Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man (commonly known as Duckman) is an American animated sitcom that aired on the USA Network from March 5, 1994, through September 6, 1997. It was created and developed by Everett Peck and is based on characters created by Peck in his 1990 one-shot comic book published by Dark Horse Comics.
Anivision and its parent Sunwoo Entertainment animated the series and was produced by Klasky Csupo and Reno & Osborn Productions for Paramount Television. It marks Klasky Csupo's second adult-oriented television series after the first three seasons of The Simpsons on the Fox Broadcasting Company.
The series centers on Eric Tiberius Duckman (voiced by Jason Alexander), a widowed, lewd, self-hating, egocentric anthropomorphic duck who lives with his family in Los Angeles (as mentioned in the episode Bev Takes a Holiday) and works as a private detective.
The tagline of the show, seen in the opening credits, is "Private Dick/Family Man".
Main characters include Cornfed (voiced by Gregg Berger), a pig who is Duckman's Joe Friday–esque business partner and best friend, Ajax (voiced by Dweezil Zappa), Duckman's eldest, mentally-slow teenage son; Charles (voiced by Dana Hill and later Pat Musick) and Mambo (voiced by E. G. Daily), Duckman's genius conjoined twins whose heads share a body; Bernice (voiced by Nancy Travis), the identical twin of Duckman's presumed-dead wife Beatrice, Bernice is a fanatical fitness buff who hates Duckman with a passion; and Grandma-ma (voiced by Nancy Travis), Duckman's comatose, immensely flatulent mother-in-law.
Recurring characters include Agnes Delrooney (voiced by Brian Doyle-Murray), Grandma-ma's doppelgänger who kidnaps her and poses as her for several episodes; Fluffy and Uranus (voiced by Pat Musick), Duckman's two Care Bear–esque teddy-bear office assistants; George Herbert Walker "King" Chicken (voiced by Tim Curry), a supervillain who schemes to ruin Duckman's life; Beverly (voiced by Nancy Travis), Beatrice and Bernice's long-lost sister; and Gecko, Duckman's pet dog.
Finale spoilers! Read at your own risk.
In the final episode, four couples (Dr. Stein/Dana Reynard, Duckman/Honey, King Chicken/Bernice, Cornfed/Beverly) get married – the last three in a joint ceremony. The kids, Fluffy and Uranus, and a number of characters from previous episodes are in attendance. As the ceremonies draw to a close, 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. Cornfed says, "I can explain." The show then ends with "To be continued...?" superimposed on the screen.
In regards to this cliffhanger, Duckman writer Michael Markowitz offered the following shortly after the series came to an end: "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." On August 13, 2015, Markowitz posted on his Twitter page in response to a question from a fan about the cliffhanger, "Was then (& now) an #XFiles fan (bride in ep was Dana Reynard, a Mulder-Scully hint) so involved gov't coverup of aliens".
Spoilers end here.
The series consists of 70 episodes that aired on Saturday nights from 1994 to 1997 on the USA Network. It later reran on Comedy Central in the United States. It also aired on both Cartoon Network and Canal+ in Spain. In the United Kingdom, it aired on Sky 1 and BBC Two, and in Canada, it is a former program on MTV2 and Teletoon.
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. In later years, the show running duties went to David Misch and Michael Markowitz.
At the time the series was produced, Klasky Csupo also produced another animated series in 1994: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters on Nickelodeon.
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. The first season also featured excerpts from Frank Zappa's published catalog (Frank Zappa died several months prior to this series' premiere).
Between 1994 and 1996 various comic books were published by Topps based on the TV series.
Including the original comic, there are a total of 9 comics released.
- Issue Number 0
- Issue Number 1: Naked Duck
- Issue Number 2: Robo Duck
- Issue Number 3: Night of the Living Duck
- Issue Number 4: Think Duck
- Issue Number 5: The XXX Files
- The Mob Frog Saga Issue 1: Dead Duck
- The Mob Frog Saga Issue 2: Where's Grandma-ma?
- The Mob Frog Saga Issue 3: In The Name of the Duck
In May 1997, a point-and-click adventure computer game, Duckman: The Graphic Adventures of a Private Dick, was released for Microsoft Windows.
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.
In January 2008, TVShowsOnDVD.com reported that Duckman would be coming to region 1 DVD. 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. The final two seasons, 48 episodes, were released on a seven-disc set on January 6, 2009. Both DVD sets were released by CBS DVD/Paramount Home Entertainment.
With the DVD releases, many episodes were edited to remove copyrighted music because of royalty issues, and as a result they differ somewhat from the aired TV episodes though Everett Peck was involved in the process of the DVD releases and he felt the most important music was preserved.
The Complete Series DVD was released on February 6, 2018.
Note: The covers of the individual discs of the Duckman DVDs lists an episode total of 71. This is because there is no episode listed as #42, it simply goes from #41 to #43.
|Title||Season(s)||Episode count||Release date|
|Volume 1: The Complete First and Second Seasons||1, 2||22||September 16, 2008|
|This three-disc release contained the entire first two seasons.|
|Volume 2: The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons||3, 4||49||January 6, 2009|
|This seven-disc release contained the entire final two seasons.|
|The Complete Series||1-4||70||February 6, 2018|
|This ten-disc release contained the entire series.|
The show was critically acclaimed. In January 2009, IGN listed Duckman as the 48th best in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows.
Episodes T.V. or Not to Be, Noir Gang, and Duckman and Cornfed in 'Haunted Society Plumbers' were nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 1994, 1996, and 1997, respectively.
On March 25, 1994, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly stated "What in the world does Duckman have to be so smug about?" and gave a brief word of criticism mostly on the episode T.V. or Not to Be. This specific review is mocked by Cornfed in In the Nam of the Father, after he overlooks the episode's events.