon, complete with a wisecrack about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The real-life Macy’s parade began as “Ragamuffin Day” in 1870, with a Thanksgiving-themed variation of trick-or-treating. This was converted into a parade in 1924, and the first balloons were in 1928. Disney’s own Mickey Mouse was introduced as a balloon in 1934. The parade became known worldwide after being featured in 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street, and NBC started televising it as a live event in 1954.
Thoughts on this viewing: The novelty of this five-parter is supposed to be figuring out the logistics of moving a massive pile of money from place to place. But the animation is inconsistent in visualizing this, with a huge mountain of gold coins in some shots and a small stack of bags with dollar signs in other shots. Beyond that, though, it’s an action-heavy episode with a lot of fun gags in and around the attack on the money bin.
Next: A whaling we will go.
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