While on the way home, Baloo and Kit have a crash landing, resulting in Baloo getting a bump on the head which gives him amnesia. Kit and Wildcat decide to keep this from Rebecca and try and help Baloo remember by taking him out on a flight. However they are struck by lighting while flying through a storm, and go down. All manage to parachute out except Baloo, who gets trapped inside the Sea Duck. Screaming for help and struggling to get out, a strange call comes on the radio and helps Baloo land safely on a runway, where he meets an elderly pilot named Joe Magee.
The next day Baloo finds himself in a flying school surrounded by tall cliffs, with the only way out through a cave. Joe tells him that his plane is ready for take off, but Baloo explains that he can't remember how to fly. So in order to help him, Joe teaches him everything he needs to remember. The first few lessons end with Baloo failing the first time, but he does better the second time. Through all the training, Baloo finally regains his memory of how to fly. However, he develops a phobia that, whenever he flies again, leads to him losing his memory again, so he makes up excuses to avoid flying altogether.
Joe pretends to hurt himself, making Baloo fly to the nearest town and get a doctor. As he does so, he rejoins with Kit and Wildcat. When they return to Joe's Flying School, they find it deserted as if it had been abandoned for years. a doctor tells Baloo that Joe Magee passed away twenty years ago. After a little looking around, Baloo realizes that he was helped by an angel. He flies back home with Kit and Wildcat, as Joe's voice echoes across the sky...
- "Look around you, Baloo. You're free as a bird. The skies are yours."
- Ed Gilbert as Baloo
- R.J. Williams as Kit Cloudkicker
- Sally Struthers as Rebecca Cunningham
- Pat Fraley as Wildcat
- Hal Smith as Joe Magee
- Alan Young as Doctor Cooper
Home video releases
- TaleSpin: Volume 2
- The title is a reference to Ernest Hemingway's novel The Old Man and the Sea.
- The episode was adapted into issue #5 of the TaleSpin comic book.
- Alan Young, who voices Scrooge McDuck on DuckTales, Coopes Doctor Cooper; ironically, Hal Smith, who voices Joe, voices Scrooge's archenemy, Flintheart Glomgold, on Ducktales.
- The theme of this episode is similar to the 1943 film A Guy Named Joe and its 1989 remake Always, the latter of which starred Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, and John Goodman.