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Disclaimer #1: All images are (C) 1990/1991 Walt Disney Inc. and are being used without premission. The webmaster has made sure that no money was made in the creation of this project and all material represented is used with the upmost affection and respect to the Walt Disney Company and the Tale Spin team.
Disclaimer#2: The views and opinions expressed here are of my own based on many years of watching animated productions. Chances are that your opinion will be very different than mine and I do respect the opinions of others. The editorial covers three pages and will contain visuals. And now back to your regular internet surfing.
I have to be honest with you: I don't really like Disney. (Or at least Disney after Walt Disney death. (2015 Gregory Weagle Says: Actually; I don't like the Michael Eisner post-Frank Welles era from 1995-2004. The Bob Iger era hasn't been nearly as bad as those ten years.)) Although Disney has created some good animated films and cartoons over the years after Walt's death; none of them really caught my interest (This was clearly written in 1998. Kim Possible, Phineas & Ferb, Gravity Falls have revived my interest in DTVA at least. Fish Hooks isn't all bad and Kick Buttowski does have Jackie The Stalker.). Don't get me wrong; Darkwing Duck and Gargoyles are excellent cartoons in different ways. Darkwing Duck is a pure comedy with some drama elements (BWHAHAHAHAHAHA 1998 me! It's almost all comedy; with the exception of a few episodes that tried to be a cutout copy of TaleSpin's pathos.) while Gargoyles is almost pure drama (which was a detriment to the show since drama doesn't always equal fun. That's one big reason why TaleSpin was better. It usually was fun to watch even when it got serious.). Then there's DuckTales; a good show with excellent tradition based on a very good comic series. However; DT was way too cute and didn't quite fit the Donald Duck comics (Geez; I didn't even know GeoX and barely knew who Christopher Barat was at this point. And you're accusing Ducktales of being cute? After all the moments with Kit and Molly?). The others such as Gummi Bears, Rescue Rangers, Wuzzles, and the Little Mermaid were impressive; but none of the above really got me .
Disney's downfall had started when the spin-off Quack Pack started to air (Blame that on Toby Shelton being a jerk and messing up the chemistry of the production cast. Disney's real downfall was The Mighty Ducks animated series which was basically a throwback to the 1980's 22 minute animated commercials DTVA was supposed to get us away from.). Donald and Daisy were great; however it was Donald's nephews that told me that Disney was starting to become to become like everyone else . Huey, Dewey and Louie really got my goat; every episode was the same. They didn't care about each other; they had no emotion behind their voices and they actually insulted everyone else (The funniest thing about this is that if you replace the nephews with the Mighty Ducks, Donald and Daisy with Phil Palmfeather and Duke; this would be accurate in the sense that they have becomes like everyone else in the 1980's; when even everybody else has moved to the 1990's. Peggy Charmon's influnece didn't have much impact in the long run.). I guess that's how changed America and Canada are when it comes to children (Always occurs every seven years according to Jim Cornette.). And please don't bring up 101 Dalmations, Recess and Mighty Ducks (101 Dalmatians, yeah; Mighty Ducks, absolutely; Recess, not so much, most so after Doctor Slicer finally forced Prickley and Finster to take the hint and stop being criminally unlikable; and being a disgrace to the educational profession.). Pepper Ann, Bonkers, Goof Troop and Jungle Cubs were OK (Bonkers half the time is horrible, Goof Troop is tedious, Pepper Ann was a decent try at something new and Jungle Cubs was boring.); but they became victims of the fact that they were either sandwiched by excellent cartoons or by really poor ones. (I don't have an opinion for the new cartoons being launched this fall; since I haven't seen them yet. (I'm guessing this was Teacher's Pet; which was good and Filmore! which was really good. Just because Michael Eisner post Frank Welles did a lot of damage to the product doesn't mean every show on DTVA was godawful.))
"Disney Animation has lost its heart" - Jim Kellogg .
Disney has lost more than just heart. Disney Animation has basically lost its edge; all because they decided to follow the shareholders rather than Disney fans and talented people behind the sences who buy and used to create the wonderful productions in the first place (The problem is that in business today; it's less risky to listen to a bunch of self-centered shareholders who buy into your product based on math rather than make products people want to buy and then come back to buy more. Yes; the public has gotten smarter, but not smart enough to not buy into something if it can deliver. This is why I hate the stock market; because the true value of a company is always inflated to whatever whim shareholders have rather than the actual product being released to the public.). And you wondered why Disney has been labelled as "evil"? (Disney is evil because...COPYRIGHT~! SWEAT SHOPS~! TOO MUCH COREY BAXTER~! Okay; I made up the last one. Somehow; Disney doesn't really have enough Corey Baxter. I wonder if TaleSpin gets rebooted; Kit would be voiced by Kyle Massey? That would be interesting to see how the hardcore TaleSpinners react to it.) However; Disney does have one thing going for them. Somehow; Disney finally puts their thinking caps and finds a way to bring a production that is beyond belief. A production that brings something extra to the table; that makes it stand out againest anything Disney had ever offered before and/or anything company in the world for that matter... I not going to sugar-coat this anymore! Tale Spin is the best animated series ever created in the Western Hemisphere and if you don't like it....TOUGH! (It is my opinion after all. (1998 Me was correct in saying that this is the best animated series in the western world; but he didn't need to insult other people. Unless they are critics of this show. Then we'll go through their claims to see if they have earned their insulting.) Actually; I didn't think this show could be as good as it was and is (Oh boy! What a story that was..my hate and love of this show from 1990-1993!). Jymn Magon, Mark Zaslove and the Tale Spin team (If I showed everyone; I'd be here all day. (No kidding 1998 Me! That's what the TaleSpin Cast & Crew Page was for!) really put together a series that should have been the future of Disney. I'm just sick and tired of Disney cartoons that cannot combine some toughness along with heart (Nowadays; I'm just glad that they can make a fun show on a regular basis. It's tough to recreate the TaleSpin "stars are aligned" magic and quite frankly, it's no fun seeing someone try and fail in epic fashion.). Tale Spin has at least three things going for it and they always used it well:
1. The Character Design
No other Disney production other than Disney's Robin Hood has such a diverse use of furries (At least 70+ spieces! Imagine if the show went 100 episodes? At that rate; Queenie and Tammy from Rescue Rangers would have likely cameoed.). Furries are animals with human emotions, and features. Tale Spin uses just about every possible type in history. But; character design is more than just that. Character design is the personally, talent, and even the heart of the characters; and that take a lot more of just physical appearance. It covers everyone working on the project; from the animators who display the emotions and heart to the voice talents (87 voice talents voicing over 250 different characters (Are you sure there is over 250 known characters in the television series? I imagine that is the amount for all TaleSpin media. I'll have to check on that and get back to you.) who express the emotions through their voices. Failure in even one of those areas and the show loses flavor already (Wrong! TaleSpin has a knack for having extremely fun episodes when it doesn't try to be emotional and even when it has an ugly segment, it usually can and will bounce back above ** 1/2. See Citizen Khan and even Destiny Rides Again to a lesser extent. You would have to have Kit Cloudkicker literally do nothing in an episode he is in to even get below ** 1/2. See Your Baloo's In The Mail.). Tale Spin was the basis for character design. From the handsome ; but very tough Don Karnage (Don Karnage is the best heel in Disney at least and has such a charm that no matter how many times Don gets buried, the fans still love him because he gets heat by talking), a (for a lack of a better term) lazy; yet very caring grey bear ; Baloo (I should point out that Baloo came at a time when muscleheads were big heroes in the movie business. Also as Kevin Johnson wrote in his article about manchildren, Baloo was a perfect example of how manchildren should be viewed and how a manchild can get over as a likable character. I actually thought Baloo was the least over main character of the series; which I'm sure is why Eisner didn't want to go past 65 episodes with this series. A sacred cow must be milked for cash after all.), the calm corprate boss; Shere Khan, the nearly fearless little boy; Kit Cloudkicker (I wish that Len Uhley in Plunder and Lightning Part Three had Kit kidnapped by the pirates instead of admitting that he was one of them willfully. It probably would have saved the character a lot of problems and not have that dark cloud of the moral guardians looming over his awesome head.), the serious business lady; Rebecca Cunningham (the most complex woman on animated television, so says Kevin Johnson of Total Media Bridge.). I could go on and on; but I would bore you to death trying to go through 100 or so known characters (After saying that there are more than 250? Get bored 1998 Me!). Even the "one" and "Two-shot" characters were excellent; Ace London, Dan Dawson, Mrya Foxworthy, Katie Dodd and Klang; to name just a few (Well; most of them anyway. (What?! What about Kevin Johnston's favorite one shotter, Douglas Benson?! What about Oscar Vandersnoot?! What about Doctor Zibaldo?! What about Princess Lotta and King Amok?! AUNT LOUISE~?! I cannot believe you missed those ones and I'm glad I started reviewing DTVA episodes because 1998 Me has no clue how many memorable guest characters exist in the TaleSpin Universe.). One more thing about character design: It is also an asset for the other two strengths I'm about to mention.
2. Plot and Storyline
I keep telling people that the most important thing about any animated series is the plot. The character design and animation/music is just a prop for the storyline. Stories do not have to be 100% original (although you can try; its useless to use something original if the concept doesn't make a better story. (Testify~! Most people who want originality want it because they hunger for something new without thinking about the consequences like: "Does this new concept make sense?" or "Will normal people who don't mind either way make sense of it...or more so; will they like it?". Remember; it's what they do, not what they say. There's a good reason why taking them at their word is often a bad idea. See Vince Russo booking.)); they do have to be better. Tale Spin doesn't have the most realistic storyline in the world; however, this is an animated series.It wasn't design to be 100% real. (Ummm; you would think animals being half human would have been enough to show that these characters are not realistic at all. I guess even I today am bedazzled at how believable they act as characters and have emotions and motives that make it time consuming to tell the difference between the TaleSpin world and the real one.) However; the characters and their situtations are in fact can make us think they are real. It tells a story about obession that was pretty common in the 1930's: the thought of being in the sky with the birds and actually feeling the wind whipping in your hair. Since Tale Spin takes place in a vast world within reality; the designer can create situations that can be very real. Tale Spin's storyline contains many different elements: (A) It take a moral; twists the moral so that it seems that the moral is in fact wrong, but in the end it turns out that the moral was in fact right. Many times you actually learn something without even noticing it. (And sometimes; you get unexpected character development that makes me rethink what I saw. Stormy Weather and The Idol Rich were just episodes before I saw Plunder and Lightning. Afterwards; I learned something different from them and it wasn't the morals of those stories, it was how the characters even reacted to the situations. The only moment for me that came close to TaleSpin was in fact MacBeth from Gargoyles when he started looking like a heel, but then he turned in a babyface so much so that I was cheering for him to kill Demona.) (B) It tests friendships often (See Stormy Weather) and even creates friendships that shouldn't even work out. (Somehow Kit and Baloo's friendship actually works and it is often surprising that Rebecca and Baloo can even co-exist) (C) Taking a simple premise (for an episode) and being able to strech it so that is very fun to watch. "Stuck on You" is the best example. The episode's premise was simple: Baloo and Karnage got stuck together with glue. However; the sub-plot of Dumptruck taking over the Iron Vulture as captain and not to mention the dozen of so cliches kept me rolling for hours (Actually; Don Karnage makes this work because he's funny.). And (D) The use of the "Bitter-Sweet Ending"; which is an ending that doesn't quite end happily (this is my favorite ending because it allows the writers to not do a happy ending without worrying about what moral guardians think. It also helps with character development and serves as a reminder to the addicts watching that you don't always get happy endings in real life. Death is not the only consequence to failure. Death is also not needed to have an unhappy ending.) . Sure; the status-quo is retained. However; the endings still didn't complete the main goal. "Her Chance to Dream" is proably the most emotional story in Tale Spin when Rebecca finally loses the ghost and was in tears even after that. She knew that she couldn't marry a ghost since Rebecca also risked losing Molly; her daughter. (Yeah; it's called phantomphila; and if they listen to the "drop dead like flies is cool" crowd; TaleSpin is over basically. Her Chance To Dream is a banned episode for life.) Many plotlines; and several that could have been used in other shows had the show actually continue. However; this is not Tale Spin's real strength. (See Page 3 of my editorial: Future TaleSpin content.)
3. Heart; Soul and a Backbone
What separates Disney cartoons from the rest of the competition is heart and soul (not anymore! Now what separates them from the rest is being just above the level of the competition which has gotten much worse than Disney could ever be. See Breadwinners and try telling me that it's the future of animation. It's not.). Characters that actually care about each other and express emotions. Every character in Tale Spin expressed the heart in different ways. When I think of Baloo; I think he is actually a very nice person who tries to bring happiness to everyone he meets (No 1998 Me! Baloo is a lazy manchild who hides his insecurities in his flying. His "take it easy" attitude is what makes him likable, which for most people who understand him is more than enough. I expected more though.). Kit Cloudkicker's heart comes from his backstory: the emotion of being a lost child who had to earn/fight just for survivial (Testify Infinity~!). Rebecca's heart is rather despective. Many people believe that she only cares about herself; however, she shows her heart when she's around Molly and the number of times she defends Kit for his actions. (See "Plunder And Lightning Part Three"; "Stormy Weather") Even Don Karnage's emotion through evil makes him a character that many Tale Spin actually like in him. (You will be surprised about the number of fans for him. (No one is surprised; Don Karnage is the best heel money could buy and that's why Kit and Baloo were so great. Magon and company knows what is a good guy and what is a bad guy. In fact; they know how to make a cool heel work and know how to make a smug child babyface likable too.)) However; I think that Tale Spin also marked a first for Disney animation: Having a backbone (hard to say that when Jymn Magon had to hire Libby Hinson, Dev Ross and Juila Jane Lewald to take the edge off of Rebecca. Sometimes being a spineless jellyfish does have it's benefits. One of them is making sure that TaleSpin doesn't stoop to Ducktales' level when the writers treated Mrs. Beakly and Webby like dirt because the writers wanted an all boys all the time cartoon.) Call me crazy; but I am sick and tired of cute Disney productions who don't really express reality. (I'm sick and tired of 1998 Me thinking that he knows what he is talking about.) I know a lot of people were surprised (maybe disgusted) that a 12-year old boy would say "Shut Up!" to a six-year old girl. That was unheard of for a Disney production of any kind.
(Sadly; untrue now, but it was shocking because Kit's hand was forced due to Don Karnage adhering to the protocol of not letting them live because Rebecca and Baloo were going to be shot to death. And even after that; Don still wanted to kill them because protocol demands it. The shock is not him saying "shut up". The shock comes from the fact that Len Uhley decided against having Kit and Molly somehow escape and decided that Kit has to do a fake heel turn thus making the viewer think he was just another Desiree from Rescue Rangers, which he clearly did not even as early as Kit getting the red scarf around his neck for the second time.) The character were not afraid of slamming each other if they felt that they were being insulted. (And many times; that in fact occured. (I never understood why 1998 Me thinks that not being afraid to slam each other if they FEEL like they have been insulted is a good character trait as a babyface?! Wouldn't it be better if they were not afraid to call the insulter out when the insulter has no justification or evidence that has earned them such an insult?! Thank goodness I have learned (slowly) how to think better and come up with better arguements, because this one isn't endearing.).) Okay; Tale Spin does have an element of sappiness. However; I'm personally glad that Jymn Magon and his team were able to combine an element of Disney into Tale Spin while maintaining a level of reality into the project. Kudos to them! (Indeed. Sappiness is a good thing when used properly; just like grittiness is a good thing when used properly. The problem is that many remakes and reboots rely on one or the other way too much and forget why people even watched the original shows in the first place. The Strawberry Shortcake CGI remakes are a classic example of way too much sappiness. Many of the DC Comics reboots are a perfect example of way too much grit. Neither one is fun to watch. TaleSpin works because it can be gritty and sappy in proper amounts; thus drawing the biggest possible audience to the production. It's not rocket science; but no one in writing and production seems to understand that nowadays. Heck; even my fanfics are too gritty in spite of my attempts to make scenes where the characters can lighten up and smile.)
Of course; it didn't hurt to have excellent animation (at the time, even with at least three different art styles and done in at least ten countries, they were still able to actually make good animation with minimal breaks in logic.); a very well done soundtrack (although I wished that the track lasted a bit longer (What are you talking about 1998 Me? Christopher L. Stone's soundtrack is as flawless as you are going to get on television animation.) and very well done artwork. I must admit though; Tale Spin is not perfect (but it rarely misfires), I wish there was more of the interactive comedy in the show and balance out the drama a bit more. Also; it would have been nice if the show did go into dramtic anime more (Talk about contradicting yourself there 1998 Me! Actually; it would have been nice if the one shotters became regular characters. Thus the reason why it makes more sense to reboot TaleSpin as a GTA like sandbox style videogame instead of a comic book or even a television series. Yes; I said Grand Theft Auto, only without all the horrible elements it brought to the table.) However; the strengths really outweigh the weakness.
Except one and that's the subject of Page 2 of this editorial:
My Disney's Posse Didn't Do Their Homework!
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