Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy ANNIVERSARIES, "DuckTales"!

Well, this is most unfortunate.  Here I am, retrospecting on DuckTales on a weekly basis, and I completely neglected to note that Tuesday, September 18, marked the ACTUAL 25th anniversary of the first syndicated broadcast of the "two-hour movie" version of "Treasure of the Golden Suns"!  Thanks to Eric Wing of PlayControl Software for reminding me of this through the medium of the Disney Comics Forum.  (Eric, by the way, has just published his own silver anniversary retrospective on the show, and it's well worth reading.  I'll be discussing it in a future post.)

My tail feathers might still be salvageable.  The two-hour "Golden Suns" was broadcast at OTHER times during that epochal weekend.  I was living in Providence, RI at the time, and two TV stations -- TV 38, Boston, and (I think) WPIX TV 11, New York -- had the rights to the series in our area.  One of them broadcast "Golden Suns" that Friday night, while the other did so on either Saturday or Sunday.  So, it's entirely possible that TODAY represents an anniversary of sorts.  Call it "a celebration of exposure to DuckTales within the penumbra of the initial broadcast window," or something like that.

Tomorrow is unquestionably a well-defined milestone: the 25th anniversary of the broadcast of the first syndicated half-hour episode, "Send in the Clones."


Joe Torcivia said...

It was definitely WPIX TV 11!

Ironically later “The WB-11”… and now just “PIX-11”!

Comicbookrehab said...

Oh boy, a conflict! I'm 100% that it was WNYW Channel 5 (now known as FOX 5) in NYC. It was followed by "Double Dare" reruns.

Let's take the physical challenge. ;)

Pan Miluś said...

I LOVE "SEND IN THE CLONES" - Some great comedy moments and I love Magica in it! Very fun episode...

Chris Barat said...


Both 11 and 5 ran DUCKTALES in NYC? I think that we got ONE of those channels in Providence. Probably 11, since I used to watch HONEYMOONERS and STAR TREK reruns before going to bed.


Joe Torcivia said...

Please make note: A rare instance where I must stand corrected on duck matters! :-)

Yes, it was WNYW (the eventual FOX 5 New York) that was the original home of DuckTales! Then, it moved to PIX 11! So, the answer is “BOTH”!

Better yet, was the “independent” Long Island station that is now known as “TV 10 and 55”, which ran Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, DuckTales, and Rescue Rangers back-to-back-to-back every weekday afternoon!

Chris Barat said...


"Clones" definitely started the "five-a-week" era of the series off with a bang.


Ryan Wynns said...

If memory serves, and based on what I was just able to scrounge up at, DuckTales wasn't picked up by WPIX 11 until the fall of `89, with the advent of the DT-Rescue Rangers hour-long block. (For some reason, growing up in Southwick, MA, WPIX 11 was part 30-channel cable package.) This seems to corroborate Joe said about DT having upon its debut been carried by another NYC station, but later "moved" to WPIX.

From "Day One", I had access to viewing DT WTIC 61 (Hartford, CT; a FOX affiliate), as well as -- like Chris -- Boston's WSBK 38. With WPIX 11 in the game as of `89, for several years therafter -- at least until I was in high school, when I stopped keeping track -- we consistently had THREE stations carrying the Disney animated TV series in daily syndication. When the FOX Kids afternoon lineup was launched in the fall of 1991, WTIC 61 dropped The Disney Afternoon, but it was picked up by another Connecticut station, WTXX 20 (now WCCT, per Wikipedia) ... which, as fate would have it, was ALSO part of our cable lineup. (Also per Wikipedia, WTIC and WTXX/WCCT share the same owner, but that wasn't the case until `93.)

(I have notsalgic remember of Channel 20's children's programming blocks being -- even then! -- relics of bygone era ... in that they were hosted by a puppet and a girl who must've been in her late teens or possibly early 20's, and who was replaced at least a couple times over within what must have been as little a span of time as a few months to a year.)

The way that I've always remembered it, I watched WTIC 61's broadcast of "Treasure of the Golden Suns" on what would've been the evening of Sunday, September 20th, 1987. It pre-empted 61's weekly syndicated reruns of The Wonderful World of Disney ... which my family regularly watched, and what we were expecting to see that night; this grand DuckTales premiere was a complete surprise.

Then, one or two weeks later, and -- again, as I remember it -- I caught "Golden Suns" AGAIN, but on WSBK 38. However, from the listings I've been able to locate at, ch. 38 carried "Golden Suns" during the weekend of Sept. 18-20th, and not during any subsequent weekends. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any fall `89 listings accounting for WTIC 61's schedule whatsoever.

-- Ryan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention! Actually, I was trying to find your contact information, but you don't have any on your site. I did post in your first DuckTales 25th announcement thread.

I consider it extremely high praise that you referred to my article. Though now I'm going to be a nervous wreck until you post your article in fear of how you are going to destroy me and my perceptions of everything and make my last 25 years a complete fraud :)

As for a weekend debut, that certainly can be done. As I understand it, syndication usually has contractual obligations to show something within a certain time frame, usually a week for a once a week series. This is to allow individual channels to figure out how to best schedule things for their local audiences and fit it into their schedule of other shows. Presumably, they would have at least the weekend for a special debut like Treasure of the Golden Suns. And though television markets like to give regions exclusive access to shows, there are some regions that have overlapping areas if your antenna is good enough to pick up the broadcasts. In this period in the Bay Area, KRON (channel 4) and KSBW (channel 8) were both NBC affiliates at the time. KRON served San Francisco and KSBW served Salinas, Monterey, Santa Cruz. San Jose is about halfway between the two and could pick up both depending on antenna and orientation.

An aside, I remember in San Diego at the end of season 4 for Babylon 5, the local station knew they were not going to get the next season because it was leaving syndication and moving to cable (TNT). I think it was FOX 6, I think they moved it to 1am Sunday morning to show the final few episodes.

As for Treasure of the Golden Suns, it debuted on KTVU (Channel 2) in the Bay Area on Friday night at 8pm in 1987. (I recall skipping a specific event to watch it.) KTVU moved the show's time slot around on weekdays a few times. I think it first started at 4:30pm (though I could be wrong about this), and then moved earlier. They did a poor job advertising the fact and when the show disappeared, I panicked and was really sad thinking the show had been cancelled. (Most shows I like get cancelled before their time.) I think it was a week or two later until I found out it was just moved. (KTVU also liked to show baseball games, so they pre-empted programming quite often which was also annoying.)

KTVU originally independent, but later became a FOX affiliate, likes to exercise its strong independent streak. So when "The Great Cartoon Wars of 1990" geared up (I think that was the term TV Guide or some local TV newspaper article used. I remember Little Rosey (cartoon adaption of Roseanne) on the cover), Fox Kids (e.g. Tiny Toons) was going directly up against the Disney Afternoon, except in weirdo markets where the Fox channel also held the syndication rights to the Disney Afternoon. KTVU was one of these stations, so for the fall/winter of 1990, KTVU showed both Fox Kids programming and the Disney Afternoon programming. Then in January 1991, the Disney Afternoon would be dropped by KTVU and picked up by KBHK (44), another independent station.

For KTVU to fit it in their schedule though, they showed Gummi Bears and DuckTales early in the morning and Rescue Rangers and Tale Spin in the afternoon. They also didn't use any of the Disney Afternoon bumpers/openings and never referred to "The Disney Afternoon". They also cut up all the Disney cartoon openings to get in a little more commercial time. I think they were deliberately trying to poison the shows because they knew they were losing it in January.