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Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man

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Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man

Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man
Genre Adult animation/Sitcom
Format Animation
Created by Everett Peck[1]
Developed by Everett Peck
Jeff Reno
Ron Osborn
Starring Jason Alexander[2]
Gregg Berger
Nancy Travis
Dana Hill (1994–1996)
Pat Musick
E.G. Daily
Dweezil Zappa
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 70 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Everett Peck
Jeff Reno
Ron Osborn
Arlene Klasky
Gabor Csupo
Running time 22 minutes
Production companies Klasky Csupo
Reno & Osborn Productions
Paramount Network Television
Distributor Paramount Domestic Television (1994-2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006-2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007-present)
Original channel USA Network[3]
Original run March 5, 1994 (1994-03-05) – September 6, 1997 (1997-09-06)

Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man is an American animated sitcom that aired from 1994–1997, created by Everett Peck and developed by Peck. The sitcom is based on characters created by Peck in his Dark Horse comic.[4] Klasky Csupo animated the series and produced it along with Reno & Osborn Productions for Paramount Network Television.


The series consists of 70 episodes that aired on Saturday nights from 1994 to 1997 on the USA Network. The initial showrunners were Peck, Reno and Osborn, and the show was produced in association with Paramount Network Television. The animation was produced by Klasky Csupo.[5] In later years, the show running duties went to David Misch and Michael Markowitz. Creator and Executive Producer, Everett Peck, was with the show for its entire run. Producer Gene Laufenberg was with the show for most of its run. Scott Wilk and Todd Yvega created original music for the series, including the theme.[6] The first season also featured excerpts from Frank Zappa's published catalog.


The series follows the adventures of a lascivious, widowed private detective duck, Eric T. Duckman who lives with his three sons, mother-in-law and sister-in-law Bernice (his late wife Beatrice's identical twin). The tagline of the show, seen in the opening credits, is "Private Dick/Family Man" ("dick" being short for "detective", as well as serving as a double entendre).

The series takes place in Los Angeles, as indicated by the episode "Bev Takes a Holiday", when Beverly's detective tells her, "here is the address in LA", when referring to Duckman's address.


Main characters

  • Eric Tiberius Duckman (voiced by Jason Alexander): The title character is portrayed as a lazy, incompetent, self-serving, morally unscrupulous, sexual deviant. Despite this, one of the hallmarks of the series are the insightful but politically incorrect rants regarding the hypocrisies of society, such as political correctness, women's rights, the movie industry, and life in general. His name is actually Eric, which he personally hates. He is an exceptionally bad detective, missing even the most obvious clues and evidence. He is a widower; when his wife Beatrice died, she left their house to her sister Bernice, so as to ensure some sort of stable environment for her and Duckman's three children: Ajax, Charles and Mambo. Though frequently taking his children for granted, Duckman honestly loves and cares for them. He graduated high school in 1971,[7] and is also a graduate of Don Galloway Drive-Thru Detective School and has a detective license from Panama signed by Manuel Noriega. Duckman is an Aries, born April 18.[8] Duckman wears glasses which contain his eyes. They can be removed like normal glasses, taking his eyes with them. His glasses stay up, even though he has no ears (something that Cornfed once observed with fascination). Duckman often uses his catch phrases, "What the hell are you staring at?", "Hommina hommina how wah", "Whatever" (whenever corrected by his kids) and his trademark scream of "D'wah!" He is the only main character not to wear clothes. He eventually marries King Chicken's ex-wife Honey Ursula Bacon Chicken. Little is known of Duckman's parents. The man who he thought was his father was cryongenically frozen, but only when Duckman needed a kidney did he discover the frozen pop was not a blood relation. His real father was a Tennessee hillbilly who was paranoid and murderous. Duckman's mother was self-absorbed and neglectful as a single parent, preferring to sleep around with a long succession of men than notice much about her son.
  • Willibald Feivel Cornfed, known as Cornfed Pig or "Corny" (voiced by Gregg Berger): Duckman's Joe Friday-esque business partner and best friend; loosely based on the character "Greggery Peccary" as portrayed by Frank Zappa in a handful of songs. Affable, studious, as well as morally and sexually scrupulous, Cornfed is an amazingly talented pig and has specialist knowledge from practically every walk of life. He knows dozens of martial arts and claims to know "200 ways to kill a man". For roughly the first half of the show's run, Cornfed is a virgin, which contrasts to his popularity among women and earns Duckman's mockery. He loses his virginity to Bernice in order to avoid succumbing to a family genetic disease. Most of the cases solved by the Duckman Detective Agency are solved by Cornfed, with Duckman usually hurting the case rather than helping. He has had numerous former occupations, such as mailman, truck driver, waiter, plumber, clerk for a Supreme Court justice, member of the Irish Parliament, and keyboard player for A Flock of Seagulls. He has a medical degree from a Peruvian medical school, and was also educated in air conditioner and VCR repair. He is also a Vietnam veteran; this was revealed when a young man claimed to be his son from the War (he was really a con man). In season 4 it was revealed that Cornfed is a Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard.[9] The series has portrayed different ways in which he met Duckman: saving his life three times while working at a bakery; meeting at an airport before Ajax was born; and the two having attended high school together.
  • Ajax Duckman (voiced by Dweezil Zappa): Duckman's eldest, teenage son. He speaks with a slight surfer-dude accent, and calls his father "Dod". He is extremely slow mentally, but is a skilled free-verse poet. He occasionally surprises other characters with a few words of philosophical wisdom or obscure knowledge, but this is usually followed by him saying something more inline with his stupidity. At one point it is revealed that he even has epileptic seizures. It has been said that Ajax is the only member of the family to whom Duckman can truly relate. His singing voice is a powerful soprano and he can even sing piano music to perfection. He commented in one episode that if he kept practicing playing music he'd be able to work his way up to "idiot savant". Ajax got his name from a trucking company Cornfed was driving for when he and Duckman first met. Ajax is a huge Merv Griffin fan.
  • Charles and Mambo Duckman (voiced by: Dana Hill then Pat Musick, and E.G. Daily): Duckman's Siamese twin sons. They are child geniuses whose heads share a body. They view Duckman as a subpar and inadequate father (both true assessments), but love him anyway. Duckman can rarely seem to remember Mambo's name and has called him everything from "La Bamba", "Mandingo", and "Simba", to "Gumbel" to simply "Charles' brother." In later episodes, occasionally one will attempt to commandeer their shared body.
  • Bernice Florence Hufnagel (voiced by Nancy Travis): Duckman's sister-in-law; the identical twin of Beatrice. She is a fanatic fitness buff and hates Duckman with a passion. Though she loathes and reviles their father, Bernice is very loving to her nephews and is considered to be their primary caretaker. Despite this, Duckman views her as an abrasive, domineering, self-righteous shrew who constantly tries to control his life. Despite being physically identical to his wife (except in better shape), Duckman is repulsed by her physically, though they once engage in sex while intoxicated. She eventually became a congresswoman and fell in love with King Chicken, Duckman's arch-enemy. In the final episode, they become engaged and marry. Her name is a reference to character actress Florence Halop, whose Mrs. Hufnagel character on St. Elsewhere was one of her last hurrahs on television, before she replaced Selma Diamond on Night Court.
  • Grandma-ma/Sophia Longnameovich (voiced by Nancy Travis): Duckman's apparently comatose, immensely flatulent mother-in-law. In the episode "Aged Heat", she is kidnapped by her dopplegänger Agnes Delrooney (played by Brian Doyle-Murray), who poses as her for several episodes until her scam is revealed in "You've Come A Wrong Way, Baby"(although in between these thirty episodes, there was an episode that clearly depicted her as the real Grandma-ma). Grandma-ma sits in the same chair and rarely moves. In the episode "Crime, Punishment, War, Peace, and the Idiot", it is revealed that she is a Russian immigrant. She moved to the United States with her husband Trigorin who tricked her into marrying him out of jealousy for her true love Petrov.
  • Fluffy and Uranus (voiced by Pat Musick): Duckman's two Care Bear-esque teddy-bear office assistants. One named Fluffy is pink, the other called Uranus is blue, but are otherwise identical and try to get Duckman to act kindly and more politically correct. Their oversensitivity and insistence on making Duckman a better person only upsets Duckman and causes him to kill them in nearly every episode they appear in. They are apparently immortal, as they reappear in many episodes despite Duckman killing them off in unique or unusual ways. They do have a breaking point as shown in one episode where Duckman angered them enough causing them to turn into enormous ferocious killer bears with large claws and teeth. Only wonderful show-tunes reverted them back to their original, civilized forms (after which, Duckman promptly killed them).

Recurring characters

  • George Herbert Walker 'King' Chicken (voiced by Tim Curry): Duckman's arch-nemesis. Duckman constantly teased him in high school, which encouraged other kids to do the same. King Chicken cites this for why he became a supervillain. His earliest appearances would have him continually recap his motive, but characters would frequently get bored (in one particular joke, an episode suddenly cut to a news report of Tim Curry having gone missing and leaving behind a note where he expressed frustration and resistance to ever saying the motive again). His schemes were often overcomplicated attempts to ruin Duckman's life and usually involved disguises. Upon meeting Bernice, an attraction and affair developed. He became engaged to Bernice during the series finale. His catch phrase, simply "Mwah ha haa, bawk bawk bawk!," usually punctuates the end of his speeches about his evil plan. His name is a parody of former President of the United States George H. W. Bush.
  • Beatrice Hufnagel Duckman (voiced by Nancy Travis): Duckman's first wife. Duckman met her in a farming county in Iowa while working for a magazine that sent him to take pictures of covered bridges. They spent a lot of time together and quickly fell in love. However, she turned out to be married to another duck named Richard, until he had a heart attack (inadvertently caused by Duckman, who told him the truth of their affair). Soon afterwards, she found out she was pregnant with Duckman's first son, Ajax. The two were married for a number of years, until she was believed to be killed in an accident (Duckman had flicked his cigarette out into a street during a parade and it hit a balloon which deflated and knocked her down a manhole). Beatrice looks a lot like her sisters Bernice and Beverly, but is much softer-spoken than either. She is usually seen wearing a dress with her hair fixed up. Duckman idealizes his love for her. Despite his puerile tendencies, he never cheated on her and felt extremely guilty about pursuing other relationships a year after she had supposedly died. She is revealed to still be alive in the series finale.
  • Beverly Glenn Hufnagel (voiced by Nancy Travis): Beatrice and Bernice's long-lost sister. It was revealed in the fourth season that Bernice and Duckman's wife Beatrice were separated from their triplet sister at birth. Eventually, she tracked them down and took over Bernice's place in the household when Bernice is elected to Congress. She is much nicer to Duckman than Bernice was, and sees the good in him, though she never ceases to be disgusted or mildly offended by his overall behavior. Other than just having a different hairstyle comparing to Bernice's, Beverly is distinguished by her blue eyes. Though Duckman often wooed her, Beverly took more of an interest in Cornfed and the feeling was mutual. They marry in the series finale.
  • Gecko: Duckman's purple dog. In one episode, it was implied that Gecko was stolen by Duckman from one of his neighbors, and that his true name is "Sparky".[10] In the episode "The Amazing Colossal Duckman," we find out he can talk, walk on two legs and smoke a pipe.

Guest stars

The show regularly featured high-profile guest stars, including:

Final episode

In the final episode, four couples (Dr. Stein/Dana Reynard, Duckman/Honey, King Chicken/Bernice, Cornfed/Beverly) got married – the last three in a joint ceremony no less. The kids, Fluffy & Uranus, and a number of characters from previous episodes are shown to be in attendance. As the ceremonies draw to a close, though, Beatrice (Duckman's supposedly deceased wife) appears and shocks the entire crowd. When Duckman asks how she can still be alive, Beatrice indicates Cornfed always knew. The last line of the series is Cornfed saying, "I can explain." This plot twist is never resolved and has thus created a cliffhanger. Writer Michael Markowitz noted (in Sep 1998): "We never formally planned Part II... and I'll never tell what I personally had in mind. I'm hoping to leave it to my heirs, for the inevitable day when Duckman is revived by future generations. Ah, the Spandex suits they'll wear, the hovercrafts they'll fly!"[11]

Video game

Towards the end of the series, a point-and-click adventure game called Duckman: The Graphic Adventures of a Private Dick was created for PC. In it, Duckman has become a famous detective, and a television series based on him is about to debut, but someone is pushing Duckman out of his own life, and replacing him with a bigger, better, heroic Duckman. The player's goal is to help Duckman get rid of the impostor and reclaim his rightful place.

Apparently it's one of the rarest CD-ROM adventure games of all time due to its limited distribution. Originally intended for release in the United States, the game was completed and ready for distribution when the publisher, PlayMates Toys, declared bankruptcy. Eventually the rights were bought at auction by FunSoft; the game had localized text added to replace the English (audio was untouched) and it was released in Germany and South Korea.

Episodes and home release

Season Episodes Originally Aired DVD Release
Volume Release date Discs
1 13 1994 1 September 16, 2008 3
2 9 1995
3 20 1996 2 January 6, 2009 7
4 28 1997

In January 2008, reported that Duckman would be coming to region 1 DVD.[12] Details followed in May, when it was announced that the first release in the series would be the first two seasons, 22 combined episodes on three discs, on September 16, 2008.[13] The final two seasons, 48 episodes, were released on a seven disc set on January 6, 2009.[14] Both DVD sets were released by CBS Home Entertainment. With the DVD release, many episodes were edited to remove copyrighted music and as a result they differ somewhat from the aired TV episodes.


In January 2009, IGN listed Duckman as the 48th best in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows.[3]

See also


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
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