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TaleSpin
Talespin.jpg
TaleSpin's intertitle
Genre Animated series
Created by Jymn Magon
Mark Zaslove
Directed by Larry Latham
Starring Ed Gilbert
R. J. Williams
Sally Struthers
Janna Michaels
Pat Fraley
Jim Cummings
Tony Jay
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 65 (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Robert Taylor
Ed Ghertner
Larry Latham
Jamie Mitchell
Running time 22 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel first-run syndication (1990–1994)
Disney Channel (1994–1998)
Toon Disney (1998–2008)
Original run September 9, 1990 (1990-09-09) – August 8, 1991 (1991-08-08)

TaleSpin is a half-hour American animated television series based in the fictional city of Cape Suzette, that first aired in 1990 as part of The Disney Afternoon, with characters adapted from Disney's 1967 animated feature The Jungle Book. The name of the show is a play on "tailspin", the rapid, often fatal, descent of an aircraft in a steep spiral. The two words in the show's name, tale and spin are a way to describe telling a story.

Contents

Background

After a preview of The Disney Afternoon that aired on the Disney Channel in early May 1990, the series began its first run in September of the same year. The original concept was embodied in the introductory television movie Plunder and Lightning which was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (Prime Time for Programming One Hour or More) in 1991 and was later re-edited into four half-hour episodes for reruns. The show was often seen either on its own as a half-hour show, or as part of the two-hour syndicated series The Disney Afternoon. TaleSpin ended on its 65th episode which ran in 1991. However, reruns continued to be shown on The Disney Afternoon until September 1994. Afterwards, it was moved into Disney Channel and later into Toon Disney, where was first aired from April 1998 until January 2006, and later from January 2007 until May 2008.

Several of the characters are loosely based on characters from Disney's animated film version of The Jungle Book: in particular Baloo, the hot-shot pilot hero of the series; Louie, the owner of Baloo's favorite bar; and Shere Khan, a business tycoon who appears in many episodes. Kit Cloudkicker seems to be a stand-in for Mowgli of The Jungle Book, since Baloo calls him by the same nicknames as Mowgli, like "Little Britches" and "Baby Bear" with the former calling the latter "Papa-bear" in return. Shere Khan's soldiers are black panthers, resembling Bagheera. Despite its strong likeliness and the re-use of several characters from the film, Talespin has never been intended to be a "spin-off" or a parody of The Jungle Book. [1]

Also, many of the series concepts seem to be based on the 1982 ABC series Tales of the Gold Monkey, including the main concept of a cocky flying boat cargo pilot and his rocky relationship with his girlfriend (although in this series she was merely his boss), his scatterbrained mechanic sidekick, the era and designs of the aircraft and costumes, the Pacific Islands setting, the secondary character relationships, even the visual appearance of the lagoon. Also, the protagonists of both series fly planes named for waterfowl (Cutter's Goose and Sea Duck) and are regular denizens of similar taverns. In "Tales of the Gold Monkey" it's a bar called 'The Gold Monkey' and run by a man named Louie. In "TaleSpin" it's called 'Louie's' and run by a orangutan of the same name.

There is also a more than passing resemblance to Hayao Miyazaki's film Porco Rosso about a pigheaded man who flies a seaplane and fights air pirates, which the creators of Talespin explain by the influence the previous Miyazaki's films had on them, and the possibility of Miyazaki watching Talespin at some point. [2] While the film was released in 1992 (two years after TailSpin had already aired) Porco Rosso is based on Miyazaki's manga, Hikōtei Jidai which was first published in 1989.

The series was largely developed by writers Jymn Magon and Mark Zaslove, who were also the supervising producers on the series as well as story editors. There were four production teams, each one headed by a producer/director: Robert Taylor, Larry Latham, Jamie Mitchell and Ed Ghertner. [3]

Synopsis

TaleSpin is set in the fictional city-state of Cape Suzette (a pun on the pancake dish, Crêpe Suzette), a harbor town protected by giant cliffs through which only a small opening exists. The opening in the cliffs is guarded by anti-aircraft artillery, preventing flying rabble-rousers or air pirates from entering the city. Characters in the world of TaleSpin are anthropomorphic animals. The timeframe of the series is never specifically addressed, but appears to be in the mid to late 1930s; the helicopter, television and jet engine are experimental devices and most architecture is reminiscent of the art deco style of that period. "The Great War" ended "nearly 20 years ago", and radio is the primary mass medium.

The series centered on the adventures of bush pilot Baloo the bear, whose air cargo freight business, "Baloo's Air Service," is purchased by Rebecca Cunningham upon his default on delinquent bills with the bank and renamed "Higher for Hire." An orphan boy and former air pirate, the ambitious Kit Cloudkicker, attaches to Baloo and becomes his navigator. He sometimes calls him "Papa Bear". Together, they are the crew of Higher for Hire's only aircraft, a modified Conwing L-16 (a fictitious combination of a Fairchild C-119 transport and a Grumman HU-16 amphibian), named the Sea Duck. From there, the series follows the ups and downs of Higher for Hire and its staff, sometimes in the vein of old action-adventure film serials of the 1930s and '40s and contemporary variations, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Their adventures often involve encounters with a gang of air pirates led by the histrionic Don Karnage, with representatives of Thembria, a parody of the Stalinist Soviet Union inhabited by anthropomorphic boars, or other, often even stranger obstacles. In deference to contemporary sensitivities, there is no equivalent of the Nazis in the series, although one story in Disney Adventures Magazine had the heroes encounter "the Hausers," a menacing militaristic nationality of dogs who wear uniforms that are clearly based on German ones.

The relationship between Baloo and Rebecca owes something to the screwball comedy films of the 1930s. More precisely, according to Jymn Magon (co-creator of the series), the two characters were fashioned after Sam & Rebecca from the then-popular sitcom Cheers.[4]

Famed Uncle Scrooge comic writer and artist Don Rosa contributed to episode 6, "It Came from Beneath the Sea Duck," and episode 9, "I Only Have Ice for You."

Characters and cast

Episodes

DVD releases

On August 29, 2006, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the first 27 episodes (including the 4-part pilot) of TaleSpin on DVD in Region 1. Volume 2 of the series was released on November 13, 2007, contains the second half of 27 episodes of which includes the controversial episode "Last Horizons". Disney has yet to confirm a third volume with the remaining 11 episodes of the series, and there is no word on whether the other controversial episode, "Flying Dupes" will be included.[5]

DVD Name Ep# Release Date Additional Information
TaleSpin: Volume 1 27 August 29, 2006 includes 4-part pilot
TaleSpin: Volume 2 27 November 13, 2007
TaleSpin: Volume 3 11 TBA

Reception

IGN listed TaleSpin as the 81st best cartoon in the Top 100 Animated TV Shows.[6]

Comics

A monthly comic book based on the show was published by Disney Comics in 1991, running for seven issues (eleven, counting a four-issue mini-series based on the series premiere). Bobby JG Weiss was the writer for issues 1-4 and 6-7. As issue 5 was adapted from the episode 35, "The Old Man and the Sea Duck", Weiss only is credited for adaptation.

The comic's cancellation seven months later terminated several planned stories that would have revealed pieces of background for the main characters. Issue 7 explored Kit's past, and how he joined up with the pirates. According to the letter page in #3, a planned story for the comic's annual would have explored the origin of the Iron Vulture. #4-7 would have letters 'answered' by the characters.

A collected edition called Disney's Cartoon Tales featuring TaleSpin came out in 1991 (ISBN 1-56115-269-2). It reprints #4 and 6 from the regular comic book series.

Subsequent comic stories were also printed in Disney Adventures from 1990 to 1995 then re-appeared in the Summer 2006 Disney Adventures Comic Zone Magazine, as well as in The Disney Afternoon comic book published by Marvel Comics.

TaleSpin #8

While issue #8 of the monthly comic series never made it to print, the end of issue #7 included a preview for it:

"Spies in Cape Suzette?! There are some mighty mysterious folk sniffing around Shere Khan Industries. When Special Agent Booker shows up to handle the problem he finds that battling foreign agents is easier than dealing with Baloo as an assistant in... THE SPY WHO BUGGED ME!"

Videogames

Three different TaleSpin video games were produced. One was a scrolling shooting game developed by Capcom for the NES and Game Boy. The other two were platform games, one developed by Sega for the Sega Genesis and Game Gear, and the other developed by NEC for the TurboGrafx-16.

References

External links








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