Rewatching DuckTales! One of the reasons I wanted to do this series on this blog is to revisit the Gizmoduck episodes, and we finally meet him in episode 71, “Liquid Assets”… except we don’t.
What’s all this, then? The second half of the 10-episode season two is a five-parter known as “SuperDuckTales.” Like the first half, these five episodes originally aired as a two-hour made-for-TV movie. Except not in syndication this time. These episodes aired on prime time on ABC, as movie on Wonderful World of Disney. Not only that, but this was in May, the all-important sweeps month where the networks brought out their best to get those sweet ratings. Not only that, but this was Mother’s Day that year, with a big push to get the whole family to watch. All this plus the introduction of a new main character meant that even though the series is winding down at this point, someone at Disney was intent on keeping DuckTales going.
Here’s what happens: As part of an elaborate plot to give a birthday gift to their mom, the Beagle Boys mess with some blueprints at City Hall, tricking everyone into thinking the city’s new super-highway must be built across the land where Scrooge’s money bin is. When construction workers show up at the money bin, Scrooge tries to get the mayor to turn them away, but instead gets the old “you can’t fight City Hall” treatment. Scrooge is faced with the conundrum of having to physically move all his money, with a speech about how he prefers liquid assets over frozen assets.
Cut to a bean factory, where hapless accountant Fenton Crackshell is a literal bean counter. He longs for a better career, and he has a crush on hot coworker Dandra Dee. He finds an ad from Scrooge asking for help counting his money during the move. Fenton decides he’s the perfect choice to be Scrooge’s new accountant. Fenton shows up at the interview (it’s some sort of audition, with a bunch of accountants all showing up). Scrooge throws Fenton out, but he keeps coming back for more, not taking no for an answer. Frustrated Scrooge fires a shotgun at Fenton (!) and Fenton impresses Scrooge by counting all the shells as they fly past him. He gets the job.
Cut to a trailer, where Fenton lives with his mother. Fenton wants to celebrate the new job, but s his perpetually-disappointed mother wants nothing to do with him. It’s also here where we establish that “Blabbering blatherskites!” is an expression Fenton uses all the time. Later, the Beagle Boys as real estate agents, offering Scrooge a deal on mountaintop land as a new home for the money bin.
As Scrooge plans to physically move the entire bin, Fenton encourages him to invest his money rather than keep it all in a bin. Scrooge again insists on keeping his money liquid. Fenton takes that literally by dumping all the money in a nearby lake. Thanks to amazing counting powers, Fenton can tell in an instant it is all accounted for. Scrooge, Fenton, and Scrooge’s nephews watch over the money while pretending to be camping.
Launchpad, meanwhile, transports the money bin building to a new location (it’s on the back of some impossibly huge truck). The Beagle Boys set off dynamite to cause an avalanche, and then somehow make off with the entire building. They present the building to Ma Beagle for her birthday, only for them all to find it empty. Scrooge then impersonates a tax man, dropping all sorts of fines on the Beagle Boys for owning an unregulated money bin. Launchpad sneaks the building away (I guess?) while the Beagle Boys investigate Scrooge’s campsite and learn the location of the money.
There’s a lot of comedy bits as the Beagle Boys connive ways to get Scrooge’s money out of the lake. Finally, Big Time Beagle says the best plan is to do nothing, because Fenton is such a screw up that he’ll play into the Beagles’ hands without knowing he’s doing so. Sure enough, when the Beagle Boys override the nearby wooden dam with termites, Fenton tries to save the day by using termite-eating woodpeckers. The woodpeckers destroy the dam, losing all the money, and Scrooge is furious with Fenton.
To be continued!
Humbug: Scrooge’s exact fortune is given in this episode as “600 sentillion, 386 zillion, 947 trillion, 522 billion dollars and 36 cents.”
Junior woodchucks: Huey, Dewey and Louie were initially not invited to Scrooge and Fenton’s camp, but they went anyway. They say whenever they get a strict rule, the “unstrict” it.”
Fasten your seatbelts: Not sure where Launchpad got this huge money-bin-moving truck. It looks like that big thing they drive the space shuttle around in.
Pro-rata: When the show introduced Bubba the cave duck as a new main character, I wondered how much story potential they could get out of him. Someone must have had similar concerns, because Fenton is given tons of story potential before he ever becomes Gizmoduck. This includes his jokey banter with Scrooge, as well as his own cast of supporting characters with his mom and Dandra Dee. Also, we learn Fenton is a “near graduate” of the “banana bran business brochure course.”
Foul fowls: The Beagle Boys in this one are again the classic trio of Big Time, Burger, and Bouncer, with a quick appearance by Ma Beagle. Big Time takes off his cap at one point, and we see he’s balding underneath.
Down in Duckburg: The money bin is on the other side of town from Scrooge’s mansion, rather than right next door. Also, we see Scrooge’s worry room, where he paces in a circle around a statue when he’s worried, causing deep grooves in the floor. The nephews join him in his worrying in one scene.
Reference row: Dandra Dee is named after ‘60s model turned actress Sandra Dee.
Thoughts on this viewing: Another all-jokes-all-the-time episode. I wonder if someone on the DuckTales production wanted the show to be nothing but hacky comedy rather than treasure hunting adventure. But don’t worry, we’re about to get into some outrageous robo-action!
Next: Your move, creep.
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