TaleSpin: The Next Generation
An episode outline for TaleSpin by Ken Pick and Dave Bryant
This work is not in the public domain.
Kit is going through some of Baloos old junk when he comes across a large, dusty glass sphere. Upon his inquiry, Baloo delightedly exclaims, I almost forgot about that thing, then tells him that some archaeologist lady gave it to him a while back. Its supposed to be some sort of crystal ball that shows a future. Kit doesnt understand what he means; Baloo explains that it doesnt show what will happen, but what may happen. Baloo obviously doesnt put much store in the claim—it never did work for him. When Kit asks if he can keep it, Baloo consents with a chuckle.
The younger bear is stretching upward, trying to put the orb on a shelf over his bed, when the slippery glass spins out of his hands, rebounds off the wall backing the shelf, then rolls off—right onto Kits head. Instantly knocked unconscious, he falls face-down on the bed.
When he wakes up, hes still face down in bed . . . a much larger bed. The clock-radio that awoke him blares out the morning news, mentioning the retirement of the last cliff cannon, to be replaced by another Protector-class surface-to-air missile battery. He sits up and looks around at the brightly sunlit, cheerily comfortable master bedroom. After shaking his head and rubbing his eyes, he realizes hes grown up—he has suddenly become a man in his late twenties or early thirties. He finally gets out of the queen-size bed, which shows subtle but definite signs of having recently been occupied by a second body, and, in shock, shambles to the bureau. The viewer can see from the rooms decor that it belongs to two people.
He dresses automatically, preoccupied with his strange surroundings. Half of the closet contains clothing that obviously fits his adult body, but the other half just as clearly belongs to a woman. Then he notices the wedding band.
Dressed, he leaves the bedroom, heading down a short hall into the living room. As he reaches it hes hit by a large, fast-moving object, which turns out to be a very attractive young bear woman in her mid-twenties, with golden pelt and a Liza Minelli-style short hairdo. She gives him a quick peck, commenting on how late he is—usually hes up before she is. She chatters on, reminding him that they have to get to work early today; he knows how Mom gets. . . . Kits nodding uncomprehendingly when something clicks, and he finally recognizes his wife: Molly Elizabeth Cunningham. He just manages to retain his composure.
They commute to Higher for Hire, in a car of late-fifties styling, where Kit is in for another shock. The old building is still there, but refurbished and painted. The big old trees that used to grace the area have been replaced with a low, modern—i.e., fifties—building that contains offices and warehousing. The original tower, with a large sign—the Higher for Hire poster from A Touch of Class—on its side, has been converted to a pilots ready room and offices.
The biggest shock of all, though, is the small fleet of planes tied up at the enlarged pier: three or four jet seaplanes and a dilapidated Seaduck.
Kit automatically heads for the original building; Molly pulls him into the new building and Beckys office. There they find Becky, whos lost her slim build and whose hair is streaked with silver, and a fiftyish Kitten Tom Clowder; his leg brace is more advanced and hes dressed in a suit jacket and a turtleneck shirt—but he still has his clipboard. Once there, Kit finds that, the day before, Kitten Tom had been contracted to find a scrapyard that would give a good price for the obsolete, forty-year-old, and no longer commercially viable Seaduck. Tom tells them that a representative of the scrapyard will be there the next morning. Young Kit, upset, asks what will happen to the Seaduck. Tom scratches his head and explains that the airframes shot; itll probably be broken up for scrap. But Wildcat kept the rest of the plane in top shape; since Superflight 100 engines stopped production only a few years ago, theres still a demand for parts. A few firms still fly prop jobs, and there are always collectors and museums.
Hit with inspiration, Kit excuses himself. He now has a way of preserving their beloved Seaduck: find someone wholl restore the old plane and love it like he and Baloo did. He goes to find Baloo who, unable to face the departure of his beloved plane, had gone to Louies.
Kit hitches a ride on a jet making a delivery to Louies; the pilot is a thirtyish tomboy of a rabbit-girl he recognizes as Terri, one of the gang from his school days. Kit takes the navigators seat with its unfamiliar instruments, declining Terris invitation to fly the run. The plane lifts past the old Seaduck and heads out through the familiar gap in the cliffs.
As they head towards Louies, Terri kids Kit about marrying the bosss daughter—Becky, Junior; then one of the cockpit instruments, a radar detector, starts giving a low warble, and Terri tenses. They are approaching the Carillon Islands, now claimed by Thembria, who enforces a one-hundred-mile limit—pay the toll before you enter or be shot down.
Sure enough, the radar detector changes from the warbling of search radar to the bagpipe sounds of fighter radars; two Thembrian fighters—MiG-17s with nose radomes and underwing missiles—come out of the sun and draw alongside. After looking the cargo plane over and checking some sort of list, the Thembrian pilot waves them on and pulls away.
Louies is a bit more built-up; Kit hesitates before going in, apprehensive about what hell find. Inside, Louies has hardly changed, except for the television over the bar and the large pudgy figure behind it—a grayed and grizzled Baloo. Papa Bear? Kit asks hesitantly.
Little Britches, Baloo replies, you havent called me that in years. Baloo is depressed and listless; he explains that hes just helping out around the place for a couple of days—he couldnt bear to see his baby towed away and turned into scrap metal—and Louies too old to keep the hours he used to.
Too old? Its Louie, now completely bald , wearing thick bifocals and walking stiffly with the aid of a cane; he starts to give Baloo a hard time, then notices Kit and asks what hes doing there. Whats happenin, my man?
I came to see Baloo, Kit tells him. Kit is worried about Baloo—hes never seen Papa Bear this tired and depressed—and he tells him of his plan to spirit away the Seaduck. Hes found an air museum in Klopstokia whose collection is lacking a Conwing L-16; if they can get the plane there. . . . As Baloo hears this, he seems to come alive again—one last flight, saving his baby from the scrapyard. Louie, whos been listening in silence, gives his blessing with, Go for it, Cuz. Whistlestop Jackson, Wiley Pole, Joe McGee, Baloo—all the old great pilots are gone, cept for you— and the two bears leave out the front door.
Back at Higher for Hire, Kit and Baloo talk Wildcat, who, except for snow-white hair, doesnt look very different, into fueling and prepping the Seaduck for takeoff; as the plan progresses, Baloo becomes more and more the Baloo the young Kit knows. Wildcat, whered you get the gas? I thought all we had was jet fuel. Well, I got it from the trucks, from Beckys car, from Mollys car, from the other cars in the lot— How much? Enough to get you to Hyenasport—or was it Klopstokia? Anyway, its enough to get you there if you just fly straight there and dont stop or nothin.
Finally the two bears sneak aboard; Kit takes the navigators seat, turning his pilots cap around backward as he did long ago. Baloo seems twenty years younger as he looks in the rear-view mirror to see Becky and Molly coming down the pier with Tom and the scrapyard man. Oh-oh. Baloo starts the engines, just like old times. Time to pull chocks!
The four walking down the pier stop stock-still for a moment, then Tom shouts at Kit to stop—the plane isnt safe to fly. The two women look at each other with an Oh-oh of their own and dash off toward the plane. Tom and the scrapyard man follow, but the slower Tom catches his leg brace on a gap between planks and falls, the scrapyard man tripping over him. As the Seaduck starts to pull free for its take-off run, the two she-bears leap aboard and charge into the cockpit. They are taken aback by the sight of Baloo in the pilots seat.
Hi, Beckers! Wouldnt want you to miss my babys last flight. Just like old times, Becky starts yelling at Baloo, while Molly does the same to Kit, as the Seaduck lifts through the gap in the cliffs. Tom looks up from under the scrapyard man and whispers, Good luck, you crazy barnstormers.
Because of its limited fuel, the Seaduck cant dogleg around the Carillon Islands and their hundred-mile limit; Baloo drops to wavetop level to get under the Thembrian radar, almost colliding with a Thembrian fishing trawler or two. As they pass the islands, the radar detector emits a bagpipe-like sound, warning of targeting radars sweeping over the plane.
The two fighters barrel in, their heat-seeking missiles sounding lock-on tones in the pilots earphones. After an initial attempt at contact, with the usual Thembrian gentle tact, they attack. There follows a typically TaleSpin-style dogfight, with Baloo desperately trying to dodge the missiles—sweeping one off into the sun, another into the sea. Baloo yells to Kit that hes got a case of magnesium flares in back; Kit grabs Molly and heads for the rear cargo ramp. Grabbing a handful of flares, they decoy the missiles by throwing lit flares from the open tailgate—the heat-seekers veer off and explode on the flares. As the fighters peel off, Becky mutters, Were too old for this sort of thing! and the Seaduck flies off into the obligatory sunset.
At the air museum, the deal is sealed; Baloo wants a few minutes by himself to say goodbye to the Seaduck; Kit accompanies him into the now-silent fuselage. The two bears run their hands over the stringers and frames, reminiscing. Therere the old bunks—where we slept before Becky got her apartment. And the winch where you used to reel me out for cloud surfing. What happened to that airfoil of yours, Little Britches? Im saving it. For another Little Britches, when Im the Papa Bear. Maybe Becky watches them from the tailgate, lost in memories of her own. As Kit and Baloo enter the cockpit, a piece of loose overhead falls on Kit, knocking him out just as the crystal ball had.
Kit comes to with a bandaged head and Baloo and Becky bending over him—a younger Baloo and Becky. It takes him a moment to realize hes twelve years old again; his vision of the future is over. He throws himself onto Baloo, hugging him and babbling about giving him his last flight in the Seaduck; Baloo doesnt understand what hes talking about, but hugs him back. The crystal ball sparkles behind them. Ω
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