Way back in 1967, Walt Disney introduced us all to a collection of colorful critters in his animated feature, The Jungle Book. And much to the delight of fans everywhere, these beloved characters would make quite the comeback, some 23 years later, as part of an all-new animated series on the Disney Channel called TaleSpin, which proved quite popular on its own. Let’s take a look back at this creative cartoon that is still fondly remembered by millions.
The half-hour animated series took a handful of Rudyard Kipling’s creations and further civilized them, giving them new jobs, new responsibilities, and new emotional issues. Taking place in the tropical paradise of the fictional Cape Suzette, Baloo the Bear had become an adventurous airfreight pilot, Louis the Lion opened up a swanky nightclub, and the formidable Share Khan put his tiger instincts to use as a wealthy and powerful business entrepreneur.
Baloo was the owner of his own business until it went belly up, and was purchased by a shrewd businesswoman named Rebecca Cunningham, who stepped in and renamed it “Higher For Hire.” Still, Baloo dutifully manned the controls of the Conwing L-16 aircraft and set to the skies each day, while always being mercilessly pursued by every bandit and pirate in the area, hoping to get their hands on his coveted cargo. Luckily for Rebecca, Baloo was very good at what he did, and he and Kit made a good (and hilarious) team. Although there was always the underpinning of romance between pilot and boss, Rebecca had her own hands full, trying to keep her company safe from an evil takeover by Share Khan. At least, at the end of the day, all involved could unwind down at Louie’s nightclub.
TaleSpin aired in conjunction with another ambitious pair of animated offerings – DuckTales and Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers, all as part of the Disney Afternoon package. The series ran for one season (65 episodes), before moving into syndication – where it can still be occasionally seen.
If you spent your afternoons curled up in front of the TV set and watching the adventures unfold on TaleSpin, we welcome your memories in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this above-average series.