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The Old Man & The Sea Duck Re-Rant

Reviewed: 11/20/2010

Libby Hinson Was TaleSpin's Guardian Angel.


Original Airdate: 11/08/1990 (Syndication), Episode #35 (TaleSpin DVD Volume 2, Disc 1)

I think the caption sezs it all here. There is no sense trying to explain this episode right now because watching it really shows just how on this series was from a quality standpoint. This episode contains one of the most awesome finishes I have ever seen and we haven't even got to the real awesome one yet. So how does this episode do? So let's rant on shall we...?!

This episode is written by Libby Hinson. The story is edited by Karl Geurs. The animation is done by Wang Films Animation which just shows you how difficult it is to tell who is doing the work there in Asia. You'll see why later on.


We begin this one inside the cliff guns AFTER HAPPY HOUR (after dark) as we pan down to the SeaDuck flying in and then cut to the cockpit as Baloo is eating again (with a full tray of stuff which foreshadows Gruel And Unusual Punishment nicely) while piloting a complex machine while Kit is on navigation doing what he does best: blowing off Baloo because they are late due to that stop at Louie's. Oh wait; that's Michael Eisner's vision of him, never mind. And Louie forgot the pickles while isn't unusual for a local bar to do. Baloo then gives Kit a hot dog because there is nothing worse than getting chewed out on an empty stomach. All that thing needs is mustard and we have Kit's performances in this series in a nutshell. AHHAHAHAHAHAHA! Anyhow; Kit then gets a bright idea and wants him to turn 1-4-0 degrees quick! I'm amazed that a 12 year old can pronounce that quite frankly. Isn't it hilarious that in the old Disney; the child characters were second bananas; but they were smart and intellegent; while the new Disney; they are the main eventers; but they were stupid and moronic? No wonder Raol doesn't want kids saving the world. It's not because they aren't ready; it's because they are stupid now. Kit could save the world easily; he already tried that one....twice in the same pilot episode! Baloo nods and pulls the stick while eating. We go to a sky shot of the SeaDuck flying down with clouds around as Kit proclaims that it's a short cut home and that it is a pass. He has trouble pronouncing it so he spells it and Baloo gags because it's Mirckle Pass (Disney Captions has it as Mirkl Pass which sounds better by the way).

See; it's called that because if you make it; it's a miracle. I love real comments that aren't supposed to be real comments. For those who didn't catch the joke: I'm talking about this series being green lighted in any other time. Baloo proclaims that many people failed to cross the pass and Kit blows it off because Baloo's the best pilot in the world see...(until Kit Cloudkicker wrestles the title from his cold dead hands four years later) as Baloo looks like someone who is panic striken as we even get a bottom shot of the SeaDuck flying as Baloo does some Spanish to avoid the kill word which is silly since kill and die is allowed on a DTVA show. Even on Kick Buttowski. So Kit counters by basically claiming that if they are late with the cargo; science has proven that Rebecca's WRAITH OF BECKEY has a 1 in 3 chance of killing eardrums and Baloo realizes the point.

He pulls on the stick and tells Kit to hold on to his fries (even though he has none) and we fly for a long while with Kit yelling at Baloo to watch out. Wang Films did a surprisely good job with the backgrounds here. Then again; they are rocks basically so it isn't diffcult to cheap it out and still keep them from being too fake. Baloo tries to dodge as the SeaDuck tilts 90 degrees; but they hit the sides with slightly good bumps as Kit and Baloo do their usual grade A acting job and promo in that order as the SeaDuck gets through and Kit breathes a sigh of relief and pants. See how good child characters can be when an actual child is doing the acting here? Particually when it's R.J. Williams? Kit thinks that they are safe; then Baloo points out the logical fallacy (right when we see inside the plane is not even colored in at all by Wang Films for animation mistake #1) as the fog rolls in and it's thicker than Aunt Louise's rejected pea soup recipe. AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! POW! OUCH! Ummmmmm...

More dodging and the SeaDuck takes a much better bump off the rocks with the right wing. Another good promo from Baloo and then a really good bump off the tail fins ensues. Baloo cannot control the thing and everyone screams (with R.J. Williams trumping Ed Gilbert of course. I heart Ginny McSwain for allowing R.J. Williams to act and screw Michael Eisner over, seriously I do.) as we go into a tailspin (BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) and crash into more rocks with good bumps. Baloo throws the levers (WRONG LEVERS!) and manages to at least level the SeaDuck out to allow it to land on the water as the SeaDuck bounces and the flight data recorder also bounces around and then it snaps and smacks Baloo right on the side of the head with a MAN-SIZED shot. OUCH! You know what; I take back what I said about Kit being responsible for what happened to Baloo because thanks to science and the power of the study; we know it's was eating while piloting that was the cause of this mess. No, not really. The SeaDuck lands as Kit looks to his left and Baloo appears to be dead with a huge bruise beside his left ear. Kit undoes his seatbelt and tries to wake him up by shaking his arm; but no dice. Kit then finds the conviently placed hotdog on the floor (with all the other food goodies splattered on the floor) and places it under Baloo's nose as Baloo sniffs and talks. Yeah; he's drunk, but all right as Kit hugs him as a sort of unspoken apology for getting him in this mess. Baloo eats the hotdog in response.

We go to the scene changer back to the water inbetween the cliff guns as we see Baloo and Kit rowing the broken SeaDuck home. I don't think that's a good idea if Rebecca gets the idea to shove one up Baloo's ass if you catch my drift. The near shot of course has that ultra silly shadow characters similar to the ones I usually saw in Ducktales (figures since those ones were also animated by Wang Films). Kit proclaims that Baloo is in better shape than his baby as Baloo is confused as hell while having bandages on his head. Kit calls it the SeaDuck and Baloo gets off this gem of a line....

Baloo: Funny name for a plane. Hey! I guess it's sort of quacked up!

HAHA! Kit is not amused by that one as he thinks Rebecca doesn't see it as funny. Of course not; when she finds out that it was YOUR idea to put them and the Seaduck in that kind of danger Little Britches. Baloo goes all silly on that one as we return to Higher...For....Hire at the docks AFTER HAPPY HOUR (mistake #2: The previous sequence had a night to day shot and now it's night again) as we cut to Rebecca pacing on the docks while Wildcat leans on the wall of the office. Actually; one of the storyboarders is Wendell Washer and he has a storyboard on this very scene at his website. I'll post the link after this re-rant is done. Rebecca asks where the MIRACLE WORKERS CONNECTION is and Wildcat points to the southwest as we see a huge red/white ocean liner tow the SeaDuck into the harbor. I'm calling that logic break #1 for the episode even though it's completely plausible for this to make sense since I don't see how an ocean liner could have seen...Oh wait; Whistlestop Jackson, Legend had it in the back of the entrance behind the Cliff Guns; my mistake. Anyhow; we jump cut to the docks as the side door opens as Kit brings Baloo out and Rebecca invokes the WRAITH OF BECKEY on Kit; and then sees Baloo with the bandages and recoils instantly and is concerned about Baloo now. Rebecca orders Kit to get aspirin and call a doctor as Kit sulks feeling awful for his own plan backfiring as WildCat asks if he's okay looking concern as well. Kit is all right; but he isn't sure about Baloo as they walk to the office and we fade to black.

If I remember correctly; Kit never apologizes for the incident like that girl in that horror movie about killer rabbits. Ummm; yeah, that doesn't sound gay at all; no siree. Then again; that girl was indirectly responsible for killing dozens of people unintentionally by releasing the mutant bunny rabbit, and Baloo only got slightly injured so Kit's apology isn't that big of a deal when you consider that Baloo is really AT fault for being late in the first place; thus forcing Kit into using a dangerous plan. So in essence; I retract my previous statement about Kit owing Baloo an apology in the previous rant. Baloo pretty much brought his injuries on himself.

Anyhow; we return to morning as we see Kit throwing a hammer to WildCat as he fixes the tail fin while calling him a little ducky. HAHA! We cut to a shot of the office as Baloo yawns and comes out the door looking somewhat fresh as a daisy. Kit asks if he's all right and Baloo states that he is and he had a dream. And then he's shocked to find that the plane was in his dreams too. Kit gets all Canadian on us as he thanks Wildcat for it and wants Baloo to test the plane. Kit walks Baloo into the side door of the SeaDuck as Baloo is impressed a wee bit too much to be just all right. Kit walks Baloo into the cockpit as we head in as Kit closes the door and Baloo jumps into Kit's navigational seat. EWWWWWW! GET HIM AWAY! GET HIM AWAY! No one degrades the sacred navigational seat even if Rebecca/Baloo owns/pilots the plane. Yeah; it's sarcasm. Kit points out the obvious to him and they switch seats as Baloo takes the stick and role plays with it which leads to a really funny sequence:

WildCat: {WildCat has his ass in the air as the tail fin flaps to the left} I'm sorry. Uncle WildCat hit you too hard? {Baloo turns the stick to the right which allows the tail fin to smack WildCat hard into the drink.} I said I'm sorry!

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sadly; Pat Fraley's timing was a bit off as he said the sorry part about a full second after he goes hit instead of a half second BEFORE he got hit. Funny promo otherwise. Good splash effect by Wang Films too as we see Kit watching from the window as WildCat pops up onto the docks. Kit stammers a bit and asks Baloo if he wants to start it up and Baloo gives Kit the right to start it up himself. You know something's wrong when Baloo just casually tells Kit to go at it. Baloo even crosses his legs and puts his feet on the stick. EWWWWWW! GET THEM AWAY! GET THEM AWAY! Kit starts the engines; using words (set mixer, magneto which sounds like a bad X-Men reference but it's an electrical generator used in airplanes. ) that clearly goes right over the heads of kids and most adults for that matter. No wonder the show is never considered for a remake. Wait a minute! It isn't considered because the original was beautiful to begin with. What am I thinking? Anyway; Baloo thinks its fun so he flips the wrong switches saying stuff that doesn't make any sense and Kit panics as Baloo has reserved the props. WOW! Two back-to-back lines that no one is going to get. Baloo even has windshield wipers and horns as Wang Films animates those well. The engines reserve themselves and the SeaDuck backs up behind poor WildCat who is forced to jump as the dock gets smashed and WildCat's in the drink again. That was almost as funny as the last time WildCat's in the drink and the spot doesn't miss this time. William's acting on the reversing the props was pretty good as well.

Kit resumes the original positions of the controls and is asking why Baloo was doing that and Baloo doesn't know. Kit is SHOCKED because Baloo is supposed to be a pilot. Rebecca's screaming beckons as she wonders if Baloo is all right. Baloo sticks his head out of the plane to say that Kit is insane for calling him a pilot but Kit covers his mouth and pulls him back in. How does that happen? Kit calls it a failure of aerodynamics in some airplane part that I don't know (and neither does Disney Captions) so that Rebecca gets confused. Hey; if it confuses me then it works on her. Trust me on that! Why is it to me that R.J. Williams is one of the few child voice actors who can preform these off-hand lines that no one understands? Kit then grits his teeth (which Disney allowed for the first time since Plunder and Lightning Part One) as he calls WildCat to come in (and remembering to say please; even though I expect WildCat to come in anyway); who is able to climb up from the dock. Kit tells him that Baloo is a pilot when the LIGHTBLUB OF BLOODLY CLAIRITY sets in as Baloo has lost his mind (sort of, it's isn't like what Tweeg suffered; more like Burl Ruxpin) WildCat comes in as Rebecca tells the gang its time to ship some cargo. Baloo confirms the amnesia by saying she's a nice lady and Kit corrects him that she's also the boss of all three. This is big trouble if the WRAITH OF BECKEY finds out; Baloo will be fired.

Baloo: How can I be fired for something that I don't know how to do?

Kit and WildCat just look stunned and no; they didn't take any drugs! Baloo's aminesa trip is so funny that it's becoming a great episode just for that aspect alone. However; the real reason why this episode is so great is yet to come and you'll never be the same again. Baloo goes back to role playing on the Seaduck as Kit THE MIRACLE WORKER has a plan and unlike the last MIMI JOKE ZONE PLAN; I'm hoping that this plan works.....

So we go to the scene changer as we see Rebecca on the docks tapping her foot and checking her watch as the engines start. We then see Kit waving to Miss Cunningham (or would be if Wang Films didn't screw up here) as the SeaDuck hovers on the water. We cut back to the cockpit as Baloo and Kit have their seat belts on as WildCat is flying the plane while sitting on the floor of the Seaduck. Kit is hoping that this will bring Baloo back some memories of flying. Baloo panics as he doesn't want to see WildCat crash so Kit yells at WildCat to pull up and he does that as WildCat hyperbole into the air and misses a decently drawn tugboat by about two feet. Then he dodges a purple airplane which misses by about 10 feet. Oh well; at least it isn't that bad as Rebecca isn't amused by this on the ground and blows off Baloo for showing off. I love real comments that aren't supposed to be real comments. We cut to the SeaDuck going through the cliff gun entrance as Kit asks if Baloo is getting back any memories and Baloo claims that this was the night they didn't pay the electric bill while covering his eyes.

I'm wondering if Baloo really has multiple personality disorder and he saw a doctor and had those bad memories repressed into the deepest part of his mind and that blow to the head brought them back? Just wondering as Kit tells Baloo to watch WildCat and he'll remember. WildCat then torments Baloo with telling him what the control panel shows. I'll leave the controls as an exercise to the reader as he does a Dr. Debolt-like stance with Hanna-Barbera Wobble Sound Effect (TM) in effect (if this was Sunwoo animating then you would be watching a classic) as the SeaDuck takes a dive. Kit panics again as Baloo manages to pull up with some assistance from WildCat and the SeaDuck is out of danger again. HAHA! I see Wildcat screwed Kit on THAT one. Good animation there as Baloo shakes like a leaf as WildCat is impressed; but to save the aerobatics for lesson 2 or lesson 10. HAHA! Baloo looks like that overdue heart attack is going to happen.

Scene changer as we head into the STORMY WEATHER OF DEATH (the symbolism of all friendship breakups in DTVA) as Wildcat reads from the flight manual that thunderstorms are dangerous to airplanes. Well; in the 1930's that is certainly true; but today, no, not really. Wind and ice are bigger problems though. We head to the cockpit as Wildcat is reading from a pink book. Must be the flight manual for little pilot girls. AHHAHAHAHAHAHA! POW! OUCH! Ummmm... Baloo looks like he is going to have a heart attack at this point as WildCat tells Baloo to fly around a thunderstorm. Naturally; Baloo flies into it as the rain and thunder come down in bunches. Baloo is still shaking as Wildcat proclaims that Baloo has done it a hundred times. Baloo then asks how many times has Wildcat done it. WildCat proclaims that counting this one....once. That is logic break #2 for the episode since Wildcat did the same thing basically in Bearly Alive. Then again; it's a minor break since it only gives WildCat -98 experience compared to Baloo. Then; the number 2 engine on the babyface's right gets struck by a thunderbolt and goes dead as the plane spirals into a tailspin (BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) and Wildcat gleefully states the obvious for us.

Kit grabs three green parachutes (which actually makes sense here and invented in 1785) and tells the group its time to jump ship. Baloo panics on that one as everyone walks to the side door with Baloo going last of course. Kit and Wildcat open the door as the SeaDuck whacks to the right and Kit and WildCat are forced out. This is the only time Kit ever took precautions (other than seat belts; which were invented in 1885) in this series when free falling. At least his made sense compared to BS&P thinking that putting a helmet on Jake Long when he flew as a dragon was protecting the children. Baloo is helpless on the floor of the plane (which Wang Films coloring team cracks up again) as Kit and Wildcat opens their parachutes on the free fall. And somehow we cut back to see that the door slammed shut on Baloo (no logic break there; just odd) as Baloo tries to blitz the door; but it won't open. SOMEONE FIRE THAT DOOR! Baloo screams for Kit and WildCat (well; he's remembering their names already which is great because it makes the finish sweeter) as Kit yells for Baloo to get out and we see the SeaDuck spiraling down towards the clouds to end the segment nine and a half minutes in. Now; the real fun begins....

After the commercial break; the SeaDuck is no long flying vertical which makes no sense whatsoever and that's the first real bad logic break of the episode as we cut back to the side door and Baloo yelling his lungs out for help while banging the door. He pulls on the door but no dice. Then we hear a voice on the radio (it sounds like a bit Scooby Doo character so it's Hal Smith and here he is actually credited) as Baloo runs to the cockpit and gets on the headphones and transmitter and screams for help because he's in a storm. The voice blows him off because the storm is gone and we have gone to AFTER HAPPY HOUR now. Would have been more suspenseful had we not seen the pilot's window filled with night and stars. Anyhow; we hear the voice wanting Baloo to bring the SeaDuck in for a landing. Baloo asks where as we go to the window and we see that the SeaDuck is crossing over some yellow lights. Baloo still panics because he cannot fly. The messenger thinks he's crazy (calling it horse lips) and tells him anyone can fly. Sadly; Kit doesn't hear it; sorry Ted.

He tells Baloo to calm down and do as he says. Baloo does it while he he's still acting like a coward. He manages to get the SeaDuck to stay constant despite rocking a little bit. The animation here is pretty good to say the least. The SeaDuck finally lands perfectly with the engines cut and Baloo does the most dramatic sigh of relief I've ever witnessed. He is still calling out the guy and goes to the side door to unlatch it and it gently opens. HAHA! Baloo jumps out of the SeaDuck as he sees nothing but darkness (and the small yellow lights). Baloo calls out for someone and a lion-type furry (wearing a brown bomber jacket, goggles, a blue scarf, blue pants, brown gloves and a cane) who looks to be nearly 70 years old shows up and calls himself Joe. Baloo feels relieved until Joe starts poking the SeaDuck a bit and the right platoon of it falls apart. One of the props looks in bad shape as Joe explains that if Baloo delays the landing in thirty seconds then Baloo would have crashed the SeaDuck in such a monotonous matter that Baloo does the most dramatic faint job (and misses doing the anime face plant) I've ever seen as the scene fades to black. HAHA! I'm loving this Joe fellow already.

We return to the outer limits of a city AFTER HAPPY HOUR as Kit (with parachute) looks from there. Kit points out the obvious as Wildcat of course looks like a fake ghost stuck in his white sheet. HAHA! Kit pulls off the white sheet and wants to hire a car or a truck. I don't see how you hire an object; but Kit is awesome so who cares?! Kit pushes WildCat forward harshly as Kit thinks Baloo didn't bail out and he might be dead; but Kit stops before dead. Huh? Why bother stepping in BS&P? You are allowed to say dead on this show ; this isn't 4Kids. We go to the vertical scene changer as we see Baloo in a hanger sleeping on a green cot with a mug of coffee and a tart on a stool (NOT THAT ONE!). I see his lost of memories hasn't effected his snoring. He tosses to his right and the cot doesn't break. SOMEONE FIRE THAT COT!

The coffee smell gets to Baloo's nose and Baloo coughs as a result. Baloo wakes up and sits on the side of the cot and it still doesn't break! That cot is tougher than Steve Williams. We get a clean shot of the hanger which doubles as an office as Baloo calls out for someone and then eats the tart and takes the coffee mug. He walks over to the BBS OF DOOM near the front of the office and he sees various B&W photos of Joe even as a young one. This plays into the finish later on I should note as the guy is a flying ace. And judging by the picture with the woman behind him; he used to be married too. Baloo notices various flying medals including one that looks like a cross (using circles) as it's the medal for Legion of Valor and we get his full name which is Joe McGee (sadly; it doesn't show up on the ribbon for logic break #4 for the episode). A note about Joe McGee: It is believed that he is a tribute to Joesph Gillespie McGee Jr. who wrote the following poem High Flight:

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space...
...put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Needless to say; it became the inspiration for the website High Flight which was a continuation of the series which started with Tail Winds which we find out who Kit's parents really were. Sadly; there were 13 episodes planned; only seven made it through. It hasn't been updated for a long time since my website link is still Geocities instead of 50webs. We hear some weak hammering and Baloo walks out and sees that he is at a deserted airport in the middle of nowhere on the zoom out shot. We get a pan shot of the place quickly as we head to the SeaDuck as Joe is fixing the number two engine and is impressed by it. Joe walks down with his cane as he tells Baloo that only his radio is shot and he's ready to take off. Something's fishy about that since the radio was working when Baloo was using it. Baloo stammers on that one as Joe thinks he knows what he's thinking that the cliffs are too high to climb and Baloo's right in this case and the only way out is through a cave with the exit craved like an airplane. Heh. I do find this a wee bit contrived since he could simply go OVER the mountain without much trouble; but with Baloo's mind shot now; Joe has a point.

Joe states Clear Skies! (a popular TaleSpin goodbye for those who want to know) and starts to leave. Baloo runs towards him; states that he's grateful for Joe saving his life and asks if he could find a phone, or a taxi because he doesn't know how to fly. Joe states that flying is the ONLY WAY OUT.; and admits that he has a bump on the head and cannot fly. Joe decides to help him without a second thought and welcome him to Joe's Flying School. Plus; Baloo is a pilot by proxy so he gets the refreshers course. How nice of him as they walk back into the hanger to begin the course. Baloo tries to get a word in; but a flyboy is always a flyboy so the story goes. We now turn to seeing Baloo wearing the goofiest pilot's hat I've ever witnessed as he flies and whimpers on the...wait for it....THE MECH-BULL AIRPLANE OF DOOM. (I'm not making this up) Baloo tries hard to get it right; but misses the spots needed to do it properly. He in the end falls flat on his face on a single mattress which is about five inches thick with no bounce whatsoever. Bad form there Wang. Baloo throws the pilot's hat down as I'm still laughing at Joe's tactics and wanting to walk home. However; Joe states that it's 20 miles of rattlesnakes and other nasties. So Baloo comes back (and puts on the goofy pilot's cap of course) with the grumbles from Stormy Weather (despite Disney Captions claiming that Baloo said out in the middle of nowhere) and rides the MECH-BULL AIRPLANE OF DOOM again and this time he manages to get it right. I'm amazed that Wang Films didn't screw this one up. Baloo's got to be dizzy after that one.

The second pilot test (out of goodness knows how many) involves flying a mock plane tied to a pulley and getting the nose up just enough so that you land on top of the haystack; not through it. Baloo should only be so lucky that the tests make SENSE in their own cheap fun way. It could be like Dragon Ball Z where he had to chase a monkey and whack a cricket called Gregory with a mallet. Baloo tries to get the nose up but it doesn't quite work for him and he crashes into the haystack. Joe just sighs as he turns the pully so that Baloo can attempt the training yet again saying that his pilot's karma is in there somewhere; but it is hidden. Sounds like anime to me...Anyway; Baloo attempts it again and manage to get it right this time as he lands on the haystack. Joe is happy now as the last test is about to get underway... Now we go to the fateful last test which is Baloo actually flying a small plane with Joe as the backseat driver of course. No; seriously, that's right. I'm not making that one up. Joe even winks at the camera for good measure as Baloo isn't sure about this. Joe pulls the lever (WRONG LEVER!) and they do the old ski jump ramp spot and we start to fly as Joe tells Baloo to take over. Baloo does the closeup panic scream of doom as we dodge the rocks for a bit and pulls the stick to the left as Joe causually checks off his clipboard. Joe then asks for a roll and that's what Baloo does and then Joe asks for a loop and we get the Loop-De-Loop for only 15 cents as Joe proclaims that it's perfect as he checks off the last thing. Joe just has one order left: Joe tells him to loosen up and that leads to one of the greatest heart warming moments not recorded on TV Tropes. We start with this line...

Joe MacGee: Look around you Baloo. Up here; you're free as a bird......The skies are yours. You've remembered how to fly but you forgotten what flying's all about.

Anime Moment #2: As Baloo is flying the plane; they go into a flashback where they show Baloo flying the SeaDuck showing Kit cheering his Papa Bear as the SeaDuck dodges the Air Pirates again and then show the Higher For Hire docks where the SeaDuck begins to do a barrel roll in front of WildCat as he waves. Why do I mention this? Watch the scene carefully and you will notice that other than Kit's cheering, laughing and the beautiful Christopher L. Stone music playing in the background; there is nothing but silence. No one except Kit is talking (and even THAT is one line) until the flashback officially ends. This is exactly why anime purist hate those dubs because when you watch certain anime shows in Japan there is silence; while in the dub; there is lots of talking that is not needed. While excessive silence to me is too confusing for me; excessive talking also upsets the flow of the show and tones down dramatic scenes. This is also amazing because normally when the lose memory angle is done; the way to bring it back is to do a second bump on the head and this episode completely AVOIDS it. Father's Day from Teddy Ruxpin was at least justifiable because Burl's memory was erased by a device and therefore the logic of reversing the crystal to restore it made logical sense even if it was all magic basically. Otherwise; it was always a cheap cop out to do the second bump. This also applies to the Flowers for Algernon angle in which a bonk on the head makes one smarter. On another note; I also noticed that none of the footage actually comes from ANY TaleSpin episode(s) that I can think of. It's ORIGINAL FOOTAGE!

This is one amazing sequence since it is the point where Baloo finally gets all of his memories back and he can finally fly as he does a few more barrel rolls to impress Joe. They land on the airstrip at Joe's Flying School as Baloo asks how he did. Joe calls it flying. I love real comments that aren't supposed to be real comments. Joe climbs out and proclaims that Baloo is now ready to fly solo. Baloo then gets scared as he climbs on the airplane asking Joe to come along and Joe no sells because he has too much work to do and then walks stage left.

Anime Moment #3: Then we go into a very surreal moment as Baloo looks at the structure in which it's his only way out (the SeaDuck) and then the place turns dark as he looks up into the sky and sees storm clouds cover the sun. Then they show Baloo's two eyes as they show footage from earlier in the episode when Kit, WildCat and Baloo were in the storm and Baloo completely lost control of the SeaDuck and tailspin to its doom. I've mentioned this before in AM#2; however, this scene is beautiful because it demonstrates that Baloo still has a ways to go before he can fly again. Sure his memories have returned; however, his has also regained his awful memories of that near crash that nearly befall him. This actually makes the whole amnesia angle look more realistic. I'm a little disappointed that they didn't show the original crash during the incident at Mirckle Pass earlier; but I guess the episode is running too long anyway. It is an important moment for the rest of the episode to work its magic. That ends the segment 16 and a half minutes in. We are almost to one of the most awesome finishes in Disney history.

After the commercial break; we go to a sky shot of Joe's Flying School as the SeaDuck starts the engines as we see the wind whip around Joe as it's clear skies again. Baloo salutes him and then turns the plane around onto the landing strip and tries to fly out selling bravery. However; wheels go from white to black on several shots as Baloo chickens out and turns the SeaDuck around. Geez; what a shock that was?! Joe walks strangely over (due to selling the injured leg) and asks if he forgot something. I think his courage is missing Joe; that good enough answer for ye? Baloo tries to make up a story about bad weather even though it's clear outside. Apparently his trick knee never lies. Apparently; it does crank calling too. AHHAHAHAHAHAHA! Joe is not buying this one bit. However, since Joe is not a nasty elder like so many elders that exist in the media world (although thanks to the ADD era; it's more justified to be pissed off as a elder seeing how the children are not all right in the cartoon world. See Fan boy and Chum Chum); he decides to play along and let Baloo stay for a little while longer; leaving towards the hanger. However; I think he's cooking up a plan; I can just see that happening now.

We then head to the SANDBOX OF DOOM as we see WildCat driving a jeep while Kit Cloudkicker is towing his airfoil from behind using his foot and using the binoculars with his hands. This is the only episode in the series while Kit is using his light brown colored airfoil which looks downright weird since in the television series they only used two colors: light brown here and gray for the rest of the episodes and yet in the comics and promotional they used a wide assortment of colors: red, green, yellow, purple and even candy cane striped airfoils at times. That is one of those things I actually give the comics over the television series with since Kit is supposed to be the Tony Hawk before Tony Hawk was over and customizing the airfoil would have been another innovation in his cap even if they were mostly solid colors. WildCat states that they are low on gas and asks Kit if he's found Baloo. However; Kit yells that there is no trace of Baloo. WildCat causes the jeep to bounce up into the air in a cute spot to amuse me

So we go to the scene changer as we pan over to the SeaDuck as Joe proclaims that it's time for Baloo to leave. However; Baloo no sells inside the hanger as he sneezes badly. Joe walks funny towards the hanger wondering what his excuse is. Does cowardice count as an excuse Joe? Baloo is seen inside forcing himself to sneeze by using the black pepper until he hears Joe coming. Man; Baloo's more of a coward than I thought. Joe enters the hanger and notices the black pepper and garlic right away as Baloo's eyes are watered. Joe decides to play along and thinks Baloo is feeling awful. Baloo states some type of disease (triple altitude pneumonia. HAHA!) that doesn't exist or worse as he blows his nose and Oscar is still cooler than you when it comes to that spot. Joe decides to actually sell it and leaves Baloo to rest. Baloo breathes a sigh of relief as he goes to sleep. I smell Joe having a plan at this point and I'm apparently right as we go to the scene changer and a pan shot of the hanger as Baloo is still asleep. We then hear Joe McGee makes some awful pain noises as he pushes a ladder of water and paint down on the ground and lays onto the ground holding his leg as Baloo hears the screams wakes up and runs out of the hanger quicker than a hiccup. Baloo rushes towards Joe and sees him flat on his back holding his left leg (Memo to Scott: Working left in wrestling applies to cartoons too) claiming that he busted it into a million pieces falling off the ladder. What surprises me is that Joe actually sounds creditable now. HAHA! I heart Ginny McSwain; what can I say? Was Joe a professional wrestler or something? Baloo picks him up acting like a timid rabbit and Joe tells him to put him down gently because he doesn't want anyone to touch him.

He then tells Baloo to go find Doc Cooper at once due north 20 miles. Does he sound like a Back to The Future reference or what? Baloo puts him down harshly (Sadly; Joe doesn't sell the fall which kills off some of the creditability just a wee bit.) and does some scary-cat motions before finally going into the plane as Joe winks to indicate that Baloo's taken the bait. What a sneaky guy this Joe McGee fellow is and he's monster over now. Baloo finally takes off and manages to get the plane into the air this time around as he heads towards the profile cave. The SeaDuck manages to get through without any difficulty (while Baloo makes some funny faces to amuse me) and Baloo has finally shook off his cowardice. Good for him I guess. Wang Films' animation was a bit off; but it was fine...He flies a loop and goes over Joe's Flying School as Joe cheers at him. Luckly for Baloo; he didn't see him.....

Scene changer and we head back to the SANDBOX OF DOOM as the jeep/airfoil search party continues on. We cut to Kit on patrol and he notices the SeaDuck flying normally and nearly gets his head cut off by the props (I see the rope went through the CACTUS JACK OF DOOM as well; but the dust covered it up so it wasn't so obvious); but misses by about ten feet. Kit's eye popping was cute there by the way. We then see the SeaDuck touch down in front of town and HOLY CRAP; there is a church in town with a clear Christian cross on it. YAHOO! I knew this show would have a legit religious reference if I simply looked hard enough. 4Kids would paint that away for sure. The window below is also shaped like a cross as the SeaDuck literally turns on a dime in front of the fountain (which has no water pouring) and we see Baloo barge into the Doc's office yelling for a doctor (the door also has a plus sign which indicates the red cross; but whatever) as we go outside as a turtle furry wearing just his shell; glasses and a blue tie with his first aid kit (Did I mention the Red Cross has copyright issues with their symbols?) is being forced against his will to run with Baloo.

Doc Cooper wants answers to this outrage (and he's voiced by Uncle Scrooge aka Alan Young. I believe that this was one of the last times in Disney we heard Hal Smith and Alan Young in the same episode before Hal Smith passed away in 1994.) and Baloo proclaims that this is an emergency. Sadly for Doc; he's powerless to stop a crazed 400 pound sloth bear as they go into the SeaDuck quickly and it begins to take off. Kit and WildCat arrive with the jeep (and we see the church with Christian Cross for the second time) as Kit jumps into the SeaDuck's side door calling for Baloo with WildCat coming close behind as the jeep speeds off into parts unknown and forgotten. Kit sees Baloo flying and both he and WildCat are shocked that Baloo can fly normally now. Kit fumbles his words as he plops into the navigational seat and puts on his seatbelt. Baloo doesn't have time to talk as apparently we don't see Doc Cooper anywhere. I guess he's still in the back and I'm right as WildCat puts on his seat belt. The SeaDuck takes off in a sonic boom (or the DVD master is wobbling)....

.and we head to Joe's Flying School as Baloo lands the SeaDuck and turns it on a dime again. Baloo and Kit jump out the left side and Baloo runs about thirty feet and then stops in total shock. Kit asks what's wrong and we see that Joe McGee is nowhere to be seen and the whole place is in ruins. Baloo yells for Joe and runs around looking for him as Doc wants to know who the injured man is and Baloo states his last name and Doc Cooper is in SHOCK to hear that one. Baloo runs into the hanger and it looks like a legit war zone. Kit comes in and asks if Baloo is all right and Baloo blows him off and runs in circles wanting to look for Joe. Baloo runs out as Doc Cooper tells him that he won't find him here because no one has used the field for years since the cave in. What a freakin lair this Doc Cooper is? We saw Joe McGee in the flesh for almost ten minutes. He has to be here somewhere. Ummm; no he's not Greg, as Baloo runs back in and finds Joe's cane propped on the desk as Doc comes in....

Anime Moment #4: Dr. Cooper recalls a flashback and explains that Joe MacGee was a war hero who saved his crew from a fire/plane crash and broke his leg so acutely that he couldn't fly or fight anymore. So he opened up a flight school to train the best pilots in the best world. He was the best in his time to say the least. However; Joe died (Dr. Cooper said passed away but that's close enough to die) 20 years ago (1916-1917ish). Baloo goes to a black photograph and grabs it; putting in his shirt as he shed tears and thanked Joe for training him.

Fong: What you just seen is a distortion of reality....

And it still FREAKIN WORKS TODAY! WHAT A SCENE I JUST WITNESSED! This is one of the most beautiful moments in the history of Disney Animation. True blue Disney suspension of disbelief; almost to the point of pulling off something similar to Eva or first class anime. Some have even called this the crowning moment of DTVA; but I think Plunder and Lightning already did that for me with Home Is Where The Heart Is. Everything else is so come to it that it's top of the line. We are supposed to believe that Baloo had seen a pilot ace who happen to employ strange methods to teach pilots how to fly and gained a relationship with him. When Joe busted his leg; he was faking it of course; but we believed that he was still alive and well. However; when Baloo came back with Kit and WildCat it looked like he was missing until Baloo said Joe's last name and Dr. Cooper realized that something was wrong and had to break the news that Joe was really dead.

I then began to realized that one of two things happen and either point could be valid. The popular theory is that Baloo slipped through time and landed in a WW1 airfield in 1917 and then returned to the real world when he was finished. The second theory and the one I think happened is that Baloo was still in the real world and actually met a guardian angel called by God to guide Baloo from his bump on the head to regain his ability to fly and more importantly; regain his courage to fly after two mishaps earlier in the episode as shown with Baloo's fear at the end of the second commercial break. It makes perfect sense and more importantly; it would be the first time that Disney has been able to slip a religious reference in there without showing like a religious reference. It explains the two huge logic breaks as well in the episode and it did bring tears to my eyes as well. Although not as emotion as Libby Hinson's tearjerker of an episode in Her Chance to Dream or the lullaby Rebecca sang to Molly (and indirectly to Kit) in the Plunder and Lightning movie; but it is close enough. I don't think I'll ever give Libby Hinson enough thanks for bringing such a brilliant sequence as I would see here. The scariest part is this isn't even the best finish she ever did.

So we see the SeaDuck fly away through the cave and into the sky and it's BEFORE HAPPY HOUR (sunset) as it flies through the clouds. We see Kit and Baloo in their chairs as Kit points out the B&W picture of Baloo and Joe together (I guess they took a photo together before Baloo left the scene to get to Doc Cooper) as he asks if Joe is a friend of his. Baloo calls him more than a friend as he calls him a guardian angel as the SeaDuck flies away from the camera and we hear Joe with his last parting words just to accent the episode in one sentence with a final echo:

Joe: Look around you Baloo. You're free as a bird. The skies are yours.

This ends the episode at 21:16. That's three straight perfect episodes for Libby Hinson right there folks; not even the minor logic breaks can stop this one. Memo to Boom Comics: You want to make a TaleSpin comic? Call Libby Hinson. ***** (100%).

Final Note: I think this episode might be a second run syndication episode since Larry Latham is posted as Post-Production Producer. I wonder if Cooper really said that Joe McGee died 20 years ago? I know Chris Barat has notes on this series when it first aired and sadly I lost my copy of the notes Chris sent me through snail mail a long time ago.


THE REVIEW LINE

 It's episodes like this that make me wonder why this series wasn't given a second season. While the whole premise of losing your memories to a bump on the head have been done before; how they present it was incredible since they avoided all the cliches of the angle. I didn't even realize that Baloo was in a time warp/guardian angel until Dr. Cooper told Baloo that Joe died 20 years ago. I was in shock when Baloo return and Joe MacGee wasn't even there. It looked like something out of an anime series like Eva where little made sense. This I realize is the proper way to suspend disbelief to your audience; you're supposed to believe that Joe was in fact alive when he had been dead for nearly two decades. The creators even did an anime flashback to show Baloo's memories flowing black and it was almost in silence with the music playing in the background. I actually was in tears watching this because Baloo is still a good babyface to sympathize with even if 20 years of hindsight; and Joe is an elder who might be one of the best pilots in that world. While they used the passed away instead of saying dead outright; it doesn't matter; the impact of the episode is still fully there. Even Wang Films couldn't deny Libby's greatness and the impact is even more awesome than I remember it. I'm also glad that in a 1930's setting the cross is still allowed. I think I have said enough of Libby Hinson's work on this series and we'll stop at that until Jolly Molly Christmas on Christmas Eve. So next up is the final episode of disc one: War of the Weirds which we combine the power of lying with a psychopath army solider who suffers from the worst of PSD. So.....

Thumbs way up for this episode and I'll see you next time.

 

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