DuckTales has long been one of my favorite cartoons of all time. Not just of “Disney” cartoons, but the entire animation cannon. One of the things that I’ve always liked about the show (just like the original Carl Barks comics that the show is based on) is how many different kinds of genres are explored in each new story. One of the many genres DuckTales explores is the comic book super hero genre, which is a favorite of mine. Now, while normally the super hero on the show was GizmoDuck (who of course later crossed over to the DuckTales spin-off, Darkwing Duck), in one episode, Scrooge McDuck himself was the super hero. That episode, “The Masked Mallard,” is the subject of this DAF Retro Review.
Originally airing on November 17, 1989, “The Masked Mallard” aired a year before the syndicated line-up known as “The Disney Afternoon” would premier. In this episode, poor Scrooge (who for once isn’t being greedy and really is trying to help other people out) is hounded by sleazy reporter, Lawrence Loudmouth, who feels that if he can trash Scoorge’s reputation (being as he is the biggest name in Duckburg), he’ll find the kind of ratings success he is after on tv. This leaves poor Scrooge frustrated. How can he do good deeds in Duckburg if Mr. Loudmouth won’t let him? The answer? Scooge McDuck becomes a super hero! If he wears a mask, Scrooge figures he can do good deeds as The Masked Mallard despite the reputation of Scrooge McDuck being torpedoed.
When I watched this episode, one of the things that struck me the most is, despite it being a Disney produced children’s tv show, how topical a few of the themes are and how relevant those same themes are in 2012. I suppose you can chalk it up to the brilliant writing of Len Uhlay, the writer of this particular episode.
The biggest topic brought up is that of journalistic integrity. Certainly most adults today should be able to catch on to how relevant that issue is. With more and more news outlets seeking for “Entertainment News,” one could easily see any number of real life modern reports in Mr. Lawrence Loudmouth. The other main theme in the episode is that of being true to one’s self. Maybe being a super hero works for Drake Mallard (Darkwing Duck) or Fenton Crackshell (GizmoDuck), but Scrooge isn’t truly a super hero at heart. When push comes to shove, Scrooge discovers he can do more good as Scrooge McDuck then he can as The Masked Mallard.
I’d highly recommended any Disney or DuckTales fan checking this episode out. Sadly, this is one of the last 25 episodes not yet released on DVD. If you’d like a chance to enjoy this or any of the other 24 unreleased episodes of this landmark show, please support our petition right HERE and pass it on to others. Hopefully, we can get this released in the up-coming year!