Thursday, October 18, 2012

31 Days of Dracula | Quackula (1979)

Man, Dracula was popular in '79.

Not to be confused with either version of Count Duckula, although the creator of one of them certainly saw similarities. Cartoonist Scott Shaw! created the first Duckula for the debut issue of the funny-animal anthology comic Quack!. The 1976 story was called "Duckula... and his hairy henchman, Bearzanboltz," so when Filmation created Quackula (about a vampire duck who lives in the basement of a house owned by a bear, Shaw sued.

The second Duckula was a Danger Mouse villain who got spun off into his own show in 1988. All-in-all, it sounds like a better show than Quackula, but we didn't get either Danger Mouse or Count Duckula in my town, so I'm not very familiar with them.

Quackula was part of Filmation's Mighty Mouse/Heckle & Jeckle Saturday morning cartoon for one season, but though the matter was settled out of court, Shaw's lawsuit seemed to put a stop to it. In the second season, the Quackula-less show was shortened from an hour to a half-hour. It didn't make it to a third.

I was stubbornly refusing to outgrow cartoons at the time, but there weren't many that still kept my interest. I was bored by the repetitive antics of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle, but still liked classic monsters enough to be entertained by Quackula, even though his adventures were also formulaic. He would awaken in his egg-shaped coffin to do battle with the bear upstairs with a lot of the humor coming from his not being very successful in scaring anyone.

I've only just now realized it, but reading that description, Quackula was a huge influence on the funny-animal vampire I co-created. But we'll get to him later.

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