It took until the fourth and final week of The Disney Afternoon week at cheesegod, but we’ve finally made it to the first actual cartoon made specifically for the two hour block. Gummi Bears, Ducktales and Rescue Rangers all had homes before being plopped into The Disney Afternoon.
There were rumors that Talespin was originally meant to be a spinoff of Ducktales starring Launchpad McQuack (The name Talespin was supposedly a shortened version of “Ducktales Spinoff). But that wasn’t true. Talespin is instead a weird mixture of other material.
Talespin drew it’s inspiration for at least three different sources. The obvious would probably be The Jungle Book. Baloo, Louie and Shere Khan are all characters directly lifted from the 1967 film. But the biggest influence was a show called “Tales of the Gold Monkey”.
Tales of the Gold Monkey was an action series that lasted just one season on ABC in 1982. The series was about a hotshot pilot who owns his own cargo delivery service in the 1930s. If you think that’s just a coincidence, also consider this: Both series also feature a scatterbrained mechanic sidekick, a setting in the South Pacific and the same visual appearance of the lagoon. Oh, and both feature a plane called the “Waterfowl” and a bar named “Loouie’s”.
But there’s still yet one more show that a story arc was borrowed from: “Cheers”. In both shows a woman named Rebecca takes over the business and then rehires the former owner to do most of the work for her.
TaleSpin aired 65 episodes, all within the first year. But the final episode that aired August 8th, 1991 was only aired once and never seen again. The plot of the episode involved Baloo delivering a goodwill present to a foreign nation. It turns out the present is actually a bomb. Due to the terrorist theme of the episode was never aired again. Well almost never, the episode aired once on ToonDisney by mistake and continued to air on certain independent stations and in foreign countries.
It may have been banned from the airwaves, but not Youtube. You can see the full episode here:
Banned episodes wasn’t the only controversy involving the show. The widow of Louis Prima sued Disney over the character of Louie. Mr. Prima did the voice of Louie in The Jungle Book, but died and could not reprise his role for Talespin. So Disney hired some guy to instead impersonate his voice. Mrs. Prima didn’t like this and sued. They settled out of court and the character of Louie has not appeared anywhere since, including the sequel to the Jungle Book that came out in 2003.
Talespin remained part of the Disney Afternoon until 1994, when it was replaced by the TV Series version of Aladdin.