March 28, 2015


(CBS, September 12-December 5, 1992)

Walt Disney Television Animation

Jim Cummings – Bonkers D. Bobcat, Norman, Maurice, Don Karnage
Jeff Bennett – Jitters A. Dog
Charlie Adler – Green Frog
Nancy Cartwright – Fawn Deer, Windy
Steve Mackall – Marsupilami

CBS Raw Toonage promo featuring Bonkers D. Bobcat.

            In 1991, Walt Disney Television Animation was in the process of developing a new 65-episode program for its The Disney Afternoon 2-hour programming block called He’s Bonkers D. Bobcat, later renamed simply Bonkers. The show was inspired by the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit as it was focused on Bonkers, an animated bobcat who was fired from Wackytoon Studios and was forced into a new profession as a police officer alongside a human partner. However, the series was beleaguered by numerous production troubles, resulting in its being delayed.

The Marsupilami comic strip.

            Faced with an opening in its programming schedule, someone at Disney suggested they should make the cartoon shorts that Bonkers had supposedly starred in as a lead-up to the series. At roughly the same time, then Disney President Michael Eisner had purchased the rights to the popular Belgian comic strip Marsupilami. With those rights just sitting around, it was decided to expand the idea and create a new show encompassing three segments with different stars. 

Bonkers and his dream of marrying Fawn Deer.

            He’s Bonkers featured the misadventures of Bonkers (Jim Cummings) as he tried to win the affections of Fawn Deer (Nancy Cartwright), usually to disastrous results. Like classic Disney shorts, Bonkers was often depicted in a variety of occupations and time periods with each segment having no connection to the other. Bonkers’ best friend and frequent partner was Jittes A. Dog (Jeff Bennet), a nervous dog who often falls victim to Bonkers’ hijinx. Totally Tasteless Video was an offbeat parody of popular culture, lampooning things such as commercials, movies and entire television networks. Each segment was done in a completely different style. Marsupilami centered on the titular character (Steve Mackall), which was a spotted monkey-like creature with an extremely long tail. Unlike the comic strips from where he originated, he could talk, was easy-going, and hung around with a gorilla named Maurice (Cummings). Together, they dealt with everyday life in the jungle and the constant nuisance of Norman (also Cummings), who appeared in a variety of roles and served as the segment’s main antagonist.

TTV's All-Potato Network promo.

            The series premiered on CBS Saturday mornings on September 12, 1992 with an intro that showcased the primary characters of the series, and for some odd reason, Webby from DuckTales. Typically, each episode featured a Bonkers, Video and Marsupilami segment in that order, although occasionally they would feature four segments and double up on one of them. All but three episodes featured a guest host in a cold open from other Disney properties, such as Scrooge McDuck (Alan Young) from DuckTales, Launchpad McQuack (Terry McGovern) and Goaslyn Mallard (Christine Cavanugh) from Darkwing Duck, Don Karnage (Cummings) from TaleSpin, and the original Disney host Ludwig Von Drake (Corey Burton) from The Wonderful World of Color. Goofy even made an appearance in a segment throwing back to his 1940s shorts. Bonkers, Jitters, Marsupilami and Maurice also had turns hosting segments. Much like other comedy variety shows, these segments were typically unrelated skits and sometimes featured additional characters. Larry Latham produced and directed the Bonkers, Video and host segments while Ed Wexler worked on Marsupilami. Tom Minton served as the story editor for the Video segments. Music for the series was composed by Stephen James Taylor, Mark Watters, Eric Schmidt, Jerry Grant, Walter Murphy and Craig Stuart Garfinkle.

Marsupilami and Maurice.

            The quick production schedule allowed the series to be finished way before Bonkers, allowing it to be aired first and retroactively adding validity to the characters’ fictional background. When Bonkers finally did make it to air as part of The Disney Afternoon, several segments of He’s Bonkers plus one featured only theaters preceding 3 Ninjas were repackaged together into three episodes to fill out the Bonkers episode package. Marsupilami was spun off into its own series the following year, also on CBS (more on that and the character in its entry). The show was rerun on The Disney Channel and Toon Disney, and even received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program and Outstanding Music Direction and Composition in 1993.

“Spatula Party / Doggie Schnauzer / Marsupilami Meets Dr. Normanstein” (9/19/92) – Bonkers goes around town to find a spatula to lend to Fawn. / Doggie Schnauzer must save a man who swallowed a washing machine. / Dr. Normanstein is looking for a brain for his new monster.
Host: Ludwig von Drake

“Sheerluck Bonkers / All Potato Network / The Puck Stops Here” (9/26/92) – Bonkers tries to find Fawn’s stolen pendant. / The network caters to an all-potato audience with its programming. / Norman challenges Marsupilami to a game of hockey.
Host: Don Karnage featuring Captain Hook

“Bonkers in Space / Cro-Magnum PI / The Treasure of the Sierra Marsdre” (10/3/92) – Jitters is sent into space while Bonkers is distracted by Fawn. / The stone-age detective investigates a tycoon’s theft of new invention ideas. / Norman works his way into Marsupilami and Maurice’s treasure hunt.
Host: Scrooge McDuck

“Draining Cats and Dogs / Mars vs. Man” (10/10/92) – Bonkers and Jitters rescue Fawn when her pipes burst. / Marsupilami’s tree is removed by Norman to make way for new condos.
Host: Sebastian the crab featuring Chef Louie

“Get Me to the Church on Time / So You Think You Know Everything, Do You? / Someone’s In the Kitchen With Mars” (10/17/92) – Bonkers tries to get Jitters to his wedding on time. / Two geniuses compete against each other and a dog on a game show. / Marsupilami and Maurice go after their fruit basket stolen by Chef Norman.
 Host: Jitters A. Dog

“Ski Patrol / Poultrygeist / Romancing the Clone / Goofy’s Guide to the Olympics” (10/24/92) – Ambulance drivers Bonkers and Jitters rush to Grumbles’ aid. / A house built on the site of an old fast-food restaurant is haunted by the chickens served there. / Marsupilami falls in love with Norman who wears a female Marsupilami costume. / Goofy demonstrates various track and field events.
Host: Bonkers D. Bobcat

“Get Me a Pizza (Hold the Minefield) / Nightmare on Rocky Road / Wannabe Ruler? / The Porker’s Court” (10/31/92) – A black and white newsreel shows Bonkers delivering pizzas to the front line during WWI. / A boy’s wish turns the world into ice cream and unleashes the evil Freddy Scooper. / Marsupilami and Norman compete to lead the Wannabe tribe and get their treasure. / The three pigs take their big bad wolf landlord to TV court.
Host: None

“Dogzapoppin’ / Bathtime for Maurince / A Fear of Kites” (11/7/92) – Bonkers can’t get past Grumbles’ nasty dog to deliver a package to him. / Marsupilami tries to get Maurice to bathe. / Bellhop Norman won’t let Marsupilami and Maurice retrieve their kite from the hotel roof.
Host: Launchpad McQuack

“Trailmix Bonkers / The Young and the Nestless / Coming Attractions / Jungle Fever” (11/14/92) – Trailmix Bonkers battles the Grumbles Kid to get two money plates to California. / Marsupilami reminisces about when he and Maurice fought Norman over a comic collection. / Ads for the snack bar, Totzilla and Rambone. / Marsupilami looks for a cure for a sick Maurice.
Host: None

“Witch Doctor is Which? / Robin Hoof / The Hairy Ape” (11/21/92) – Witch Doctor Norman curses Marsupilami so that he could be the happiest person in the jungle. / Robin Hoof and Milk Maid Marion protect Sherwood Forest from evil royalty. / Norman captures Maurice to bring him to a zoo.
Host: Gosalyn Mallard featuring Ludwig Von Drake

“Quest for Firewood / Badly Animated Man / Safari So Good” (11/28/92) – Cavecat Bonkers searches for firewood for his tribe. / A superhero who is badly animated. / Norman’s aunt visit and takes a liking to Marsupilami.
Host: Marsupilami and Maurice

“Gobble Gobble Bonkers / Hot Spots / My New Shoes / Prime Mates Forever” (12/5/92) – Jitters doesn’t realize Bonkers is taking his turkey to Grumbles for dinner. / Norman takes over the watering hole during a heatwave. / A kid raps about what he can do with his new shoes. / Marsupilami tries to help Maurice woo a female gorilla.
Host: None


(ABC, Syndicated, September 6, 1996-January 17, 1997)

Walt Disney Television Animation

Ian Ziering – Wildwing Flashblade
Jeff Bennett – Duke L’Orange, Thrash, Bernie “Buzz” Blitzman
Steve Mackall – Nosedive Flashblade
Jennifer Hale – Mallory McMallard
Brad Garrett – Check “Grin” Hardwing
April Winchell – Tanya Vanderflock, Mookie
Jim Belushi – Phil Palmfeather
Tim Curry – Lord Dragaunus
Clancy Brown – Siege
Tony Jay – Wraith
Frank Welker - Chameleon

            Having conquered the film, animated feature and television market, Disney set its sights on its next empire: sports.

The alternate (top) and more well-known Mighty Ducks team logos.

            In 1992, Walt Disney Pictures released The Mighty Ducks directed by Stephen Herek from a script by Steven Brill; a movie about a team of rag-tag kids coached by a lawyer (Emilio Estevez) who is assigned the task as community service. Together, they became a winning team both on the ice and in the box office as the film proved a financial success. Then Disney President Michael Eisner stated that the movie served as market research as they entered into the next Disney enterprise: sports ownership. In 1992, the National Hockey League (NHL) awarded Disney an expansion franchise for an entrance fee of $50 million dollars. In 1993, The Mighty Ducks (their full name actually including "of Anaheim") were formed at their new home “The Pond,” also known as Anaheim Arena (as of this writing The Honda Center) which was a stone’s throw from Disneyland in California. Their logo was a duck-shaped goalie mask over two crossed hockey sticks.

Tanya, Wildwing, Canard and Duke.

            To keep the brand in the public consciousness, Disney continued to produce its media incarnations of the Ducks. After a sequel to their hit movie in 1994, in 1996, they gave the concept the Disney treatment and created an animated series called simply The Mighty Ducks developed by David Wise who served as the series story editor and head writer. The Ducks featured were aliens who resembled human-like ducks who originally resided on Puckworld; an ice planet that made it perfect for its inhabitants’ way of life: hockey. Centuries prior, Drake DuCaine used a high-tech goalie mask to repel an invasion of Saurians, a war-fueled reptilian race, and strand them in dimensional limbo. However, the Saurians, led by Lord Dragaunus (Tim Curry), escaped limbo and renewed their attack on Puckworld. A resistance led by Canard Thunderbeak (Townsend Coleman), who had found DuCaine’s mask, stopped Dragaunus and forced him to flee through a dimensional portal in his ship The Raptor. The Ducks followed, and Canard sacrificed himself along the way to save them from Dragaunus. The Saurians and Ducks land on Earth where they continue their battle under the guise of a professional hockey team.

Tanya, Grin, Nosedive, Wildwing, Mallory and Duke.

            The remaining Ducks were comprised of Wildwing Flashblade (inspired by the team’s official mascot and voiced by Ian Ziering), Canard’s insecure best friend who was given his mask and leadership of the team; Nosedive Flashblade (Steve Mackall), Wildwing’s younger brother who, by comparison, was more impulsive and childish and often looked to Wildwing for support and protection; Tanya Vanerflock (April Winchell), the team’s resident genius who suffered from acute allergies (including one to feathers…don’t ask); Duke L’Orange (Jeff Bennett), a former jewel thief who changed sides to battle Dragaunus; Mallory McMallard (Jennifer Hale), a master martial-artist with a strong military background that often left her distrustful of Duke and his past; and Check “Grin” Hardwing (Brad Garrett), who was as wise as he was strong with a massive sense of honor, achieving a Zen-like philosophy from his days in training with a grand hockey master. When playing they wore standard hockey uniforms. For battle, their uniforms varied between them but all maintained the official color scheme (white, jade and purple) in use by the real team at the time.

The Ducks with the Aerowing and a Duckcycle.

While each were excellent fighters in their own rights (minus Tanya, who was more brains than brawn), primarily, they used weaponry that fired variations of hockey pucks called Puck Blasters. However, Duke was most fond of his Ducksabre; a golden sword whose blade could be dematerialized. Their base was located under their rink, called The Pond, and housed their super computer, Drake One, their battle van, the Migrator, their jet, the Aerowing, and their motorcycles, the Duckcycles, and their boat, the Duckfoil. Tanya wore a special Omnitool on her wrist, which had almost everything she needed to deal with technological and mechanical problems.

Wildwing firing his Puck Blaster with Phil and Capt. Klegghorn.

            The Duck’s primary human ally was Phil Plamfeather (Jim Belushi), who helped them get established on Earth and set up as a hockey team. He also served as their manager, which often put his quest for profiting off their brand at odds with their duties to protecting the world. Thrash (Bennett) and Mookie (Winchell), a pair who dress like punk rockers, were the first people the Ducks encountered and owned the comic shop that Nosedive frequented. Captain Klegghorn (Dennis Franz in a likely nod to his role from NYPD Blue), a police officer, was the Ducks’ most reluctant ally. Not fully trusting them or believing in the Saurians’ existence, he did manage to overcome his bias enough to help them on occasion.

Dragaunus with Chameleon, Siege and Wraith looking on in the background.

            The Saurians, unable to return home, set out to conquer Earth in the meantime. Many of Dragaunus’ schemes involved trying to create fuel for The Raptor, as well as destroying the Ducks. Aiding him in his quest were Siege (Clancy Brown), an aggressive soldier and Dragaunus’ second-in-command; Wraith (Tony Jay), a warlock often at odds with Dragaunus over his belief in using the dark magic of their ancestors; Chameleon (Frank Welker), a shape-shifter who enjoys making corny impressions of human celebrities; and Hunter Drones, robotic foot soldiers of Dragaunus. Lucretia DeCoy (Kath Soucie) was a Duck who betrayed her kind to serve as a spy for Dragaunus, and Duke’s former associate Falcone (Reed Diamond) took some jobs for the Saurians. 

Dr. Droid.

Aside from homegrown threats, Earth also presented some challenges in the form of Dr. Droid (Charles Adler), a self-made android who desired to turn the world into robots; Daddy-O Cool (Jim Cummings), a deformed beat poet who planned to poison the world’s drinking supply to make everyone cooler; Stanley Strazinski (also Cummings), a former hockey player with a grudge against the Ducks mutated by Dragaunus; and Asteroth (W. Morgan Sheppard), a wizard hailing from a supernatural version of Anaheim, amongst others.

Ad for the series.

The series ran for a single season beginning on September 6, 1996. It aired concurrently in syndication as part of the final season of The Disney Afternoon 2-hour programming block on Fridays, as well as Disney’s newly-acquired ABC on Saturday mornings. The series’ theme, as well as the musical score, were composed by Carl Swander Johnson and was performed by Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship. Along with the constant threats the Ducks faced as heroes, on the ice they often played against parodies of real NHL teams who were given recognizable (but slightly altered) logos. The series won the 1997 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing-Special Class.

The new Anaheim Ducks logo.

A month after the series debuted, Disney released its third and final film in The Mighty Ducks film trilogy, which saw the Ducks going off to college and having to re-earn their colors once again. In 1998, when DisneyQuest opened in Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, it featured a game called Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam where players could control pinballs on a screen to score. Wildwing was the only character featured as both the goalie in the game and a cutout at the front of the queue line. In 2005, Disney sold The Mighty Ducks team to Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli and his wife Susan for $75 million dollars. In 2006, the team was officially renamed The Anaheim Ducks with the new team colors of orange, black (white for away games) and gold. The logo was also changed to a “D” that resembled a duck’s foot, however the original logo was restored in the 2010 season with the team’s new color scheme as a patch on their jerseys. 

Banking on the series being as much of a success as their films, Disney partnered with Mattel to produce a line of 25 action figures with collectible trading cards and vehicles, as well as a Puck Blaster (called a Duck Dazer) and Duke’s Ducksabre. A set of 8 PVC figurines was released both together and individually, as well as a Migrator playset to use them in. There were also four 12-inch plush dolls. Tiger Electronics released a handheld game, the Disney Store a tabletop hockey game and yoyo, Wham-O a Frisbee, and an official weight hockey puck by Vegum. Other items included a CD holder, various window clings, a PVC coin bank, prismatic stickers by Sandylion, a plastic and soft lunchbox and thermos produced by Aladdin, folders, bubble cup, a sipper cup, a mug, bubble bath, glycerin soap with an action figure in the middle, lip balm, bed sheets and officially licensed animation cels. A line of clothing featuring the Ducks were made including t-shirts, underoos, sneakers and watches. 

Tying in to the show were various food item promotions. McDonald’s Happy Meals included a set of four characters on rolling hockey puck bases. Nestle’s Wonderball featured a set of six characters similarly mounted to the McDonald’s ones inside the chocolate balls. However, they were produced at the same time as the massive Wonderball recall that led to candies being included inside the balls instead of toys to prevent choking hazards. Pepperidge Farms Goldfish included one out of a set of four temporary tattoos. Pillsbury Foods offered a mail-away promotion where one of three pucks could be obtained, which opened to reveal smaller stickers inside.

A page from the June 1st, 1997 issue of Disney Adventures.

Golden Books produced six Mighty Ducks activity pads, which featured coloring pages, water coloring, stickers and activities. They also released two paperbacks adapting the episodes “Phil in the Blank” and “Dungeons and Ducks.” For older readers, Disney Press released two books in their Disney Chapters Series adapting the episodes “The First Face-Off” and “Power Play.” Disney’s Action Club magazine featured five comics based on the series as well as one of the featured comic strips in Disney Adventures magazine. The only actual home video release for the series was the first three episodes edited together to form a single movie and released as the VHS Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off.

“The First Face-Off, Part 1” (9/6/96) – Klegghorn investigates reports of hockey-playing ducks and learns they’re here to fight against the evil Saurians.

“The First Face-Off, Part 2” (9/6/96) – Arriving on Earth, the ducks attempt to make new lives for themselves while Wildwing struggles with his new role as leader.

“A Traitor Among Us” (9/13/96) – Dragaunus sends a sultry spy to trick the ducks into stealing a microchip from a mountain base.

“Zap Attack” (9/14/96) – The ducks turn to Dr. Huggarman for help in stopping Dragaunus’ energy creature.

“Phil in the Blank” (9/21/96) – Dragaunus casts a spell on Phil to keep the ducks busy as he steals a rocket engine.

“Power Play” (9/28/96) – Dragaunus turns a rival hockey player into a monster and sends him after the ducks.

“Dungeons and Ducks” (10/4/96) – The ducks are sent to a magic dimension where they have to help Borg defeat the evil Asteroth in order to get home in time for their next game.

“Take Me to Your Leader” (10/11/96) – A mistake causes Wildwing to resign as leader, leaving the others to attempt to fill the role in time to stop Dragaunus’ next plan.

“The Human Factor” (10/12/96) – With Wildwing’s mask broken, the Ducks must investigate on their own when they end up stranded in a suspicious town.

“Beak to the Future” (10/18/96) – Dragaunus offers the Ducks a way home, but Phil comes from the future to show them the result of that decision.

“Microducks” (10/19/96) – Nosedive, Tanya and Grin are hit by Dr. Droid’s shrink ray.

“Beaks vs. B.R.A.W.N.” (10/26/96) – Dragaunus reprograms the dimensional prison guard robot B.R.A.W.N. to attack the Ducks.

“Jurassic Puck” (11/2/96) – Dragaunus unleashes a horde of dinosaurs on the Ducks.

“The Return of Dr. Droid” (11/8/96) – Dr. Droid upgrades himself with a new robotic body and a computer that allows him control of every electronic.

“Mondo-Man” (11/9/96) – Dragaunus convinces new superhero Mondo-Man that the Ducks are villains.

“Puck Friction” (11/15/96) – Nosedive and Grin pose as gangsters in order to clear the other Ducks of a crime they didn’t commit.

“Monster Rally” (11/16/96) – Mutant Daddy-O Cool needs the Mega-Migrator’s engine to contaminate the world’s water supply and make everyone cooler.

“Buzz Blitzman, Mighty Duck!” (11/22/96) – The Ducks have to protect an annoying fan from Dragaunus.

“Bringing Down Baby” (11/23/96) – Dragaunus arranges for the Ducks to find an alien egg that hatches and imprints Nosedive as its father.

“Mad Quacks Beyond Hockeydome” (12/6/96) – The Ducks play Space Hockey on another planet while Dragaunus makes a new batch of Balerium Crystals.

“The Final Face-Off” (12/7/96) – Dragaunus captures Wildwing to use his mask to locate Atlantis.

“The Iced Ducks Cometh” (12/13/96) – Dragaunus tries to heat up the Earth the same time two aliens try to freeze it.

“The Most Dangerous Duck Hunt” (12/20/96) – Wildwing, Tanya and Duke are stripped down to basic weaponry and trapped in a big game hunt.

“The Return of Asteroth” (12/27/96) – Asteroth returns for the amulet the Ducks stole from him.

“Duck Hard” (1/3/97) – Wildwing and Capt. Kelgghorn team-up to save the Ducks’ headquarters from Dragaunus.

“To Catch a Duck” (1/17/97) – Mallory questions Duke’s loyalty when his old associate Falcone is sent by Dragaunus to steal jewels he needs.