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TaleSpin was a traditional-animation cartoon show introduced in 1990 as part of the original Disney Afternoon lineup following the independent success of Gummi Bears, DuckTales, and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.

The show is perhaps best remembered for its brilliant character development and the memorable voice acting skills of Ed Gilbert, Sally Struthers, Pat Fraley, Jim Cummings, and other notable guests.


The show starred Baloo the bear (beloved star of The Jungle Book) in the role of a "bush pilot" flying cargo all over the globe. The world of TaleSpin was a parody of Earth in the 1930's, though oddly without any explicit mention of Fascism. The airplane as a technology also seems to figure more centrally than the automobile in this world, though this is perhaps understandable given the occupation of its central character.

According to the story, Baloo originally ran his own delivery business, but his laid-back style and general disregard for paying debts in a timely manner caused his business to fall into the hands of entrepreneur Rebecca Cunningham. In later episodes, Baloo's dedication to getting the cargo to its destination seemed somewhat more or less depending on the situation.


Baloo was the best pilot in the sky with a very special plane, the "Sea Duck" (a possible nod to Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon). He was always enduring unbelievable adventures, and he always had to use what brains he had to figure a way out. Though Baloo was constantly looking for a way to get rich quickly, he had a heart of gold and always ended up doing the right thing.

Rebecca Cunningham (also a bear) was Baloo's boss. Independent and fussy, she was always trying to keep Baloo in line and her business in the black, but she did have a tender side as well. Eventually she and Baloo became best friends. She had a daughter named Molly.

Kit Cloudkicker was a preteen bear with a mysterious past, a former member of the Air Pirates. On the run from them, he ran into Baloo, who quickly became a father figure to him. Kitt's favorite sport of "sky surfing" was like water skiing behind a plane in flight, using his own special "board", a collapsible crescent-shaped platform. Kitt's use of the nick name "Papa Bear" is almost certainly a nod to Jungle Book.

Frank Wildcat was Baloo's lion mechanic. Eccentric and childish, he was also a mechanical genius, and he had a big heart to make up for his lack of wit.

Louie was a second character from Jungle Book. In this world, he and Baloo are old buddies. Louie runs a restaurant/dance club and fueling station on a private island "about a tankful from Cape Suzette".

Shere Khan was the other character borrowed directly from Jungle Book and played a recurring villain role. Though he tended to act in his own best interests, he was an enigmatic character, sometimes helping to topple another villain or returning charity as payment for a personal rescue. His semi-uniformed minions are echoes of both the European fascist movements of real-world history, and of Chinese and Central Asian warlords of the era.

Don Karnage was the egocentric and erratic leader of the Air Pirates and skipper of the Iron Vulture, an enormous airship capable of housing his entire fleet of small brigand airplanes. His schemes to conquer Cape Suzette tended to be the most impressive in the miniseries, but they invariably ended in spectacular failure.

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