Darkwing “Double-O” Duck (part 1)

While most Disney Television Animation (DTA) shows have a rich development history, one of the most talked ‘famous moments in DTA history’ is without a doubt the development of Darkwing Duck and his earlier incarnation as Double-O Duck. While this topic has been discussed before online in multiple fan fora, blogs and podcasts, it still speaks to the imagination on how Darkwing Duck finally got his name.

When the producers were told that they could not use the Double-O moniker, they issued a memo to their co-workers to find a suitable name. Let’s take a look at that famous Tad Stones memo!

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Setting wheels in motion

When Michael Eisner started his reign as chairman of The Walt Disney Company on 22 September 1984, he proposed the idea to get the company involved in television animation. Within the first week, he asked the president of Consumer Products to gather a diverse group of creative people from that division for a meeting at Eisner’s house the next Sunday.

The gathered creatives and management were asked to put a few ideas on the table and among those ideas was a show that the company was already developing for a while: Wuzzles. Other ideas were explored from projects that fell into the feature animation territory: Hero From Otherwhere, a project that had been in development at the studio since the late seventies and a possible spin on the movie The Rescuers (1977). During that meeting, Michael Eisner famously proposed to produce a show about gummi bears, because his son was crazy about the candy.

Michael Webster drafted a memo for what would soon be the new division that same Sunday to shift into high gear the next morning.

FirstMemo

 

(I am aware of the typo’s in this memo, but I’m sure this was drafted in a hurry not long after the meeting. There is also the mechanical factor, since this was drafted on a typewriter, not a computer, so errors are not that easy to correct)