Rewatching DuckTales! The show does its own little League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by reviving our favorite old-timey English characters in episode 60, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. McDuck.”
Here’s what happens: In England, notorious thief Jack the Tripper hides from police inside the abandoned estate of Dr. Jekyll, and he hatches a plan. Later, at an auction, Scrooge bids on a mystery box, only to find it full of antique clothes and some cologne. The cologne has a strange effect on Scrooge, making him spend his money and even give it away, rather than keep it all for himself.
After chasing Scrooge around town as he gives away money, the effect of the cologne wears off, and Jack appears, tripping Scrooge and taking the cologne. The boys learn that the mystery box came from England, while Scrooge feels the effects of the cologne again. When he comes to again, he and the boys head for London. There, Jack is using the cologne to trick rich folks into handing all their money over to him.
Scrooge and the nephews investigate Dr. Jekyll’s estate. Scrooge goes nuts again, and he runs off. To find him, the nephews recruit famous detective Shedlock Jones. Jones tosses them out, saying he’s too busy pursuing the master criminal Professor Moody-Doody. Scrooge is arrested after causing a scene. The boys return to the Jekyll house, where Jones has uncovered the cologne, which was Jekyll’s old formula. Jack then shows up to steal the formula. Jones and the boys chase him to Duckingham Palace with a plan to steal the crown jewels. Jones reveals that he switched formulas and catches Jack. Futher, he reveals Jack is really Moody-Doody in disguise. The boys get Jekyll’s antidote and use it on Scrooge, but not until after he buys them a bunch of junk from mail order catalogues.
Humbug: The gag at the start of the episode is that Scrooge won’t buy individual sodas for his nephews, but one soda with three straws. “Make that four straws,” he adds.
Junior Woodchucks: When Scrooge starts giving money away, the nephews are quick to exclaim “That’s our inheritance!” My thesis is that the series-long arc of DuckTales is Scrooge learning his family is more important than his money, but the nephews’ actions show this episode is definitely not about that.
All that glitters: We see that Scrooge keeps a portrait of his sometimes love interest Glittering Goldie in his bedroom (!), and that the painting has a safe full of cash behind it.
Glad to be here: At the auction, Scrooge doesn’t want to waste money on a sealed box with unknown contents. Gladstone Gander shows up and takes the risk. The box ends up being filled with gold. This inspires Scrooge to bid on the second mystery box, containing Jekyll’s formula.
Foul fowls: The gag behind Jack the Tripper is that he lays out traps for people to slip and fall on, after which he robs them. But, as Professor Moody-Doody, his real plot was to masquerade as Jack the Trapper, the type of petty, small-time crook that the great Shedlock Jones would never bother investigating.
Down in Duckburg: I’m unclear on where this auction is being held in Duckburg. It’s a big outdoor area, like a park but surrounded on all sides by big brick walls. Is this somebody’s yard?
Reference row: This episode mixes and matches Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll with real-life killer Jack the Ripper. In fiction, these characters never crossed paths in their official canons, but many writers in later years concocted ways for that to happen.
Thoughts upon this viewing: I’m both a big Sherlock Holmes fan and I’m something of an amateur Ripperologist, so this episode is right up my alley. The mystery part of the plot is more Scooby-Doo than Holmes, but it’s still a fun romp.
Next: Origin story.
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