Glorious Girls of Gaming – Birdo

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by Joshie Jaxon

Birdo started out as a villain in Super Mario Bros 2. Unlike Wart and Fry Guy, Birdo is a boss that we encounter several times through the game, with various abilities. Mostly an egg spitter, occasionally fireballs are hurled at Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach/Toadstool.
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Although the events of SMB2 turned out to be nothing more than a dream. Oops, Spoiler Alert on a 27 year old game, my bad. Where was I? Oh yeah, even though it was a dream, the Shy Guys and Birdo made the leap into Mario’s reality. While the Shy Guys appeared as villains in other games, like Yoshi’s Island, Birdo wasn’t cast as a villain again. Instead, Birdo was invited to go karting, play golf, party and even went to the Olympics with Sonic and the main Mario cast.
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You may have noticed that I’ve been referring to Birdo by name, but not she or her. That’s because I wanted to touch on the alleged controversy about Birdo. In the original manual for SMB2, we learn that Birdo is male, but thinks he’s a girl. Granted this was 1988, but since then people have been confused about what gender Birdo is.
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I don’t understand the confusion. Birdo identifies a a girl. I don’t know what her species is, or what level of gender reassignment is available in the Mushroom Kingdom, but that shouldn’t matter. For all intents and purposes, Birdo is a girl, and should be treated as such. It isn’t our place to push onto her what we feel is right or wrong.
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She’s been paired as a couple with Yoshi, and the two have been called boyfriend and girlfriend. That should speak volumes. I’m sure they’ve spoken, and Yoshi knows all about Birdo’s history, and loves her for who she is. Most modern game descriptions refer to her as “she”, but is that a sign of respecting who she is, or are we trying to retcon her status as the premier trans character of gaming? That’s not for me to decide.
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In the end, Birdo knows exactly who she is. She was a villain that found an accepting group of friends that love and support her. She is the first transgender woman of gaming, and to me, that’s pretty glorious.
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-JJ


Quiz & Dragons?…not today…

by Bevianna Bones

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Good afternoon readers, I was in the midst of preparing today’s entry for you, which was going to be about a Capcom classic of the days of aracdia gone by, but I got distracted by the television I had on while I as preparing the screenshots for the segment.  The Today show was on, primarily for background noise, when I heard a name alll too familiar to me.  I looked up from the controls of my MAME cabinet (and what was becoming an epic game of Quiz & Dragons) to see on my screen a beautiful Lucy Lawless in a vintage inspired little red and white polka dot frock.  My heart leaped. I was inspired to bring you a mini on Lucy instead.

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It isn’t often here on Triple G that Joshie and I get personal, so consider today a treat. It is taxday after all, and some of us could probably use a little pick me up.  Here goes, but, it’s a little know fact, but your dear Bevianna got her blogging start years ago writing and doing artwork for the XMV (Xena Music Videos) website (and of course the Rant of Randomess…RIP).  I wrote episode reviews, did illustrations, and got into word scraps with, what I presume were, old lonely dykes who wanted to argue that Willow and Tara were a better couple than Xena and Gabs. Please. Anywho, I was with them for a couple of years until I got into a tiff with the site admins over the use of my artworks and then I had to unfourtunately pull the plug on them. 

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They will always be mine, britches…

Seeing Lucy while I was writing about Q & D for you folks just brought it all back. Consider it a character crush entry if you please, but really, once I saw her I was transported back to another time.  A time of ancient gods, kings, and warlords..a land in turmoil cried out for a hero…her name was Xena…a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle…

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Ok, enough with the Xena reference.  She’s done a whole lot of other things since then, in fact, it wasn’t the 20th anniversary of Xena she was on the show for, it was for her new role, of what she calls a “witchiepoo” on the second season of Salem. Good move Salem, now you have aquired the entire xenaverse of fandom. 

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Ever wonder why she is still working? Primairily because the Xenaverse is something special. A conglomeration of geekdoom and the pride following that makes us lesbos follow everything any cast member of the LWord has ever done. Sparatacus? Good show, but the Xenaverse made it go on after it should have. Lucy on BSG? Great sci-fi, but after Lucy joined the cast as a Cylon, even better. Eurotrip would have been nearly unwatchable if it weren’t for Madamme Vaandersexx. And who else could make the perfect mate and conqueror to Ron Swanson? 

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Seems I’ve gone off on a tangent.  But anywho, I still love lucy.  She’s a great entertainer and comedian who has been unfortunately doomed to one role for eternity, all the meanwhile that curse has given her the fanbase to propell other doomed shows into their very own cult followings.  Too bad she never showed up on Seeker or Firefly, maybe she would have saved them with the power of the Xenaverse. Who knows? Anything is possible.  For now, however, its back to Quiz and Dragons…I’m about to conquer the Wyvern at the Chateau of Avalon…and I’ve used the Power of Two Choices!
-BB

Heathcliff – The Great Pussini

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-by Joshie Jaxon

Yes, that’s the actual title of his first episode. This one is gonna write itself. We open on Heathcliff caterwauling on a fence. The old man that he lives with, Grandpa Nutmeg, looks out the window, shakes his head, and closes it. Heathcliff has an audience of several cats, including his leading lady, Sonja. That is, of course, until something draws their attention. Whatever could it be? Let’s find out.

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There’s a poster for the great Pussini, and it has all the cats, including Sonja, ready to swoon. Heathcliff shreds the poster, as Wordsworth, Hector, and Mongo, on loan from Riff Raff, oh wait, we don’t know who Riff Raff is yet. He’s the tan cat in the opening credits. Anyhow, the trio come up and mock Heathcliff’s singing abilities. Teaching children the best way to handle someone who criticizes you, Heathcliff unsheathes his claws, and shows them who’s boss. That’s right kids, if someone doesn’t like the way you do something, kick their ass. It’ll establish dominance, and people like that.

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A limo pulls up to the theater, and Pussini gets out. Category is, Ringmaster Realness. Let’s take a moment to appreciate this. Cat gets out of a limo fully dressed, to screaming cat fans holding signs. I mention this because we’ve established there are people in this world, and for all intents and purposes, these are normal cats that just talk to one another. However, there is no human handler for Pussini, or any of the others for the rest of the episode. Yes, that’s where I draw the line for my suspension of disbelief. Where were we?

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Oh yes, Sonja is swooning, and ready to do whatever the celebrity cat wants. He takes her into the limo, and they drive off. Um, where were the stranger danger lessons in the 80’s? I get these are cats, but- Wait, I remember now. Butters’ dad said it’s ok as long as it’s a limousine. You go Sonja. Go get your naughty on. Kidding. This is a kids show. They do classic things, like a boat ride, with an umbrella to keep out the sun. Yes, really.

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Not giving up without a fight, and having made the other three his bitches, Heathcliff takes his newfound minions to try and get Sonja back. His attempts are met with a Wile-like level of failure. He snags the wrong boat. His dynamite backfires. The minions jump into a boat of humans at the tunnel of love. Yes, the humans are still around, yet oddly, it is a cat limo driver that drops Sonja off so Pussini can go rehearse. Just go with it, it’s easier if you just go with it.

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Cut to the night of the concert. Since the star is a cat, there’s no security. Heathcliff and the others get backstage with no problem. We see Pussini sans his mane, and getting cinched into his corset. Yes, the cat is in a corset. Stranger things have happened. The real question is, is Pussini Bianca Del Rio’s cat, or Adore’s? Based on what’s about to go down, I’d say he doesn’t belong to Adore. Maybe Gia.

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On the main stage, Pussini is singing his heart out. Sonja looks on from the box, and can’t wait until after the show. Heathcliff, serving up shrubbery couture, sneaks up on Pussini, and cuts him out of the corset. Like a true performer, Pussini keeps right on singing. Ru told him not to f*ck it up. Pulling his next shady cat move, Heathcliff works on snatching the diva’s wig. Once that’s been done, it’s time for the giant fan. As Pussini gets blown away, we see that he has indeed been lip synching for his life. Debbie Reynolds has been singing offstage for Pussini. Girl, you know it’s true. Side note, I hope you appreciate these great references, they’re wasted on today’s youth.

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Having created a she-mergency, Heathcliff steps in to finish the performance, and like any all-star, he’ll do it live! The audience applauds and throws bouquets of flowers. That’s what it’s all about. You go Heathcliff! Seeing Sonja had left, he runs outside to see her leaving in the limo, with the real voice behind Pussini. We see them snuggling together, as Heathcliff quips “there’s no accounting for taste”. You’ve got that right. Your gal is kind of a, what’s the word I’m looking for? Slut? No. Whore? No. Friendly port? That’s the one! Thanks, Ma.

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JJ

Woody Woodpecker – Knock Knock

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-by Joshie Jaxon

The first appearance of Woody Woodpecker was back in November 1940. 75 years is a long time for a ‘pecker to be active, and he’s doing it nicely. His original voice was the legendary Mel Blanc, of Looney Tunes fame. During his debut, Woody wasn’t the star, it was actually an Andy Panda serial that allowed us to see Woody’s nuts. Yes, I plan on making genital jokes. Yes, I know it’s low hanging fruit. Yes, I know that was another one. On with the cartoon.

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We open with little Andy asking his dad if you can really catch a bird by putting salt on it’s tail. Ever the devoted father, Papa Panda tells Andy that he’s busy. We get a shot of the desk, and see the racing form he’s looking over. Today’s entries –
1- Eczema … Scratch this one
2- Bustle … Will bring up the rear
3- Opium … This is a dope
4- Noon Hour … Twelve to one
I didn’t make those up, but damn if I don’t love a good pun.

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We hear knocking, and Papa checks the door, but there’s no one there. Knock, check, repeat. Knock, check, repeat. Growing increasingly frustrated, Papa rips the door of it’s hinges, and sets it inside. The knocking continues, and Papa breaks the door into pieces. Smart little Andy tells him it’s that woodpecker again, and points at the roof, where we see the tip of the pecker’s pecker coming through the ceiling. Papa turns positively purple, and goes up to get his hands on that thrusting Woody. Woody pokes his head through the glory hole he just made and says, “Guess who?”. Girl, it’s supposed to be anonymous.

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Papa heads up to the roof, as Woody hops around continuing to peck at it. Andy climbs up the ladder, bringing a shotgun to his anger management issues father. Being so full of rage, Papa has a precarious performance issue, and can’t get his gun to fire. It’s alright, Papa, I hear it happens to a lot of guys. Brain trust that he is, Papa looks into the barrel of the allegedly loaded shotgun, as Woody takes it from him and gets it to fire on the first try. Ah, youth.

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Andy decides to take a turn, and goes after Woody with a salt shaker. Kid, you can’t just a-salt him. Cue groan from reader, and moving on. Woody grows massive, and starts dripping with, let’s go with rage. He tells Andy the last one that tried to get him from behind was torn limb from limb. Alright, we get it, Woody, you’re a top. Calm down.

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Papa sends a lady bird looking time bomb after Woody, and he goes gaga for it. It kisses him, then he flies off in classic toon fashion, drilling holes through trees and poles, before coming back to kiss on his new sex toy some more. This time when he does, he’s not the only one who goes off. He cries at the pieces of his fallen love, saying he’s been betrayed.

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Andy tries to a-salt him again, but Woody puts a beer under the shaker, it gets a head, and he blows the foam in Andy’s face. Yes, seriously. In 1940 a cartoon character got head, and blew it in a kid’s face. Still feeling nostalgia for the good ol’ days?

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Woody lands on Papa, and starts pecking his head. Papa quickly covers him with his hat, declaring that he’s got him. Woody breaks through the hat like an expired prophylactic, and tells Papa to hold on tight. Woody takes off, and carries them through the air. Andy gets the shotgun, and shoots his father in the ass. Incest in the morning! Repressed memories! 97.1! Sorry, had to. Papa and Woody crash through the roof, and this time when Andy a-salts Woody he gets him good.

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Woody doesn’t seems to mind, that is of course until he realizes he can’t run away. He panics, and tries in vain to escape. Driven mad by the experience we hear the sound of the ever-vigilant psych ward, which arrive to take Woody away. They tell Papa that confidentially, this guy (Woody) is nuts. They know his whole family, and they’re all crazy. Why, take them for instance. The two then start laughing like Woody, and bouncing around the screen. Credits

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-JJ

Howard the Duck: Cherry Bomb

-by Bevianna Bones

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Greetings readers! Today I present to you another installment in our deep discussion of the greatest piece of film ever to grace the silver screen. For this part of the Howie Series we will be focusing on Cherry Bomb. The fictional band of the film lead by Beverly Switzler AKA Lea Thompson AKA 80’s goddess. Btw this is another reason why I revere the film so much. This was the first time in my childhood I saw someone named Beverly that wasn’t mine or someone else’s grandmother. Not to mention she was a rocker chic on top of it all. So badass. It was the first time I ever thought Beverly was synonymous with cool. Because she was ever so cool. Just look at that hair! And I heart Lea Thompson and anything that she has ever done. And did I mention the fact that she is one of the few cast members that is actually proud to have been a part of this film? She’s so great.

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The filmmakers invested heavily in Aquanet          stocks.

Anyway, when we last left Howie, he had been propelled through space from Duckworld and found himself amiss in a back alley somewhere in what he soon finds out from Bev, after the band’s opening ditty, is Cleveland. Or as Howie puts it Cleve Land.
Howie is surrounded by what I assume is supposed to be thugs, but resemble more eighties apropro Judas Priest groupies.

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Hell bent for leather?

Of course since they are rockband groupies and not actual thugs, they do what any youthful group with a rebel yell would do and throw Howie into a bar across the street where a crowd has gathered to jam the night away to the rockin bops. Eat your heart out Jem and the Holograms! Cherry Bomb is in the house!

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They have to play behind a chain link fence in order to keep the hoards of screaming fans at bay.

As we are treated to a delightful montage of Howie being thrown into all kinds of mischief, Lea AKA Bev gives us jamming 80s fierce realness and sexy eyes to Hunger City. One of the three tracks written by Thomas Dolby for the band to sing in movie.

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And so great, we need a still of that face…

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Grr!

Howard, shaken from all of his misadventures decides to hide in a barrel. Great idea. While he’s hiding away, we see that since the montage is over, the gig has ended and a lone Bev is walking home at night. More thugs/creepy fans come and get rapey with her. 

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Where did she find that jacket and matching hair bow?

Bev frigths back and cries out for help.  Howie being the civilized duck that he is decides something is a fowl (get it) and leaps out of the barrel and unleashes a deadly quack fu attack on the would be assailants.

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Note the baby doll heads all over assailant number one’s jacket. Why? So odd, but I just literally figured out that’s why Howie call him babyface. Oh the writing is so intelligent.

The punks take off and Bev thanks Howie for the help. Seems like she is only midly unsettled by a walking, talking, quack fuing duck; she explains to him where he is, and it starts to rain.

Queue 80’s ballad. This version is actually the Thomas Dolby demo of the song, but we get to hear Cherry Bomb and Lea sing it after things go south for Howie and Bev and she’s all distraught. Oh the foreshadowing. It’s the song they met to and the song they made ammends to.

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This is my distraught face…do I look distraught enough?

Bev sees Howie standing there like a duck left out in the rain and asks him if he has anywhere to go. Obviously not, or he wouldn’t be in Cleve Land. Oh Howie! She invites him back to her place, but I guess that’s where we will pick it up next time. Seems that I got off the subject of the band, but hey, it’s important to understand why Howie and Bev meet, because their relationship is a catalyst for the other two songs the band sings. One being, Don’t Walk Away, the duck in the rain song; and the other of course the title theme Howard the Duck…but that’s a subject for another day.
-BB

Count Duckula – No Sax Please, We’re Egyptian

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-by Joshie Jaxon

What an odd first episode title. Then again, it was the 80’s, and it is British. However, before we get to the episode, we need to appreciate the opening credits. They tell the tale of the Duckula line, and how they can be revived once every century. This time around they used ketchup instead of blood, and as a result, this incarnation is not evil, and is a vegetarian. On with the show!

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Castle Duckula. The Count waits for his food, telling Igor he hasn’t paid the power bill since the last time they brought him back to life. Nanny, his hulking lady servant, with one arm always in a sling, crashes through the wall. He reminds her to use the door, so she leaves, and crashes through the door instead. Tired of nearly being killed by Nanny, the Count says he’s going to run away, stating last time she killed three chambermaids and a footman, to which she replies, “They were only part time”. I want to like her. Igor takes the Count to the portrait gallery to remind him of his proud name and inheritance.

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We see some crows in masks, they’re reading a guidebook on Castle Duckula, and decide to go rob it. As they scale the outer wall, we hear Nanny ooohing as she dusts. The crows hear it, and assume it’s a werewolf. Nanny says to herself, “Give it a tickle with me feather duster, and it’ll be as right as rain.”. The crows think she’s talking about the werewolf, and say “She’s tickling it with a feather duster, no wonder it’s howling”. I love the Brits.

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Meanwhile, Igor is telling the Count about his ancestors. We hear the tale of the Archduck that explored a pyramid in Egypt, and was never heard from again. Igor makes mention of the mystic saxophone, yes, mystic saxophone, that gives whoever plays it the power of life and death. Duckula just wants to use it to be famous and fill stadiums. Poor Igor, he wanted a bloodthirsty Master, and instead he got this. He hopes the sax will make the Count evil. As the crows ponder how they’ll travel the 3000 miles to Egypt, the Count runs down to an upright coffin, announcing his destination, and the castle teleports there. There’s no in episode description for why the castle has/is a transporter. Hashtag mysteries of Castle Duckula

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They enter a pyramid, and begin to explore. Igor points out a statue of Anubis, and Nanny covers her little duckyboos eyes. She won’t have him looking at people with no clothes on. He tells her it’s Anubis, not a nudist. Yay wordplay! Pre-Family Guy cutaway to the cuckoo clock in the castle. It has two Statler and Woldorf style bats that tell a lame joke, complete with laugh track. So, that happened. Back to the pyramid. Duckula finds a statue of Serket. Nanny says it’s small, to which the Count quips that it’s a short Serket. He’s gonna be famous with material like this.

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The crows plot how to take out the Count. They rig a stone slab to a rope and attach it to each entrance of a chamber. If only Nanny used doors. She crashes through the wall, bypassing their trap. Duckula goes back to grab the rope for later, and the crows are crushed off screen. Being toons, they survive. Next they plan to use a boulder and giant rubber band. It’s worth pointing out this is the late 80’s, and Wile E Coyote has been around a few decades. They should already know this isn’t gonna work. Oh well. The crows are smashed again. Naturally.

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Duckula and company conclude they must be getting closer to the chamber, and to look out for traps. The Count falls for one, cause he is the titular character, after all. He wakes to a priest, Hoomite, and his assistant, Yubi. Anyone else see where this is going? The priest says “who might you be?” And we go into a very Who’s on First style exchange.

Y – I am, Yubi, right?
D – No, wrong. I am, you are
Y – Oh. He is Yewar
H – So, you are Yewar
D – I am not, I am not
H – Ah, you are Nott. He is not Yewar. He is Nott
Y – You are Yewar
D – I am not Yewar
Y – Oh, call me not Yewar. I am not Yewar. I am not Nott. I am Yubi
D – Lets get this sorted out. I am not Nott. Ok?
H & Y – Ok
D – I am not Yewar. Ok?
H & Y – Ok
D – But you are Hoomite, and you are Yubi, Ok?
H & Y – Ok
D – Whew
H – But, who might you be?
Duckula can’t take any more, and neither can I. Let’s move on.

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Hoomite and Yubi say they are going to sacrifice the Count to Ra, and after enough human sacrifice Pharaoh Upshi will rise. Wait, Duckula isn’t human. Well, close enough. Who, Ra? And Upshi rises. They start singing Hoorah and up she rises, and I feel like Lois. I can’t take any more schtick. Luckily, Nanny arrives and is mistaken for Upshi. They start with the we’re not worthy bowing, as Nanny asks “who might you be?” The servants repeat over and over, “He knows us! He knows us!” Nanny can see Henosus, but who might you be? Duckula echoes my thoughts, and says he can’t go through all that again, grabs Nanny and flees. Praise Ra!

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Reuniting with Igor, they continue their search. They find a mummy, and Nanny says he must have fallen off his camel. They tell her it’s a mummy, and she says SHE must have fallen off her camel. Oh, Nanny. She sees a vase, and wants to take it home. Duckula is afraid she’ll drop it, which she does. Lo and behold, they find the mystic sax. Igor says a single blow, and they’ll be the servants of the emperor of evil. That must be a hell of a good blow. The Count butchers it horribly, but finds his groove, and wakes the dead. Time for an Egyptian-Transylvanian dance party!

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Igor tells Duckula it’s time to go home, but he doesn’t want to end the party. The bat clock strikes midnight, and the castle returns to Transylvania. They still never explain this phenomena. Near as I can tell, the castle travels in space, but not time, and at twelve, it returns with or without it’s passengers. Duckula, Igor and Nanny get left behind, and are seen standing in the desert sun, trying to hitch a ride home. Alright, um, vampire duck standing in the sun. Opening credits say sunlight kills. I assume because he was revived not from blood, but ketchup, he’s not limited to traditional vampire lore, and is a day walker. Maybe they covered it in Danger Mouse, before they spun him off. Anyway, I’ll leave you to ponder that. Until next time!

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-JJ