Despite expanding into all-ages fare in the past decade with it's acquisition of the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, prior to this, the main focus of Walt Disney Studios was unquestionably kid's entertainment.
With decades worth of top of the line children's TV, it's understandable that a few shows would get lost in the shuffle, becoming mere footnotes in Disney history.
Here are some of the Disney cartoon series you've probably forgotten about.
1. Jungle Cubs
Set years before the events of Disney's The Jungle Book, Jungle Cubs depicts Baloo, Louie, Bagheera, Hathi, Kaa, and Shere Khan as children. In their youth, the animals were apparently all friends, gathering each day at their hide out, the Cub House, to play and have adventures together. Other shows that de-age characters in this manner often run on the rule of cute, ignoring any unpleasantness that may be destined to befall the characters in the future. This is true for season one of Jungle Cubs, but unfortunately, things change in the show's second season.
While the animals are still friends, many of them have visibly grown, and the group dynamics shift. Louie becomes more engrossed in his role as a future King, giving him less time to spend with former best friend Baloo, Hathi begins spending most of his time with future wife Winifred, and Bagheera, formerly the baby of the group, becomes more serious, growing into his adult personality. Shere Khan distances himself from the rest of the group, losing patience with them more often. In the first segment of the final episode, the other animals try to convince Shere Khan of all the reasons he is a nice tiger, leading the series to a bittersweet ending, as we know that Khan and the others are destined to become enemies.
While definitely one of the lesser known Disney animated series, Jungle Cubs has built up a cult following in the years since its original airing.
2. Quack Pack
Probably the least fondly remembered of the 'Duck Universe' shows, Quack Pack has Disney legend Donald Duck juggling his responsibilities as guardian of his now teenage nephews with his job as a cameraman on long-time Girlfriend Daisy's TV Show, 'What In The World'. The show is notable for being the first to give Huey, Dewey, and Louie truly individual designs, and different voice actors.
Although the show was marketed as a sequel to Ducktales, there are only slight connections between the two. Though Quack Pack is set in the same town, Duckburg, beloved Ducktales characters such as Scrooge McDuck and Launchpad McQuack never appear. The absence of these characters lead many fans to dub Quack Pack a disappointment upon its first airing.
Quack Pack ended after a single season, but the show's legacy carried into later Disney productions. While Huey, Dewey, and Louie reverted to their original designs, the instruments they played in Quack Pack were kept for their role as the House Band in House Of Mouse. The idea of individual designs and voice actors for the boys was later revisited, more successfully, in the 2017 Ducktales reboot, and one third-season episode was titled 'Quack Pack' as a nod to the show.
In recent years, Quack Pack is looked back on more fondly, by fans who choose to view it as a continuation of the classic Donald Duck shorts rather than Ducktales.
At one point in the 90s, Disney hoped to launch a series based on the hit film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? When these plans fell through, elements of it were reworked to become Bonkers, a show with a similar premise.
Years before the series begins, Bonkers D. Bobcat was one of Toontown's most popular stars. After fading from the limelight, Bonkers forges a new career as a police officer, working alongside no-nonsenxe detective Lucky Piquel.
The series ran for sixty five episodes, and though it has since fallen into relative obscurity, it has earned it's place in Disney history as one of the shows to have aired in the beloved 'Disney Afternoon' programming block.
4. Raw Toonage
Airing between 1992-1993, Raw Toonage was Disney's attempt at a cartoon sketch comedy show. Each episode could feature anywhere from two to four animated shorts, linked together with bridging segments from a famous cartoon host. The host was usually a character from one of the 'Disney Afternoon' shows, all though in one episode, Sebastian from The Little Mermaid steps in.
Lasting only 12 episodes, Raw Toonage had an extremely short run by Disney standards, although it managed to, technically, produce two spin-offs: Bonkers, and Marsupilami, both based on shorts played in the series. Originally, Raw Toonage was intended as a spin-off of Bonkers, but thanks to production delays, Toonage aired first.
Many die-hard animation fans are hoping to see the show find a home on Disney +, but this has not happened yet.
5. Hercules: The Animated Series
From the late 80s to early 2000s, it was common for Disney to produce animated series based on it's most popular films. Hercules: The Animated Series served as a midquel to the 1997 film, taking place during Herc's hero training. Between classes at Prometheus Academy, Hercules must foil the constant plots of his evil Uncle Hades.
There were a few plot inconsistencies with the film, such as Hades already being aware that Hercules is alive (in the film, Hades doesn't learn that his attempt on baby Herc's life failed until he is an adult), and Hercules regularly interacting with Gods. For the most part, fans forgave the plot holes, enjoying the show's fun take on Greek Mythology.
Now, the show seems to be finding new fans on Disney +.
6. The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa
Running from 1995 to 1999, The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa followed the lives of the lovable Meerkat and Warthog duo following the events of The Lion King. The pair get into various misadventures, mostly in the jungle, but sometimes around the world.
While Timon and Pumbaa are the show's main focus, other characters from The Lion King appear occasionally, usually to help the pair out of trouble. The show gave Timon and Pumbaa a rivalry with the hyenas, as well as their own human arch-nemesis, Quint.
Some elements of the show, such as the duo's rivalry with the hyenas, were later expanded upon in the direct-to-video film The Lion King 1 1/2.
7. The Little Mermaid: The Series
Following it's success on the big screen in 1989, The Little Mermaid became the first Disney film to receive a spin-off TV series. Set prior to the events of the film, the series gave fans an insight into Ariel's life under the sea.
Most of the film's voice cast, including Jodi Benson as Ariel, and Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian, reprised their roles. The show also featured brand new original songs written specially for the series, and re-arrangements of the music from the film. The overture later used for The Little Mermaid stage musical bears striking similarities to the theme music of The Little Mermaid: The Series.
While she show appears to have been taken out of continuity following the release of the prequel film The Little Mermaid 3: Ariel's Beginning, some die-hard fans choose to believe the series takes place after that film.
8. Pepper Ann
After making her first appearance in a comic strip, the character of seventh-grader Pepper Ann Pearson was picked up by Disney for her own animated series. With Pepper Ann, creator Sue Rose wanted to create a different kind of cartoon for girls, challenging the usual stereotype of female protagonists in kids TV.
Pepper Ann is the eldest child of feminist divorcee Lydia Pearson, who encourages individuality in both her daughters. Pepper Ann's emotions often take the form of fantasies, and she has regular discussions with her conscience, usually appearing in the form of her reflection.
Pepper Ann and Lydia make a brief cameo appearance in the pilot episode of House Of Mouse, and are the only characters from the Walt Disney Television Animation studio to appear in the series.
Based on a character created by French cartoonist Andre Franquin, Marsupilami first appeared in Raw Toonage before being spun off into his own series.
Marsupilami is a one of a kind creature living an idyllic life in the jungle with his best friend, George the Gorilla. Unfortunately, his peaceful life is often interrupted by Norm, a poacher hell-bent on catching him.
Marsupilami ran for just one 13 episode season, beating it's parent show, Raw Toonage, by a single episode. Norm the poacher was later used as inspiration for the character of Quint in The Lion King's Timon And Pumbaa.
10. Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command
Following the success of the first two Toy Story films, Disney looked into expanding the franchise with a spin-off series. So, Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command was born.
The series, inspired by classic 80s sci-fi, has Buzz training up a team of rookie Space Rangers (Princess Mira Nova, former janitor Booster, and the robot X-R) after he was unable to choose just one as his new partner in the series pilot movie. The team must regularly foil the plots of the evil Emperor Zurg.
The series is notable for featuring many big names amongst its voice cast. Patrick Warburton voiced Buzz in the series, while Emperor Zurg was voiced by former Seinfeld star Wayne Knight. Diedrich Bader appeared in a recurring role as Buzz's villainous former partner, Warp Darkmatter.
Though these shows may be minor footnotes of Disney TV history, they deserve to be remembered. One person's forgotten gem could be another's beloved childhood favourite.