March 4, 1989 – The Animated Series Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers Premieres
“There’s no case too big, no case too small, if you need help, just call!”
On March 4, 1989, the animated series Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers premiered on the Disney Channel with the episode “Piratsy Under the Seas.” The series entered syndication on September 18, 1989. After the success of Duck Tales in 1987, three series were created to be part of a line-up on the Disney Channel: Chip ‘n’ Dale, TaleSpin, and a show that would eventually become Darkwing Duck. The original version of Chip ‘n’ Dale did not feature the chipmunk duo; it was due to the urging of Michael Eisner that Chip and Dale were used, as it was thought to be better to use established Disney characters than create new ones. Chip was given the clothes of the original conceived character Kit, who was seen as an Indiana Jones-style explorer. Dale’s attire resembled that of Magnum, P.I., a popular detective series of the 1980s. The show was added to the Disney Afternoon lineup and, along with the other shows in that programming block, was very well received. The series was created by Tad Stones and Alan Zaslove, and starred Tress MacNeille as Chip and Gadget, Corey Burton as Dale and Zipper, and Peter Cullen as Monterey Jack.
The first episode, “Piratsy Under the Seas,” begins with Chip waking up to find the treehouse a mess. He angrily asks Dale why he insists on living like a slob, and the two continue to argue until Gadget enters the room. Dale is then ordered to clean up by Chip, Gadget, and Monterey Jack. Chip watches and laughs as Dale trips into the trash can, but is alarmed to find that the garbage man is there for the daily pickup, and can only watch as Dale is thrown into the garbage truck. Chip and the team quickly follow after the truck in one of Gadget’s gadgets, but they hit a bump and are all thrown into the same garbage truck as it’s stopped at a stoplight. The gang then finds themselves drifting out to sea on a barge full of garbage and, thanks to Dale’s clumsiness, Chip and Dale get stuck inside a bottle. Gadget spots a barrel in the water, and a pirate flag springs from the top. The pirates set out a net to gather some of the trash from the barge, and captures Chip and Dale, dragging them into the ocean. Monterey and Gadget quickly attempt to follow them.
As they are pulled below, Chip and Dale manage to spring themselves free from the net, but are soon captured by an angry octopus, who pulls them down again. As the two finally manage to wrangle themselves free, they end up inside a wrecked ship, and are greeted by the pirates inside. They save them from “Billy the Squid,” and introduce themselves. The pirates are led by Jolly Roger, who invites Chip and Dale to a pirate’s feast. Meanwhile, on the surface, Gadget is still trying to concoct something that will help them travel underwater. Chip and Dale are at the feast, and Dale is happily surprised to find that the pirates are as messy as he is. As Dale rushes to join them on a treasure hunt, Chip lectures Dale that, as Rescue Rangers, they have a job to do, but Dale wants to play with the pirates for a while. Dale leads the pirates to the treasure, and Chip then attempts to leave, but the pirates tell them that, since they have seen the treasure, they will have to stay with the pirates for the rest of their lives. Gadget finally finishes her creation, and the rest of the team heads underwater, but end up running into Billy the Squid. They quickly escape and head inside the wreckage, narrowly avoiding Billy’s grasp. They end up in the treasure room, and Gadget tricks Billy into slamming his arm into a nearby treasure chest.
Monterey and Zipper search through the ship for Chip and Dale, while Gadget works on creating another vehicle. Monterey finds Chip and Dale locked up in a cage, and gets an idea to pretend to be the missing captain Long Lost Lafitte, who had disappeared over 200 years prior. The pirates are a bit suspicious, and call for Young Ned, who was the original captain’s cabin boy. Monterey passes the cabin boy’s test, and orders Dale and Chip free. Although Monterey reluctantly refuses to take the treasure with him to the surface, he is unable to resist the special cheese of Captain Lafitte, which Young Ned had been saving all those years. His disguise falls off as he runs to the cheese and, realizing he’s been tricked, the Jolly Roger and his crew tie up the Rescue Rangers and makes them walk the plank. Chip comes up with an idea, and the gang works together to stop themselves from becoming Billy the Squid’s food. Gadget then has the idea of sending the entire ship up to the surface, surmising that the weight of the treasure is what’s holding the wreckage down. Gadget, Chip, and Dale use a cannon to blast the treasure out of the ship, while Monterey and Zipper act as a distraction. Once the cannon is fired and the treasure freed, the ship quickly heads to the surface. The pirates are delighted to find that they can live on the surface again and have real adventures, and the Rescue Rangers wave them goodbye as they sail away.