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Anaheim, Ducks Are Drawn Into Disney Cartoon

August 07, 1996|BENJAMIN EPSTEIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Disney's new "Mighty Ducks" TV cartoon series will start Friday, Sept. 6, at 4 p.m. with a special hourlong show on KCAL, being repeated the following morning at 9 on ABC.

And get this: In the second half-hour of the show ("The Face-Off, Part Two"), the Ducks--who really are ducks, from a planet called Puckworld, where ducks love to play hockey--find themselves in a "weird alien metropolis."

Anaheim!

There, they hire a manager, establish a hockey franchise and build secret headquarters . . . under the Pond!

The voices behind the characters will be:

* "NYPD Blue's" Dennis Franz, as Anaheim Police Capt. Klegghorn;

* "Beverly Hills 90210's" Ian Ziering, as Ducks captain Wildwing;

* Jim Belushi as Ducks manager Phil; and

* Tim Curry as Dragaunus, the evil Saurian Overlord who made the poor Ducks leave their homes and come here.

Hey! There are worse places.

How do the real Ducks feel about the casting? Well, the real Ducks won't name a captain until the end of training camp ("Wildwing" is the name of the real Ducks' mascot), and the team doesn't have a manager, just a coach and a general manager.

"As far as I can tell, Phil the manager is the coach," says Guy Hebert, the real team's starting goaltender.

Hebert is featured as a guest voice in the first show. He's the only one who plays himself.

"I went up to a Hollywood sound studio; I had a couple of lines," he said by phone from New York, his off-season home. "They coached me through it. I mean, I haven't had a lot of experience in that field . . . but I got to work with Jim Belushi, and he helped me feel I had some clue to what I was doing."

So have real hockey players given him and his teammates icy treatment--the cold shoulder--about being, you know, cartoons?

"Sure! They say, 'What the hell are you doing, whaddya mean you're on a cartoon?' . . . You take a little bit of ribbing from buddies around the league," " Hebert said. "But if they had the opportunity, they'd jump on it too."

And what about Anaheim Police Chief Klegghorn? "I believe he's retired," said police dispatcher Marteen Blanchard. "There's no captain by that name here now. He's gone."

The evil Dragaunus could not be reached for comment.

"The Face-Off, Part One" will repeat Sept. 6 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.

The "Mighty Ducks"' regular time slot will be Friday at 4:30 p.m. on KCAL and Saturday at 9 a.m. on ABC. In an odd (though not unique) programming twist, after the premiere, KCAL and ABC will air different sets of 13 episodes each. "Mighty Ducks" will be one of many shows comprising "The Disney Afternoon," which includes "Darkwing Duck" and "Quack Pack."

No relation.

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