Many of the characters, including Scrooge McDuck, the Beagle Boys and Gyro Gearloose, didn't come from Disney's theatrical cartoons, but from comic books written and illustrated by Carl Barks and others. And that cast of characters was deep:
- Grand-nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, left in the old Scot's care by their "Unca Donald"
- Bumblingly heroic Launchpad McQuack ("Any crash you can walk away from is a good one"), hired by Scrooge to pilot in and out of danger
- Doofus, the nerdy Junior Woodchucks member who idolized Launchpad
- Scrooge's maid Mrs. Beakly and her precocious granddaughter Webbigail ("Webby")
- Unflappable butler Drake
- Inventor Gyro Gearloose, whose imperfect creations often caused more trouble than they were worth
- Flintheart Glomgold, the second richest duck in the world and Scrooge's arch-rival
- Sorceress Magica De Spell, who used her powers in futile attempts to steal Scrooge's "lucky dime,"
- And the dastardly Beagle Brothers (Burger, Baggy, Babyface, Bigtime, and Bouncer), a criminal family headed by Ma Beagle.
The adventures were along the lines of Indiana Jones, globe-trotting quests and challenges with lots of danger. The series often poked fun at classic literature, history, and legend with such episodes as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. McDuck" and "The Golden Fleecing." The show was an instant hit, demolishing its ratings competitors with luscious animation and clever mixes of action/adventure and comedy. After three years of commercial and critical success on its own, Duck Tales became the centerpiece of the new "Disney Afternoon," a two-hour block of half-hour animated programs.
Animation, some computer-generated, was done by Japanese studios, although the Disney people retained creative control. And for those of you who came here just to settle a bet, Huey wore the red sweater, Dewey wore blue and Louie green.