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Western Animation / The Disney Afternoon

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"There's so much to do, getting ready just for you,
Everybody's busy, bringing you a Disney Afternoon!"

A made-for-syndication programming block featuring many of Disney's original television shows that ran from 1990 until 1999, though some of the shows that aired in the line-up (like Gummi Bears and Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers) aired between 1987 and 1989 and weren't included in the Disney Afternoon line-up until they were syndicated.note 

The block was two hours long, consisting of four half-hour shows. The lineup changed after every season, adding a new show to the end of the line up while the first show would be bumped off. Eventually, the block was shortened to ninety minutes in 1997. While the block was a hit, it eventually became impractical when Disney began producing more shows than could be featured in a two-hour block. It ended in 1999, after a successful ten year run (though for the last two years, it didn't have a name besides the internal name "Disney-Kellogg Alliance", as Kellogg's would be a large sponsor), though it did receive a Spiritual Successor in the form of Disney's One Too, which supplanted the remnants of this block and served as a spinoff to One Saturday Morning, airing on UPN stations until 2003.

During its run it spawned an attraction at Disneyland, a stage show at Mickey's Birthdayland/Starland, a soundtrack (still available on iTunes), a comic book published by Marvel, and a series of very good NES video games developed by Capcom (who re-released themnote  for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows in 2017 as The Disney Afternoon Collection). It also had a major comic event in Disney Adventures magazine called The Legend of the Chaos God. A couple of shows received revivals in comics: Gargoyles had an all-too-short (and yet too long) comic by Slave Labor Graphics, while Ka BOOM Comics introduced DuckTales (1987) elements in the long-running Uncle Scrooge comics, then launched new series for Darkwing Duck, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers and DuckTales (1987); though these all ended when Disney bought out Marvel Comics and cut ties with Boom! Studios. In addition, the international shows "Saturday Disney" and "The Disney Club" used an instrumental version of the show's theme song from the late '90's to the early 2000's.

While not originally conceived as a shared universe, modern incarnations occasionally make references to each other.

See also One Saturday Morning and ABC Kids, Disney Channel, Toon Disney, and Disney XD for other Disney television properties.

Shows featured on the block, in the order they were featured:

The block is associated with the following tropes:

  • Book Ends: DuckTales (1987) was on both the first season and the last season of the block.
  • Border-Occupying Decorations: The Disney Afternoon Collection by Capcom puts the selected game's box art (with a specific color filter for each) in the background.
  • Credits Pushback: Instead of each show having its own credits sequence, the block had a single uniform credit sequence, that would display the credits on the left side, and previews for the next day's episodes on the right.
  • Crisis Crossover/Cross Through: The Legend of the Chaos God, a five part story which ran in Disney Adventures magazine.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The opening would often include a sneak peak of a character or series being included in the following year's lineup. For example, Darkwing Duck and Gosalyn appeared in the first year opening a year before their show debuted. In the second year opening, Goofy made an appearance a year before Goof Troop was added.
    • Some of the commercial bumpers featured Marsupilami and the frog mascots of Raw Toonage before those shows debuted, but they were never actually part of The Disney Afternoon.
  • Excited Kids' Show Host: Not usually, but in Canada, Edmonton station CITV (currently a Global station, not to be confused with ITV's kids' programming brand) had a host in the form of weatherman Mike Sobel (whose segments replaced most of the Disney-supplied interstitials except for the intro); this version also only aired once a week, on Saturday afternoons, and since CITV was (and still is) a satellite-fed superstation, this version could be watched on cable and satellite across Canada. Sobel himself was a type 3 host, typically pretty mellow and not too excitable.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: The rule of thumb was that villains and law enforcement were allowed to carry realistic guns, but main characters were not. Heroes would instead use other methods of defending themselves, such as Abnormal Ammo (i.e. Darkwing Duck's gas gun) or evasive tactics (i.e. Baloo's use of the Aerial Canyon Chase).
  • Five-Episode Pilot: Most of the shows in the block were known for this, and the block itself may have been one of the biggest influences for this sort of thing in animation.
  • Music Video: Disney created rap music videos to promote Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop and Bonkers, which interspersed clips of their respective shows with live-action footage of kids dancing.
  • Network Red-Headed Stepchild: Gargoyles due to its dark nature, Schnookums and Meat because of its Grossout Show nature.
    • TaleSpin might count as Old Shame due to the sheer weirdness of its premise (though The Wuzzles still has it beaten on that record) and partially due to the legal issues surrounding the originally unauthorized use of King Louie. That said, it was also the first in the lot to have all of its episodes on DVD, and has a large fanbase.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Many of the shows, Rescue Rangers especially, tended to reuse music cues and sound effects for every episode (high-quality hand-drawn TV animation doesn't pay for itself).
  • Revival: Gargoyles, Darkwing Duck, and Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers eventually got comic books that picked up where their shows left off (after a Time Skip in Darkwing Duck's case, and after season two in Gargoyles' case, rendering season three Canon Discontinuity almost entirely).
    • And then DuckTales got a reboot that has been heavily referencing and including characters from almost every other other Disney Afternoon show, to the point of fans calling it the "Disney Afternoon-iverse" and many hoping that it will lead to proper revivals of other shows.
    • And, following the footsteps of DuckTales, Darkwing Duck is set to get its own reboot as a Disney+ Original. Though whether they'll be set in the same universe (especially since the Darkwing Duck reboot will be handled by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's production company Point Grey Pictures) is unknown.
  • The Smurfette Principle: As per usual for a Disney Afternoon cartoon.
  • Transplanted Character Fic: Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin and Goof Troop take beloved Disney characters and transplant them into radically different new settings.
  • Truncated Theme Tune: On the block, the opening sequences for each show would be cut from 60 seconds to approximately 45. This was accomplished by speeding up the theme song, cutting out the bridge, or rewriting the lyrics.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Darkwing Duck pretty much took over the Marvel comic.
  • Vanilla Edition: Pretty much all the shows lucky enough to get a DVD release.
    • And of those, most of them used the episode cuts aired on Toon Disney, which utterly ruins some of the shows.
      • Also created a Keep Circulating the Tapes scenario, as the five episode movies that started off some of the series never made it to DVD in their full, uncut form. This isn't entirely surprising, as almost none of them even made it to VHS either. It also means, unless you see the version of "Plunder and Lightning" taped during its first, uncut broadcast, you also won't see the scene in which Rebecca sings "Home is Where the Heart Is," which exists on the soundtrack.
  • Villain Team-Up: The Disney Afternoon Live! show contained one between Don Karnage and Fat Cat.

Alternative Title(s): Disney Afternoon