Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Fifty: "Dime Enough for Luck"

A Ducktales episode named after a novel in which a guy has sex with his clone? I'd buy that for a dollar!

So yeah, here's Gladstone. What's he like? Well…not much, really. He's very much toned down from the original Barksian version--he has an enthusiastically youthful, slightly smarmy-sounding voice that makes him sound like a guy in a beer commercial or something, which doesn't really comport with what I would have imagined the character sounding like; and he's only very mildly obnoxious, and not malevolent at all. Ultimately, he doesn't make much of a splash.

Anyway, the idea is that Magica hypnotizes him and uses him to get at Scrooge's dime, and having done this, "because [he] used [his] luck for wicked purpose," he suddenly has BAD luck, which seems like a highly dubious extrapolation of how the character works, and anyway, how would Magica possibly KNOW this? But they get the dime back anyway, Scrooge figuring how to make Gladstone's bad luck work in their favor.

I dunno…I certainly HOPE I'm not just losing whatever taste I had for this show, because the last handful of episodes have all struck me as really mediocre, and this is no exception. There's just not much exciting here, and it endorses more clearly than anything else I can remember the idea that the dime does indeed grant Scrooge "luck," occasional boilerplate to the contrary notwithstanding. And the idea that the dime could just disappear from his bin, and he wouldn't even notice until Gladstone fessed up? I do not think so.

Seriously, Ducktales, I need you to get better in a hurry. I'm starting to lose faith.

Stray Observations

-Gladstone falls into a sewer, but this is "lucky" because he finds a dollar bill? Even if the alternative WAS getting splashed with water, that is not a tradeoff that *I* would find particularly fortunate.

-One of the traps that Scrooge has installed in his bin involves--with no advance warning--a huge piston coming out of the ceiling and just smashing the SHIT out of the floor. It's true that Barks was known to depict baroque, cartoony traps in the bin, but I don't think he ever drew anything that would both be totally unexpected and instantly, unambiguously fatal to anyone running afoul of it. The problems--both legal and practical--of a system like this are certainly so obvious as to go unstated.

-When Gladstone's going through the laser, supposedly avoiding it, he TOTALLY touches it, on multiple occasions. It's not even slightly subtle. What is this?

-"It [Scrooge's dime] will control all other dimes in the world, not to mention dollars!" Not totally sure what this means, but it's the clearest--only, as far as I can recall--statement from Magica about what she actually expects to accomplish with the dime.


  1. Your description of the piston trap made my morning. In other news, I remember when this episode was new... and I sat around trying to figure out whether I like Gladstone's voice and interpretation or not.
    I can actually buy his luck "punishing" him for especially poor misbehavior (ever notice how Donald tends to wind up ahead of Gladstone in the stories where Gladstone actively acts malicious? "Luck of the North" and "Trail of the Unicorn" come to mind; whereas in the WDC 131 golfing story Gladstone wins, but while he's been his usual obnoxious self there, he's done nothing mean other than simply be lucky.)

    Alternate, IMHO even less appropriate voice for Gladstone:

  2. Yeah--it's always interesting to look at Barks' moral universe, especially in Donald vs. Nephews and Donald vs. Gladstone stories. There's definitely a correlation--though not a perfect one--between being a dick and losing out (though "losing out" for Gladstone often still entails what any of us would probably be happy to consider winning).

  3. ...I was also going to note that, in spite of that, it's clearly not a mechanical "bad behavior=bad luck" thing for Barks.

  4. I think the Duckburg sewers are preternaturally clean. HDL were happy as clams to ride the sewer rapids in "Cash as Cash Can Pt. 1: A Drain on the Economy," and Scrooge saw no need to launder his money after it had been in the sewer. Hey... Maybe Gladstone picked up one of Scrooge's dollars that got left behind in "A Drain on the Economy!"


  5. I personaly love Gladstone's voice on the show and their version of the character even if it's diffrent from Barks...

    THAN AGIAN - We never actually got meeting betwen Donald and Gladstone on the show. That would make an interesting episode...

  6. I actually have a theory why they never had a "Donald vs. Gladstone to get Daisy" episode... On the DVD for Fleischer 's Popeye they talk how when Hanna-Barbera made their version of the cartoon they coudn't have Popeye and Bluto fight over Olive as that would be consider sexist at the time and the character where reduce only to compite in sports etc. Maybe DuckTales people had similar conserns...

  7. I should be ashamed of how much I love this episode. It's the strongest Schadenfreude I've ever experienced. I just LOVE watching Gladstone suffer like this! Despairing that his luck is gone forever! "I don't believe it... I've lost my luck! No food, no money... *gasp* I'll have to get a JOB like normal people!" There have been MANY times where I watched that scene over and over and over again, it's just so satisfying.

    I've yet to find a single comic where this happens. Sure, there are stories where his luck backfires on him or gets twisted around somehow, and Don Rosa's worst story ever where he actually tries to make us feel for Gladstone by revealing that he's always unlucky for 24 hours every year, but I can't find a single story where some outside force causes him to lose his luck, seemingly forever. Barks was 100% right, of course, when he said you couldn't overuse that plot, which is no doubt why this episode is so gratifying -- a once-in-a-lifetime treat.