Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Disney Afternoon Story (Part 2)

by Sam Vlas

It’s time to dive into the second half of the Disney Afternoon and indulge ourselves in the nostalgia. Last time we looked at the beginnings and some great series, and now we’re going to look at the other ones that saw the light during this time. Let’s continue after the page break…


First up is “Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers”, the only series that I owned on VHS. Yes… VHS, anyone remember that? The series focused around Chip and Dale, but that wasn’t originally the case. The original concept featured an original fedora-sporting character by the name of Kit Colby, modeled after Indiana Jones. At suggestion of Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the main character was replaced by the well-known rodent duo Chip and Dale. The Rescue Rangers further consist of Gadget, a tomboy mechanic, Monterey Jack, the cheese loving big guy, and Zipper, the housefly. Together they go on the wildest adventures and are constantly tricked by the evil Fat Cat. The series first premiered in 1989.


I have fond memories of the following series. “Goof Troop” centered around Goofy and his suburban life with his son Max and his neighbors, Pete’s family. I remember watching the Christmas special almost constantly, even when it wasn’t Christmas at all. I liked the humor of the series; Goofy is one of my all-time favorite characters, so this series wasn’t a disappointment. I also liked the way they portrayed Pete, not as a true villain, but more as the everyday bully. Of course, the voice-acting of Jim Cummings really helps establishing the character. “Goof Troop” premiered in 1992.
“Gargoyles”… I can be really short on this one. I have absolutely no idea what this series is all about. I’m not sure if it even aired in the Netherlands! Anyone can fill me up on the details of this series? It clearly looks edgier and darker than the other series on this list.
One thing I enjoyed about the following series is how they expanded on existing lore. These series, based on classic animated features, were my favorites. I’m talking about “Aladdin”, “The Little Mermaid”, “Winnie the Pooh” and “Timon and Pumbaa”.


As a young kid, I always wanted to be like “Aladdin”. Go on magical journeys, flying a carpet, alongside a beautiful princess and have the most exciting time. Who doesn’t want that! The mystique of the Arabian world was always enchanting, as was the opening song to this series. Arabian Nights is still one of my favorite Disney songs.

But then there is “The Little Mermaid”. Ariel… one of my childhoods crushes. O, how I wanted to explore the great depths and secrets of the ocean with her. I suppose every kid goes through that phase. She would always end up in trouble, and all I could do was sit, watch and pray that she would be alright. The Disney magic, I guess…

I was a fan of “Winnie the Pooh” (and, not ashamed, still am), because I really felt connected to this world and its characters. As a 6-year-old I wished that Pooh and friends were my toys. Mainly the movie, but also this series, taught me some valuable life lessons about growing up and saying goodbye, but also to always stay in touch with yourself and your memories. Those are lessons that some people sadly forget when they grow up. For that, I salute you Winnie!

And finally, to round up the Disney Afternoon Story, here are “Timon and Pumbaa”. I grew up with the Lion King II. Yes, II, as in the sequel. I watched that way before I finally saw the original film. Boy did that make things clear! The comic relief in these films, in the form of Timon and Pumbaa, was always my favorite moment. This series, however, took these characters out of their sub-Saharan African environment and put them in some more suburban areas. A very odd choice, but it made for some interesting plots and some very good jokes. I don’t have a strong emotional connection to this series, I think because there wasn’t that much adventure going on. I was all into adventure and I still am, so I tend to like series as “Ducktales” better.

So, we’ve arrived at the end of the Disney Afternoon. Hours and hours and hours of my childhood were invested in these series and I enjoyed every minute of it. As an added bonus, here is the opening of “Disney Festival”, the Dutch version of the Disney Afternoon. Notice how it’s extended by almost 30 seconds!


See you next time here on Disney Avenue!


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