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Headscratchers / DuckTales (1987)

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     Goodbye, Donald Duck 
  • Was there a particular reason for the writers to put Donald Duck on a bus as soon as possible?
    • Probably because of Donald's popularity and seniority in the animation department. If he was a regular character he might have upstaged Scrooge.
    • He's also The Unintelligible, a problem that doesn't exist in the comics. Note that some of the comic book stories were adapted into episodes, and instead of bringing him back for those (he did make occasional guest appearances) his role was filled by Launchpad or Fenton.
    • Another possible reason is that Clarence Nash, the man who had provided the distinctive voice of Donald since his first animated short, had died in 1985. Ducktales was the first time Nash's successor, Tony Anselmo, voiced Donald. Maybe the people at Disney weren't yet sure whether Anselmo could carry the role when Ducktales went into production, and thus minimized Donald's part in case Anselmo sounded "wrong"?
      • Anselmo definitely sounded quite new to the role, to the point that it's actually more dificult to understand Donald than usual.
    • One explanation I've read says that licensing issues were at play. If Donald were the star/had a major role, then all Donald toys and merchandise would have had to have been branded Duck Tales for some length of time, even if the show turned out to be a flop. Disney, the story goes, didn't want to take that chance and so Launchpad was created to fill that part.

     Duck Tales and the Disney Ducks Comics Universe 
  • Why does reading this site give me the image that Duck Tales is more well known than the comics that spawned it?
    • Because that's probably the case?
      • Then that bugs me. A lot.
    • Not a unique case.
    • I might as well explain why this amazes me so much: Here in Finland every kid from ages three to ten reads Duck comics. Everyone. I don't know anyone here who hasn't read them as a child. The idea of people seeing DuckTales as something else than an adaptation, especially in the country of origin of all those characters, is simply alien as hell to me.
      • The Comics have been out of print in America for quite awhile.
      • Not quite — bigger comic shops have new issues of Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck and Friends that seem to contain brand-new stories.
      • That spunky, upstart, up-and-comer, Television, has been really giving that financial juggernaut and media colossus, comic books, a run for its money lately eh? Also, don't confuse "the world" with "where insert this troper lives."
      • Actually it is a lot more widespread than just "where insert this troper lives." Most of Europe, as well as several South American countries, has highly popular monthly or even weekly comics of the ducks. Reading duck comics is part of growing up for most children in these countries.
    • There's actually a good, if convoluted reason for this. The original stories the episodes were based on were published in America decades before the show aired. When the show was a success, the holder of the rights to publish Disney comics, Gemstone, had, for some inscrutable reason, decided to try and corner the collector's market, resulting in higher prices making the books unavailable to kids. A few years ago, Gemstone lost the license, Boom!Studios picked it up, and began undoing some of the damage.

     Why Duckburg? 
  • If they live in a city called Duckburg, why are most residents dogs? I mean you will only see another duck person if they are important.
    • The founder was a duck, as seen in the comics...
      • No. He was a fowl, but not a duck: he was an anthropomorphic coot.
    • Maybe because they're immigrants, it's like asking why are Miami's most residents hispanics.
    • In fact, "Duckburg" must not be taken as "Burg of ducks", but as "Burg of Duck"; it's not named after the species but after a person. What person you ask ? As it turns out, Donald Duck himself (see this story:, who during a time travel adventure saved Duckburg's founder from certain death. Said founder was grateful to the duck and named his new city after him.

     Home, Expensive Home 
  • If Scrooge hates spending money, then why does he live in a house that's got to be worth a few million dollars?
    • Perhaps he's keeping it and maintaining it as a real estate investment?
    • This is actually explained in Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (if it was mentioned in the Carl Barks comics, I can't remember). For most of Scrooge's life, even as he kept raking in the dough, he lived very, very frugally. Then Scrooge had a sort of mid(late?)life crisis when he got back home from all his treasure hunting and business building; he had grown old and bitter, had shut out his family, and had lapsed into a deep depression. At that point he chose to buy himself a fancy mansion because Scrooge felt that there was nothing left to do but wallow in his memories, sit in the dark, grow old, and die there. This is of course when Donald and the nephews enter his life and turn him completely around, making him interested in adventuring and being the world's biggest tightwad again. Scrooge still manages to avoid his mansion even with all the treasures inside - he spends a lot more time in his Money Bin which is considerably less furnished.
    • After Barks' creation of the money bin, all Barks and Rosa comics show Scrooge living at the money bin, which is also an office building that contains a library and trophy room — in other words, plenty of room for all treasures besides his coins. This is confirmed at the 12th and final chapter of Life and Times, when Scrooge decides to sell the mansion and begin personally running his empire again from the money bin. Rosa's story "The Beagle Boys vs. the Money Bin" shows Scrooge's private living quarters as being on the top (12th) floor. DuckTales illogically (given his — somewhat understandable — obsession with security and guarding his money) shows him living in a mansion separate from the money bin.
    • I suspect the difference is that in DuckTales Scrooge hired Duckworth to take care of the mansion, and as strained as their relationship is he was Scrooge's closest thing he had to friends or family for years and if he sold the mansion, he'd have to fire Duckworth.

  • Why is Scrooge's butler Duckworth a dog?
    • Must be a duck in the family tree.
    • Why shouldn't he be a dog?
      • Could be worse, he could be...human...
      • It gets worse in Duckman of Aquatraz, which has dog prison guards who have guarddogs on leashes.
      • ..... What.
    • Mmm I think this question is racist.

     Human = Duck? 
  • This show CONSTANTLY keeps referring to the main characters as being humans. You'd think that working on a show called DUCKtales, the writers would remember that their characters are ducks......
    • It's not My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. They don't say "everyduck" and "someduck" because, firstly, people didn't really think about things like that in earlier cartoons, and secondly, not everyone in the setting is a duck. "Human" in their frame of reference probably refers to "any being that stands upright and talks (mostly) intelligibly", and thus encompasses all the various other species of animal-like people that populate the world.

     Magica's Time Tangle 
  • In the episode "Duck to the Future", Scrooge ends up getting sent 40 years into the future by Magica DeSpell. Magica has taken over his company and his No. 1 Dime. He manages to confront Magica and, in a sequence that would make any Jerk Ass Genie proud, ends up jumping through time with her until they return to the present. The Fridge Logic here, if he came back from the future with Magica and his dime, wouldn't that mean that there are now two No. 1 Dimes and two Magicas (albeit, one 40 years older than the other)?
    • In the alternate timeline, Scrooge was missing for the 40 years he skipped. His return to the past/present means he's erased that timeline — the timeline without him that created the Magica and and the dime he brought back with him. By undoing the alternate timeline, he erased their existence, which is why Magica disappears at the end, so the only Magica and only dime that still exist are their present versions.
      • You may be right… but Future Magica is laughing when she vanishes in the cloud of purple smoke, so I always took it as her teleporting away, not dissolving because her timeline had collasped. Magica isn't the type of villain to laugh in the face of death — consider how much she panicked in this very episode when she realised her time-hopping had landed her aboard the Hindenberg: she broke down sobbing and begged Scrooge to save her.

     Waste of a Good Treasure 
  • In the end of the treasure hunt of the first episodes, the ancient city with enormous gold deposits is buried underground, so the heroes just leave. Uhm, why? The insane El Capitan attempting to dig out the gold with his bare hands was played for laughs, but he only got the tools wrong, not the idea. The modern world offers some much more efficient means to excavate things, and certainly Scrooge can afford them, especially with such a payoff in the prospect. The end of the episode showed he wasn't rid of his avarice, so...?
    • Perhaps Scrooge decided that an entire city's worth of gold was too much, even for him, and didn't want to wind up going as crazy as he'd seen what it did to El Capitan. He could still want treasure, just to not be obsessed with it... and maybe he decided that looking for new treasures would be more fun than spending years excavating that one.
    • Doylist answer: Because Status Quo Is God, even when it doesn't make any difference. Even assuming the treasure is worth a quadrillion dollars (and ignoring the issue of devaluation) it still wouldn't make any difference in Scrooge's life or lifestyle — and yet the series still makes sure to keep treasure after treasure out of his hands. Guess it's just habit from all the other cartoons where treasures have to be snatched away at the last minute. Watsonian answer: A hoard of gold coins and gold dust and gold bricks etc. is an exciting treasure, but the city is now basically just a gold mine now. Lucrative, but not interesting.

     Future Webby Loves... 
  • I have two problems with "Duck To The Future": 1.) How and why in the love of f*ck did Webby have to end up marrying Doofus? 2.) Isn't it really possible that the future could be changed so that Webby wouldn't end up marrying him? Both these inconsistencies beg an explanation.
    • If you know your Time Travel (Back to the Future, Chrono Trigger, Sliders (though that's sideways in time, not forward and backward)), you'd know that that was only one of an infinite number of possible futures. In THAT future, events conspired in such a way that Webby ended up marrying Doofus. Keep in mind that individuals change, sometimes drastically, with age. Possibly, at some point, Doofus changed in a way that Webby became attracted to him. Another point, Webby is a female character and since the number one desire and destiny of all women both real and fictional is to marry someone and start a family, she got paired up with the only prominent male age-appropriate character that existed at the time who was both easily and quickly recognizable to the audience and not Huey, Dewey and/or Louie.
    • ... What's so wrong with Webby marrying Doofus anyway that it becomes a headscratcher? And what's so wrong with Webby marrying... anyone... that it's apparently offensive to the entire female gender?
      • Welcome to the Internet.
      • What the person was intending is probably Stop Being Stereotypical — because stereotypically women have been portrayed as valuing family over professional success, some people might see it as offensive. Some people, on the other hand, would say that feminism is about giving women opportunity, not forcing them into professional success if they don't want it, and hence Webby's choice is valid.

     Evil is Blind? 
  • And speaking of the future episode, how the heck did Future Huey, Dewey, and Louie utterly to fail to repeatedly recognize Scrooge anyway? Future Webby and Doofus recognized him immediately. Future Launchpad didn't initially, but that was because of being distracted thanks to Scrooge accidentally crashing Gyro's time tub/bird bath into his class, and he did recognize him almost immediately the second time they encountered each other. Future Gyro didn't recognize Scrooge, but his case was justified as he had apparently lost a few marbles in the intervening 40 years. Was it just a case of Evil Is Dumb for them?
    • First reason: it is, sadly, common for kids who lose a loved one at a young age to eventually forget what their absent mother or sibling or great-uncle or whoever looked like. Second reason: even if the triplets remembered what their great-uncle looked like when they were kids, when he first returns, they have no idea time travel was involved in his disappearance — if they ever expected to see Scrooge again, they'd expect him to be 40 years older, so they wouldn't suspect a duck the same age Scrooge was when he disappeared would be Scrooge now (see also how Dorian Gray managed to convince James Vane that he can't be the man who jilted his sister years ago, as he's much too young!).

     Duck Speech Defects...Or Not 
  • Why is Donald the only duck to have a type of speech that makes him The Unintelligible, yet Scrooge, The Nephews, Professor Ludwig Von Drake, Drake Mallard (despite being in the spin-off) Magica DeSpell, and Glomgold do not have this problem? What is up with that? Did something happen to Donald's vocal chords that make him sound like this and not like the other ducks?
    • He's a sailor. He might've been wounded or caught a chronic case of cold.
    • Some people have speech impediments. Most people don't. Same thing for humanoid ducks. What's confusing about that?
      • This has always been the case. Donald's speech impediment is a speech impediment, and not a trait of being a duck. Other than the triplets and Daisy in an old cartoon short, no other duck has ever been shown to have the same speech impediment, not even his sister (their mother).

     Ducks, Go to the Top of the Class (System) 
  • Is there a reason why the richest people around (Scrooge, Flintheart) are always duck-people (not to mention that the city is named after them), while the servant class (Duckworth) and the criminal element (the Beagle Boys) are always dog-people? Is it Fantastic Racism? Have the Unfortunate Implications ever been explored?
    • Some counterpoints:
      • Most ducks in the show are not rich or powerful. Some examples just from the central characters: Mrs. Beakley is "servant class", Donald and his nephews are middle class, Launchpad and his family are working class / middle class, and Fenton lives in a trailer with his mother. Glomgold is rich, but he also represents the criminal element - he's just been more successful at it than the Beagle Boys.
      • All rich or powerful characters are not ducks. We see several rich people and heads of a state who are dogs - just not so much in Duckburg, because Scrooge's exceptionally large financial empire totally dominates the market there.
      • Duckburg got its name from its founder, who just happened to be a duck.
      • The out-of-story reason for the "duck-centric perspective" is that all of these things originally evolved around Donald Duck. Donald is a duck, so of course(?) he would live in a place called Duckburg. The richest man around is a duck because he was created as a rich relative to Donald. Glomgold is a duck because he's supposed to be Scrooge's evil opposite.

     Reboot, not Release 
  • Why does Disney think this series is popular enough to get a reboot but not popular enough to release all episodes on dvd?
    • Perhaps they think the costs of remastering a hundred episodes for widescreen is higher than the expected sales the DVDs would make? Maybe the reboot will be used as a way to gauge potential buyers, old and new? Either way, a lot of people would happily save up to buy the entire series on DVD so it's anybody's guess why it's taking so long when the movie's already been released as a DVD and the NES game's been remastered.
    • There's a dvd set they advertise as complete, but it's still missing the opening five-episode movie. Bizarre. It's also possible that some bean-counter decided that a good re-release would somehow compete with the new 2017 series (rather than advertising it).

     Banana Republic from "Allowance Day" 
  • Why is it never portrayed as wrong for Scrooge to do business with a military dictator in Allowance Day? The show does call him out for nearly costing a bunch of workers their jobs in Blue Collar Scrooge, so why not call him out in "Allowance Day" as well?
    • Values Dissonance, maybe? Back in the 1980s it was pretty much assumed rich capitalists would do business with anybody.

     Ignorant, Incompetent, Etc 
  • A Running Gag in the series is Launchpad's intelligence and piloting skills (or lack thereof). But the question, in universe, is why do the other characters purposefully keep Launchpad around if they genuinely think he's that hopeless? In "Treasure of the Golden Suns", Gyro seems to have built the Golden Condor with Launchpad in mind, despite saying he's stupid and a bad pilot. Furthermore, why does Scrooge keep hiring him back? With McDuck nearly suffering Death by Materialism a number of times during the series, it might be believable that he'd hire a pilot he thought was brainless and incompetent (but who would agree to work for an exceedingly low wage) to fly him around. However, hiring such a pilot to fly his cargo would seem to be an exceedingly bad business decision and out of character for a shrewd businessman like Scrooge, and letting him fly his kids around (as happens numerous times when the triplets come along on an adventure) blatantly contradicts the message given elsewhere in the series that Scrooge cares more about his nephews than even his money. Is there some way to reconcile this?
    • Some possibilities: Money, Dear Boy. Despite it all, flying Launchpad is actually cheaper than hiring a conventional pilot, possibly due to other pilots charging higher rates for Scrooge as the world's richest duck. Or, it could be that in a strange way, he considers Launchpad a part of his family as well, so he accepts vehicle costs as a necessary drawback to keeping him around. Or, it could be that despite his problems with landing, Launchpad is actually the greatest driver in the DuckTales universe, since he's at least basically proficient in not only flying planes but also helicopters, boats, living animals and other vehicles. Despite his less than stellar reputation, you'd want someone that skilled to at least get you to your destination. And besides, Launchpad has had a series of incidents where he helped Scrooge rebuild his fortune or find a bigger prize, such as when he discovered the lost world.
    • Okay, point taken. That would definitely explain why Scrooge keeps Launchpad employed, but it doesn't address the question of why he lets the triplets and Webby onto vehicles that Launchpad is driving. There are two in-universe possibilities: 1) Scrooge doesn't actually think Launchpad is likelier than any other driver to get anyone killed in a crash and just grouses about it a lot or 2) Scrooge thinks it's likelier but he doesn't care enough to do anything about it. A third option is Doylist: the authors didn't think this through or didn't expect anyone to take it seriously enough to analyze it. However, if you want a Watsonian explanation, you'll have to pick one or the other.
    • It's more obvious in his other incarnations, but Launchpad is a great pilot. Not only can he fly anything, but he can "land" anywhere, and always manages to have the plane working again in a few hours no matter how badly he crashed. As a cargo pilot he's pathetic; as the personal pilot for an adventurer you couldn't ask for better.

     Scrooge's money bin 
  • Why did Scrooge think it was a good idea to have all of his money in one plain view? Why not hide the money and number one dime somewhere underground where Magical and the Beagles can't get them? It bugs me that Scrooge announces to the world the location of the bin, and what it looks like.
    • Accessibility. Remember, he loves swimming in his money, so he wants it as easily reachable for him as possible. Plus, he's well aware that given the exotic (sometimes downright supernatural) means available to his enemies, no security system could really protect it, so he prefers to be able to defend it in person. That would not be possible if the vault was in a far off place miles beneath the surface.
    • Just to note, this is only a problem in Ducktales 1987, and even then the Bin only represents his liquid assets; he also owns companies, has accounts at restaurants, etc. While it understandably freaks him out when the Bin is threatened, losing the Bin but keeping everything else would still leave him a very rich man. In most other versions of the character the Money Bin represents his personal fortune but is only a sliver of his portfolio (Don Rosa has it that the Bin contains money Scrooge earned himself rather than through investments).

     Duck to the Future 
  • The Magica that Scrooge encounters in the future isn't the one we see at the beginning, meaning there should be 2 Magica De Spells in the present time at the end of the episode. Did the writers screw up? You don't suppose future Magica killed present Magica and took her place. Also, it seems odd for her to be interested in future tech, money, and computers in the alternate future. She strikes me as a medieval type. Wouldn't she had converted the entire world into the dark ages?

     Webby's doll 
  • No one who watched the show find it creepy and odd that Webby carries around a doll version of herself? What's up with that?
    • In a book published by Family Fun magazine, the authors gave instructions for making dolls and other toys, and they said that the kids might want to make them to look like themselves. Apparently Webby is just behaving normally for a young child.
    • That is indeed very common for young children. American Girl has/had a line of dolls that could be customized to have particular features and coloring, with the idea that girls could get one that resembled them. Most children like having a doll or other toy that is a "twin" of them.

     Double, Double, Magica's Trouble 
  • One from the comics: In "Double Indemnity", Magica DeSpell decides to Capture and Replicate Launchpad as part of her latest plan to snag Scrooge's #1 Dime. The question is, why did she do that instead of Kill and Replace? Out-of-universe, of course, the reason is that Disney isn't into killing off people, and killing off an Ensemble Dark Horse like Launchpad could prove especially problematic. However, in-universe, no explanation is given why she wouldn't just kill Launchpad instead of locking him up (which results in him getting away and foiling her scheme).
    • Because Even Evil Has Standards. Unlike, say, Glomgold, even the comics' Magica is far from murderous. In the heat of battle I wouldn't put it past her to fling a lethal curse at Scrooge himself, but to murder a man in cold blood just for the sake of a scheme? Nope.

     Kangaroo Court in Duckburg 
  • How the blazes is it so easy for Glomgold to frame Scrooge for the theft of the painting in "The Duckman of Aquatraz"? He's the richest duck in the world! He already has to have packs of skilled lawyers just as a businessman; there's reams of paperwork that need lawyers to write and approve. Every instant of that surveillance footage should have been gone over with a fine-toothed comb, not by ten-year-olds but by experts in data analysis. Scrooge's lawyer should have cross-examined every one of those witnesses, and allowing them to elaborate on their damaging statements and make it clear Scrooge's behavior had an innocent explanation. Instead, he doesn't seem to have any lawyers at all. Even discounting THAT, the prosecution should have gone over the video just as carefully and declined to file charges, as Scrooge now has a massive false arrest and defamation lawsuit against the city and Glomgold (made worse that the police dragged him off the streets in cuffs instead of coming to his office or home). Finally, Glomgold knowingly both filed a false police report and provided false evidence in a criminal case; he should be on his way to prison, not forced to hang a portrait in his home! Scrooge's lawsuit against him, complete with the pain and suffering blatantly caused by Glomgold's libel and fraud, would have crushed Glomgold permanently even if the crook managed to stay out of jail.
    • On the flip side, why does the warden do nothing when Scrooge and his cellmate are caught? As far as the warden knows, Scrooge is guilty of aiding and abetting his cellmate's jailbreak. That's a serious crime and should have merited another trial.
    • While most rich men would have an army of lawyers, Scrooge hates spending money and lawyers demand fees.
      • Not possible. You CAN'T run a business without lawyers, especially at the level of McDuck Enterprises. Like I noted in my initial Headscratcher, Scrooge must already have lawyers. Now, if there had been a trademark attorney there or a contract lawyer because Scrooge was unwilling to hire anyone new, that'd be one thing, but there wasn't. There's also a problem similar to "Down and Out in Duckburg" where anyone with half a brain should be willing to help just in exchange for a favor; one phone call from Scrooge could open a lot of doors. Also, Scrooge doesn't even have a public defender, and those are FREE. The 1987 version of Scrooge loves getting something for nothing.

     Gandra Dee Blowing Flubble Bubbles 
  • I found something unusual about the episode "the Big Flub" and it's how Gandra Dee is used in advertising for the Pep brand Flubble Gum that Fenton is selling. In all of the television commercials, print ads and billboards with Gandra, why do we never see Gandra chewing Pep and making Flubble bubbles? It's strange to show a spokesmodel not demonstrating their own product.

     Launchpad can't swim? 
  • In "Merit-Time Adventure", it's revealed that Launchpad can't swim, which is foreshadowing to the fact that Webby only has one merit badge for swimming, and has to rescue him when he falls in the water. There's only one thing: two episodes earlier, in Aqua Ducks, he particupates In an an adventure under the sea! And he doesn't seem to have any problem swimming and riding dolphins during the final action sequence. Series Continuity Error?
    • Maybe some of the episodes are out of chronological order?

     A Dime a Dozen, except for Scrooge's 
  • Why is Scrooge McDuck's first dime so vital to Magica De Spell's plans? It's a Dime. And this isn't like Mr. Krab's first dime that turned out to be a Dime from millennia ago; it's a simple dime. Magica could take any Dime from any place and use it, can't she?
    • In the comics, it's because she somehow needs the first dime of the world's richest person, and that's Scrooge. I suppose maybe the same thing holds in the series; it's just never said.

     Magica and Glomgold 
  • How come we never see those two team up against Scrooge? It's possible the world doesn't know who Magica is, but Glomgold is famous. Surely an evil rich guy who also hates Scrooge could be some use to her.

  • The Episode Armstrong confuses me; he's a Robot created by Gyro to basically help people with everything, and that's what he is... until he's in the vault trying to steal Scrooge's money and take over satellites. But there's really no build up to it; he's a robot until he's the villain. The most we get are some mean looking glances, but that's not a real sign of villainy. I'm confused where his villainous personality comes from?
    • Probably mostly from the tendency of robots in fiction (especially Job Stealing Robots) to turn evil. However, one could explain it in-universe (vaguely) with the fact that Armstrong is far more like a person than a simple machine. Wherever you have a person with a mind, you have the possibility that they will decide they would rather do something besides what they are "supposed" to do — even something evil.

Alternative Title(s): Duck Tales


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