TV Legends: How Did a James Bond Trademark Lead to Darkwing Duck?

TV URBAN LEGEND: Darkwing Duck was originally going to be called Double-O Duck but couldn't do to a trademark owned by the makers of the James Bond films.

Just the other day, I did a list about some surprisingly racy jokes in Disney Afternoon cartoon shows and one of them was about the DuckTales episode called "Double O Duck"...

In the episode, Launchpad McQuack is mistaken for a spy and he gets caught up in the spy game. This female spy (based on Pussy Galore) tries to seduce him. It's super weird for a kids cartoon show...

It was a really well done episode overall, though, and it was also particular well-received at Disney, who thought that it was very well put together.

With the success of DuckTales, Disney began trying to come up with other ideas for syndicated series, and two episodes of DuckTales were chosen to be inspirations for possible spin-off ideas. One was the "Masked Mallard," where Scrooge becomes a superhero...

and the other was "Double O Duck."

The great Disney conceptual artist, Michael Peraza, came together with a pitch that was based on merging the two ideas together to come up with a super-spy who also wore a mask. He was dubbed "Double-O Duck." Here are some of Peraza's designs (he did a fascinating write-up on the development of the show here).

However, there was a small problem - the term "Double-O" was actually a registered trademark by the folks who owned the James Bond rights...

So they figured that there was no way that they would allow them to use that name for the name of their TV show, so they instead chose a name that would evoke Batman instead of Bond...Darkwing Duck!

And the rest, as they say, is history.

The legend is...


Thanks so much to Michael Peraza for the great information!

Be sure to check out my archive of TV Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of TV.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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