Das Vermächtnis des Grafen Dackula (1984)

Since it is April 1st, I thought I’d do something whimsical and review a German children’s flexi-disc from 1984. This came with the German Micky Maus magazine (yes, this is how it’s spelled) and was called Das Vermächtnis des Grafen Dackula (The Legacy of Count Dackula).

This audio story was entirely self-contained. It was not connected to any of the stories printed in this issue of the magazine, none of which featured vampires.

As was the case with many of these flexi-discs for children, the running time is extremely short, barely 3 minutes. Consequently, the story is not slowly and carefully developed, but rushed by a narrator – none of the protagonists here have even a single line of dialogue, with the exception of the count who gets a sentence or two near the end. The contributions of the Duck family members are limited to sound effects: chattering teeth (or whatever ducks have), duck-swearing, duck-singing, etc.

Since the whole affair is so rushed, we are thrown directly into the middle of the plot. There is nothing here that would equate to a “first act”.

MM 01b

 

 

 

WARNING: I will spoil the entire “plot”, as there is no way (and no reason) to avoid this:

 

Uncle Scrooge is keen to unearth the legendary gold treasure of the vampire Count Dackula, which he presumes to be in the count’s legendary castle. The Ducks are already at the site of the castle when the narration sets in. There’s a storm, and howling wolves, a pale moon, and everything else that an atmospheric vampire story needs. Donald is scared, we learn.
As the Ducks stand in front of the castle, the door mysteriously opens by itself. As they enter, a clock strikes midnight. {Maybe it’s just me, but this does not seem like the best time to visit a mysterious vampire castle.} There are spooky noises and voices, so the scared Ducks rush into the count’s crypt in order to “get it over with”, as the narrator says. They open the count’s tomb, but they find no body, and no gold. What they do find instead are lots of bottles. Suddenly, the voice of the count echoes through the crypt {I am not sure if we are to assume that he is no longer physically among us, but has moved on to a different sphere?}. He explains that, because humans had always avoided his castle and his company, he had to survive on bottled raspberry juice. And so he spent his entire fortune to build up a stockpile of the stuff.
Uncle Scrooge is furious, but Huey, Dewey and Louie are happy – they take all the raspberry juice with them {again, are we to assume that the count is no longer “in existence”, and does not need it any longer?}, and we are told that there are so many bottles that they will now be able to have raspberry juice every single day.

 

Now, ignoring the fact that nothing in that story makes much sense, I have to say that the musical score, the spooky sound effects, and the effective narration do the trick. I must have been 7 or 8 when I got my hand on this flexidisc and the sound effects and all scared me quite a bit. Possibly not as much as the bad writing, but still….

 

One thing I find interesting is that the vampire count in question is called “Dackula”. That is pretty close to Cosgrove Hall’s Count Duckula, who first appeared on Danger Mouse in 1982 and got his own show in 1988. In fact, as far as I can tell, Cosgrove Hall’s Count Duckula is spelled “Dackula” in Italy, for example. So if Disney had decided to keep on using this one-off character, the two intellectual properties would have clashed sooner or later.

 

So, there is my little curious item for April 1st – obviously I am not going to give this one a rating.

 

 

MM 02b

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2 Comments

    1. Basically, yeah, but it is made from a thin, cheap material. Not really suitable for music, more for “spoken word” stuff. Its main advantage (apart from the cost) was that it was so thin (and unbreakable) that you could insert it into magazines; or shrinkwrap it to the outside boxes of whatever you were selling (breakfast cereals, etc.). I don’t know much about this (or vinyl), so Wikipedia is probably better at explaining this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexi_disc

      Like many obscure items from the ’60s and ’70s, some flexi-discs have become collectibles.

      Like

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