It's rare to see a TV show that successfully apes the action-adventure serials of the 1930s and 40s, so it was even more of a shock that an animated cartoon show featuring most of the cast of "The Jungle Book" could pull it off, and pull it off well. "TaleSpin," part of the famed "Disney Afternoon" lineup that dominated after-school TV for a decade, draws its inspiration from stuff like "The Mysterious Pilot" and "S.O.S. Coast Guard." This is high adventure, sometimes-deranged villains, and McGuffins, all softened with the fact that all the characters are talking animals.
Baloo, the goof-off ace pilot of the series, his sidekick Kit, and his boss/almost-girlfriend Rebecca have a wonderful chemistry that you seldom see in today's slapdash cartoons. Real attention is paid to motivations and emotions, which is a far sight better than a lot of live-action TV shows. Not suprisingly, TaleSpin won an Emmy and was nominated for another. Ironically, this makes TaleSpin one of the most honored shows Sally Struthers has ever worked on.
In addition to the screwball storylines, you also got some neat flight antics:
Here's a clip from a classic episode. The subtle use of the TaleSpin theme after Baloo breaks the record is the kind of emotional heartstring-tugging the series is great at:
Finally, the episode of TaleSpin that sticks out most in my mind is "Last Horizons," where Baloo's home of Cape Suzette is attacked by Asians (thinly-veiled as pandas) from Pandala. The episode was temporarily banned as offensive, but I thought it had the greatest gag of the series - Baloo uses huge amounts of ice cream and ice to thwart the Pandala heat-seeking rockets.