Rewatching DuckTales! Launchpad is both shaken and stirred in episode 48, “Double-O-Duck.”
Here’s what happens: We meet Bruno Von Beak, an international spy, as he dodges a bunch of goons at the airport. In Duckburg, Launchpad is abducted by rival spies working for J. Gander Hoover of the D.I.A. (Duckburg Intelligence Agency). Bruno has been arrested and revealed as a double agent. Launchpad bears a striking resemblance to Bruno, so he’s recruited to impersonate Bruno to infiltrate F.O.W.L. (the Foreign Organization for World Larceny) to root out its leader, Dr. Nogood. All this plot happens during the episode’s first two minutes.
From there, it’s a Bond movie. Gyro is here, working in the “Q” role under the codename “G.” His gadgets include a wig gun, a comb phone, elevator shoes, a bowtie camera, and of course a high-tech car. Launchpad travels the globe, bumbling his way through various spy encounters. He eventually meets Feathers Galore, a lounge singer and spy informant. Feathers and Bruno were once an item, but Launchpad has trouble romancing her.
Then Feathers is revealed to also be a double agent, secretly working for Dr. Nogood. She aims to murder Launchpad, who eventually escapes after a lengthy chase. He later catches up with Feathers and follows her to F.O.W.L.’s secret hideout, hidden inside a deli. Dr. Nogood’s plan is to use “money ink vanisher” to wreak havoc on the world’s money supply. Launchpad is caught and revealed to be not the real Bruno. Nogood traps Lauchpad in a lion pen (!) alongside Feathers, who is being punished for letting Launchpad escape.
Launchpad uses the elevator shoes to free himself and Feathers. Nogood’s henchman, Oddduck, pursues them. Feathers is now on Launchpad’s side, and she helps him contact the D.I.A. Troops are sent in to stop Dr. Nogood’s plan. Nogood tries to escape, only to run into Launchpad and Feathers. They chase him into the lab with the vanishing ink. Launchpad uses the flash on his camera to distract Nogood, and Feathers karate-kicks him into the ink. (And this… kills him?) Later, Hoover offers Launchpad a full-time job with the D.I.A., but Launchpad says the spy game is not for him. Feathers wants to stay with Launchpad, but it’s the Casablanca ending where he says her heart belongs not to him but to the real Bruno.
Humbug: Scrooge is Launchpad’s one phone call after Launchpad is arrested. For as much as Scrooge claims not to like Launchpad, he shows up in person to help Launchpad out with the D.I.A.
Fasten your seatbelts: According to unsubstantiated internet rumors, this episode is a stealth pilot for a Launchpad spin-off series, which would have been less of an Indiana Jones pastiche, and more of a secret agent and/or superhero-themed series. Many years later, this concept became Darkwing Duck, where concepts like F.O.W.L. and the D.I.A. reappeared but were heavily re-written.
Great gadgeteer: Gyro says he works for the D.I.A. because working solely for Scrooge doesn’t pay all his bills. Pay your people a fair wage, Scrooge!
Fowl fouls: Dr. Nogood is named after Dr. No, he’s patterned after Blofeld (complete with cat) and his plot is straight from Goldfinger. It’s Bond villain stew.
Down in Duckburg: The existence of a Duckburg Intelligence Agency suggests that Duckburg is not a city but… its own nation? Maybe each local Intelligence Agency branch adopts the name of its hometown.
On a map, we can see Duckburg is located in the southeast, somewhere around West Virginia. According to the Disney Wiki, though, Duckburg is canonically located in the state of “Calisota.”
Reference row: This one runs down the tropes of the James Bond series, most prominently 1964’s Goldfinger. Real-life lawman J. Edgar Hoover and the movie Casablanca are also referenced.
Thoughts upon this viewing: If you’ve seen a Bond parody, then you’ve pretty much seen this, but there are a few gags. I know this is a show for kids, but it’s odd how Launchpad is not a romantic lead but remains flustered and intimidated by the love interest throughout. So, this is a basic episode, but with some good bits.
Next: Guiness, anyone?
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