The show starred Donald Duck's rich uncle, Scrooge McDuck, who is put in charge of his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, while Donald has left Duckburg to join the Navy. The main characters include Scrooge, Huey, Dewey and Louie, Webby Vanderquack, Betina Beakley, Launchpad McQuack, Duckworth, and villains like the Beagle Boys band. Huey, Dewey, and Louie live with Scrooge in his mansion.
The show follows the adventures of Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey and Louie.
The nephews, who were originally living with their uncle Donald Duck, are left in Scrooge's care when the former joins the Navy. Though Scrooge is the wealthiest duck in the world, he constantly tries to find ways to increase his wealth. Many episodes involve protecting his wealth from villains who want to rob him of all his money. The prominent recurring antagonists in the show include the Beagle Boys and Magica De Spell, who are always finding ways to rob and swindle Scrooge and his nephews. Scrooge's rival in the show is Flintheart Glomgold, who always tries to devise plans to dethrone Scrooge from his "Richest Duck in the World" title. A few of the stories also surround Scrooge's "Number One Dime", which is the source of Scrooge's good luck and wealth. Scrooge keeps the dime in a glass jar in his money vault and constantly protects it from the villains.
The show's second season saw the addition of new characters, most notably Fenton Crackshell and Bubba the CaveDuck. Along with them came stories that generally shifted away from the globe-trotting plots of the first season and revolved primarily in the contemporary setting of Duckburg. Some episodes would prominently feature either Bubba or Fenton, but rarely both.
Although Scrooge and his nephews were the show's main characters, some episodes focused on other characters like Launchpad McQuack or Gyro Gearloose. Some members of Scrooge's extended family, like Gladstone Gander, also made appearances in the series. Characters like Gladstone were often seen in the early Carl Barks comic book stories. Some episodes are based upon Carl Barks comic stories or simply have elements from such stories. For example, the episode "The Unbreakable Bin" is based on Barks' story The Unsafe Safe.
The series is notable for being the first Disney animated television series to be produced for syndication, paving the way for future Disney animated shows such as Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck, the latter of which is considered to be a spinoff of DuckTales.
A world broadcast premiere television movie (entitled "The Treasure of the Golden Suns") first aired during the weekend of September 18–20, 1987 (date and time varied by market). Since then, it has been shown in the series' regular rotation as a five-part serial. A feature-length movie was released in theatres on August 3, 1990.
The 1987-1988 season of DuckTales consisted of 65 episodes (the standard length for a Disney TV show, as well as the standard length of many first seasons of 1990's era TV shows).
Two more five-part serials, "Time is Money" and "Super DuckTales", premiered as television movie specials in November 1988 and March 1989, respectively. The rest of the second season (fall 1989 - winter 1989) included an additional 18 episodes. In the second season, new characters such as Bubba the Cave Duck and his pet triceratops Tootsie and Fenton Crackshell and his power-suited alter-ego Gizmo Duck were introduced.
DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp was released theatrically in August of 1990. Seven final episodes premiered in the fall of 1990 (including three produced for season two but held back for airing and four produced explicitly for season three), bringing the total up to 100 episodes, making DuckTales one of the longest-running Disney shows in terms of the number of episodes produced (before Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Phineas and Ferb, Wizards of Waverly Place and Handy Manny overtook it).
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers was paired with DuckTales in an hour-long syndicated block during the 1989-1990 television season. In the 1990-1991 season, Disney expanded the idea even further, creating The Disney Afternoon--a two-hour-long syndicated block of half-hour cartoons. DuckTales was one of the early flagship shows in that block. It concluded in The Disney Afternoon on September 1992.
On October 2, 1995, DuckTales began airing its reruns on The Disney Channel as part of a two-hour programming block called "Block Party" which aired on weekdays in the late-afternoon/early-evening and which also included Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. DuckTales aired on Disney Channel until 2000. The show began airing on Toon Disney on September 3, 1999 with a seven-hour marathon followed by an airing of the movie.
The show currently airs on:
- Disney XD: United States, Netherlands, Flanders and Italy
- Disney Junior: Netherlands, Flanders and Serbia
- Disney Channel: Germany and Serbia
- Disney Cinemagic: France
- Sky Movies Disney: United Kingdom
Huey, Dewey and Louie appeared in the drug prevention TV special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. Scrooge and Launchpad appeared in the short-lived animated series Raw Toonage, which originally aired on CBS in the 1992-1993 season.
The show was the most successful of Disney's early attempts at creating high-quality animation for an animated TV series (earlier shows included The Wuzzles and Adventures of the Gummi Bears in 1985). Disney invested a far greater amount of money into the TV series than had previously been spent on animated shows of the time. This was considered a risky move, because animated TV series were generally considered low-budget investments for most of the history of TV cartoons up through the 1980's. Most of the DuckTales episodes were animated in Asia by companies such as Cuckoo's Nest Studios, Wang Film Productions of Taiwan and Tokyo Movie Shinsha of Japan.
The studio took a number of risks during the 1980's that paid off handsomely and DuckTales was one of those risks that won big. The studio gambled on the idea that a larger investment into quality animation could be made back through syndication — a concept that worked well with live-action TV reruns, but which had only been used with inexpensive cartoon series that either recycled theatrical shorts from decades past or only featured limited, low-budget animation.
The show was successful enough to spawn a theatrical feature film (DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp) and two spin-off series (Darkwing Duck and Quack Pack). The success of DuckTales also paved the way for a new wave of high-quality animated TV series, including Disney's own The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1988.
- The logo for DuckTales is based on Indiana Jones' logo.
- The DuckTales logo can be seen on the computer Huey, Dewey, and Louie are using during the "Dear Santa" section of Disney Sing Along Songs: The Twelve Days of Christmas.
- The show was the first to feature the current cat screech sound effects that were used since "Magica's Shadow War". The cat screech sounds from this show would later be released as part of the Hollywood Edge sound effects libraries and since then, other studios started using them since 1992.
- storm totry moooer thmrodson see moive cat dont dacne 2 Scrooge McDuck (voiced by Alan Young)
- Huey, Dewey and Louie (voiced by Russi Taylor)
- Launchpad McQuack (voiced by Terry McGovern)
- Webby Vanderquack (voiced by Russi Taylor)
- Betina Beakley (voiced by Joan Gerber)
- Gyro Gearloose (voiced by Hal Smith)
- Doofus Drake (voiced by Townsend Coleman)
- Fenton Crackshell a.k.a. GizmoDuck (voiced by Hamilton Camp)
- Donald Duck (voiced by Tony Anselmo)
- Bubba the Cave Duck (voiced by Frank Welker)
- Gene the Genie (voiced by Rip Taylor)
- Glittering Goldie (voiced by Joan Gerber)
- Duckworth (voiced by Chuck McCann)
- Beagle Boys
- Big Time Beagle (voiced by Pat Fraley)
- Burger Beagle (voiced by Chuck McCann)
- Bouncer Beagle (voiced by Chuck McCann)
- Baggy Beagle (voiced by Frank Welker)
- Bankjob Beagle (voiced by Peter Cullen)
- Babyface Beagle (voiced by Terry McGovern)
- Bugle Beagle (voiced by Brian Cummings)
- Megabyte Beagle (voiced by Don Messick)
- Ma Beagle (voiced by June Foray)
- Magica De Spell (voiced by June Foray)
- Flintheart Glomgold (voiced by Hal Smith)
- Argus McSwine (voiced by Bernie Kopell)
- Poe De Spell (voiced by Frank Welker)
- El Capitan (voiced by Jim Cummings)
- Phantom Blot (voiced by Tim Curry)
- Pete (voiced by Will Ryan)
- Merlock the Magician (voiced by Christopher Lloyd)
- Dijon (voiced by Richard Libertini)
- Cinnamon Teal (voiced by Haunai Minn)
- Millionara Vanderbucks (voiced by Tress MacNeille)
- Fritter O'Way (voiced by Aron Kincaid)
- Lawrence Loudmouth (voiced by Frank Welker)
- M'Ma Crackshell (voiced by Kathleen Freeman)
- Ripcord McQuack (voiced by Robert Ridgely)
- Birdie McQuack (voiced by B.J. Ward)
- Loopey McQuack (voiced by B.J. Ward)
- Gandra Dee (voiced by Miriam Flynn)
- Tootsie the Triceratops
- Micro Ducks
- Admiral Grimmitz (voiced by Peter Cullen)
- Gladstone Gander (voiced by Rob Paulsen)
- Ludwig Von Drake (voiced by Corey Burton)
- Scrooge's Parents
- The Beagle Babes
- Mad Dog McGurk (voiced by Peter Cullen)
- Main article: DuckTales episode list
- Main article: DuckTales Theme
- DuckTales (video game)
- DuckTales 2
- DuckTales: The Quest for Gold
- DuckTales Remastered
- DuckTales: Scrooge's Loot
- Main article: DuckTales videography
The show's first season (which consists of the first 65 episodes) was made available on Amazon Instant Video. However, as of 2013, the episodes are currently unavailable through the service. The first two seasons of the series are currently available as Disney Movie Club exclusives for those who have signed up for the service.
- Main article: DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp
- DuckTales - Official Page on Disney Channel Germany's website
- Official Facebook page
- List of episodes based on storyline's from Carl Barks comics