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"Darkly Dawns the Duck, Part 1" is the first episode of Darkwing Duck.


Darkwing Duck is a little known crime fighter dying for a big break, and the publicity that goes with it. Yet when he gets on the trail of the infamous Taurus Bulba's latest scheme he gets into more trouble than he expected. Bulba has masterminded a scheme from within prison revolving around a powerful invention - the Waddlemeyer Ramrod, but is missing the arming code. Darkwing foils an attempt to kidnap the only living relative of the late Professor inventor of the Ramrod, an orphan named Gosalyn.


The story starts off by introducing a little known crime fighter by the name of Darkwing Duck. After a long night of crime fighting he heads out to his secret lair, which happens to be at the top tower of the Audubon Bay Bridge. After skipping breakfast when he forgets the milk, he heads to bed and wishes he can get a shot at a real big time criminal.

Meanwhile we are introduced to the notorious criminal Taurus Bulba, who is talking to his henchmen, Hammerhead Hannigan, Hoof and Mouth, about stealing the Ramrod, some kind of super weapon. As Warden Waddlesworth approaches, his henchmen and secretary Clovis leave, his office is turn to a jail cell and we are shown he is in prison and Waddlesworth is oblivious to what is going on.

Darkwing Duck watches the city when a condor, Tantalus - Bulba's pet, holding a large box/trunk passes by. Darkwing quickly gets on his motorcycle and follows him. The condor drops the trunk to Bulba's henchmen, who have been setting up the train carrying the weapon. The trunk unpacks revealing a jet. Darkwing arrives and recognizes Hoof and Mouth as Bulba's henchmen. Excited he is finally dealing with big time criminals he proceeds to fight them. Just as he defeats them the jet takes off to the sky with the train wagon carrying the weapon. Darkwing holds on with his grappling hook but the rope is soon cut off by the condor and Darkwing falls

Darkwing lands in the hanger of Launchpad McQuack, who is his biggest fan. Darkwing makes Launchpad fly him to the flying wagon but Darkwing is picked up by the condor as he lands on it. The condor releases Darkwing but Launchpad manages to catch him just as he is going to hit the ground. Launchpad crashes and Darkwing walks off angry.

Back in prison, Warden Waddlesworth is teasing Taurus Bulba. As the Warden leaves and Bulba starts talking to his henchmen as he explains that he is angry that he has the Ramrod weapon but not the arming code since arrange "accident" for Professor Waddlemeyer, the Ramrod's inventor, before he could learn the code. He sends Hammerhead, Hoof, and Mouth to kidnap Waddlemeyer's granddaughter, Gosalyn, from the St. Canard Orphanage since she was his only family and he must have gave her the code. Hammerhead goes to the orphanage but as he is about to kidnap Gosalyn, Darkwing arrives to save her.

Darkwing grabs Gosalyn from his motorcycle and flees but Bulba's henchmen goes after them. As Darkwing runs away with Gosalyn, the police also start to chase him as they confuse him for the real burglar of the Ramrod. And Launchpad chases him as well since he wants to be Darkwing's sidekick. To end the chase, Darkwing jumps into the harbor and takes Gosalyn to his hide out, which is the watch tower on top of the bridge. Gosalyn blackmails Darkwing into staying at the tower and Darkwing lets her.

While back at Taurus Bulba's cell, his henchmen are terrified of what Bulba would do to them for losing Gosalyn. Bulba, seeing he needs to find Gosalyn himself, tells his assistant Clovis that "its time to say goodbye to the Warden". Clovis moves some things and the prison cell is turned into a flying ship in the shape of a bull's head. As the ship flies into the sky, Bulba laments losing a hideout as perfect as a prison. Bulba tells Clovis its time to meet Darkwing Duck.



Gosalyn: I don't know anything about a pig and I was nowhere near the boy's bathroom at the time!
Mrs. Cavanaugh: What pig?
Gosalyn: Pig? Oh, I meant big! As in how big of you to take such an interest in me. How may I help you?

Darkwing: I never want to see you again, EVER!
Launchpad: Okay. So, do you want my phone number?

Gosalyn: Just like in the comics! I bet you guys are eternal enemies huh?
Darkwing Duck: Actually, he doesn't even know I exist, but... he soon will. Mark my words.

Darkwing Duck: Never fear little miss, Darkwing Duck has you now-- (Gosalyn puches Darkwing in the stomach) Uhh! Hey I'm not one of the bad guys?

Hoof: Hey, Hammerhead! Ain't we cute in our soldier suits!
Hammerhead: Yeah, couple of five star generals. Just watch out for trouble.

Darkwing Duck: I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the chill that runs up your spine, I am Darkwing Duck!

Darkwing Duck: I am the surprise in your cereal box.

Darkwing: I am the switch that derails your train.

Darkwing: Another order of dastardly delinquents deposited on your doorstep, courtesy of Darkwing Duck. That's two words, not three, both D's capitalized. Here's my photo. If the papers need more glossies, my number's on the card.

Darkwing: So where's the press? I thought this was the age of media glut? Where's the Action News van when you need them? And I spent all afternoon ironing this cape.

Darkwing: As twilight shadows creep across the sky, the lone figure of Darkwing Duck scans the city for any evidence of wrongdoing, his eagle eyes catching sight of an-- an eagle? Or more precisely a condor. I know birds travel south, but this is the first one I've seen with luggage. This bit of feathery intrigue is best investigated by... Darkwing Duck!

Bullba: That is why I am the brain, and you are the stooge.
Hammerhead: That's it, boss! I'm a stooge. Uh, just call me Curly.

Bullba: That costumed clown is too concerned about his image to kill a little girl. He has her, hidden somewhere. We draw them out, and we'll have her. Clovis, if the Ramrod is secured, I think it's time we said goodbye to the warden.

Darkwing: Yes! A new world's record! everything a champion needs for breakfast... except the milk!

Darkwing: I always forget the milk.



  • Mrs. Cavanaugh is named after Christine Cavanaugh.
  • Darkwing's, "I knew the job was dangerous when I took it!" is a reference to a running gag in the 1967 cartoon, Super Chicken. Super Chicken would tell his colleague Fred when he accidentally injured him: "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred!". The same reference is also made in "That Sinking Feeling".



  • As Taurus Bullba takes off in his ship, Clovis eye shadow changes from blue to brown a few times.
  • While hovering above the train car in Launchpad's plane, Launchpad's window is visible through Darkwing's head.
  • When Darkwing changes into his bed clothes, he is still wearing his mask, but then the camera does a close up as he approaches his bed, his Darkwing mask is suddenly gone.
  • The newspaper carrying the story about Darkwing supposedly robbing the train shows a photo of him fighting Hoof and Mouth, but the conductor only started taking pictures after Darkwing had knocked them out already.
  • While hovering above the train car in Launchpad's plane, Launchpad's window is visible through Darkwing's head as he ponders his next move.
  • The two soldiers whose uniforms Hoof and Mouth swipe are shown to be armed with rifles. Yet after stealing the uniforms the two henchmen are armed with machine guns.


DDtD movie title card

The title card to the film version.

  • This two-part episode originally aired as an hour-length TV special on the Disney Channel on April 6, 1991. This two-parter was also available on home video, titled "Darkly Dawns the Duck".
  • The film version of this episode aired originally on September 7, 1991, (as part of a special called "The 'Darkwing Duck' Premiere and Back to School With 'The Mickey Mouse Club'") and was the pilot for the television series. After the success of the pilot, the film was edited for time for the launching of the series. It was then split into two episodes for the regular series run ("Darkly Dawns the Duck", Part 1 and 2) on September 6, 1991.[1]
    • It was also released in its uncut form on home video and DVD-set, Disney's Darkwing Duck: Volume 1, combining the two parts of the special into a 48-minute movie. This episode has never been re-aired in its original form since 1991.
  • A number of scenes were cut from the pilot film when it was edited to become two regular episodes of the TV series. These scenes were subsequently restored when it was released uncut on video. They were not restored for the DVD set released in 2006. These scenes include:
    • A rare beginning credits that displays different sequences from the series.
    • A different opening animation chase sequence, where Darkwing captures the crooks he delivers during the first scene. The shot of Darkwing ramping his motorcycle sidecar, the Ratcatcher, up and into the bed of a pickup truck, catapulting the criminals inside into some trashcans, is featured prominently in the show's opening sequence despite being absent from the current televised versions. This has been replaced with the standard DW theme in re-run.
    • While following Taurus Bulba's pet condor, Tantalus, on the Ratcatcher, Darkwing almost has a head-on collision with a large truck and is yelled at by the driver.
    • A longer version of the scene where Hoof and Mouth are twirling their rifles around before Darkwing jumps them.
    • A scene showing Taurus Bulba wheeling a cart of dirty clothes to the prison laundromat, establishing that Hammerhead, Hoof, and Mouth are hiding inside it.
    • Following the car chase, Mouth has a panic attack and begins screaming, "We're all gonna die! We're all gonna die!" until Hammerhead hits him.
    • A longer scene of Taurus Bulba ranting about Darkwing's ego, with him imitating Darkwing's mannerisms and poses: "His posing, his flamboyance, the mask and cape! Ha, ha! That hat! It all indicates an ego the size of a small planet!"
    • Darkwing asking Gosalyn if he should frame his memo pad.
    • The scene where Darkwing tries to get the biker pig to punch him being much longer.
    • A brief scene where Taurus Bulba comments that the design of the Thunderquack, Launchpad's fan-made jet, is ugly.
    • A Darkwing Duck music video/dance sequence at the end of the VHS called "Kickin' in the Groove". This comprised Disney's early countdown commercial promotions of the series for The Disney Afternoon.