If Disney Afternoon wasn’t a staple of your daily after-school activities, you grew up in the wrong decade. I feel sorry for you. Have no fear, for I am here! So, what have you missed? Well, everything. Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, and Talespin. Caught up? Good. You might be saying Hulk (or Tony), Disney Afternoon was a two-hour block, what can I add to this fluffernutter sandwich of awesomeness to complete it? What about the Gargoyles? Or Gummi Bears? Nah, what you need is Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers!
What made Rescue Rangers special is the familiarity, using established Disney characters in a unique setting while adding a bit of originality. Only a bit. I’ll circle back to that in a minute. The series was created as a companion to Ducktales, Darkwing, and Talespin. It’s easy to see how the four fit together, thematically. The series, created by Tad Stones, is reminiscent of The Rescuers (1977), with the Rangers going on adventures to help those in need. The only difference between this and The Rescuers is the Rangers’ tools, re-purposed human trinkets. Besides, The Rescuers sucked.
I want to pause for a minute to talk about Tad Stones. He’s my hero. Aside from creating this, Darkwing Duck, and bringing Hellboy to animation with Sword of Storms and Iron and Blood, he was responsible for Aladdin. Mr. Stones, I’d like to meet you. This isn’t some weird fanboy-geekout thing. You sir, have inspired and influenced me since my youth. I would like to thank you. If any of you reading this could pass it along, I’d appreciate it.
The Rangers included Chip, Dale, Gadget, Monterey Jack and Zipper. The first two, based on the cartoon shorts, feature the chipmunks, now clothed, rescuing people instead of stealing Christmas cookies or whatever. Thanks to internet memes, it’s pretty well known that Chip was modeled after Indiana Jones and Dale Magnum P.I. As a huge Indiana fan, I’m upset at myself for not noticing it sooner. Monterey Jack, or Monty, is the team’s muscle, having traveled the world with his sidekick, Zipper. And finally there’s Gadget, the team mechanic and inventor. She’s the love interest of both Chip and Dale, and the only one who wears pants.
As if mandated, Rangers followed its DA brethren with an amazing theme song, performed by (of all people) The Jets. If you know me by now, I’m sure you know where this is going. Yes, this is in my theme-song road-trip repertoire. Fast fire facts: Following the other three, this hit the magical syndication number of 65 episodes, shown in reruns ever since. Boom! Studios ran a comic series for a short 8 issues before cancelling it. Capcom released a game for the NES in 1990. It was hard as hell.
Is Rescue Rangers amazing? Yes. Should you watch it? Yes. I guess that’s all there is to say. Sometimes, some crimes, go slipping through the cracks…
Who was your favorite Ranger? Think this echoed The Rescuers? Comment below!
In addition to THN’s Saturday Morning Cartoons and Nerd at the Movies, Tony writes for his own site, thecredhulk.com, about comics, video games, movies, TV and more, six days a week. You can follow his updates on Facebook or Twitter. Drop by and tell ’em hi.
I’m serious about wanting to meet Tad Stones.