Friday, February 11, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Eight: "Hotel Strangeduck"

Welcome to the Hotel Strangeduck...ornia!

Scrooge takes over an old castle and tries to make it into a hotel, but there's doin's afoot. The place is haunted by the ghost of "Ludwig von Strangeduck"…OR IS IT? Nobody who's read "The Old Castle's Secret" will be surprised by the denouement, though it would be a stretch to say that the episode is "based" on that story.

This episode was okay, but I can't help thinking that it was a bit of a missed opportunity--it could easily have been a lot more atmospheric/suspenseful. Instead, there's a lot of really un-spooky ghosting around that, in light of the ending, is rather more implausible than that in the story it's riffing off of. Also, there's a guest at the hotel, Italian Stereotype Man, who serves no apparent purpose (unless a funny accent counts as a "purpose"). Perhaps without that narrative dead-end, there would have been more time and opportunity to really explore the ins and outs of the castle.

Here's one of those things that an apologist would insist I ignore, in light of the fact that we're dealing with a kids' cartoon, but that's not gonna fly: duck comics are for kids too, so I'm not sure why I would hold the show to a lower standard: it's just distractingly weird that Scrooge has (apparently) abandoned all his other businesses and transplanted his household staff in order to personally run a hotel in the middle of nowhere. The show could perhaps have come up with some kind of semi-plausible justification for this, but it never makes the effort. A somewhat lackluster episode all 'round.

Stray Observations

-Von Strangeduck looks a lot like Ludwig.

-The other guest is "The Duchess of Swansylvania;" funniest part of the episode is when she signs in with a huge, hyper-ornate signature. Okay, maybe you have to see it.

HDL and Scrooge going down the big hidden spiral staircase. HDL: "Wonder where this goes?" Scrooge: "Looks like it goes around a corner!" Brilliant and helpful observation, Scroogie.


  1. Italian Stereotype Guy serves an important purpose in terms of the mystery: he is the red herring. It's not a fair mystery, since we're not introduced to all of the potential ghosts, but we're led to believe that it has to be one person, and then we're suddenly thrown for a loop.

    As for the funniest part of the episode, for me that's when Duckworth starts to put his dukes up against the air where he thinks the ghost is.

  2. Reckon you're right, but given that you see him signing in and then the ghost signing in separately meant that I never really seriously thought of him as a candidate for ghosthood.