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Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man is an animated sitcom that aired from 1994-1997, created by Everett Peck and developed by Peck, Jeff Reno and Ron Osborn. The sitcom was based on characters created by Peck in his Dark Horse comic. Klasky Csupo animated the series and produced it along with Reno & Osborn Productions for Paramount Television.

Description

The series consists of 70 episodes that aired on USA's Up All Night on Saturday nights from 1994 to 1997 on the USA Network. The initial showrunners were Peck, Reno and Osborn, and the show was produced in association with Paramount Television. The animation was produced by Klasky Csupo. In later years, the show running duties went to David Misch and Michael Markowitz. Creator and Executive Producer, Everett Peck, was with the show for its entire run. Producer Gene Laufenberg was with the show for most of its run. Scott Wilk and Todd Yvega created original music for the series, including the theme. The first season also featured excerpts from Frank Zappa's published catalog. The original timeslot for Duckman episodes while still being produced was changed to later at night due to complaints from parents about children seeing the adult humor-oriented show. Duckman is the only character to appear in every episode.

Plot

The series follows the adventures of a lascivious private detective duck who lives with his family and sister-in-law Bernice (his late wife's identical twin). Duckman's wife, Beatrice, died before the show began. The tagline of the show, seen in the opening credits, is "Private Dick/Family Man" (Dick being short for Detective, as well as serving as a double entendre).

The series takes place in Los Angelesmarker, as indicated by the episode "Bev Takes A Holiday" when Beverly's detective tells her, "here is the address in LA", when referring to Duckman's address. Also, in the pilot episode "I, Duckman", there is a closeup of Duckman's California car license plate (which reads "PSSDOFF"), clearly indicating as well that at the very least the series is set in one of the state's major cities. In one episode, Bernice makes a reference to "the Southland," a local term used to describe Southern California.

Characters

  • Eric Tiberius Duckman (Jason Alexander): The title characteris portrayed as a lazy, incompetent, self-serving, morally unscrupulous, sexual deviant. He is a widower; when his wife Beatrice died, she left their house to her sister Bernice, so as to ensure some sort of stable environment for her and Duckman's three children: Ajax, Charles, and Mambo. He graduated high school in 1971, and is also a graduate of Don Galloway Detective School and has a detective license from Panamamarker signed by Manuel Noriega. Duckman is an Aries, born April 18 .Duckman wears glasses which contain his eyes. They can be removed like normal glasses, taking his eyes with them.

    Duckman often uses his catch phrases, "What the hell are you staring at?", "Hommina hommina how wah", and his trademark scream of "D'wah!"


  • Willibald Feivel Cornfed, also known as Cornfed Pig (Gregg Berger): Duckman's Joe Friday-esque business partner; loosely based on the character "Greggery Peccary" as portrayed by Frank Zappa in a handful of songs. Affable, studious, as well as morally and sexually scrupulous, Cornfed's an amazingly talented pig and has specialist knowledge from practically every walk of life, and knows dozens of ancient martial arts. For much of the show's run, Cornfed is secretly a virgin - this is "remedied" in an episode regarding the Cornfed family's genetic disease, contracted from a relative of generations past who enraged a tribal elder in a foreign country and was force fed an odd berry.

    Most of the cases solved by the Duckman Detective Agency are solved by Cornfed, with Duckman usually hurting the case rather than helping. He has had numerous former occupations, such as mailman, truck driver, waiter, plumber, clerk for a Supreme Courtmarker justice, member of the Irish Parliament, and keyboard player for A Flock of Seagulls. He has a medical degree from a Peruvianmarker medical school, and was also educated in air conditioner and VCR repair (the former of which was paid for by "Ivana Trump" when he did her wainscoting at Mar-A-Lagomarker). He is also a Vietnam veteran; this was revealed when a young man claiming to be his son fathered in the war found him (he was really a con man).


  • Ajax Duckman (Dweezil Zappa): Duckman's eldest, teenage son. He speaks with a slight surfer-dude accent, and always calls his father "Dod". Despite being somewhat slow, he is a skilled free-verse poet, and occasionally surprises Duckman with a few words of slacker wisdom, as well as the occasional piece of obscure knowledge. His singing voice is a powerful soprano. Ajax got his name from a trucking company Cornfed was driving for when he and Duckman first met. Ajax is a huge Merv Griffin fan.




  • Bernice Florence Hufnagel (Nancy Travis): Duckman's sister-in-law; the identical twin of Beatrice. She is a fanatic fitness buff and hates Duckman with a passion. Though she loathes and reviles their father, Bernice is very loving to her nephews and is considered to be their primary caretaker. Despite this, Duckman views her as an abrasive, domineering, self-righteous shrew who constantly tries to control his life. She eventually falls in love with King Chicken, Duckman's arch-enemy; toward the end of the series they become engaged and marry in the series finale. It is revealed in the fourth season that she was actually a triplet, and had another sister, Beverly, who was separated at birth. She eventually became a congresswoman.


  • Beverly Glenn Hufnagel (Nancy Travis): Beatrice and Bernice's long-lost sister. It was revealed in the fourth season that Bernice and Duckman's wife Beatrice were separated from their triplet sister at birth. Eventually she tracked them down and took over Bernice's place in the household when Bernice was elected to Congress. She is much nicer to Duckman than Bernice was, and sees the good in him, though she never ceases to be disgusted or mildly offended by his overall behavior.


  • Beatrice Hufnagel Duckman (Nancy Travis): Duckman's first wife. Duckman met her in a farming country area in Iowa while working for a magazine that sent him to take pictures of covered bridges. They spent a lot of time together and quickly fell in love. She was originally married to a duck named Richard, until he had a heart attack (caused by Duckman), and she married Duckman soon after. She became pregnant with Duckman's first son, Ajax, while still married to Richard.

    She and Duckman were married for several years until she was believed to have died when Duckman flicked his cigarette out into the street during a parade and it hit a balloon which deflated and knocked her down a manhole. Beatrice looks a lot like her sisters Bernice and Beverly, but is much softer-spoken than either. She is usually seen wearing a dress with her hair fixed up. Duckman idealizes his love for her, despite his puerile tendencies. She is revealed to still be alive in the series finale.


  • Grandma-ma/Sophia Longnameovich (Nancy Travis): Duckman's apparently comatose, immensely flatulent mother-in-law. In the episode "Aged Heat", she is kidnapped by her dopplegänger Agnes Delrooney (played by Brian Doyle-Murray), who poses as her for several episodes until her scam is revealed (although in the meantime there was an episode which made it obvious that it was really Grandma-ma). Grandma-ma sits in the same chair and rarely moves. In the episode "Crime, Punishment, War, Peace, and the Idiot", it is revealed that she is a Russianmarker immigrant. She had a boyfriend named Petrov, who looked like Cornfed and was coveted by Trigorin, who looked like Duckman.


  • Gecko: Duckman's purple dog. In one episode, it was implied that Gecko was stolen by Duckman from one of his neighbors, and that his true name is "Sparky".


  • George Herbert Walker 'King' Chicken (Tim Curry): Duckman's arch-nemesis. Duckman bullied him in high school, setting him down the path to supervillainy. He became engaged to Bernice during the series finale. His catch phrase, simply "Mwah ha haa, bawk bawk bawk!," usually punctuates the end of his speeches about his evil plan. His first three names are in homage to the 41st President George H.W. Bush.


  • Honey Ursula Chicken (née Bacon) (Judith Light): King Chicken's wife. They have a daughter, Tammy, although since she and King Chicken never consummated their relationship and were only married nine years, it's likely that their daughter is either adopted or the result of a previous relationship on Honey's side. She is engaged to Duckman in the final episode; they have a turbulent romantic history.


  • Fluffy and Uranus (Pat Musick): Duckman's two teddybear office assistants. One is pink, the other is blue, but are otherwise identical and try to get Duckman to act kindly and more PC. They are actual teddybears filled with stuffing, and are apparently immortal, as evidenced by Duckman's habit of killing them in unique or unusual ways in nearly every episode. When angered enough by Duckman they once turned into ferocious killer bears with large claws and teeth.


Guest stars

The show regularly featured high-profile guest stars, including David Duchovny, Heather Locklear, Coolio, Burt Reynolds, Carl Reiner, Lisa Kudrow (in an episode titled "The One With Lisa Kudrow in a Small Role"), Eddie Deezen, Brendan Fraser, Katey Sagal, Estelle Getty, Leonard Nimoy,Dee Bradley Baker, Marina Sirtis, Ben Stiller, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Brian Keith, Ben Stein, Janeane Garofalo, Joe Walsh, Ice T, James L. Avery, Sr., Eugene Levy, Gilbert Gottfried, Bob Guccione, Bobcat Goldthwait, John Astin, Joe Mantegna, Kathy Ireland, Vicki Lawrence, Jim Varney, Tisha Campbell, Michelle Thomas, and Dan Castellaneta (as Homer Simpson). Jason Alexander had a small "cameo" as himself in one episode.

Episode 51 "With Friends Like These" was supposed to be voiced by the cast of Friends, however designs were changed at the last minute.

Final episode

In the final episode, four couples (Dr. Stein/Dana Reynard, Duckman/Honey, King Chicken/Bernice, Cornfed/Beverly) got married – the last three in a joint ceremony no less. The kids, Fluffy & Uranus, and a number of characters from previous episodes are shown to be in attendance. As the ceremonies draw to a close, though, Beatrice (Duckman's supposedly deceased wife) appears and shocks the entire crowd. When Duckman asks how she can still be alive, Beatrice indicates Cornfed always knew. The last of the series is Cornfed saying, "I can explain." This plot twist is never resolved and has thus created a cliffhanger. Writer Michael Markowitz noted (in Sep 1998): "We never formally planned Part II... and I'll never tell what I personally had in mind. I'm hoping to leave it to my heirs, for the inevitable day when Duckman is revived by future generations. Ah, the Spandex suits they'll wear, the hovercrafts they'll fly!"

Computer game

Towards the end of the series, a point-and-click adventure computer game was created. In it, Duckman has become a famous detective, and a television series based on him is about to debut; but, someone is pushing Duckman out of his own life, and replacing him with a bigger, better, heroic Duckman. The player's goal is to help Duckman get rid of the impostor and reclaim his rightful place.

Episodes and home release

Season Episodes Originally Aired DVD Release
Volume Release date Discs
1 13 1994 1 September 16, 2008 3
2 9 1995
3 20 1996 2 January 6, 2009 7
4 28 1997


In January 2008, TVShowsonDVD.com reported that Duckman would be coming to region 1 DVD. Details followed in May, when it was announced that the first release in the series would be the first two seasons, 22 combined episodes on three discs, on September 16, 2008. The final two seasons, 48 episodes, were released on a seven disc set on January 6, 2009. With the DVD release, many episodes were edited to remove copyrighted music.

See also



References

  1. ASCAP credits for "Duckman"
  2. Season 1 Episode 11 "American Dick"
  3. Season 4 Episode 52 "With Friends Like These"
  4. The Unresolved Cliffhanger Hall of Shame
  5. Duckman - Studio Exec VP Goes on Record: Duckman Coming to DVD!
  6. Duckman DVD news: Announcement for Duckman - Seasons 1 and 2
  7. Duckman - An Update About the Seasons 3 & 4 DVD release (Yes, It Really Is Both Seasons!)


External links




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