We didn't grow up watching TV, but I can tell you if there was a TV to be watched, we were fascinated... moving pictures and all. One of the cartoons I remember from my childhood was Darkwing Duck (more of my sister's favorite than mine, but still). He wasn't a huge hit I don't think and definitely wasn't a mainstay like the Looney Toons by any means, but he wore a purple cape and had super cool gadgets from what I remember.
There are 91 episodes total, with the first episode of season 1 airing September 6, 1991. Typically syndicated series are only in production for 65 or 66 episodes. That’s so that new episodes can be aired, without interruption, every weekday, for 13 weeks straight. But not Darkwing Duck. It turns out that ABC loved the show so much that they ordered an additional season of 13 episodes, that would air as part of the Saturday morning animated programming block, wholly separate from the main run of the series. And that was such a hit, they ordered another season of 13 episodes. “That’s how we got to 91 episodes,” Tad Stones, the show's creator and executive producer, said. “It was unique with that deal with ABC. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh it’s a huge hit, let’s do more episodes.’ But creatively it was great.”
Darkwing Duck was widely reported to be a spin-off of DuckTales... “Well, it did and it didn’t,” Stones explained. “It’s not a spin-off of DuckTales. They had done an episode of DuckTales called ‘Double-O Duck,’ and executives asked me to develop a show based on that. But by that time everybody had done a James Bond parody and I said that it was just a parody, it’s got no Disney heart in it, and we’ve seen it before. So I went in and reached into the pulp adventures of Doc Savage, The Green Hornet, and The Shadow.”
They also faced a roadblock when they found out that the “00” distinction was property of the producers of the James Bond franchise, since Ian Fleming came up with the distinction. Out went the spy idea, even though they had already handed out promotional buttons with the Double O-Duck logo. An interoffice competition for a replacement name was started, with Alan Burnett giving the show its distinctive title (and winning the office pool).
Still, the show didn’t quite have the hook they needed … yet, so Stones continued to develop. “But we didn’t really get people on board until we came up with the idea of a hero who has a little girl who doesn’t want to stay at home. That became the heart of the show and that’s what really made the show. I’ll appear at conventions and I’ve had more than one person come up and say how much that relationship meant to them. It’s like, Who’d have thunk it? We were just trying to be funny.”
Though season only aired over the course of 2 years, there is still a fanbase. Actually, there’s been more Darkwing Duck material out there than Stones remembers: Darkwing Duck starred in a video game in 2010, and characters appeared in the Disney Parks as recently as 2014, plus the ongoing comic book series, and merchandise.