Why a website about a decade-old Disney cartoon show? More specifically, why another website
about a decade-old Disney cartoon show?
Once, maybe not long ago, or maybe ages past, we were all shiny and new. Our eager and
impressionable young brains looked out through our eyes, listened out through our ears, and felt out
through our skins at a vast, exciting world all around us. We may have had friends, we may have had
toys, we may have had parents or siblings, and we may have had city streets or backyards or parks
to explore. Or maybe not. But we all had imagination. And there was so much to feed that
imagination! Comic books. Storybooks and TV shows. Newspaper cartoons, movies, and science
As children, we fell in love with stories and characters. We developed genuine empathy with Tarzan
(or John Carter, as per your bent), with The Fox and the Crow or the Mouse Musketeers. We wove
them into our games. Perhaps we drew pictures of them or read their comics to our siblings. I
remember getting up at dawn every day on summer vacation to bring in the newspaper and read
"Alley Oop." They helped form the very foundations of our developing minds. They opened our eyes
to the possibility that there could be so much more to life than the mere mechanics of living we saw
Oh, sure, a few standards like Batman and Superman go on. Yes, there are always new characters
waiting their turn on stage. Old newspapers and magazines molder in archives and attics. Old films
lie unviewed in storage vaults. But can you put your hand on sights and sounds that were defining
moments in your life when you were six or eight or ten? Or when you were thirty or forty for that
Does anyone out there remember "Space Mouse" or "Space Man" (comic books)?
"Professor Phumble" or "Gordo" (newspaper comics)? How about "Ruff and Ready" and their TV
adventure cartoon on the planet Munimula (read it backwards)? The old TV shows like "Flash
Gordon", "Great Ghost Stories" (their version of "The Monkey's Paw" scared me out of the proverbial
year's growth) and "Captain Midnight"? How about the guy in the cape on the local channel who
crawled out of a black cardboard box "coffin" every Saturday night to introduce the 47th showing of
"Daughter of Dr Jekyll"? Is any of this making anyone out there feel a twinge?
Granted, most of it was drek. But we LOVED it! And there was some really good stuff. None of the
modern robots are as good as the old episodes of "Flash Gordon" where the robots were actors with
car antennas taped to the backs of their heads and electronic scrap sewn onto the shirts under their
coats. And when was the last time you saw "The Bionic 6"? That was certainly the funniest
tongue-firmly-in-cheek superhero comedy ever (Scarabina to Dr Scarab: "...and your secret
Ok, so this stuff is worth saving. But why the Rescue Rangers in particular?
For those of you not familiar with the series (and far more information can be found on the webring,
which I hope you will check out), there are five main characters. Chip and Dale (chipmunks) were
already established and were probably meant to be the draw. Monterey Jack ("Monty", a mouse) is
the oldest of the group and acts as both muscle and father figure. He brings along his friend Zipper (a
fly) and introduces Chip and Dale to the real star of the show (all right, I'm biased - it's my
introduction), Gadget Hackwrench. Gadget is a gorgeous little lady mouse who also happens to be a
world class scientific and engineering genius. Of her background we know only that she is beautiful,
brilliant, home- and self-educated and had a very tragic childhood (there is a vast amount of fan
fiction available on the web ring on this subject, some of it pretty grim.) Even more unusual is
Foxglove, the bat. Not strictly a Ranger, and the youngest of the group, she has a crush on Dale and
has been accepted by the fans with open arms (or wings). She has her own website and figures
prominently in fan fiction and art. All this is the more astonishing since she appeared in only one
episode. Obviously, she fills a gap left in the original conception.
By whatever stroke of accident or planning, the Rescue Rangers emerged as a group of characters
and relationships capable of bearing an almost unbelievable depth and range of literary and artistic
symbolism. By chance or design, they are among the most real of all Disney's creations. And when
the show was cancelled and disappeared from the air (except for, currently, "Toon Disney" which
has an abysmally limited distribution), they were just too good to die. They escaped into cyberspace
and were welcomed into the computers of fans quite literally all over the world (check out the
fantastic work being done on the Russian sites!) The Rangers are now the centerpiece of one of the
most active and most creative fan bases ever. You will find art galleries and libraries of original fan
fiction. You will find historical research archives worthy of being master's dissertations. Even original
musical scores for the Rangers are beginning to appear!
I, myself, became a "Rangerphile" watching the show with my own two boys as they were growing
up. The quality of animation, the highly complex and memorable characters, and the often bizarre
and always original stories impressed me greatly. I missed them when Disney pulled the show, but
naturally gradually forgot about them over time. It was a real jolt when I saw Gadget again in the
theater release of "Aladdin" (she had a split-second cameo when Genie was putting Abu through a
series of transformations. Unfortunately - and unforgivably - these few seconds were cut from the
home releases!) Not long after that, I began to access the internet and found to my surprise that
there were sites with information on the Rangers on the web.
When I saw what other people were doing, I felt that I had to become part of it. At the moment I am
typing this, I am 51 years old and have accomplished most of the things men are expected to do. I
have graduated from college and from a professional program (medical technology). I have become
experienced and successful in my line of work. I have married, and, with my wife, raised two children
who are now in college themselves. I have reached a point in life where I have earned the right to look
inside myself and recognize what I like and what I want to do and not care a whit what anyone else
thinks about it.
Now, in my "declining years" I am taking up a new avocation, learning to work on the web, to write,
to draw and otherwise cultivate long-dormant talents in celebration of the "Rescue Rangers"!
My goals with this new site are two-fold. One is to provide a sort of deranged good humor. In coming
months you will see the Rangers in some decidedly different situations. The other goal is more
serious. The Rescue Rangers have all but disappeared from Disney promotions. Few people think
about them any more. My contribution to trying to correct this deficiency I call "Gadget_bytes."
These will be very short little sketches by Gadget and the Rangers explaining basic ideas of modern
science, engineering, and math. It is my hope that these technical tidbits will be sufficiently
entertaining and informative that young people (and teachers) will want to download them for study -
and in the process expose more people to the Rescue Rangers. Just trying to make a contribution
to raising "Ranger awareness."