"To the Rescue" is a five-part episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers that serves as the pilot to the series, though it ironically is not the first five episodes in either production or airing order. It was instead aired as the fourteenth through eighteenth episodes of the series, though they were the first five episodes aired when the show began airing in syndication in the fall of 1989.
Chip and Dale tag alongside their old friend Plato the Police Dog to help his master, police detective Donald Drake (who's retiring next month), chase down a thug named Percy, who has stolen the Clutchcoin ruby necklace. They track him down to a lumber warehouse, where Chip 'n Dale manage to distract Percy with their antics and cause him to lose the ruby. Just as the good guys leave with the evidence, Percy confronts his boss, Aldrin Klordane, a crimelord who seemingly drowned a year ago and now has a much bigger plan in store. Klordane sneaks on over to the police station and sends his pet feline, Fat Cat, to "make Drake's life extremely difficult." He does this by stealing the ruby, stuffing the necklace into Drake's coat, and filling it with airline tickets and gambling debts. He then catches everyone's attention by getting Plato to chase him around, and once the captain notices the ruby's gone, they find evidence that Drake has stolen it and lock up him and Plato. Chip and Dale, however, know that Drake and Plato are innocent, since they saw the whole thing, and offer to track down Klordane.
Chip and Dale find Klordane and his thugs at his old hideout, the Happy Tom Cat Food Factory. Behind his master's back, Fat Cat snatches the ruby without him noticing and, once the humans have left the room, suits up and greets his three cronies - Mepps the alley cat, Wart the lizard, and Mole the unimaginatively-named mole. He then struts his way to his casino (which happens to be in the giant novelty cat on top of the factory), telling his minions that he'll bring the ruby back to Klordane before he even notices it's missing. Chip and Dale sneak into the casino just in time to see Fat Cat singing to his patrons about how he deserves "the best of everything". During the song, Chip manages to snatch the ruby, but in his and Dale's efforts to escape, they get caught and Fat Cat has Mepps drop them off the roof.
Luckily, the chipmunks manage to slow their descent and land in a garbage box. They overhear that Fat Cat (and his minions) is going to the Chinatown laundromat, hitching a ride in a pizza delivery van that he has tricked into stopping off at the factory and the laundromat. The chipmunks give chase in a wheel, and then a rich couple's limousine. Upon reaching Chinatown, Dale cannot resist surfing on a wet scrub brush; this greatly annoys Chip, who orders him to go home. Chip then proceeds to follow Fat Cat, who meets with the mysterious Siamese Twins to discuss his purchase - a master fighting fish named Juice Lee. During their discussion (and demonstration) of Juice Lee's power, Chip attempts to grab the ruby from Fat Cat with a makeshift fishing rod a few times, but when the hook grabs on to one of the twins' clothes, Chip's cover was blown, but he is saved when Dale returns surfing on the scrub brushes again. In the massacre that follows, Chip ends up getting a new fedora hat similar to Drake's (this part is strangely cut from later airings and even the DVD release), and Fat Cat and his men make their retreat as Dale pour soap out of a box, to distract the Twins and the workers by having the fish trapped inside bubbles.
Fat Cat brings Juice Lee to a large cargo boat and uses him to get rid of the nearby sailors, unaware that Chip and Dale are right behind him. There, they fall into the cargo hold, where they meet Monterey Jack and Zipper. After a brief scuffle in which Chip and Dale win, the impressed Monty warms up to them and offers to show them his "house", a large trunk filled with his belongings. Suddenly, Fat Cat's men empty the cargo hold and dump Monty's house into the sea. The loss of his house greatly upsets Monty, and he vows to take down Fat Cat for sinking it. Fat Cat sets up a machine with which to suck great amounts of fish out of other people's boats, but the chipmunks and Monty manage to foil his plan, but end up destroying the boat's steering wheel in the process and this causes it to go sailing right for the city.
The heroes luckily manage to slow the boat down as it nearly crashes into the city, and the chipmunks continue their pursuit of Fat Cat, with Monty and Zipper joining them in their quest, because Monty still wants to get back at Fat Cat for sinking his house. Meanwhile, as he and his men are out at sea on a makeshift raft, Fat Cat remembers he forgot to bring the ruby back to Klordane and orders his goons to hurry up. He makes it back to the factory and into Klordane's helicopter just in time to bring the ruby back to his master without him ever finding out that it was missing. With the ruby in his possession, Klordane heads for Glacier Bay.
The chipmunks and their companions are unable to stop the copter from taking off, and they are unable to find a flight to Glacier Bay at the airport before they have to leave due to one of Monty's "cheese attacks", an obsession with eating any cheese he smells in the area. However, Monty offers to bring them to meet a friend of his who could fly them to Glacier Bay. His friend is a pilot named Geegaw Hackwrench, whom he used to have adventures with. When they arrive at the abandoned military plane where Geegaw supposedly lives, they meet his inventive daughter, Gadget who explains that he's been gone for over a year now. She offers to fly them to Glacier Bay with her dad's old plane, the Screaming Eagle.
Upon their arrival, they end up crashing the plane because Gadget had wheels instead of skis for landing gear. She is rather upset with this, but after a pep talk from her friends, she begins to repair it, but not before providing the guys with an iceboat to go after Klordane in. Nearby, a mad scientist named Professor Norton Nimnul has been ordered by Klordane to construct a giant laser cannon powered by the ruby (otherwise, it's just "a big overgrown flashlight"). After finishing it, Nimnul uses the laser cannon to slice up the ground so Klordane's choppers can lift it into the air. Pleased with this, Klordane leaves in his copter, leaving Fat Cat behind with Nimnul. When Nimnul catches the rodents scurrying on his laser, he orders Fat Cat to take care of them, which he proceeds to do by throwing snowballs at them and knocking them off the glacier.
Luckily, Gadget comes to the rescue by way of the newly-repaired Screaming Eagle, which she has managed to redesign using some trash from Klordane's camp. Nimnul then brings the glacier to a valley just in time to greet Klordane's train. He then has the choppers chop up the glacier into snow cone material to be loaded onto the train. But the heroes show up and sneak inside the machine to snatch back the ruby. Nimnul and Fat Cat try to stop the rodents from making off with the ruby, but this time they are unsuccessful.
The next day, Klordane captures Drake (but not Plato) and brings him to see his master plan unfolding, but when Nimnul reports to him that the ruby is missing, he orders Nimnul to retrieve it, "or I will get an elephant gun." Over at the police station, Mrs. Clutchcoin shows up to reclaim her ruby, which the rodents have returned to the police station. But Nimnul, having tracked the ruby down, sends Fat Cat inside to provide a distraction. The rodents try to stop him, but Monty's weakness after he smells cheese prevents them from doing so. With the chipmunks and Gadget out of his way, Fat Cat lathers shaving cream on Plato and stuffs Mrs. Clutchcoin's pet chihuahua into his mouth. While the cops think Plato got mad and have him sent to the pound, Nimnul grabs the ruby.
The heroes fly over to the pound, during which Chip chastises Monty for this development; Monty responds by yelling back and then jumping out of the plane, with Zipper following. At the pound, the chipmunks and Gadget meet a poodle named Frenchie and his shaggy companion Que Sera ("Sera!"), the lone members of the Pound Underground, an organization dedicated to setting innocent dogs free. With help from the PU, they find Plato's cell and grab the keys to his cell right under the Doberman guard's nose. The furious Doberman chases them out of the pound, but Monty and Zipper return in the nick of time and knock him out. Afterwards, Frenchie makes his exit, but not before giving Chip the realization that he and the others have become a team.
The team proceeds to go look for Klordane's current hideout, tracking it down using a thermometer, on the newly-made Rangermobile, with Plato coming along on roller skates. They find the subway entrance they are looking for, and Plato breaks down a wooden door blocking the way in, but it falls apart on them. Klordane and Percy come by and recognize Drake's dog.
With Plato now captured too, Klordane explains his master plan to Drake: he has smuggled the ice in from Glacier Bay, and his thugs are now piling it up under the foundation of the Federal Gold Reserve. At the same time, they're also mixing lime Jell-o, which is then poured on top of the ice, creating the world's largest gelatin dessert. Klordane, it turns out, plans to use it to trigger an earthquake that will crack the Federal Gold Reserve. He then has Nimnul do just that, sending a rainfall of golden coins and bricks to fall down into his train cars.
The protagonists, meanwhile, arrive just in time to witness Klordane's homemade earthquake and find Plato, who has been chained to Klordane's train. He tells them that they must find a way to alert the police of Klordane's whereabouts, during which he calls them Rescue Rangers for the first time. The name inspires Chip, but Fat Cat interferes before they could use a gold brick on a gellatin mold with a cage. Monty gets them out of the cage and faces Fat Cat to avenge what he did to his home. After Fat Cat knocks Monty down, Zipper saves Monty from being killed, and this distraction allows Monty to grab Fat Cat by the tail and swing him around to toss him into the gelatin mold to trigger another earthquake, this one bringing down the whole Gold Reserve building and the investigating cops within. The cops come running out and begin arresting Klordane's men, but Klordane escapes onto his train and takes off with the ruby, taking Plato with him and blocking a tunnel entrance.
Fortunately, the Rangers give chase and catch up with the train. Plato tells them that they must stop the train, and they run up to the front car and annoy Klordane as he attempts to swat them. When he tries speeding up the train, Chip and Dale manage to hit a lever that reroutes the train onto a dead end. Klordane is furious with the Rangers for ruining his plans, but before he can do away with them, Plato, having unchained himself using a blowtorch the Rangers used to catch up, comes running at him. The train goes flying out of the subway, and Klordane lands right in the police captain's office where this incident with the Rangers causes Klordane to suffer a mental breakdown and he confesses his recent crimes to the police captain. Having brought Klordane to justice, Plato is given his own police medal, which he gives to the Rangers for their work. Just when it seems the Rangers have to split up after the adventure, though, they find that a little girl has lost her puppy and decide to find him for her. The movie ends with the Rangers setting off on their new quest.
- The names of Donald Drake and Plato are obvious nods to those of Chip 'n Dale's old co-stars, Donald Duck and Pluto.
- In part one, Percy mistakes Dale for his gun and attempts to fire, prompting Dale to shout out, "Bang bang!" This is a reference to the 1954 cartoon short, The Lone Chipmunks, where the same gag occurs. Likewise, the ship in a bottle that Monterey Jack manages to save from sinking near the end of part two is reminiscent of the 1956 short, Chips Ahoy.
- The fourth member of Fat Cat's goons, Snout the Rat, does not appear in this serial. This, coupled with the fact that there are a few other episodes featuring Fat Cat without Snout, suggests that he joined the gang at a later time.
- The Ranger Plane already has the "RR" logo painted on it, before the Rangers start calling themselves the Rescue Rangers.
- Chauncey & Edgar from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle make a cameo appearance in part five.
- The car scene is cut in the movie version yet Chip still yells at him about it to advance the plot.
- Fat Cat does not seem at all concerned that Chip and Dale survived being thrown off the cannery building.
- Corey Burton as Dale/Zipper/Mole/Sailor/Lawyer
- Peter Cullen as Officer Kirby/Officer Muldoon/Mepps/Police Captain/Sailor/Que Sera
- Jim Cummings as Monterey Jack/Fat Cat/Professor Norton Nimnul/Sgt. Spinelli/Wart/Chinese Cat/Fisherman/Guard Dog
- Tress MacNeille as Chip/Gadget Hackwrench/Policewoman/Siamese Twins
- Alan Oppenheimer as Plato/Aldren Klordane
- Rob Paulsen as Donald Drake/Percy/Doberman/Frenchie
- Maureen Schrum as Sheila Burnford
- Frank Welker as Zipper's vocals effects only
- The only difference between the serialized and movie version here is the scene with the crows about to ambush Chip and Dale outside the casino lead to a commercial break.
- The recap in the serialized version ends when Fat Cat yells "Get them!!" then the episode replays the scene where Fat Cat and Mepps throw them off the roof.
- Chip and Dale try following Fat Cat in a tire, leading to the car scene.
- The car scene mentioned in both versions was removed from the movie version, despite Chip mentioning said car in a later scene.
- The pizza delivery boy finally quits his job when the delivery in Chinatown is another phony order and the limo crashes into him.
- We see a bit of the fighting fish fighting only in the serialized version, plus some lines from Fat Cat and Mepps.
- There is a scene involving some sailors on the ship. Juice Lee makes quick work of them with Fat Cat saying “Bon Voyage” and then congratulating Juice Lee.
- There is a scene involving the reversal of Fat Cat’s fish nabbing machine and Juice Lee screaming in joy.
- The scene with the boat about to collide with the dock leads to a cliffhanger here instead of coasting right through with different music.
- The episode begins with a short scene with Chip and Dale trying to unjam the brake to no avail, so Monty unjams it with a brick. Unfortunately, it is the wrong way and boat just goes faster; explaining how the boat is moving faster all of a sudden.
- Monty tries to stop Fat Cat from getting on the helicopter, but gets flattened for his effort (he never learns). Fat Cat stops for a bit and looks behind him before turning his attention back to Klordane.
- Right after Fat Cat scares Klordane and secretly returns the ruby and Klordane reassures him about flying, Klordane places a phone call to Drake in jail; posing as a lady named Ruby to fool Spinelli. He then gloats to Drake about his victory who angrily throws the phone back to Spinelli. This unfortunately further proves he is not sane anymore while Plato watches on worriedly. "I never thought I would see Donald Drake crack."
- Before Monty and Zipper take Chip and Dale to Geegaw’s hangar, they first stop at an airport to try and catch a flight to Glacier Bay but there aren’t any. Monty tries to teach Dale about adventuring, but suffers his first cheese attack in person and they cause a ruckus. Since this scene was not in the movie version, the scene where Zipper warns Chip about the cheese in Geegaw’s plane makes little sense.
- Just before Monty mentions Geegaw, he explains his cheese attacks using his famous under exaggerating and Zipper pushing him.
- After the Screaming Eagle leaves the hangar, Gadget says they can look up, but then has them look back down since they’re about to crash into a bigger plane. They end up being carried the rest of the way towards Glacier Bay on the bigger plane.
- The scene after the Screaming Eagle crashes leads to a commercial break.
- Gadget stops the guys before they leave saying she can save them a walk.
- Chip, Dale, Monty and Zipper have some high speed fun in Gadget's hastily-made invention in their race to locate Klordane.
- Professor Nimnul calibrates the ruby and deals with Klordane's impatience before demonstrating the laser's power. This will come into play in Part 4 as well.
- There is some extra dialogue between Klordane and Nimul before Klordane mentions leaving Fat Cat to guard the laser.
- The scene where Chip, Dale and Monty are thrown off the cliff originally lead to a commercial break in the movie version. In syndication, the scene continues with them getting back up to see Fat Cat standing and taunting them before throwing the final snowball, leading to “To Be Continued”.
- The recap in Parts 4 and 5 only contain scenes from Parts 3 and 4 respectively.
- This episode starts with the snowball hitting them and Fat Cat yelling “Stee-rike!!” as well as some more dialogue before we rejoin them free falling in the movie version. The logo has already been mentioned, but that’s not the point of this.
- Fat Cat has a quick line thrown in when he and Nimnul notice the guys have the ruby.
- There’s an extended and humorous scene involving the Rang – uh, team trying to retrieve the ruby and playing Keep Away against Nimnul and Fat Cat.
- There’s some extra dialogue in the police station when the Rangers and Plato are discussing Drake’s situation.
- Nimnul briefly mentions the ruby still being in perfect pitch from the previous episode.
- There’s a scene where Chip, Dale and Gadget are trying to get into the pound from above. Note the sleeping guard dog immediately under the glass roof.
- There are various scenes throughout Acts 2 and 3 involving a French poodle named Frenchie and his pal K Cera (Cera!!); members of the Pound Underground; including a quick addition of dialogue by Chip regarding them and quick inserts now and then. Frenchie helps liberate Plato then they leave to finish their tunnel.
- Plato describes the pound guard dog to them.
- The pound guard dog actually gets a few lines in the TV version and corners Chip, Dale and Gadget leading to a commercial break that is not in the movie. They are rescued by Frenchie and K Cera.
- Frenchie and K Cera appear for a second in the scene where the guard dog comes back and before Monty and Zipper return.
- Frenchie is actually the one to officially declare the group a team before they (finally!!) bid adieu.
- There’s a quick line thrown in by Percy and Klordane after Plato and the team are knocked out by the door, leading to a tense music addition with Klordane’s line at the end of the episode.
- There’s a quick scene of the Rangers being tossed during the real earthquake and a line from Gadget about pennies from heaven followed by a quick comical scene involving Dale about a gumball machine after the successful earthquake raid of the gold reserve.
- The scene where Klordane uses dynamite to mask his escape and the line about Klordane making a clean getaway leads to a commercial break.
- Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume 2