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Kit's Weakness and Fear: Trust
If there is one thing that Kit should've learned and yet didn't is often his worse fear. Kit has always; since he went out on his own is to make a name for himself. (As a pilot in Flight School Confenditial or as a stuntman in Stormy Weather.He doesn't like being ignored or being questioned on a personal level.) However; every time he does this, he often risks shredding up any and all relationships in the process. (I'll explain that in further detail when I go over the three levels of trust and Kit trust of a man; namely Baloo). The worse part is that it is strengthen by the fact that he is an orphan and has seen evil before since he was once part of it. However; Kit has a bigger, more scary aspect of his personality is the fact that is does have one major fear. His fear is something nowadays that I can relate to. Kit Cloudkicker is afraid to trust adults; men in particular. And why shouldn't he trust: After the treatment he suffered as an Air Pirate and goodness knows who else before that; what reason did he have to trust Baloo? Or any adult again? (Even Rebecca to a lesser extent.) Well; here are Kit Cloudkicker's three "gears" of trust:
Kit's First Gear: Men (Baloo Von Bruinwald XIII)
To me; Baloo was more than just the seller to this series. (Tale Spin is a spin-off to Disney's version of the Jungle Book.) Baloo was what I call the heart and soul of the series that would rub off onto the other heroes of Tale Spin. And most of that heart rubbed off on Kit Cloudkicker. In Plunder and Lightning Part One; Kit and Baloo got into an arguement over Baloo finding out that the Air Pirates were after Kit. Kit believed that even Baloo was trying to stab him in the back by only caring about his plane. When Baloo found Kit tied up at the mercy of Don Karnage later; Baloo was impressed that Kit could in fact stand up to the Air Pirates. Baloo could've easily have left Kit to the wolves after the arguement; but he didn't. He saved Kit; who couldn't believe that Baloo would save him after that: "I'm sorry about your plane. Listen; no one has ever stood up for me before...". It was the first sign at Kit could in fact trust someone. It became more apparent in Plunder and Lightning Part Four when Kit pretended to sell-out on Baloo and Rebecca to Don Karnage. Kit felt that he got them involved into a mess that he felt was clearly his fault (Although; it is not the case at all.); and felt that shredding his friendships with Baloo and Rebecca was the only way he could save them. He in fact cared about them (In one sence after that; it looked like Kit was about to cry. He was not proud of his actions at all.). After Don Karange broke his airboard and Dumptruck threw Kit over the side of the Iron Vulture; Kit got the biggest shock in his life. He couldn't believe that Baloo would come back to save him and want him back as a partner. Stormy Weather is an even better example of Kit's fear of trust. There were no Air Pirates in this episode; but a lot of Kit's life was realized even though no details of Kit's life were ever shown. Kit's life was a combination of danger, excitement but also of violence and constant betrayal. Kit once again shredded his relationship with Baloo in order to make a name for himself and that decision nearly cost him his life (and maybe even Baloo's. He can no longer function without Kit by his side.): "You can't tell me what to do! You're not my dad!". Kit regret saying that the moment he said it. He once again couldn't believe that Baloo would come to save him; that Baloo would want him back as a partner. Sometimes it can be awful hard for Kit to trust. Somehow; he does, thanks to the heart that Baloo has. Baloo has proven that he always cared about Kit and even though the relationship by theory shouldn't even work out; it often does. Other examples of Kit's fear of trust of men are symbolized in "Flight School Confedintial", "Double or Nothing", "Bullethead Baloo" and "A Bad Reflection on You". However; those are to a lesser degree.
Kit's Gear #2: Women (Rebecca Cunningham)
In theory; Kit's trust should be the same with women as with men; each person with a gain of salt. However; when it comes to Rebecca; Kit's second gear goes into effect. When Rebecca first appeared in Plunder and Lightning Part Two; there were signs that Kit did in fact at the very least respect women. Rebecca seems pretty excited when she asked Kit to introduce himself and afterwards when Kit had Molly on his back running around her. Kit also seemed to act like a perfect gentlemen. I think the reason behind this is based on Kit's life as an Air Pirate: Did you noticed that there were no women on the Iron Vulture ? (Expect in fanfic) I know it looks like a stereotype; but that was the only way that Kit's second gear would work well. Later in Act II; Kit felt so shy when Rebecca handed him a pillow and blankets and said to him: "Here; so my flight crew doesn't get chilly" ; "Gee...Thanks Miss Cunningham." Most of the time; Kit refers to Rebecca as Miss Cunnigham as a show of respect and professionism . And most of the time Rebecca respects Kit back, showing that Kit can in fact trust her without ever mentioning the word at all. (Only once did Kit use the name Becky in referring to Rebecca; that was in Stormy Weather.) However; I believe that Rebecca actually loves Kit almost like a surogate mother to an orphan child. (Which Kit in fact doesn't mind one bit.) The problem is that she feels that this could cause a strain in business. Remember; that Rebecca's dream is to turn a failing business (Baloo's Air Service) into a successful business. The good news is that even though he never said it directly; he respects Rebecca's wishes. Rebecca also changed Kit in that same sence. Although the song "Home is Where the Heart Is" was cut from the syndicated version of Tale Spin. (Yes there were two versions of Plunder and Lightning made) That lullaby served to be the turning point of Kit's life. As he stood there; listening and looking into the area where Rebecca and Molly were sleeping; he felt that in order to continue to survive; he would have to find a real family. Someone who cared about him. With Molly; Baloo and Rebecca, he seems to have found that. (With WildCat as an uncle; I've never seen Kit and Wildcat enough to form an opinion about trust at this time) Maybe the best example of the Kit/Rebecca relationship being tested was "It Came from Beneath the Sea Duck" . This was the episode where Kit got his first babysitting job with Molly; however, Kit returns late with Molly and Rebecca goes ballastic on him. "She's never been this angry with me before" The worse part is that Rebecca actually compared him unfairly with Baloo; feeling that Kit learned that from Baloo. (Baloo is a lazy bear after all.) However; unlike the Kit/Baloo relationship which Kit nearly ended his life and shred his relationship; Kit actually turned 180 degrees and in fact wanted to talk to Rebecca and convince her that he should get a second chance. Not only that; Kit came to the rescue to Rebecca and Molly when the squid attacked Rebecca's apartment. Proably the most shocking to Kit was when Rebecca asked (almost with a mean tone) to get back in here. Kit thought that Rebecca was going to go ballastic on him again (The poor lad was almost scared to death.); instead, he heard Rebecca say: "Kit; can you forgive me? If it hadn't been for you; I don't know what would have happened to Molly or me."If Kit was turely Baloo; then Kit would have not have forgiven her until she was broken down into complete embrassment. (See "A Spy in the Onitment") However; Kit accepted the apology the first time in a show of respect: "Gee; Thanks!". He also got his job back; if he put Molly to bed. (I knew Rebecca wasn't going to let him get away that easily.)
One final note: Kit changes his tough-guy attitude to more of a sweet-talker when it comes to Rebecca. In Captains Outragous; Rebecca seemed a little bit relucent to allow Oscar Vandersnoot to ride on the Sea Duck. However; Kit talk her into it by exposing her weakpoint: "...And the Vandersnoot's could be big clients." (Note Rebecca's eyes light up when the word "client" is mentioned. A similar thing happened in "My Fair Baloo" as well.)
Gear #3: Children
(Molly Cunningham & Oscar Vandersnoot [Not Shown])
"There is often a great deal of child left in people who have had to grow up too soon" - Willa Cather
I know that this sounds strange; but I love Molly Cunnigham. It has been well documented that Molly has had some comparisons with Sunni Gummi (from the Gummi Bears) and the amount of bashing from a certain person (who shall remain nameless.) has many a Tale Spin wonder ponder this one question: What the use of having a character like Molly in this wonderful show? First of all; I'm going to make a dangerous statement: Molly is the best "filler" character in Disney Television Animation. Although she is the cutest character in Tale Spin; don't let her looks fool you. She is nearly as sharp as her mother and can spot a lie from a mile away. However; Molly did something that would play a huge role in Kit's character development thoughout this series. Molly basically exposed Kit's third gear of trust. The first two gears of trust have one thing in common: Kit always acted like an adult in front of Baloo and Rebecca; dealing them on an adult basis. However; when it comes to Molly, he changes into a 12-year old boy and sometimes he acts even younger than his age. That may have been the reason why Kit is nicer to Molly than some; remember Kit never had a sister nor Molly really had a big brother either (And who knows how long Molly has been without a "real" father.). The proof is in the expressions: In Plunder and Lightning Act II; when Molly first appeared, I saw Kit's facial expression. He was in total awe; like this was brand new to him. When Molly wanted so badly to ride in the SeaDuck and couldn't; I noticed the tone of voice that Kit gave when he tried (and almost succeeded) to talk Molly out of riding on the SeaDuck. It sounded like a kid; which was something that Molly could actually understand. (Note that they even hugged after that.) The other note about Kit's third gear is that sometimes that gear can get him into trouble since Molly does play pranks on him. (One example was jumping Kit from behind , taking his hat and covering his eyes in "It Came From Beneath the Sea Duck".) Luckly; Kit does like Molly and she allows Kit to be a kid again. That was what Baloo and Rebecca hoped for since Kit is a lot easier to control; plus I felt that Rebecca believed that Kit deserved a childhood anyway since he was denied one when he was on his own. (Kit's more dangerous when he's stuck in first gear; second gear is more of a judgemental call.) The next example proves that Kit is not your normal type "brat in the show" because Kit has a strange yet fitting way of choosing his friends. In Captains' Outragous; this episode focused on a secret club created by Kit Cloudkicker and Ernie (a cheetah kid) called "The Jungle Aces". Kit decides that it was time to add a new member to his secret club; however, this friend is not what people think he is. His name is Oscar Vandersnoot; an almond colored bearcub who is not only nerdy but clumsy. Ernie and the Jungle Aces do not like Oscar at all: "Kit; you cannot invite Oscar Vandersnoot into the club. He's a walking diasater. A ZERO!!". A normal kid would have felt the same way and let Oscar Vandersnoot cry; but not Kit. He was the only one willing to defend Oscar. The problem with Oscar Vandersnoot is that he never had an adventure in his life; which is the only requirement for getting into the club. You cannot blame Oscar Vandersnoot for that; he lives with a rich family and a very overprotective mother. (Note in one sence where Oscar wears all that "armor". That was not funny!) However; Kit wasn't about to give up on his new friend at all. He devised a plan to give Oscar an adventure by pretending to play the famous Air Pirate routine. Little does Kit know that Don Karnage plans to capture Oscar Vandersnoot and use him for ransom and the plans starts to work too well. Not only did Oscar get his real adventure; he also got to play the hero and rescue Kit, Baloo and Wildcat and also got to ride on Kit's airboard. It shows the attitude of Kit; who rarely ever gives up.
Final Thoughts: Kit's Heart
A very tough and very vulnerable person. That is was describes Kit Cloudkicker. I believe the real clincher for me was in "A Bad Reflection on You" when Baloo's ego comes crashing down to earth after the Air Pirates made him look like a fool. Baloo didn't even believe that he could fly a plane upside down filled with water; even labelling himself as a loser. Kit said to Baloo; without any bravado at all and I swear that he was almost ready to cry: "Poppa Bear; I always believed that you are the best!!"; and he ended it with a weak smile. That finally did it for me. It finally convinced me that he was the best child character in Disney history and prehaps the best in animation. And I have yet to see another child character (let alone furry) that showed the heart that Kit showed in that episode. "...He's a good kid."; Baloo said in Plunder and Lightning Act III. So there you have it. I'm sorry; but in my humble opinion, Kit Cloudkicker was the character that made Tale Spin and not Don Karnage as some people have said. Don Karnage is an excellent character and one of the best villians of all time. But; for me, Kit proved that you don't need to be a snappy dresser; have a cool accent; or even be a master tormentor in order to be an animation-maker. The problem is that there are so many good characters in Tale Spin; its hard to pick a real favorite. It is ture that it wouldn't be a great story without a great villian; but it wouldn't be a great story without a complex hero either and Tale Spin delievered both. And remember; Kit used to be evil at one time.
One final note: Kit is sometimes refered to as "Little Britches" by Baloo and Kit refers to Baloo as "Poppa Bear". Those are related to Disney's version of "The Jungle Book".
If only Disney would give Kit Cloudkicker another chance. That's my opinion, I welcome yours. See you next time! (From now on; all editorial I write will be text-only. It takes less time and I don't have a lot of space; since I'm using it for fanfics and artwork. Stay tuned; I'm not done with editorials yet.)
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