"In the heart of Transylvania In the Vampire Hall of Fame, yeah There's not a vampire zanier thanDuckula! He won't bite beast or man, Cause he's a vegetarian, And things never run to plan forDuckula! If you're looking for some fun You can always count upon The wild and wacky one they callDuckula! Count Duckula!"
Count Duckula (1988-1993) was a 65-Episode Cartoon by Cosgrove Hall, the creators of Danger Mouse. Indeed, the title character originally appeared as a bad guy on Danger Mouse, but on his own show he was a fairly amiable vegetarian with aspirations of fame and world travel. As the opening sequence of each episode explains, there was a slip-up in the performance of a resurrection ceremony where tomato ketchup was mistakenly used instead of blood, thus raising the title character as a vegetarian instead of the typical blood sucking evil count.And so, with his butler Igor (not The Igor, but instead a sarcastic hunchbacked vulture who wished his master would act more like a traditional vampire) and his maid Nanny (a hulking, dim but loveable hen with a bad habit of going through doorways without opening them first) in tow, Count Duckula would travel the world, running afoul (excuse the pun) of all manner of folks, including Dr. Von Goosewing, a bumbling vampire hunter who refused to believe Duckula was anything but a threat.
This series provides examples of:
Accent Adaptation: In the German dub of Count Duckula, the German accent of Dr. Von Goosewing is dubbed into modern Saxon dialect, which has always been the Butt Monkey of the German dialects. The pirate penguins talk in very strong low German from the regions where most major ports of Germany are located.
In the Mexican Spanish dub, he does speak with a proper German accent.
Artifact of Doom: Igor sometimes tries to get Duckula to find these in the hope that they'll bring him back to "The Good Old Days". (The Mystic Saxophone from the first episode being a good example.) They never work though.
Berserk Button: Do not mention the E-word in front of the Egg. Don't even say anything that sounds like the E-word!
The show actually seems to imply that Heinrich doesn't exist at all, and Goosewing is delusional. The comic adaptation clears this up somewhat; he used to have an assistant named Heinrich, who was always threatening to quit. Apparently he did, and Goosewing didn't notice.
In Heinrich's first 'appearance' Goosewing believes he has made him invisible with his 'invisibilitising ray'. The fact that there is no-one there in the first place and the doctor is wearing thick goggles may partially explain his ongoing confusion.
Moreover, Towser, the castle's werewolf, WAS undeniably real, but was never seen onscreen, apart from once where we see his eyes.
Greed: One of Duckula's flaws, but can you blame him?
Hypocritical Humor: In the first episode, the head burglar scoffs at the idea of vampires, stating that they're just mentioned in the guide book to draw in tourists, but freaks out at the mention of a werewolf on the premises.
Knight Templar: Von Goosewing refuses to believe that the current Count Duckula is essentially harmless.
Lame Pun Reaction: A juicy one from "The Vampire Strikes Back" has a space hero asking Duckula what the date is, to which he replies "May the 4th." The hero responds as he leaves "May the 4th be with you."
Large Ham: The Phantom of the Opera and Dr. Von Goosewing when in his excitable mode.
Long Title: One episode is titled, "Return of the Curse of the Secret of the Mummy's Tomb Meets Franken Duckula's Monster..."
Missed Him by That Much: The episode where Duckula boards a cruise ship that seems to be utterly empty; no matter where he, Igor and Nanny go, there's absolutely no passengers or crew. Igor even compares it to the Mary Celeste. Of course, as we viewers can see, everyone else is there — they just keep going in entirely different directions to the Transylvanians. The episode ends with the three leaving the ship, looking back - and there is everyone waving them off.
Or, if you're being uncharitable, having a party because Duckula and Co were gone. It's implied that they were so fed up that they faked the Mary Celeste thing to get them to leave.
Mouthful of Pi: In "Igor's Busy Day", engaged Americans Scott and Laura take shelter in Castle Duckula after their car breaks down. Scott, a mathematician, tells Duckula he has memorised Pi to 15,000 decimal places; Duckula unwisely asks about this, and Scott begins demonstrating, entering an almost trance-like state as he spends most of the rest of the episode reciting numbers. (When Scott, Laura, and their extended family return for a holiday in the final scene, Scott begins reciting the largest known prime number in similar fashion, causing Duckula to wail in despair.)
Never Say "Die": Averted right off the bat in the pilot, when Duckula complains how Nanny could have killed him by smashing through the wall, and that her clumsiness with the tableware has already killed several of his servants.
The Nth Doctor: Not with a replacement actor, but a few episodes revolved around the fact that Duckula's ancestors were actually him, and he just comes back slightly different every time he is resurrected. This latest incarnation is just particularly unique due to the ketchup mishap.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: Chances are, younger viewers might not recognize such a trope in the information secretary in the "Town Hall Terrors" episode. She'll tell you that information for the Grants for Crumbling Castles Department is on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So don't come on Tuesday, lest you need to know trivial info such as popes & funny fish.
Our Vampires Are Different: The Duckulas were all traditional vampires, but the present day one averts nearly every trope usually associated with vampires. He's fully vegetarian, can walk around in broad daylight with no problem and is immune to holy water.
Our Werewolves Are Different: While we never see him onscreen, Towser apparently cannot convert people as he's attacked Igor and Goosewing and they've remained the same. "The Return of the Curse of the Secret of the Mummy's Tomb Meets Frankenduckula's Monster and the Wolf-Man and the Intergal-actic Cabbage..." featured a traditional wolf-man (or rather a wolf-bird) who transforms by the light of the full moon.
Parody Names: Obviously Duckula for Dracula, and Dr Von Goosewing for Van Helsing.
Poirot Speak: Gaston et Pierre speak as though applying French grammar to English:
Pierre: What is it that it is that you are referring to, mah Gaston?
Really 700 Years Old: Igor and Nanny are shown to serve Duckula even in the past, exactly the same. In fact Igor at one point refers to being dismissed "after seven and a half centuries of faithful service".
Rousing Speech: In the "Town Hall Terrors" episode, after stumbling onto a meeting about extending a railroad, Duckula gets caught up in the moment & invokes the trope, thus accidentally parlaying his grant for the crumbling Castle Duckula to having that railroad extend through the castle.
Secret Underground Passage: In the comics, Von Goosewing makes one of these into Duckula's castle. Subverted in that Igor and Duckula are fully aware of the fact that he's doing this and occasionally entertain themselves by watching him dig his 'secret' tunnel.
One issue of the comic had Duckula's coffin go missing and Igor and Duckula running around trying to find who had stolen it. Ultimately finding themselves miles away from home without finding the coffin, they call Nanny at the castle and learn that she had removed it for cleaning.
The episode "Hardluck Hotel" has Duckula going to stay at a hotel for the weekend away from his servants, only for them to join him at the very same place. Problem is he can't pay in drachma because the exchange rate is down. Therefore the poor count is forced to work at the place to pay for his stay, only to find his drachma weren't worthless... but he'd spent it all on candy.
Shout-Out: As with its parent series, Count Duckula was ripe with Parental Bonus in the form of references that would have gone over the heads of younger audience members. For example, the pharaoh who owned the Mystic Saxophone in "No Sax Please, We're Egyptian" is Zootensimun XVII, a reference to American jazz saxophonist John Haley "Zoot" Sims.
In early episodes at least, Duckula was unaware that he was a vampire, or of what a vampire even is.
Duckula: Hold on, how can I be my own father?
Spin-Off: The show was itself a Spin-Off of Danger Mouse, but also Gaston et Pierre were modified slightly and given their own series as Victor And Hugo. There was even a Duckula/Victor and Hugo crossover episode as well as a Danger Mouse/Victor & Hugo one.
Tastes Like Diabetes: The in-universe reaction to Planet Cute, a planet that invokes every sickeningly sweet cute stereotype imaginable. In a very literal sense, the "Cute Surprise" sold at the food stand has such a high sugar content that one taste probably would induce diabetes.
Teleporters and Transporters: The castle is capable of teleporting itself around the world, but must return to Transylvania by dawn Transylvanian time. Some episodes revolve around Duckula trying to con people into buying it and the castle then vanishing.