In the Vampire Hall of Fame, yeah
There's not a vampire zanier than Duckula!
He won't bite beast or man,
Cause he's a vegetarian,
And things never run to plan for Duckula!
If you're looking for some fun
You can always count upon
The wild and wacky one they call 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.
The show ran for four seasons. Incidentally, the fourth season is the last Cosgrove Hall cartoon to feature Brian Trueman and David Jason, and the only known post-1992 series that Trueman acted in and wrote for. Although Victor & Hugo was produced afterwards, Count Duckula series 4 wasn't broadcast until after V&H had run.
The show was a International Coproduction between Cosgrove-Hall and Nickelodeon, the American licensor of Danger Mouse. Geraldine Laybourne, the then-president of Nickelodeon, had seen an image of Count Duckula at Cosgrove-Hall, and greenlighted a series based on the character. This makes Count Duckula the first animated show specifically commissioned and produced by Nickelodeon, although it is never officially recognized as one of the Nicktoons (since Viacom doesn't own the copyright to the show).
The show is perhaps best known today for its sheer influence and popularity in Latin America, where it both introduced Woolseyism and redefined dubbing.
A puppet stage show, Count Duckula and the Jewels of Duckula, toured the UK in 2016.
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.
- Affectionate Parody: Of Hammer Horror movies.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In "Astro Duck", lightning strikes Duckula's new computer and makes it self-aware. It immediately starts hacking into other computers to cause trouble, culminating in seizing control of a government spaceship and launching it at the moon. Which the government sends an armored division to Castle Duckula to demand reparations for.
- The Alleged Car:
- We get various versions in "Autoduck," when Duckula wants to break the land-speed record. Igor builds the first one.Duckula: Uh, are you sure this will be all right at 700 miles per hour?
Igor: It is wind-tunnel tested, m'lord.
Nanny: Is that when you stood it in the corridor and fanned it with your hat?
Igor: Silence, Nanny!
Nanny: Only bits fell off it then.
- The Trailer, which appears in three episodes, also counts.
- The Duckula family car, which has a little haunted house on top of it (and which looks more than a little bit like the Creepy Coupe from Wacky Races).
- We get various versions in "Autoduck," when Duckula wants to break the land-speed record. Igor builds the first one.
- Alliterative Name: Don Diego, Tremendous Terrence, Sibelius Smogg...
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Cantonese dub of the show uses this theme song.
- Ambiguously Gay: One-Shot Character Roberto from the episode, "Restoration Comedy" seems to heavily implied to be this.
- Analogy Backfire: In "Mobile Home", Ruffles sets up a queue of accomplices from Castle Duckula to the nearest postbox, explaining that he will remove the stones from the castle, the next person will number them, the next will address them to Mr. and Mrs. Paintbrush (the Nouveau Riche American couple who "bought" Castle Duckula from Ruffles and his gang), the next will put a stamp on them, and so on "down the chain" to the postbox. Bert, Ruffles' second-in-command, is confused by his mention of a chain, so he clarifies, "like a bicycle chain." However, a bicycle chain goes in a circle, so the accomplices in the chain eventually pass the stones back to him, to his despair.
- Animation Bump: Some of the episodes were animated in-house by Cosgrove Hall, while the others were farmed out to a Spanish studio. The Spanish team's work was generally drawn and animated better, though the Cosgrove Hall episodes tended to have more detailed, attractive backgrounds.
- In general, the animation is much better than Danger Mouse.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: In the first episode, the leader of the thieves dismisses vampires as myths, then hesitates when he hears the castle also features a werewolf. In a later episode, Igor tells Duckula that the Loch Ness Monster isn't real.
- 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.
- Artistic License - Astrology: According to the opening narration, the vampire resurrection ritual can be performed "once a century, when the moon is in the eighth house of Aquarius". This mystical Techno Babble doesn't make much sense : the 12 "houses" and the 12 "signs" (including Aquarius) are both divisions of the ecliptic plane, each of which form an independent system.
- Artistic License – Biology: If the Marvel Comic book is to be believed, Duckula's heart pumps ketchup, not blood.
- "Awkward Silence" Entrance: In "Igor's Busy Day", Scott and Laura, a young couple visiting Transylvania, stop by a local inn named "Ye Tooth and Jugular" after their car breaks down. The couple enter in the middle of the patrons singing a drinking song which abruptly stops upon their entry.
- Beanstalk Parody: "Duck and the Broccoli Stalk" provides a variation; Thanks to Dr. Von Goosewing's vegetable grower, Duckula, Igor and Nanny find themselves up a broccoli stalk and into a giant's castle.
- Berserk Button: Do not mention the E-word in front of the Egg. Don't even say anything that sounds like the E-word!
- Big Bad: Dr. Von Goosewing qualifies, as he constantly tries to kill Count Duckula, refusing to believe he's a harmless vampire.
- Black Sheep: The eponymous Count is a black and white sheep, showing no interest whatever in vampirism (which causes problems when he hosts the title event in "A Family Reunion!").
- Blatant Lies: The closing credits make Duckula out to be a traditional bloodsucking-type vampire, even though the opening theme explicitly states his vegetarianism.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- In "All in a Fog", Count Duckula says "Cab!" just as a cab appears, then turns to the camera and says, "If only real life was like this!"
- The Marvel comic book had more than one account of the characters speaking directly to the reader, and seemed to be completely aware that they were in a comic book, including the normally scatterbrained Von Goosewing, who references that he would meet a concerned villager by claiming he would 'be there in one panel.' They also make references to things such as 'plot twists.' Danger Mouse, who appeared as a back up character with adventures of his own, was blatantly aware of the medium in which he was in, and plots in the backup stories typically revolved around that very fact. Duckula and Danger Mouse also met directly in one issue, and became fast friends. Ironically, Duckula was a series that spun out of Danger Mouse's show, which also occasionally had moments of breaking the fourth wall, so this may be some kind of legacy effect on the count's show as much as the comic.
- Butt-Monkey: Duckula doesn't have the best of luck, Gaston and Dr. Von Goosewing too. And Igor sometimes at the hands of Nanny.
- Came Back Wrong: Inverted - Count Duckula was an evil, murderous vampire who, after a botched resurrection ritual, came back right. Although from Igor's perspective the trope is played straight...note
- Card-Carrying Villain: Igor is definitely evil, to the point where Von Goosewing's Carpet Cleaner and Spot Removal Solution (which turns people opposite to how they usually act) turns him temporarily into a Friend to All Living Things.
- The Narrator's closing remark "Good night out there...whatever you are!"
- Nanny responding to a knock at the door by shouting, "I'll get it!" Usually followed by Duckula saying "Igor, order another door," or "Close the wall behind you, Nanny."
- Nanny's archetypal cry of 'MY DUCKYBOOS' in reference to the eponymous vampire duck.
- Christmas Episode: "A Christmas Quacker", which, interestingly, aired on Boxing Day 1990!
- Circus Episode: In "Sawdust Ring", Duckula, Igor and Nanny join the Circus Stracciatella after Alberto Stracciatella's employees have left due to not being paid. (Alberto has been trying unsuccessfully to buy a flying baby elephant.) Unfortunately for them, the former employees return to sabotage the performance.
- Nanny regularly smashes through walls instead of using the door simply because she forgets the door is even there, and her idea of an appropriate way to kill a mouse, as described in "Mobile Home", is to throw the stove at it, causing the entire west wing of the castle to collapse. When Duckula asks why she didn't use a mousetrap, she says they're the wrong shape for throwing.
- Von Goosewing has plenty of space cadet moments. At the beginning of "The Vampire Strikes Back", when he has surrounded a tower of Castle Duckula with dynamite and is preparing to detonate it, he has an "I can't hear you through these earplugs" conversation with himself.Goosewing: (chuckles) Okay, Goosewing, get ready! (appears from behind the rock he is using for cover, cotton wool in his ears) What was that? (faces right) I said "Get ready!" (faces left) Oh, speak up!... I SAID, "GET-" oh, this is no good, (removes cotton wool from his ears) I can't hear myself speaking!
- Comic Books Are Real: The Count's hero Tremendous Terence is a comic book star and cereal mascot but no one shows any surprise when they meet him in person.
- Consulting Mister Puppet Dr. Quackbrain, the crazy psychiatrist from 'The Zombie Awakes' consults and confides in his glove puppet 'Pinky'.
- Correlation/Causation Gag: Near the beginning of "The Vampire Strikes Back", the main trio are in a tower of Castle Duckula when Nanny discovers a case of her homemade sarsaparilla. Duckula implores her not to open the bottle in her hand, reminding her of what happened the last time she did so. Meanwhile, Von Goosewing has placed a large quantity of dynamite at the bottom of the tower, and just as Nanny uncorks the bottle, he detonates the explosives, sending the tower flying into space like a rocket. Unaware that Von Goosewing was responsible for the original liftoff, Duckula tries unsuccessfully to get the tower airborne at the end of the episode by having Nanny open several dozen bottles of sarsaparilla.
- Cowboy Episode: "Dead Eye Duck" has Duckula turn up in Colorado where he becomes the marshal of a Wild West town.
- Credits Gag: Many episodes have these in the closing titles.
- Critical Staffing Shortage: Castle Duckula is supposed to have a legion chambermaids and footmen. However, every time we hear about them, it's to inform us that another one has come to an unfortunate end offscreen. The episode "Rent-A-Butler" even has it as a plot point that after endless accidents, the entire castle staff has fallen down to just Nanny and Igor.Nanny: I haven't seen [the latest chambermaid] since the werewolf took her for a walk!Duckula: Don't you mean since she took the werewolf for a walk?Igor: (grim) I think you'll find that Nanny knows what she means.
- Cruel Twist Ending: A few episodes have these. "The Return of the Curse of the Secret of the Mummy's Tomb Meets Frankenduckula's Monster and the Wolf-Man and the Intergalactic Cabbage..." has Duckula trick all of the villains chasing him, Igor and Nanny into leaving the castle and then teleporting it to escape...only for the castle to reappear on an island and for a giant Sea Monster to suddenly appear and threaten the protagonists. The episode ends with their screaming for help and presumably being eaten by the monster.
- A Day in the Limelight: Barry Clayton, who normally only introduces and signs off each episode, got to voice a character, Dr. Quackbrain, in the final episode.
- Daywalking Vampire: The present-day Duckula is unharmed by daylight, in contrast to his traditional vampire incarnations which can be killed by sunlight, although his previous incarnation was killed by sunlight in "Danger Mouse". His relatives seem to be this as well.note
- Deadpan Snarker: Igor. Duckula also has his moments.
- Depending on the Writer: The question of Duckula's wealth. Some episodes have him well off enough to do whatever he needs/wants, while in others, it's an explicit plot point that he's broke. It all comes down to what the joke demands.
- The Door Slams You: Igor accidentally smashes Duckula with the door in "Hardluck Hotel."
- Duckula does this deliberately to Igor in "Dear Diary" after Goosewing does the same by accident.
- Nanny does this to Duckula and Goosewing in "A Family Reunion," on one of the few occasions that she opens a door the correct way!
- Dub Name Change: In the German dub, Nanny is Emma and Towser is Wolfie.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Von Goosewing can be seen briefly in the first episode before his 'official' appearence in the 2nd one.
- Easy Amnesia: In "Amnesiac Duck", Duckula loses his memory and regains it multiple times. By the end of the episode, everyone has amnesia.
- Episode on a Plane: In "Hi-Duck", Duckula, Nanny, and a reluctant Igor prepare to travel by airplane for a castle-free holiday to Nice. When the plane they are on gets hijacked by the bumbling French crooks, Gaston and Pierre, Duckula inadvertently foils their plan and is praised as a hero. Unfortunately, Duckula has to return to Transylvania to hand the crooks over to the authorities and serve as the star witness in their trial.
- Expository Theme Tune: The spoken introduction outlines the history of the Duckulas and the fact that the latest resurrection went awry when tomato ketchup was used in the rite instead of blood. The song that follows explains that a zanier vampire you will never find than the luckless vegetarian that is Duckula... Count Duckula.
- Expy: The shiftless manager in "Hard Luck Hotel" is Basil Fawlty, down to the mustache, and an uncanily impressive attempt at mimicing John Cleese's voice.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: In "Igor's Busy Day", Igor tries to use one of these to crush American tourists Scott and Laura. Unfortunately, he relies upon Nanny to trigger it. First, she misunderstands the command "Hit the beak" and hits Igor's beak instead of the beak of the statue which triggers the falling chandelier. Later, she realises her mistake and hits the beak of the statue... while Igor himself is under the chandelier.
- Finger-Snap Lighter: Igor is capable of doing it.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The closing zoomout shot of the castle at the end of "All in a fog" shows the castle with a clocktower. Keen-eyed viewers will recall that the castle never appears to have a clock tower in any other depiction throughout the series. Eventually, you'll realize that the clock tower is none other then Big Ben itself; sucked up by Von Goosewing's gigantic vacuum, ejected on to Castle Duckula when Von Goosewing put it into reverse, then transported off to Transylvania when the castle teleported home.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Though the title character is as friendly as they come, the previous Counts most certainly were not.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted frequently, either with the peasants carousing in the village inn with tankards of ale or Duckula enjoying some wine with his meal or a cocktail.
- Funny Foreigner: Used repeatedly in the traveling-the-world episodes, especially the Frenchmen...er, Frenchbirds, Gaston et Pierre.
- Furry Confusion:
- "The Count and the Pauper" featured non-anthropomorphic chickens.
- In the same episode the Count states he longs to be 'a normal human being,' before clarfying 'a normal human duck.'
- When Duckula found himself captive of a pair of Egyptian priests.Hoomite: Our legends say that when the great god Ra has had his fill of Human Sacrifice, Upshi shall rise from the dead.
Count Duckula: Ah, human sacrifice.
Yubi: Well, more of less human, give or take a feather.
- Gainax Ending: In "All in a Fog," Duckula appears to have the jewel thieves ready to be arrested when the perps are watching "Count Duckula" on a TV that dropped in front of them (all thanks to Goosewing's giant vacuum cleaner that caused a lot of chaos). They invite Duckula, Igor, and Nanny to watch, and it zooms in on the TV revealing the trio returned home and Duckula lamenting not capturing the thieves and missing out on fame.
- Gentle Giant: Nanny. About as gentle as Lenny, anyway...
- The Ghost:
- Von Goosewing's assistant, Heinrich. 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.
- Towser, the castle's werewolf, WAS undeniably real (though Igor repeatedly denied his existence to a suspicious Duckula), but was never seen onscreen, apart from once where we see his eyes.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
- The phrase "Gordon Bennett!" is used frequently throughout the series by numerous characters as an all-purpose swear word/expression of displeasure. Stories of its origin in the early 20th century vary, but it may be an alteration of "Gorblimey!" (a corruption of "God blind me!").
- Exaggerated in "Igor's Busy Day". When clean-cut American tourists Scott and Laura's car breaks down near Duckula's castle, even "gosh darn" is too profane for Laura's ears.Scott: Oh, gosh darn!...
Laura: Oh, Scott, I hate it when you curse like that.
Scott: Oh, gee, I'm, I'm sorry, honey. It's... it's just that this gosh darn-
Scott: Sorry, honey, this... this... blankety blank Eastern European jalopy's broken down!
- Greed: One of Duckula's flaws, but can you blame him?
- Hammerspace: Nanny's sling contains a seemingly endless array of items which may or may not be helpful to the situations in which she, Duckula, and Igor find themselves.
- Hell Hotel: The Hard Luck Hotel in the episode of the same name. The sign's falling apart, the whole place is a mess, the manager's a smarmy Jerkass, the "economy" rooms have no furniture or door locks, and the "complaints department" is a dog that eats guests who complain.
- Heroic BSoD: Duckula has a small one when he faces a group of sentient vegetables, and they start accusing him of hate crimes.
- Horny Vikings: Duckula, Nanny and Igor encounter these in "the Mutinous Penguins". Several of them plus a lady Viking in a winged helmet are frozen in ice, getting thawed out by Nanny's tea.
- Horror Host: The narrator has shades of this, finding the stories deliciously grim and macabre (even the ones that are too silly to be scary), and signing off by cackling, "Good night out there... whatever you are! (Evil Laugh)".
- Hypocritical Humor:
- In the first episode, Ruffles the 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.
- In "Transylvanian Homesick Blues", Igor rebuffs Duckula's attempt to persuade him and Nanny to join him on a roller coaster ride, leading to a moment of hypocrisy from his master:Dr. Time: (over public address system) Roll up, roll up! This way for the roller coaster ride of a lifetime! Roll up, roll up!
Duckula: Listen to that, a roller coaster ride! Hoo-whee, we must have a go on that, Igor!
Igor: I think I'd rather have my head removed from my body, sir.
Duckula: (tuts) That's the trouble with you, Igor. It's always self, self, self! Why don't you think of others for a change? Now if I say we go on the roller coaster, we go on the roller coaster!
- Idiot Ball:
- Why DID they keep the ketchup bottle right next to the blood in the resurrection room?
- How come Duckula did not recognise his servants' voices while providing room service in "Hardluck Hotel"?
- Nanny had 'taken her beak out' so sounded different (we're mercifully spared the visuals) but Igor should have been familiar, though Duckula does point out that he sounds familiar.
- Imperfect Ritual: The backstory is that the ritual to revive him was done with ketchup instead of blood, making him a Vegetarian Vampire.
- Impoverished Patrician: The Count has a noble title and a castle, but when it comes to actual cash, it's repeatedly stated that he has virtually nothing. Most prominently, he keeps Igor and Nanny on as servants, despite their somewhat dubious skills, because their loyalty to the Count Duckula title means they're willing to work for free. In one episode, he temporarily dismisses them to take on a batch of penguin servants, but they revolt when they find out he has no money to pay them with.
- Inevitable Waterfall: When Duckula and his companions are traveling down a river in the Amazon, they end up falling down a huge waterfall.
- Infinite Supplies: Von Goosewing is shown with various gadgets, anti-vampire weaponry and even numerous vehicles such as balloons, blimps and submarines. It is never explained where he gets these or how he can afford them.
- Inspector Javert: Von Goosewing is convinced that Duckula is as evil as his ancestors, several of whom were pursued by Von Goosewing's own ancestors, and that he therefore must be destroyed. He either doesn't notice or simply ignores all evidence that Duckula is infinitely more interested in becoming famous than in drinking blood.
- Just a Stupid Accent:
- Duckula sounds virtually American, vaguely New Yorker, despite being voiced by a British actor. His voice seems somewhat based off of Bugs Bunny. While unconfirmed, it is often suspected to have been an attempt to appeal to overseas viewers.
- It was probably to counter-balance his wacky persona with Danger Mouse's more grounded English accent and demeanor. The Count appeared as a villain in that series first.
- Von Goosewing speaks English with a German accent to remind the viewer that he is from that part of Europe (see Accent Adaptation for how this is handled in some of the foreign dubs). As with most uses of this trope, he frequently throws elementary German words into his speech; for example, he counts down to detonating the explosives surrounding a tower of Castle Duckula in "The Vampire Strikes Back" by saying, "Drei... zwei... eins... feuer!"note
- Gaston and Pierre not only affect comically over the top French accents and throw in the odd basic French word, but also use the rules of French grammar (such as transliterating "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" as "What is that that it is?" instead of simply "What is that?") to signify that they are speaking their native language.
- Duckula sounds virtually American, vaguely New Yorker, despite being voiced by a British actor. His voice seems somewhat based off of Bugs Bunny. While unconfirmed, it is often suspected to have been an attempt to appeal to overseas viewers.
- Knight Templar: Von Goosewing refuses to believe that the current Count Duckula is essentially harmless.
- Lame Pun Reaction:
- Igor greets most of Duckula's plays on words with stony silence or an annoyed grumble (though he does occasionally chuckle at them, especially if they are at Nanny's expense). For example, in "No Sax Please, We're Egyptian", he tells his master that they can tell they are in the Lower Chamber from the hieroglyphics; Duckula suggests they can tell when they are in the Upper Chamber from the loweroglyphics, to Igor's disgust.
- Some of Dmitri and Sviatoslav's jokes get this reaction, sometimes with a Collective Groan by the unseen audience for their routines. For example, when Duckula, Igor, and Nanny have been taken to Revolutionary France by Dr. Fazakerly Time in "Transylvanian Homesick Blues", we get this gem:Sviatoslav: (slides forward from his door and sniffs the air) What is that smell, Dmitri?
Dmitri: (slides forward from his door) It's the peasants, Sviatoslav. (Sviatoslav slides back into his door, and then out again) They are revolting.
(Collective Groan; Dmitri slides back into his door)
Sviatoslav: So is that joke, Dmitri. (slides back into his door)
Dmitri: (sighs) Oh, week after week, why do I bother?
- In "Duckula Down Under", Bill Platypus is gradually driven to tears when, while driving across the outback with Duckula's clock (given to him as a gift), he is subjected to a long series of bad Australia-themed jokes by Dmitri and Sviatoslav.
- Large Ham: The Phantom of the Opera and Dr. Von Goosewing when in his excitable mode.
- Laugh Track: Dmitri and Sviatoslav's comedy routines are accompanied by a jaunty piano vamp and audience laughter.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
- Tremendous Terence for Dan Dare.
- There's more than a bit of Bluebottle in Pierre's character.
- One issue of the comic had an appearance by superspy Ian Flamingo, and another featured poet Edgar Allen Crow.
- Limited Wardrobe: The main and recurring cast members are always dressed in the same clothes. Notable in Nanny always wearing her arm in a medical sling for some reason. (One newspaper comic gives the reason: she's hiding an Embarrassing Tattoo.)
- Lineage Ladder: Igor is fond of referring to the previous Count Duckulas in this manner during his many, many lamentations of the current Duckula's refusal to take up their legacy of bloodsucking and evildoing. Making this an interesting example is all the Counts are technically the same being, leading to quotes like:Igor: Ahhh. Soon, very soon, I shall have the means to turn my master into the sort of master he was when he was his father, and his father's father.
- Long Speech Tea Time: In "Igor's Busy Day," engaged American couple Scott and Laura have taken refuge from a storm in Castle Duckula, and have joined the Count for dinner. While Scott spends the entire meal reciting the digits of Pi, Laura talks at length about how she and Scott met and about her very large family. The thoroughly bored Duckula tries to keep himself occupied by balancing the contents of the fruit bowl on top of each other, firing a pea from his knife at the oblivious Scott, and sculpting a castle out of mashed potato before dozing off and falling face first into it. Meanwhile, Igor and Nanny have long since fallen asleep at the far end of the table. Had Nanny not spilled the poison soup this could've been avoided.
- Long Title: A Series 2 episode featuring a four-way Monster Mash (with a visit from Goosewing thrown in for good measure) is titled, "The Return of the Curse of the Secret of the Mummy's Tomb Meets Frankenduckula's Monster and the Wolf-Man and the Intergalactic Cabbage..."
- 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.
- Missing Reflection: Duckula decides to redecorate the castle and one decorator hired does the hallway up in mirrors. Since the duck is a vampire, he can't see himself in any of them.
- Monster Mash: One episode has Duckula and co. being chased by a Mummy the Count inadvertently brought back to life, a Frankenstein's Monster Expy accidentally resurrected by Igor, a Wolf Man who came to the castle to escape from the full moon but got exposed and transformed due to Nanny's interference, a space invader taking the form of a cabbage, and Goosewing. The episode is appropriately named "The Return of the Curse of the Secret of the Mummy's Tomb Meets Frankenduckula's Monster and the Wolf-Man and the Intergalactic Cabbage...".
- 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.)
- Movie-Theater Episode: In "The Lost Valley", Duckula, Igor, and Nanny go to the Roxy Cinema to see the titular film. Duckula takes the film very seriously, and casts a spell to go into the film to find the diamond mountain within it. After having made it through the film, Duckula, Igor, and Nanny now get trapped in a series of commercials.
- My Grandson, Myself: Played with, in that Duckula himself seems to be vague on whether the previous counts were ancestors or past lives, and has referred to them as both within a single episode. For instance "The Rest is History", where he calls them his ancestors, but then calls the Elizabethan Duckula "past me", and "Family Reunion", where Aunt Lucretia says he's the image of his father, and another relative adds "Of course, he was his father."
- Negative Continuity: The castle has been altered or completely destroyed in some episodes, but it's always back to normal in the next episode despite Duckula supposedly not having any money to fix it.
- 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.
- Nice Guy: Downplayed with the titular character; compared to his monstrous ancestors, Duckula is actually pleasant, though he is too neurotic and eccentric to be this exactly. He is more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Nanny, albeit dim, is a sweetheart through and through. She might as well be the kindest character in the series.
- Nice Mean And In Between: Of the main trio, we have Nanny the Kindhearted Simpleton without a mean bone in her body (nice), self-centered, cowardly Duckula (mean), and Igor the Only Sane Man with a huge nightmare fetish and a yearning to revert Duckula to the bloodthirsty roots of his ancestors (in-between). Igor and Duckula may interchange depending on the situation.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Igor. This often clashes with his master's more idealistic personality.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: The Duckula setting is shown to be inhabited entirely by anthropomorphic birds and some of the females are seen having breasts. One specific example was the start of the episode "Mystery Cruise" where a game show's Lovely Assistant is wearing a low-cut dress showing plenty of cleavage.
- The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: When Duckula joins the Foreign Legion, the local Drill Sergeant Nasty tells the recruits "No talking in the ranks or I will have you buried up to your ankles in the sand!" When Duckula notes that it doesn't sound too bad, one of his fellow legionaries tells him that "He buries you head first".
- 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 and funny fish.
- Only Sane Man: Between Duckula being highly excitable and naive, and Nanny being, well, Nanny, this role falls squarely on Igor's hunched shoulders. Though he is by far the most morbid of the main three, he also tends to have the most solid grasp on what is going on, though his advice is often ignored (such as when he tries, unsuccessfully, to stop Duckula from giving the castle clock to Bill Platypus in "Duckula Down Under" as doing so will disable the castle's teleportation system).
- 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.
- The title characrer of the novel Dracula, upon which Duckula is based, was also capable of movement by day, though his powers were weakened. Duckula's powers seem entirely unaffected by the sun, giving him a unique advantage over his inspiration.
- 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 Intergalactic Cabbage..." featured a traditional Wolf Man (or rather a Wolf Bird) who transforms by the light of the full moon.
- Overly Long Name: The bandit in "Vampire Vacation" is called Juan José Maria Velasquez Campara Ortega Madella Mañana Calamare Instituto Habana Banana Que Paso Su Manos. He later shortens it to his initials.
- Parental Substitute: Despite their subservient position, Nanny and Igor serve as surrogate parent figures to the current count with Nanny as the doting mother and Igor as the disappointed dad.
- Parody Names: Obviously Duckula for Dracula, and Dr Von Goosewing for Van Helsing.
- Pilot: "Unreal Estate" was very obviously this, but didn't air until the third season. Among other things, it had Dr. von Goosewing discover that there was a new Duckula around, and heavily implied that his assistant Heinrich was real but quit. The episodes that did air first had the protagonists already familiar with von Goosewing, and didn't exactly do a good job at explaining that the castle automatically teleports back to Transylvania by dawn.
- 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?
- Porky Pig Pronunciation: This line in "Dead-Eye Duck" when Duckula ignores Igor trying to tell him that they've arrived at the Colorado desert instead of a beach and that they should turn back:Duckula: Igor, you're such a pessimen... a pemmessimen... a pessisstinen... an old grouch!
- Prince and Pauper: In "The Count and the Pauper – I Ain't Gonna Work on Maggot's Farm No More!", Duckula swaps roles with his lookalike Sid Quack and becomes a hard working, underprivileged farm-boy, while Sid becomes a spoilt, rich Aristocrat.
- 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".
- Ridiculously Alive Undead: Due to being resurrected with a ritual where ketchup was used instead of blood, Duckula is a Vegetarian Vampire who only eats vegetables.
- Rousing Speech: In the "Town Hall Terrors" episode, after stumbling onto a meeting about extending a railroad, Duckula gets caught up in the moment and invokes the trope, thus accidentally parlaying his grant for the crumbling Castle Duckula to having that railroad extend through the castle.
- Ruritania: On one occasion the country (using that actual name) is referred to, because that week's adventure takes place there. It is mentioned as the name of a bank in an episode of Victor & Hugo as well.
- 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.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Constantly. One of the series' primary sources of humor is the characters having longwinded, often inappropriately timed tangents about minutiae (or nothing at all), usually in which one or even all parties have no idea what anyone's talking about.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story:
- 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 were no longer worthless the next day... but he'd spent them all on a bag of jellybeans.
- 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. Just to give a few examples:
- The title of "No Sax Please, We're Egyptian" is a reference to the play No Sex Please, We're British, and the pharaoh who owned the Mystic Saxophone is Zootensimun XVII, a reference to American jazz saxophonist John Haley "Zoot" Sims.
- When Duckula threatens to sing if Igor and Nanny don't join him on the roller coaster in "Transylvanian Homesick Blues" and they immediately race to the entrance to the ride, Duckula mutters that he's employing a couple of philistines. Igor says, "Phyllis Stein? Isn't that Gertrude's sister?", a reference to early 20th century American author Gertrude Stein. Also doubles as a shout-out to Yellow Submarine, in which Ringo Starr deployed a similar pun.note
- In "Mobile Home", Duckula asks Ruffles, posing as a builder assessing his castle for renovations, for a quote. Ruffles launches into the "Once more unto the breach" monologue from William Shakespeare's Henry V.
- In "The Lost Valley", Igor wonders why Duckula would rather see the film in the episode's title rather than "the Bela Lugosi film that is being screened at the Regal".
- The hotel manager in "Hardluck Hotel" is basically Basil Fawlty.
- Sickeningly Sweet: In "The Vampire Strikes Back", this is the reaction to Planet Cute, a planet that invokes every sickeningly sweet cute stereotype imaginable (Igor takes an instant dislike to it, Duckula soon follows suit, and Nanny thinks it's just lovely; Tremendous Terence, meanwhile, refuses to get too close to it). In a very literal sense, the "Cute Surprise" sold at the food stand has such a high sugar contentnote that one taste probably would induce diabetes.
- Sign Off Catch Phrase: The narrator's "Goodnight out there... whatever you are!"
- Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness: Very, very friendly. 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?
- So Much for Stealth: Said word for word by Hawkeye Soames in "The Great Ducktective" when he and Dr. Potson's attempts to sneak into Castle Duckula undetected go wrong. It should also be noted that Sherlock Holmes (who Soames is a parody of) says 'So much for (X)' quite often in the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories.
- Spexico: Spain was depicted as this in "Vampire Vacation". In fact, the first few Spaniards that Duckula encounters look more like banditos straight out of a Western.
- Spin-Off: The show was itself a spinoff of Danger Mouse, but also Gaston et Pierre were modified slightly and given their own series as Victor & Hugo. There was even a Duckula/Victor and Hugo crossover episode as well as a Danger Mouse/Victor & Hugo one.
- Strike Episode: In "Restoration Comedy", Igor and Nanny go on strike when Duckula hires Mr. Roberto, an interior decorator, to redecorate Castle Duckula in a less dreary fashion. During this strike, Dr. Von Goosewing shows up disguised as a maid in an attempt to kill Duckula. The strike ends when Mr. Roberto quits after finding out that Duckula is a vampire in the hall of mirrors he built, despite Duckula trying to tell him that he's a relatively harmless Vegetarian Vampire.
- Stuck in the Doorway: In the episode, "Hi-Duck", Nanny gets stuck in the doorway of the airplane that she, Duckula, and Igor travel to Nice in. As Igor tries to push her through the doorway, he complains to Duckula that they never have this problem when they travel by their castle. When Nanny finally gets through, the flight attendant (whom she is sitting atop) tells her that she should have booked on a Jumbo Jet.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Most of the bad guys, most often Ruffles - who not only has his usual three dunderheads, but sometimes a whole clan of idiot henchmen to screw up his plans... not that he's so much smarter than them. The series' love of this trope is especially noticeable in Venice A Duck Not A Duck, where a bunch of the series' recurring villains join forces to try and kill Duckula one by one, and nearly all of them are foiled by their own bumbling sidekicks or henchmen.
- 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.
- That Russian Squat Dance: In the opening credits, Duckula does this with a harmonica (taken from "Unreal Estate", which wasn't broadcast itself until a later season).
- Theatre Phantom: One dwells beneath the opera house in Paris.
- There Was a Door: Nanny almost never bothers to open doors, either marching straight through them and splintering them into firewood, or going one better and marching straight through the wall.Duckula: NOW look what you've done, Nanny!
Nanny: But duckie-boo, you said to come through the door...
Duckula: I give up, I just give up...
- Thieving Magpie: While technically crows, Ruffles and his gang fit the bill.
- Those Two Guys: Dmitri and Sviatoslav, the clockwork bats in the castle clock. A few times an episode, the scene cuts to the two of them emerging from their coffin-shaped doors to tell one or more terrible jokes inspired by the episode's plot.
- This Is a Work of Fiction: The cartoon disclaims any resemblance to persons "living, dead, or undead".
- Timey-Wimey Ball: When the series began, it appeared to be set in the then modern day period of the late 80s and 90s, due to relatively modern technology seeing a great deal of use in the series. However, the third season episode "The Rest is History", expands on Igor's claim of having been a servant of the Duckula dynasty for seven hundred and fifty years, and points to the series taking place sometime in late 1949 and into the 1950s. The episode depicts the inaugural Count Duckula as being installed to his royal position in the year 1199 AD, and becoming a Vampire shortly afterwards due to the machinations of what appears to be a younger, but otherwise identical in appearance, Igor. Assuming Igor's claim of having served the "family" for seven and a half centuries to be legitimate, this places the series' modern day— and thus the current Duckula's reincarnation— in roughly 1949 to 1950 and continuing forwards from that point on. This suggests that either the modern technology of the 80s and 90s that was often seen in the cartoon and comics are anachronisms if Igor is indeed the same servant across the intervening centuries, or that Igor came into service of the family after this earlier servant who carried the same name, with no explanation for what happened to the previous Igor, and thus allowing the series to take place in the then modern day years of 1988 through 1993, when the series was broadcast. The Star Comics imprint series for Count Duckula muddies the issue further, with modern technology existing side by side with an athropomorphic parody of Freddy Krueger called Freddy Cuckooger, as well as a crossover story in which the Duckula of the spin-off series encountered Danger Mouse, who was part of the series as a backup story segment in most issues of the Star Comics Count Duckula run. Danger Mouse was depicted as existing in the modern day in both his cartoon series and the backup stories in the Count Duckula comics released by the Star Comics imprint, which depicted both casts of characters being well aware that they were in a comic book series, which makes the Duckula series harder to pin down when trying to determine the period in which it takes place.
- "Alps-A-Daisy" clearly states that the series takes place in the late 1980s (1989 to be exact) and "The Rest Is History" has the first Count's servant identified as Igorth not Igor. Igor himself seems keen to meet him, implying they are seperate people.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Broccoli sandwiches for the Count. Also, hot cocoa and choccy biccies.
- Überwald: The opening shots of each episode establish the setting as a darkly forested part of central Europe filled with nervous villagers and horrible creatures of the night.
- Vampire Hunter: Von Goosewing comes from a long line of vampire hunters, though he is much clumsier and more scatterbrained than they were.
- Vampires Are Rich: Most definitely not the case here. Mostly Duckula has very little actual money and many stories revolve around his misguided attempts to strike it rich.
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Von Goosewing is trying to kill a vegetarian vampire merely because he's a vampire.
- Though in Goosewing's defence he doesn't know Duckula poses no threat, believing his pleasant demeanor to be no more than a pose, and given that Duckula's previous incarnations were pretty much Hammer Horror villains and the only reason the current one isn't one is a flaw in the reincarnation ritual, it's pretty well justified as these things go.
- Another reason which is revealed in the comics is that his niece, Vanna, is in a romantic relationship with Duckula, making his hatred more personal.
- Vegetarian Vampire: Duh. One of the most blatantly literal uses of the trope. Duckula not only doesn't drink blood, he finds the idea repulsive. (Although he tries to avoid mentioning his vegetarianism to the intelligent vegetables in "Transylvanian Homesick Blues", who see eating vegetables as tantamount to vampirism or cannibalism.)
- Walk This Way: The social director on the title ship in "Mystery Cruise" invites Duckula, Igor, and Nanny to "walk this way" while swaying her hips from side to side. Duckula mutters to Igor, "If I could walk that way I'd probably have my hips on upside-down!"
- Weakened by the Light: Duckula or other vampires in general don't seem to have any adverse issue venturing outside in daylight, whereas the previous incarnations of the Counts of Duckula were so depraved and evil, that something as splendid as the sunrise, was enough to kill them.
- Ironically, this both averts and plays the trope straight. Dracula, whom Duckula is based on, could move about by day, but at reduced levels of power. He apparently retained his inhuman strength and possibly his unnatural speed, but could not shapeshift except at three specific times of day. Duckula seems to only possess a teleportation ability which was never explained, but has no limitations on when he can perform the feat.
- White Sheep: Duckula is the only member of his family not to go in for such things as drinking blood, torturing innocent victims, or taking in stranded travellers seeking shelter and ensuring they are never seen again. He'd much rather become a famous musician, actor, race driver... a famous anything, really, while his idea of an appropriate use for the bonecrusher in the castle torture chamber is pressing flowers.
- Who's on First?:
- Hoomite Yubi? Who, Ra? And Upshi rises! Who, Ra? And Upshi rises! Who, Ra? And Upshi rises! Early in the mornin'! Cosgrove Hall cartoons were pretty adept at these exchanges.
- Done again in the episode "Whodunnit", where Duckula fails to interrogate a character named Willoughy-Stane ("will you be staying"), who "is leaving shortly," but succeeds in making a good routine out of it.
- The episode "The Lost Valley" makes a fun bit out of Duckula misstating mass-energy equivalence as "m-equals-e-c-two," which Nanny mishears as "easy too," instead of "e-equals-m-c-squared."
- The McGhost Of McCastle McDuckula has a bit between Von Goosewing and Duckula's Scottish uncle (who is pretending to run a hotel) in which several of these fire in quick succession, including the uncle mistaking Goosewing asking for a room for "Heinrich here" a needing a room for a "Mr. Hier," to which Goosewing mistakes to mean himself and keeps asking for more rooms. Then the uncle mistakes Goosewing's "nein!" to mean nine rooms!
- Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Some jokes about Nanny along these lines.
- Work Off the Debt: In "Hard Luck Hotel", Duckula is forced to do pretty much every job in the hotel to work off his one night stay after discovering that the value of Transylvanian Drachmas has crashed.
- World of Funny Animals: Humans are implied to exist, though in the context of this series, they are all bird-people.
- You Monster!:Von Goosewing: Duckula! Your Days Are Numbered! Soon, you monster, you will be no more!