First posted on July 6th, 2011 on The Retroist Retro Blog and Podcast - CW post link
In the 1950’s, radio was king. And between 1952 and 1954 there was nothing more popular in the world of radio than the genre of anthropomorphic animal action adventure. A great example of this type of show was The League of Extraordinary Ducks! Sponsored by Red & Green brand Duct Tape this half hour show kept families all over America gathered around their radio, totally captivated. The concept was pretty groundbreaking for it’s time; During Duckburg’s greatest peril, a secret governmental agency traveled the world recruiting the most powerful ducks in existence.
The team was led by the famed adventurer Duck Dodgers and included the half alive indestructible cyborg Gizmo Duck, the flying expert and mechanical wizard Ace Duck, the mysterious mistress of magic and illusion Morgana McCawber, the homicidal con artist and thief LeQuack and the split personality Mellissa Duck, who at any moment can transform into an unstoppable destructive monster. Finally the most mysterious member of the team, loyal only to himself, the ancient vampire Count Duckula. The cartoon actors got along extremely well and got a real kick out performing and improvising together. The gang even made several public appearances at parades and fairs, in character where they would sign autographs, mingle with their loyal fans and generally have a ball.
Despite extremely high ratings and a ton of branded merchandise, it was eventually decided that the show was just too violent and edgy for the public. The public strongly disagreed and began the first entertainment petition drive in American history, unfortunately the show stayed off the air. The actors all went on to strong careers in television. “Mellissa” and “Duck Dodgers” signed on with Warner Bros. in their upstart Looney Toons division. They were even able to appear together in several animated shorts. Dodgers became a huge star and Mellissa eventually began to work behind the camera becoming a highly respected director. “Ace Duck” and “LeQuack” went on to play recurring rolls on the hit shows Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Courage The Cowardly Dog respectively. “Count Duckula” was given his own program which became a huge hit in the UK and would later produce the spin-off sitcom Dark Shadows. Gizmo Duck and Morgana were both given strong rolls on the crime drama Darkwing Duck.
Years later the cast was approached about turning The League of Extraordinary Ducks into a series of graphic novels but few toons were willing to leave the booming world of television for print work and they respectfully declined. The graphic novels were later re-imagined using characters from literature. While no further properties were ever created For LOED the fan base is as loyal as ever and the cast has made appearances together at several “League” conventions. There has even been quiet talk of a reunion episode produced for the internet. One can only hope that this comes to fruition. I don’t think I only speak for myself when I say how great it would be to hear the old team back together again doing what they do best, fighting evil!