Rewatching DuckTales! A major character in the Disney duck mythology finally makes his presence known in the series, in episode 55, “Dime Enough for Luck.”
Here’s what happens: Scrooge is spending a leisurely brunch with a relative, Gladstone Gander. Gladstone claims he always has good luck everywhere he goes. He asks for Scrooge with help paying his rent, and Scrooge refuses. Scrooge is also preoccupied because he’s heard Magica De Spell is in town, and he fears she’ll come after his money. Magica is nearby, eavesdropping on them. Scrooge says he’s recently implemented a bunch of new security traps to keep Magica out, but he’ll let Gander inside to take a, well, gander at the source of Scrooge’s own luck – his number one dime.
Later, Magica contacts Gladstone, tricking him into thinking he’s won a contest. (He wins contests everywhere he goes.) She mesmerizes him into doing her evil bidding. Using his luck, Gladstone bumbles his way through all of Scrooge’s traps inside the Money Bin, allowing Magica to swoop in and steal the number one dime. She tells him that he’s lost his luck because he used it for a wicked purpose.
The next day (no word on how Gladstone got back out of the Money Bin), Gladstone discovers he has indeed lost his luck, as misfortune follows him during his day. Scrooge, meanwhile, is also having bad luck, with his many businesses suffering calamities. Gladstone shows up Scrooge’s house and they compare notes. Scrooge insists that Gladstone make up for what he’s done by recovering the dime. They hop on a plane and fly to Magica’s island fortress.
Scrooge and Gladstone make their way through the caverns in Magica’s island, fighting off a fire breathing rabbit (!) and other death traps. Scrooge and Gladstone confront Magica. Scrooge distracts Magica while Gladstone recovers the dime. Now Magica is the one with bad luck, as he spells backfire on her. Back home, Gladstone almost rethinks his reliance on his good luck, only to win tickets to a worldwide cruise out of nowhere. He offers to buy Scrooge breakfast.
Glad to be here: Gladstone Gander was a main character in the duck comics that inspired DuckTales, but his appearances in the show are few. His comics history emphasizes his unnatural good luck, but he was also something of a rival for Donald, often succeeding where Donald failed and even putting the moves on Daisy Duck. I’m unclear on how he is related to Scrooge. Some sources say he’s a distant cousin, but others say that Scrooge is Gladstone great uncle-in-law. He refers to Scrooge as “Uncle” throughout this episode.
Humbug: To travel to Magica’s island, Scrooge flies the plane himself, without needing Launchpad.
Down in Duckburg: In the past, we’ve seen Scrooge keep the number one dime in its display case in his mansion. In this episode, though, the dime and display case are now inside the Money Bin with the rest of the money. I assume Scrooge moved it there after he heard Magica was in town.
Foul fowls: Magica has filled her island with death traps similar to Scrooge’s security traps, suggesting that the two of them are more similar than we thought.
Reference row: In his mesmerized state, Gladstone hallucinates that he’s on a game show hosted by Bill Barker. This is clearly a spoof of Bob Barker, celebrity host of The Price is Right.
Thoughts upon this viewing: Introducing Gladstone Gander to the series is a nice tip of the hat to Disney history. It’s too bad the show’s creators didn’t use him more, because he brings a fun, quirky energy to this episode.
Next: Iron Duck.
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