Rewatching DuckTales! The show is usually not much for continuity, but in episode 54 we get an origin story in “Launchpad’s First Crash.”
Here’s what happens: While flying a shipment of dynamite cross country, Launchpad and Scrooge crash land in the desert. Launchpad announces that this is their 100th crash together. Around the campfire, they reminisce about their first meeting. Young Scrooge hired Young Launchpad for a dangerous rainforest expedition, thanks to Launchpad’s fearlessness and cheapness. The adventure has them flying through the Earth’s core (!) and then captured by a tribe of all-female Amazons. The Amazons use Scrooge and Launchpad as bait to capture a giant crab monster, and then put them to work as their servants.
Launchpad and Scrooge attempt an escape, facing another monster and an Amazon warrior along the way. They crash land near an all-male tribe, and are then attacked by giant bats in a cave. Launchpad drives off the bats with his harmonica. Scrooge finds a treasure trove of diamonds inside the cave, only to cause a cave in that buries everyone in the diamonds.
Launchpad escapes the cave-in, and reunites the two tribes to rescue Scrooge and the warrior. After more running around, Scrooge and the warrior are saved and the two tribes have peace. Scrooge and Launchpad fly through the Earth’s core again (!), except that Scrooge has to dump all the diamonds to get home. Back in the present, Scrooge thanks Launchpad for his willingness to always fly into the impossible.
Humbug: My thesis is that the series-long arc of DuckTales is Scrooge learning that his family and friends are more important than his money. But this is young Scrooge, who’s less miserly and more cavalier. In the frame story, he shows appreciation for everything Launchpad does, rather than insult him every time they crash.
Fasten your seatbelts: Young Launchpad is also an engineer, having built his plane from scratch. The episode ends with it in a museum, honored as the first airplane to fly through the Earth’s core.
Fowl fouls: While the Amazons seem villainous at first, they’re shown to be sympathetic later on. I guess that means the bats are this episode’s antagonist.
Reference row: The premise of transporting cargo of unstable explosives through treacherous terrain has been done lots of times, popularized mostly thanks to the 1953 thriller Wages of Fear.
Thoughts upon this viewing: This is how Launchpad and Scrooge first met, but that meeting was pretty basic. It’s all a setup for the jungle adventure, which is a lot of chases and escapes, but little character development.
Next: Glad to be here.
* * * *
Want more? Check out my new book, MOM, I’M BULLETPROOF, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s a comedic/dramatic/romantic superhero epic!