"Kit.....Kit Cloudkicker.." - Kit, Plunder and Lightning "Plane for Keeps".
July 4th,1998 is usually the day where America celebrates the birth of a country. However; for me it was officially the birth of a new website. The birth of a TaleSpin website......However; this was no ordinary TaleSpin website by any means. (Although no TaleSpin website is 'ordinary'.) This is the very first website which pays homage and respect to Disney's #1 character. He is the cutest, most in-depth young man ever designed by Disney: Kit Cloudkicker. Yes; Disney's answer to drama and excitement from a character who didn't get much respect from Disney. I chose Kit Cloudkicker because I simply loved him as a character and also because there was no website that in fact focused on him. I always figured that there were as many people who loved Kit as there were many people who loved Don Karnage.
For the last year; I've expanded not knowing how popular my website would be. My goal was to have 10,000 hits and 50 guests sign the Kit Cloudkicker guestbook. Well; I'm trilled to say that I have now gathered over 15,000 hits and more than 116 people have signed the Kit Cloudkicker Guestbook. I've also met various people on the Net that share similar thoughts about Kit as a character and about TaleSpin in general. People like Adam Davis (my first Kit fan to sign the guestbook), who I hope will become a great lead artist someday. (Over 60 pieces of artwork so far) There's Debbie Madden; who helped me in choosing a place to host this mega website and have given me several images of Kit from the TaleSpin comics. There's Laura Trombley who has been a big help in giving the series the credit where it is due. (Think Ed and Think TaleSpin Voice Talents) There's Dan Green and Kristof who wrote all of those epic stories on various websites. There's Alyson Terry; whose insight on characterzation and her story "Essence of You" changed the way gritty stories are made. Then there's Joseph Greenlee; who believes that Kit is a character that he can relate to (read his editorial) and proving his worth as an artist and a story writer. There's Ted Heniz (Our most recent Kit fan) who gave us a different prespective on the young bearcub and I'm looking forward to his editorials and stories. Finally; there's Jymn Magon, Mark Zaslove and the entire TaleSpin team; who created the dream show for Disney in 1988 after Jymn's first product "B-Players" failed to make it off the starting line. There are many others; however, I'll restrain myself since I have a bigger issue to address....
I hope that next year will be just as big and that I keep piling up the hits. I believe that TaleSpin will come back in some form or another; but it will take time and chances are it might not be in my lifetime. But I'll try. This past year ; this first year was a trying one for me when you consider that I still have yet to find a part-time/full-time job and also considering the number of problems from Yahoo!/Geocities; my overzealous attitude about fics last year; (an issue I'll never speak about ever again.); running low on space; etc. Not to mention that I almost gave up the idea of hosting the website over a month before placing my website. I still haven't been able to complete any of my three fanfics: "The Terror of TerraStone"; "Unforeseen Impact" and "Rebecca's Diary"; nor are any of my profiles on Baloo and Wildcat completed. The voice talent tribute is nowhere near done and the TaleSpin edits file is still way incomplete. It's not really laziness that has done me in as much as it has been having way too much work to do for one person. Most of my projects are now on hold until I find a way to work on the projects throughout the summer. Nobody's fault here expect mine.
We all think TaleSpin was and still is a wonderful show that stood the test of time. Recently; Ted Heniz asked a very important question: TaleSpin is.....POWER!!
There I answered your question Ted. Okay; I'll explain further since I'm always told to add more detail..... why is TaleSpin simply POWER? I have yet to see a show that attempted to change Disney's image just enough for us to enjoy something new while at the same time retain the so-called squeaky-clean image that Disney is best known for (although Disney has been known to published R rated productions in recent years). TaleSpin did something that most animated series in history simply couldn't do or the producers simply didn't care about doing. (The latter seems to be more likely in recent years as well.) TaleSpin was able to use effective dialogue while at the same time speaking without any words at all. And most of the time; they did it in good taste.
Alyson Terry recently wrote an editorial about the setting of TaleSpin (See "Speaking Without Words") and one thing that I noticed about TaleSpin was it's animation. While TaleSpin does have it's share of problems with animation glitches; the artwork was simply top-notch. What's so funny about this is that 95% of TaleSpin animation and artwork was done by hand. (Only three episodes used Commodore Amiga computers; possability the last great act by a company who is no longer with us.) Done by _ real people_. The best episode that describes TaleSpin's top-notch animation was Bullethead Baloo; whose animation was done by Walt Disney Animation Japan. Think of this as an early style of Disney's Gargoyles; wonderful animation and some breath-taking sences. I remember "Her Chance To Dream" while the producers actually tripped in Japanese Anime. I remember Part 2 of Plunder and Lightning where in the original version they showed a reflection of Molly and Rebecca's face when Molly said those words: "But what if I'm not with you..."; and in the syndication version when Kit sees a huge blimp reflect through the Sea Duck's window. That's attention to detail... And the background looked brilliant; The jungle sence in Part One of Plunder and Lightning was very well drawn and it was pretty symbolic of the TaleSpin theme as a contradicition to the Jungle Book. Most backgrounds in TaleSpin have to be seen to believe.
Then there were the characters: I'm not going to go into detail about this because Alyson Terry has already given us an excellent editorial on that (See "The Impact It Has"). However; I would like to point out something that a certain person (who shall remain nameless) e-mailed me a couple of months ago and stated to me that TaleSpin was the first television show to fully explore the single mother (Rebecca Cunningham) and daughter (Molly Cunningham) concept that has been done to death in today's world. That was something that most people have failed to mention. Also I felt that even the cameo designs were excellent as well. Although these people will likely never appear in another episode ever again; they made their shots count. Myra Foxworthy and Dan Dawson really caught my attention as characters. In Myra's case; it was her comic stance while in Dan's case it was his ability to dupe Kit Cloudkicker (The usually tough-to-trust kid) into doing dangerous stunts for his show. It is too bad that they will never return in another Disney series again. (Not to mention Oscar Vandersnoot; my most favorite one-shot character. Wondeful child accent.)
Finally; while the show is mostly based on the 1930's; one fails to realize is that TaleSpin takes place in its own intriging world. It combines the elements of plup serial adventures in the 1930's and adds a gangster element from the 1920's. Also remember the wonderful waterfall flowing over Rebecca's apartment is a reminder of the 1940s. Then there are the sci-fi elements like the Lightning Gun, MEL and the Auto-Aviator. The SeaDuck is in fact an "Air-Force" type plane that was created a few years ago for the US Air Force. (Who said nobody in government watches this show?) Kit Cloudkicker's cloudsurfing was inspired by skysurfing (remember the cross between water skiing/sky surfing or the relationship with waveboarding mentioned in the Kit Cloudkicker profile/editorial?) which is currently popular today and as early as 1990. (I don't know who the person's name is who created the concept other than the fact that he has since passed away.)
However; if you think that it was the obession of flying or going to the tropics that got me interested in the TaleSpin series you might want to reconsider that statement because it is simply not the case. It was the concept of storytelling itself behind TaleSpin itself that not only got me hooked on the series; but on writing stories and editorials. I also credit my Grade 12 English teacher for giving me the power my simply saying to me that I'm a great writer. The reason why TaleSpin is the best show is that the show had gained its depth from how the characters interact with each other; not from a blow-by-blow account of their pasts. The beauty of this is that it allows for the potiential of bigger and better stories in the future; not to mention to slow the series down. However; this plan didn't quite work because Disney only planned 65 episodes; and 65 episodes isn't enough for this series. (I don't think even the Japanese concept of 195 episodes per season would be enough to fully explore the world that we all know and love.) Out of the series; I ranked 10 5-Star episodes, 20 4-Star episodes, 30 3-Star episodes, and 5 2-Star episodes.
In response to Ted's rant about Disney.com; I was pretty upset with the extreme narrow-mindness of the Disney company with the plug Disney wrote for their official TaleSpin website. While there is some truth with the plug (Sorry Ted; there is but bear with me....) But to say that according to Ted Heniz's words: "Baloo from the Jungle Book and some other character lead a group of crazy stunt pilots." is while being a half-truth; it is also very insensitive and very narrow-minded. And to me it was done on purpose. If a newcomer were to see this plug; then many of these people would think that TaleSpin is not a worthwhile show at all and should look elsewhere. (It's not their fault; Disney wrote it after all.) The plug; "In The Scary Cavern" on the other hand is wrong without question. Isn't that kind of like admitting that you don't like the show at all? Even Mouseworks is getting more respect than this...On second thought; maybe a TaleSpin sequel may not be such a good idea after all. Once again; this is the sa-ga of Disney lack of good marketing sense and how Micheal Esiner continues to read the line of Walt Disney wrong. (I feel sorry for Roy Disney.)
Finally; I'd like to wish Richard Lowman good luck in the creation of his new website and I look forward to reading the 1993 transscript that he's about to post. I just hope that next year will be a better one for Talespinners since there is no where to go but up. That's my opinion; I welcome yours. See you next month.