|Created by||Jymn Magon
|Directed by||Larry Latham
|Voices of||Ed Gilbert
R. J. Williams
|Theme music composer||Silversher & Silversher|
|Composer(s)||Christopher L. Stone|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||65 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Original channel||Disney Channel (1990)
first-run syndication (1990-1991)
|Picture format||480i SDTV|
|Original run||May 5, 1990– August 8, 1991|
TaleSpin is a half-hour Animated Adventure series based in the fictional city of Cape Suzette, that first aired in 1990 as part of The Disney Afternoon, with characters adapted from Disney's 1967 animated feature The Jungle Book, which was theatrically rereleased in the summer before this show premiered in the fall. The name of the show is a play on "tailspin," the rapid descent of an aircraft in a steep spiral. The two words in the show's name, tale and spin, are a way to describe telling a story. The show is one of the seven Disney Afternoon shows to use established Disney characters as the main characters, with the others being Darkwing Duck, DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, Bonkers, Quack Pack, Aladdin and The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa.
After a preview of The Disney Afternoon that aired on the Disney Channel in early May 1990, the series began its syndicated run in September of the same year. The original concept was embodied in the pilot episode and introductory television movie Plunder & Lightning which was the sole nominee for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming More Than One Hour) in 1991. After its premiere on September 7, 1990, Plunder & Lightning was later re-edited into four half-hour episodes for reruns. The show was often seen either on its own as a half-hour show, or as part of the two-hour syndicated series The Disney Afternoon. TaleSpin ended on its 65th episode which ran in 1991. However, reruns continued to be shown on The Disney Afternoon until September 1994. Afterwards, it was moved into Disney Channel. On October 2, 1995, TaleSpin began reruns on the Disney Channel as part of a two-hour programming block called "Block Party" which aired on weekdays in the late-afternoon/early-evening and which also included Darkwing Duck, DuckTales, and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. Later, the show was moved into Toon Disney, where it was first aired from April 1998 until January 2006 (with a hiatus between 2001 and 2002 due to the September 11 attacks), and later from January 2007 until May 2008.
Several of the characters are loosely based on characters from Disney's animated film version of The Jungle Book: in particular Baloo, the hot-shot pilot hero of the series; Louie, the owner of Baloo's favorite bar; and Shere Khan, a business tycoon who appears in many episodes. However, Mowgli, Bagheera, Kaa, and Colonel Hathi are notably absent (although some of Shere Khan's employees and military personnel are black panthers who resemble Bagheera; and villain Thadeos E. Klang does bear a striking resemblance to Kaa). Kit Cloudkicker seems to be a stand-in for Mowgli of The Jungle Book, since Baloo calls him "Little Britches" (the same nickname he gives Mowgli), with Kit calling Baloo "Papa Bear" in return just like Mowgli does. As mentioned above, some of Shere Khan's workers, soldiers, sailors, and airmen (including pilots and gunners) are black panthers resembling Bagheera. Despite its strong likeness to and re-use of several characters from the film, TaleSpin has never been intended to be a "spin-off" or a parody of The Jungle Book.
Also, many of the series concepts seem to be based on the 1982 ABC series Tales of the Gold Monkey, including the main concept of a cocky flying boat cargo pilot and his rocky relationship with his girlfriend (although in TaleSpin, Rebecca Cunningham is merely Baloo's boss), his scatterbrained mechanic sidekick, the era and designs of the aircraft and costumes, the Pacific Islands setting, the secondary character relationships, even the visual appearance of the lagoon. Also, the protagonists of both series fly planes named for waterfowl (Cutter's Goose and Sea Duck) and are regular denizens of similar taverns. In Tales of the Gold Monkey, the tavern is a bar called "The Gold Monkey" and run by a man named Louie. In TaleSpin, it's called "Louie's" and run by a golden-colored ape (orangutan) of the same name. Baloo's relationship with Rebecca Cunningham mirrors that of Sam Malone and Rebecca Howe in Cheers, and Rebecca Cunningham's character resembles Rebecca Howe's in personality and ambition.
There is also a more than passing resemblance to Hayao Miyazaki's film Porco Rosso about a pigheaded man who flies a seaplane and fights air pirates, which the creators of TaleSpin explain by the influence the previous Miyazaki's films had on them, and the possibility of Miyazaki watching TaleSpin at some point. While the film was released in 1992 (two years after TaleSpin had already aired) Porco Rosso is based on Miyazaki's manga, Hikōtei Jidai which was first published in 1989.
The series was largely developed by writers Jymn Magon and Mark Zaslove, who were also the supervising producers on the series as well as story editors. There were four production teams, each one headed by a producer/director: Robert Taylor, Larry Latham, Jamie Mitchell, and Ed Ghertner.
TaleSpin is set in the fictional City of Cape Suzette (a pun on the dish Crêpe Suzette), in a fictional country called Usland. The city lies in a harbor protected by giant cliffs through which only a small opening exists. The opening in the cliffs is guarded by anti-aircraft artillery, preventing flying rabble-rousers or air pirates from entering the city. The characters in the world of TaleSpin are anthropomorphic animals. The time frame of the series is never specifically addressed, but appears to be in the mid-to-late 1930s. The helicopter, television and jet engine are experimental devices, and most architecture is reminiscent of the Art Deco style of that period. In one episode, Baloo comments that "The Great War ended 20 years ago," suggesting that the series specifically takes place in 1938. Radio is the primary mass medium, and one episode even briefly alludes to the characters having never heard of television.
The series centers on the adventures of bush pilot Baloo the bear, whose air cargo freight business, "Baloo's Air Service," is purchased by Rebecca Cunningham upon his default on delinquent bills with the bank and renamed "Higher for Hire." An orphan boy and former air pirate, the ambitious Kit Cloudkicker, attaches to Baloo and becomes his navigator. He sometimes calls him "Papa Bear." Together, they are the crew of Higher for Hire's only aircraft, a 20-year old modified Conwing L-16 (a fictitious combination of a Fairchild C-82 transport and a Grumman HU-16 amphibian) with the livery of the Canadair CL-215 waterbomber, named the Sea Duck. From there, the series follows the ups and downs of Higher for Hire and its staff, sometimes in the vein of old action-adventure film serials of the 1930s and 1940s and contemporary variations, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Their adventures often involve encounters with a gang of air pirates led by Don Karnage, as well as with representatives of Thembria (a parody of the Stalinist Soviet Union inhabited by anthropomorphic boars), or other, often even stranger obstacles. In deference to contemporary sensitivities, there is no equivalent of the Nazis in the series, although one story in Disney Adventures Magazine, "The Dogs of War!," had the heroes encounter "the Hausers" (members of the "Houn" nationality), a menacing militaristic nationality of dogs from "Hounsland" who wear uniforms that are clearly based on German ones and the senior commander of the Houn airship (Major Heartworm) speaks in a mock-German accent.
The relationship between Baloo and Rebecca owes something to the screwball comedy films of the 1930s. More precisely, according to Jymn Magon (co-creator of the series), the two characters were fashioned after Sam Malone and Rebecca Howe from the then-popular sitcom Cheers. Famed Uncle Scrooge comic writer and artist Don Rosa wrote episode 6, "It Came from Beneath the Sea Duck," episode 9, "I Only Have Ice for You," and episode 24, "A Touch of Glass."
Characters and cast 
VHS releases 
- True Baloo (From Here to Machinery & The Balooest of Blue Bloods)
- That's Show Biz! (Stormy Weather & Mommy For a Day)
- Jackpots & Crackpots (A Touch of Glass & Her Chance to Dream)
- Fearless Flyers (Jumping the Guns & Match One for Gipper)
- Treasure Trap (Idol Rich & Polly Wants a Treasure)
- Imagine That! (Flight of the Snow Duck & Flight School Confidential)
- Wise Up! (Molly Coddled & The Sound and the Furry)
- Search for the Lost City (For Whom the Bell Klangs Part 1 & 2)
DVD releases 
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has released some of the series on DVD; two volumes have been released in Region 1 thus far featuring the first 54 episodes of the series. The first was released on August 29, 2006 (containing episodes 1-27) and the second on November 13, 2007 (containing episodes 28-54). Volume 2 includes the controversial episode "Last Horizons," which has never been re-aired in syndication. It is unknown if a third volume with the remaining 11 episodes of the series will ever be released.
|DVD Name||Ep#||Release Date|
|TaleSpin: Volume 1||27||August 29, 2006|
|TaleSpin: Volume 2||27||November 13, 2007|
|TaleSpin: Volume 3||11||TBA|
International Releases 
The series has been released into several volumes in different countries, each containing only 4 episodes each. As to the US release, they only count up to 54 in total.
In Germany, A series of 3-disc sets started with Collection 1 released on December 5th 2012, in Region 2, PAL format. The set contains the first 17 episodes, excluding From Here To Machinery and Vowel Play, as well as a Fastplay mode and 6 language tracks: English, Danish, German, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish, but no subtitles have been added. A Second Collection, containing 16 episodes, was released on March 7th. A Third Collection, containing 17 episodes, is set for release on May 29th. The Fourth Collection, containing the final 15 episodes, has not been confirmed.
|DVD Name||Ep#||Release Date|
|Käpt'n Balu und seine tollkühne Crew Collection 1||17||December 5th 2012|
|Käpt'n Balu und seine tollkühne Crew Collection 2||16||March 7th 2013|
|Käpt'n Balu und seine tollkühne Crew Collection 3||17||May 29th 2013|
|Käpt'n Balu und seine tollkühne Crew Collection 4||15||N/A|
United Kingdom 
The sets from Germany have also been released in the United Kingdom. The First Collection came out on February 11th 2013. The 2nd Collection will be released on May 20th.
|DVD Name||Ep#||Release Date|
|TaleSpin First Collection (Volumes 1-3)||17||February 11th 2013|
|TaleSpin Second Collection (Volumes 4-6)||16||May 20th 2013|
|TaleSpin Third Collection (Volumes 7-9)||17||TBC|
- Walt Disney Animation France S.A.
- Walt Disney Animation Japan
- Sun Woo Animation, Inc.
- Walt Disney Animation U.K.
- Hanho Heung-Up Co. Ltd.
- Jade Animation, Inc.
- TamaPro, Inc.
- Wang Film Productions
- Pacific Rim Animation Productions
A monthly comic book based on the show was published by Disney Comics in 1991, running for seven issues (eleven, counting a four-issue mini-series based on the series premiere). Bobbi J.G. Weiss was the writer for issues 1-4 and 6-7. As issue 5 was adapted from the episode 35, "The Old Man and the Sea Duck," in which only Weiss is credited for adaptation.
The comic's cancellation seven months later terminated several planned stories that would have revealed pieces of background for the main characters. Issue 7 explored Kit's past, and how he joined up with the pirates. According to the letter page in #3, a planned story for the comic's annual would have explored the origin of the Iron Vulture. In addition, #4-7 would have letters 'answered' by the characters. A collected edition called Disney's Cartoon Tales featuring TaleSpin came out in 1991 (ISBN 1-56115-269-2). It reprints #4 and 6 from the regular comic book series. Subsequent comic stories were also printed in Disney Adventures from 1990 to 1995 then re-appeared in the Summer 2006 Disney Adventures Comic Zone Magazine, as well as in The Disney Afternoon comic book published by Marvel Comics.
While issue #8 of the monthly comic series never made it to print, despite the end of issue #7 included a preview for it: "Spies in Cape Suzette?! There are some mighty mysterious folk sniffing around Shere Khan Industries. When Special Agent Booker shows up to handle the problem he finds that battling foreign agents is easier than dealing with Baloo as an assistant in... THE SPY WHO BUGGED ME!"
Video games 
Three different TaleSpin video games were produced. One was a scrolling shooting game developed by Capcom for the NES and Game Boy. The other two were platform games, one developed by Sega for the Sega Genesis and Game Gear, and the other developed by NEC for the TurboGrafx-16. A PC video game is currently being developed by fans, and a prototype version has been released on January 2012. The final game will be an adventure point & click with platform and shoot'em up levels.
- Emmy Award
- "The Jungle Book (re-issue) (1990)". Box Office Mojo. 1990-09-04. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- "TaleSpin". Entertainment Weekly. 1990-09-07. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- "Primetime Emmy Awards (1991)". imdb.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Disney's 'Tale Spin' Gets Late Nomination for TV Animation Emmy". Associated Press. 1991-07-25. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Primetime Emmy Awards nominations for 1991 – OUTSTANDING ANIMATED PROGRAM – for programming more than one hour". emmys.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "DISNEY'S TALE SPIN: PLUNDER & LIGHTNING – Emmys.com". emmys.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- ""TaleSpin" Plunder & Lightning (TV episode 1990) - IMDb". imdb.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Block Party: Four Disney Animated Series." The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 13, no. 5, October/November 1995: p. 36.
- "TaleSpin and The Jungle Book". Animationsource.org. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
- "TaleSpin and Porco Rosso". Animationsource.org. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
- "Four production teams for TaleSpin". Animationsource.org. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
- "Bygones". Original airdate 3 May 1991.
- "The Incredible Shrinking Molly". Original airdate 8 April 1991.
- Gray, Doug (w), Lavoradori, Alberto (p,i). "The Dogs of War!" Disney Adventures v2 #1 (November 1991), The Walt Disney Company, Story code: KZ 4590
- "Question about the relationship between Baloo & Becky to Jymn Magon". Animationsource.org. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
- "TaleSpin, Volume 1: Ed Gilbert, R.J. Williams, Sally Struthers, Jim Cummings, Pat Fraley, Alan Roberts, Charles Adler, Janna Michaels, Chuck McCann, Frank Welker, Michael Gough, Tony Jay, David Mohr, Duane Capizzi: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- "TaleSpin, Volume 2: Ed Gilbert, R.J. Williams, Sally Struthers, Jim Cummings, Liz Georges, Pat Fraley, Alan Roberts, Charles Adler, Janna Michaels, Chuck McCann, Frank Welker, Michael Gough, Alan Burnett, Bruce Morris, Carter Crocker, Chuck Tately, David Weimers, Dev Ross, Duane Capizzi, Jeremy Cushner: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- "IGN - 81. TaleSpin". Tv.ign.com. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
- "TaleSpin Crew". Cloudkicker.50webs.com. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- Weiss, Bobbi J.G. (adaptation from a script by Mark Zaslove) (w), Quartieri, Cosme (p), Valenti, Carlos, Robert Bat (i). "Take Off: Part One - Plane for Keeps" Disney’s TaleSpin Limited Series #1 (January 1991), W. D. Publications, Inc., ISBN 1-56115-115-7, Cover code: KB 0390, Story code: KB 0190
- Weiss, Bobbi J.G. (adaptation from a teleplay by Alan Burnett) (w), Quartieri, Cosme (p), Valenti, Carlos, Raul Barbéro, Robert Bat (i). "Take Off: Part Two - Missed Deeds and Derring-Don'ts" Disney’s TaleSpin Limited Series #2 (February 1991), W. D. Publications, Inc., ISBN 1-56115-116-5, Cover code: KB 0590, Story code: KB 0290
- Weiss, Bobbi J.G. (adaptation from a teleplay by Len Uhley) (w), Quartieri, Cosme (p), Valenti, Carlos, Robert Bat (i). "Take Off: Part Three - Khan Job" Disney’s TaleSpin Limited Series #3 (March 1991), W. D. Publications, Inc., ISBN 1-56115-117-3, Cover code: KB 0690, Story code: KB 0490
- Weiss, Bobbi J.G. (adaptation from a teleplay by Mark Zaslove) (w), Saavedra, Oscar F. (p), Valenti, Carlos, Raul Barbéro, Robert Bat (i). "Take Off: Part Four - Plunder and Lightning" Disney’s TaleSpin Limited Series #4 (April 1991), W. D. Publications, Inc., ISBN 1-56115-118-1, Cover code: KB 0790, Story code: KB 0890
- "Nostalgia November Day 06 — TaleSpin #7 | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources". Goodcomics.comicbookresources.com. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- "Fans Of Talespin Cartoons Can Look Forward To More Fun". Chicago Tribune. 1992-01-10. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- "Fan Video Game". Animationsource.org.
- ""TaleSpin" (1990) - Awards". imdb.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "1990–1991 Emmy Awards — Infoplease.com". infoplease.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- TaleSpin at the Internet Movie Database
- TaleSpin at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- TaleSpin at TV.com
- TaleSpin Source, Information about TaleSpin, including a section with answers from the creators of the series.