Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a television cartoon series that was produced by Walt Disney Television Animation from 1988 to 1990 for the Disney Afternoon. The show follows the adventures of the Rescue Rangers, a team of four rodents and a fly that take it upon themselves to fight crime.
The show has had a small but intensely dedicated fandom which has persisted for decades, well after the show's short, original TV run ended. Started at a time when the canon was near-inaccessible, the CDRR community has created not only fanworks but also its own idiosyncratic norms and vocabulary, resisting trends common in larger fandom (slash, explicit works, AUs) through the influence of a small number of core long-time fans, to become a quasi self-sustaining, definitely self-aware community. Fans of Rescue Rangers are called Rangerphiles.
After the success of the first two Disney Afternoon shows, Disney's Gummi Bears and DuckTales, it was time to produce a third series. Work began in 1988, and the first idea presented by Tad Stones and his team was to base it on the 1977 animated feature The Rescuers. However, this idea was discarded on request by Jeffrey Katzenberg who had just begun to work on the sequel The Rescuers Down Under which was to hit the theaters in 1990.
The main idea of using small animals as heroes in the world of the humans remained. Tad Stones' next concept was called Metro Mice and involved these main characters:
- Kit Colby, an adventure-loving mouse and probably the head of the team
- Colt Chedderson, a burly Australian kangaroo rat and "explosives expert" who would later on be developed into who is known today as Monterey Jack
- Gadget, a blond-haired inventor mousette wearing purple coveralls and red sandals
- Chirp Sing, a baseball-loving cricket of Asian origin with martial arts skills whose name was used for a one-shot character of an entirely different species later
- Camilla, a chameleon and the team's secretary
- Eagle Eye, a far-sighted eagle who was supposed to be the team's outlook
Some concept art was created, digital copies of a few pieces of which with Kit, Colt, and Gadget on them ended up in the hands of Rangerphiles later. Only one drawing is known with the whole team of six on it, it can be seen in the making-of documentary Chip 'n Dale's Excellent Adventure.
Again, the concept did not get Jeffrey Katzenberg's and Michael Eisner's approval. An all-new cast worked for the Gummi Bears, but it wouldn't necessarily work again. Known characters (except Bernard and Miss Bianca, that is) would be better. For obvious reasons, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, and the like didn't work at all, though. But finally, Eisner himself suggested Chip 'n Dale, and Katzenberg gave his trademark comment, "Home Run!" The name Metro Mice was abandoned, chipmunks replaced Kit Colby, the Australian bush rat Colt Chedderson became the not much smaller and still Australian mouse Monterey Jack, and the non-rodent characters were discarded in favor of the housefly Zipper. Still, all five characters had to be worked on before the first episodes could be produced, Gadget's appearance in particular; this can be seen in the differences between the characters' appearances in the show and in the concept art.
The concept of Chip 'n Dale wearing clothes and living in a small animal world hidden from presumably the human world has been used before, namely in the classic Chip 'n' Dale cartoon Two Chips and a Miss. This is also the only Chip 'n' Dale cartoon featuring another rodent, another chipmunk even, as a character, namely the nightclub singer Clarice. Therefore, Two Chips and a Miss is quite popular amongst Rangerphiles and sometimes called "Episode Zero". There are even CDRR fanfics featuring Clarice along with the Rangers (even though this should be impossible due to the huge time gap). In 2008, Disney released a limited-edition, Thanksgiving-themed pin with Chip, Dale, Gadget and Clarice on it—not only the only official Gadget or Clarice merch after a long while but also the only time that Gadget and Clarice have ever officially met.
The Show's Run on TV
On August 27th, a movie version of "To the Rescue" was aired on Disney Channel to test the show's public acceptance. Some scenes which can be seen in the five episodes are missing in this version, and other scenes including the one in which Chip obtains his trademark fedora were cut out when the five episodes were produced. It saw several re-runs, but it was never aired again after the show itself had started, and the whereabouts of the film version seem unknown.
On March 4th, 1989, season 1 premiered on Disney Channel with "Piratsy Under the Seas" as the first episode. Later the same year, the entire show was added to the Disney Afternoon line-up. On November 19th, 1990, "They Shoot Dogs, Don't They?" was the last episode to have its premiere, and the other episodes were re-aired.
The show entered syndication on September 18th, 1989. In 1993, it was taken off syndication and replaced by Bonkers, never to be shown again on American free TV. Some Rangerphiles hold a grudge against Bonkers for this reason. The last episode was aired on September 3rd, 1993.
Reruns aired on Disney Channel soon after that before moving to the spin-off channel Toon Disney where it aired from 1998 until 2008, when the channel was rebranded as Disney XD.
While the show still ran, Disney Comics launched an accompanying series of comic books. The first issue was published in June 1990, the 19th and last one came out in December 1991. Some more comic stories appeared in other publications such as the monthly Disney Adventures magazine which featured the Rangers every now and then from 1990 to 1995.
Apart from occasional and increasingly rare merch and the DVD releases, there was no new CDRR material until the Rangers returned in another comic, this time published by BOOM! Comics. Unlike the 1990s' comics, however, the BOOM! comics were made for older fans and geared directly towards the fandom. Ian Brill wrote them close to the show, but always with an eye on what the fandom likes, sometimes even borrowing ideas that are popular in CDRR fanfic. For example, Gadget's father Geegaw Hackwrench is mentioned and shown, but unlike the Disney comics, his appearance is true to the show. Also, the fan-favorite one-shot character Foxglove, the bat from "Good Times, Bat Times" with a crush on Dale, not only is Dale's girlfriend now but also a permanent sixth member of the team.
None of these stories count as part of the official CDRR canon which thus has been undisturbed since 1990. Sometimes, however, elements from either comic series are used in fanfic or fan art.
A feature-length theatrical film went into production, too, shortly after the initial run of the show itself. It is said that the storyboard and therefore the story itself was completed. The project was nixed when DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp became a box office bomb, and Disney lost all faith in movie adaptations of Disney Afternoon shows for a while.
Another attempt was started in the 2010s: On January 31st, 2014, a live-action/CGI adaptation was announced. Production stalled several times, but picked up again in 2019, now to be directed by Akiva Schaffer and written by Dan Gregor and Doug Mand of How I Met Your Mother fame. On October 19, 2020, The DisInsider announced the movie to premiere on Disney+ and to be "meta", "self-referential" and "cool". In December, spring 2022 was envisioned for the premiere. On December 11, The DisInsider revealed plot details and thereby shone a light on the film that wasn't too well-received by the Rangerphiles. The Rangers would be portrayed as actual cartoon characters, and only Chip and Dale would be main characters. There would also be a young female cop as the live-action human lead who, like many other live-action characters in the film, has watched and loved CDRR when she was a kid. But the summary gives the impression that neither is an existing fandom being hinted at (in reality, hardly anyone knows there is a fandom to begin with; see further below), nor will the movie even try to appeal to the real-life Rangerdom.
In 2020, the Rescue Rangers had a cameo appearance in the new DuckTales show. It was rather controversial amongst long-time fans: On the one hand, this was the first official CDRR material since the BOOM! comics, so it was better than nothing, and Disney finally acknowledged CDRR again. On the other hand, this appearance contradicted CDRR's show canon in way too many ways. It'd be hard for Rangerphiles to accept these snippets as canon if that meant throwing away 65 episodes worth of canon that hey had based their fandom and their many fanworks on for three decades and thereby also declaring about a quarter-century worth of fanworks obsolete.
Several CDRR video games were released in the first half of the 1990s. The first one was made for the Nintendo Entertainment System and released in June 1990. It was remade for smartphones in 2010. A sequel followed in December 1993; while the first game is fairly easy to obtain, the second one is a sought-after and pricey rarity.
March 1st, 1990 also saw the release of two rather obscure CDRR games, one for PCs running DOS subtitled The Adventures in Nimnul's Castle and one Tiger Electronics handheld game.
Watching the show after the end of the syndication run became difficult for Americans unless you had cable or recorded the whole show on VHS. (the show kept re-airing on free TV elsewhere in the world, though).
Eleven official VHS tapes were released in three waves from September 1992 to September 1993, but they only included 23 episodes. A 24th episode—which happened to be "Good Times, Bat Times"—became available in October 1993 on a Halloween special tape named Witcheroo together with the Darkwing Duck episode "Ghoul of my Dreams".
Thes 24 episodes, however, were not nearly the whole show, and by the time the fandom had really kicked off, the tapes had become difficult to obtain. This even led to the start of a campaign called Rescue Our Animated Rangers (R.O.A.R.) in 1998 with the goal of getting the show released to the public on home video as a whole. As long as this goal wasn't reached, the only Rescue Rangers stories available were fan fiction.
On November 8th, 2005, a DVD box with 27 episodes was released in Region 1. Another one with 24 more episodes followed on November 14th, 2006. The remaining 14 episodes—starting with "Good Times, Bat Times" out of all episodes—have never been released on DVD to the general public.
In the meantime, the European Rangerphiles felt left out. They had had way more recent free TV re-runs than the Americans, but they still wished for official DVDs. It may have been due to the constant "nagging" and campaigning by one Belgian fan (who also hosted EuroRangerCon the same year) that a first set of three DVDs with 20 episodes came out in Europe in 2007, starting in the UK on February 12th. A second set with 24 episodes, reduced from six to only two available languages, took until December 5, 2012 to be released. And again, the series remained incomplete on DVD.
Online video streaming brought new possibilities for distribution of commercial with itself, the inevitable YouTube uploads notwithstanding.
It wasn't until 2013 that the show became available commercially and therefore also legally: Amazon Video added all 65 episodes to its line-up, but not for long. CDRR has only been permanently legally available since 2016 when it was added to Amazon Instant Video (USA only), iTunes and Google Play.
When Disney+ was launched on November 12th, 2019, along came a whole lot of Disney's own content including a restorated Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers. Also, as mentioned above, the live-action/CGI movie will be Disney+ exclusive.
The Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fandom is unusual in that it began to flourish when the show itself was not only over, but completely impossible to watch on free TV in North America where the fandom originated. At first, it was largely built upon memories of the show. Later on, however, its own fanworks became its base. It was as though fan fiction writers had taken over where the show makers had left, writing new adventures for the Rangers free from any limitations by Disney's rules while hardly ever veering into AU territory. In fact, several Rangerphiles have stated that they have meanwhile become fans of CDRR fan fiction much more than of the show itself.
The fandom has never been particularly large in comparison to more mainstream fandoms, so many people aren't even aware that there is or has ever been a Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fandom in the first place, simply because they've never heard of one. However, it has been around for decades, and while larger and more popular cartoon fandoms have long since faded into obscurity, the CDRR fandom has managed to carry on until today.
One of the reasons for this may be because many of the still active fans have been around for a long time, so the fandom doesn't suffer from too much fan fluctuation. The Acorn Cafe, the main Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fan forum, was founded by Natasha Kashefipour in 1998 and has been led by the same admin, Dr. Indy, since 2000 through several incarnations. Combined with the small size of this fandom, one could say that at least at the Acorn Cafe everyone knows everyone, so there is no risk of the Rangerphile community turning into a bunch of no-names.
Another reason is that the fandom has been self-sustained for decades already. This was caused by increasingly poorer availability of the show—many Rangerphiles had to resort to memories because they couldn't watch any episodes anymore—in combination with more and more high-quality fan fiction being published from the late 1990s on. Even less creative phases can't threaten the fandom because there are still so many fanfic classics to read. A few Rangerphiles have openly admitted that they've become fans of the fandom and its creative output rather than of the show; it isn't necessarily like they don't like the show anymore, but that they like fanworks better.
This ties in with the third reason: Few other fandoms, much less fandoms of this size, are so aware of their own history and legacy. Several Rangerphiles, Dr. Indy included but also fans joining much later, have taken it up to themselves to collect and preserve as much of the CDRR fandom's history as they can. The Acorn Cafe has had an archive of posts that date back to as early as 2000 ever since its last relaunch in 2005.
First Impressions and Criticism
As previously mentioned, the existence of a Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fandom is almost unknown. It's nowhere nearly as huge as the Star Trek or Harry Potter fandoms, and even fandoms of other late 1980s/early 1990s Disney cartoons, such as DuckTales or Darkwing Duck, often don't know that there is a Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fandom.
Thus, first impressions of the CDRR fandom (or whatever people take for it, see below) can be seen as misleading by Rangerphiles, or even seen as prejudicial. The stereotypical Rangerphiles are usually one or several of these three:
- Gadget porn fetishists. This sterotype can be defined by the assumption that the fan(s) are only in the fandom for Gadget porn.
- In reality, many Rangerphiles are opposed to pornographic or even questionable depictions of Gadget or other characters from the show. They see them as characters rather than sex objects. Decades of fan creativity have proven that CDRR fanworks that stay within a PG rating are neither impossible nor necessarily boring. Family friendliness is amongst the least controversial principles of the Acorn Cafe. Many of its patrons actually prefer the boundaries of G and PG ratings at the Cafe to stronger material outside, and so have Rangerphiles for years before the Cafe was founded. The zine W.T.F.B., launched from within the CDRR fandom as early as December 1992, but targeted at fans of all Disney Afternoon shows, didn't accept any fanfics above PG either. There is even a campaign named Rangerphiles Against Gadget Erotica, in short R.A.G.E.
- Gadget cultists. The Russian cult of Gaykoslavie worships Gadget as a deity, and it's easily what's mistaken for the CDRR fandom—or at least representative—the most frequently. Unfortunately, Gaykoslavie is the only CDRR fan community most people will ever see and therefore the only CDRR fan community in existence for the public perception.
- In reality, Gaykoslavie is seen as weird even by other Rangerphiles including other Russian-speaking Rangerphiles. And they are far from being the only—or even just the largest and/or most important—CDRR fan community.
- Ultra-conservative, deeply homophobic and transphobic, religious zealots. This stereotype likely originates from people who have actually found their way to the Acorn Cafe (which hides from Google and other search engines and can only be found via the occasional Web link), including both lurkers and forum members. This assumption may come from one of many reasons, listed below.
- Cafe patrons may appear to be overly religious because the Cafe's Off-Topic subforum have many prayer request threads—which may not be as common on other forums—and these threads can receive quite a number of positive replies. Their number has decreased dramatically over the last ten years, though. This can be disturbing to staunch atheists and agnostics. By far most Cafe patrons being US citizens adds to this part of the accusation, as conservativism and religious zealotism is also a stereotype of the USA, particularly southern USA. That said, the forum member (The J.A.M., known as The J.A.M. a.k.a. Numbuh i on FFN) who is known for posting Jesus' Final Passover Week every year out of tradition is a Mexican Catholic who also wrote CDRR fanfics such as the highly-acclaimed Death Of A Comedian.
- The rest of the accusations comes from the rules at the Acorn Cafe, which are quite controversial and have been criticized as early as 2005 when they were installed during the phpBB migration (see also The Acorn Cafe, Criticism). Not only are these rules very strict and considered as very conservative, especially for a fan forum, but nobody has ever publicly gone against them, so it's easy to assume that every last Cafe patron thinks like this.
- The truth, however, is: Not everyone at the Cafe is extremely religious just because the forum seems to be. Many are just simply Rangerphiles who want to hang out with other Rangerphiles in a quiet forum with a rich history—and if certain topics are not allowed to be talked about at the Cafe, they simply don't.
- Plus, the Acorn Cafe is a small forum with not much activity but quite a number of admins and moderators, so nobody will "slip through the cracks" when it comes to rule enforcement, and severe enough cases will result in a quick perma-ban.
Further criticism is usually about things from the CDRR fandom that generally can't be found in other fandoms or in fanworks from other fandoms. These are cases of people from much bigger, much more mainstream fandoms who discover the CDRR fandom or a CDRR fan work and dislike whatever they don't know from those bigger and much more mainstream fandoms, including but not limited to:
- the interest in (read, alleged "obsession" with) the fandom's history while most other fandoms don't care about their own history at all
- the interest in (read, alleged "obsession" with) one-shot characters instead of sticking with the main characters (the show has only got seven main characters, the Rangers and two villains, but very appealing one-shots)
- the almost total lack of slashfic (the Acorn Cafe doesn't even allow slash, and none of the popular classic CDRR fanfics are slash) whereas some other more mainstream fandoms are mostly or nearly entirely about slash
- the almost complete absence of R- or X-rated fan fiction in stark contrast to its sheer abundance in most other fandoms
- actually comparably much SFW fan art (again, the Acorn Cafe has never allowed NSFW fan art, and some artists have even ridiculed "swimsuit art") whereas some other more mainstream fandoms seem to have more NSFW than SFW fan art
- a strong opposition against erotic and especially downright pornographic fanworks (the Rangerphiles strongly prefer to see the Rangers as multi-faceted characters with individual strengths and weaknesses rather than as pieces of flesh); see also Rangerphiles Against Gadget Erotica
- or even simply how things are done in one particular CDRR fanfic from which the alleged weirdness of the entire fandom in comparison with more mainstream fandoms is extrapolated
As mentioned above, the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fandom is quite aware of its own history and legacy. Where it came from and how it developed has been researched, preserved and documented, and yet, this endeavor is still on-going. The interest in the show's and the fandom's past led fandom historian Sir Salazar Ovid Spumoni to secretly write his magnum opus, the three-part Metafic The Rangerillion, which was published in 2007. Many names and terms from The Rangerillion were taken over into the fandom's jargon and are used in this timeline as well; see also Fandom Terminology.
March 1989: The Age of Magic and the First Age of the Rangerdom
The Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fandom is almost as old as the show itself. It is hard to trace all fan activity from pre-World Wide Web days, though.
Back in the early days, there was no way for the CDRR fandom to stand on its own feet. Many fans had to keep their passion for the Rangers for themselves, or they could only share it with real-life friends. There were two ways to get into contact with fans living farther away. One was by "snail mail"; the letter page in the official comics provided a possibility for Rangerphiles to get into contact with each other.
Besides, there was the newsgroup alt.fan.disney.afternoon. But the Usenet in general was only available to university and college students until September 1993, not to mention that it required a PC. As the name indicates, the newsgroup was for all of the Disney Afternoon shows, so the CDRR fans had to share them with the fans of DuckTales, the Gummi Bears and shows that came after CDRR.
Shipping was around in the fandom from very early on. It mostly involved Gadget as she is the only female main character in the show, and while Tammy, the one-shot teen-age squirrel maiden from the early episode "Adventures in Squirrelsitting", got her own popularity, she was deemed too young. Gadget herself was almost exclusively shipped with either Chip or Dale, launching a debate about which of the two chipmunks she should be shipped with. The Rangerillion refers to it as the "Great Debate" which would eventually evolve into a new debate about whether or not Gadget should be shipped with Chip.
In these early times, though, the most popular shipping used to be Dale/Gadget. This changed with the premiere of "Good Times, Bat Times" on February 21st, 1990 which brought along a new one-shot character, a bat named Foxglove who not only was in love with Dale, but unlike Chip towards Tammy, Dale became increasingly interested in her, too (he was the first to call her Foxy, after all), and the fans found the two just looked cute together. Not only did Foxglove immediately become the most popular one-shot character and Dale/Foxglove come to stay, but the preferred Gadget shipping shifted to Chip/Gadget to such a degree that it later became the only disputed shipping in the fandom, leaving Dale/Gadget as just one variant of "not Chip/Gadget".
November 1990: The Second Age of the Rangerdom
The earliest known instance of CDRR fan creativity was a story by David Walker named Miami Munks. It was written in autumn 1990, shortly after the show ended. It was written in script form and submitted to Disney as a proposal for a Season 4 episode, so technically speaking, Miami Munks did not count as fan fiction because it wasn't intended as such. However, Disney turned it down. Not only did they not accept fanworks, but there would never be a CDRR Season 4. Like so many other shows, CDRR ended after 65 episodes, just enough for syndication. Since David Walker didn't want his story to go to waste, he took it to the fandom and published it there. One could say that Miami Munks became the first CDRR fanfic although it wasn't meant to be one originally.
Shortly afterwards, Rangerphiles took it upon themselves to improve the situation for all Disney Afternoon fans, themselves of course included. In August 1991, Kim McFarland launched the DAFT mailing list. It still required a PC and an Internet connection, but if these were at hand, everybody could use it, even outside of colleges and universities.
When the comic magazine was discontinued in December of the same year, the Rangerphiles lost both the influx of new Ranger stories (even though the comics weren't considered canon; this also led to a "Save the Rescue Rangers" campaign and the letter page via which even people without computers could get into contact. As a replacement, Jeff Pierce started the APA zine W.T.F.B. one year later: The first issue came out in December 1992. New issues were planned to follow "every 8 to 10 weeks", and in practice, there were usually five issues per year, sometimes only four.
Both were for all Disney Afternoon fans, but powered by the Rangerdom, and both featured increasing amounts of fan works.
1993: The Dark Age
The Early Online Fandom on the Usenet
Until 1993, the early fans at least had the show to watch in syndication re-runs. But September 3rd was the last day American Rangerphiles could watch the show on free TV, which meant that many couldn't watch it at all anymore. It was released on DVD many years later. Few were lucky enough to have recorded the whole show on video cassettes, and even fewer had kept them.
The show was gone; most Rangerphiles had no access to it anymore, so it became increasingly difficult to talk about it. And, it was still difficult to share one's passion about CDRR with others, due to the difficulty in finding places to communicate with other such fans. With the comics gone, the only offline medium that dealt with the Rangers was W.T.F.B. which was hard to come by for non-insiders without an Internet connection, also because its subscription was capped at 30 subscribers which could come from all Disney Afternoon fandoms.
PCs soon began spreading further and further in private households, a newsgroup named alt.fan.disney.afternoon had meanwhile been launched, and AOL's opening of the Usenet itself to the general public (it had been limited to colleges, universities and the like until then) pretty much coincided with the end of CDRR's syndication run. But even if alt.fan.disney.afternoon made things a lot easier in comparison to the DAFT mailing list, it was still somewhat tedious to use, and many fans still had no Internet access at all.
In the meantime, more and more shows were added to the Disney Afternoon line-up and had to compete with CDRR for screen space and the readers' attention, not to mention TV time. In order to be independent from the DAFT mailing list, a dedicated CDRR mailing list named ranger-list was launched.
The First CDRR Fanfic
Nonetheless, it may have already been during the last months of the syndication run that Michael Demcio started writing the very first intentional CDRR fanfic Rhyme & Reason. This fanfic, unlike David Walker's Miami Munks, had been intended as fanfiction from first conception. No exact records exist about when exactly he started writing. All that is known is that he was technically finished on December 6th, 1995 after "over two years" of writing. It was intended from the very beginning to be published in W.T.F.B., so writing started most certainly as early as 1993.
Since writing the almost-160,000-word epic that became Rhyme & Reason took so long, it was beaten as the first completed real CDRR fanfic by 9½ Chipmunks, one of the very few CDRR slash fics and an infamous one. However, while no records exist either on how long exactly it took to write 9½ Chipmunks, it is safe to assume that work on Rhyme & Reason started first, and at least one of its nine parts was published before 9½ Chipmunks.
Rhyme & Reason first became available through W.T.F.B. and on the DAFT mailing list, and on April 17th, 1996, Michael A. Crawley started posting it on Michael Demcio's behalf on alt.fan.disney.afternoon. While 9½ Chipmunks faded into obscurity, Rhyme & Reason had a huge impact, and it still counts as one of the very best CDRR fanfics ever, regardless of the amount of competition it got later on.
However, the competition didn't start right away. One may believe that Rhyme & Reason really kicked off CDRR fanfic writing. It is not uncommon for a first fanfic based on a work to immediately inspire the creation of more fanfic. In the CDRR fandom, this didn't happen; instead, Rhyme & Reason intimidated Rangerphiles away from writing fanfic. That wasn't because publishing fanfic was still much more difficult than it is today or even than it was a couple years later, but because they believed that this was the size and quality to be expected from CDRR fanfic, and they could never achieve that.
Only The Robo|\|erd published another fanfic, Sizable Chances, the two-parter first installment of his series The Adventures of Gadget Hackwrench, on his own website in spring 1996. It didn't follow Rhyme & Reason's formula, it was rather short and written in script instead of prose, and The Robo|\|erd invited other Rangerphiles to add to the series. This did not happen (although Sizable Chances got a semi-sequel in The Enduring Man-Child's Home Is Where You Hang Upside-Down which references it indirectly), but The Adventures of Gadget Hackwrench showed the Rangerphiles that there are other ways to write CDRR fanfic. It wasn't until 1997 that more CDRR fanfic came out.
Specialized CDRR Fansites
Meanwhile, the World Wide Web had begun to reach the CDRR fandom. A number of free Web hosters became home to lots and lots of early fansites run by single fans who sometimes used them to just publish their fannish creations or collect other fans' creations in one place. These were mostly fanfic in the days when few people had scanners for fan art, and Web users were grateful for every bit less that they had to download via their dial-up landlines. Some other fansites served as informational sites, especially when there were no official websites for certain productions yet or none ever came. CDRR had its share of such fansites.
The first ever CDRR fansite was the Internet Gadget Archive launched by Paltiel Goldstein on Monday, June 12th, 1995. Its purpose was to collect fan fiction and also early pieces of fan art featuring Gadget. The site is still running after 25 years and the occasional upgrade. The next year, Candy Courtnier put her site Everything Rescue Ranger online which is mostly about official materials of all kinds but also includes fanworks. This site is still operational, too. On a sidenote: The two webmasters married in 2001 and joined their websites to something even bigger which was unfortunately left working but unfinished.
Early 1997 saw the arrival of what would become one of the most important CDRR websites, the RRDatabase. It was created by Matt Plotecher who would soon become a very prolific fan artist and fanfic writer amongst other things, and it was conceived to be another collection of fanworks of all kinds and eventually became the biggest of its kind by far. Its main downside was always that only the webmaster could add new content. The "official" RRDatabase is currently down, but there is an up-to-date static mirror with all contents.
On November 20th, 1997, Kat's Gadget Hackwrench and the Rescue Rangers came online. It started out as a personal fansite but quickly evolved into one of the fandom's greatest treasures when it comes to archived things such as early forum threads. The site went down with GeoCities, but it was fully archived by the Wayback Machine.
With an increasing number of fanworks and fansites, the Dark Age and with it the Second Age of the Rangerdom was about to come to an end.
1998: The Third Age of the Rangerdom
The Acorn Cafe
The transition into a new era came to pass on February 8th, 1998 when Natasha Kashefipour launched the first dedicated CDRR fan forum on InsideTheWeb. It was originally only named Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers but soon renamed into what it is still known as, The Acorn Cafe. The Rangerphiles finally had a place of their own they could call home, and it was much more convenient than alt.fan.disney.afternoon or the various mailing lists.
The Acorn Cafe was only six days old when another, even nastier shipping war broke out over the same shipping again, Ranger War II, also known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. When this war was about to go out of hand (several friendships had already fallen victim to it), it was agreed to never talk about this again and to simply disagree. With the experience of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the Rangerphiles have never again started a shipping war.
Over the first three years, the Cafe was even visited by people who worked on the show, namely the show's creator Tad Stones himself, the voice actress (and actual actress) Deborah Walley and the writer, voice director and voice actress Dev Ross.
Soon afterwards, the Cafe was accompanied by two more forums, an off-topic forum and the Story Board, a forum where CDRR fanfic writers could post their own fics. It was the first time that there was one central place on the Web where Rangerphiles could publish their fanfic and get comments on them. Personal fanfic sites would have led to a scattering of fanfic and left out those who didn't have one, and while the RRDatabase collected fanfic, only the admin could upload it, and there were no comments. And in comparison to the Usenet, the Story Board was free from 70-characters-per-line constraints, and it could be used in a Web browser. Story Board and Off-Topic Board have since been incorporated into the latest incarnation of the Cafe as subforums.
R.O.A.R. and R.A.G.E.
Not much later the same year, Julie Bihn started two initiatives with accompanying websites. One was Rescue Our Animated Rangers (R.O.A.R.) whose goal was to bring CDRR back to home video. Although it wasn't R.O.A.R.'s success, the show was eventually mostly released on DVD from 2005 on. R.O.A.R. had its own forum on InsideTheWeb until Christmas Eve 2000 when it was re-branded the new Acorn Cafe after the old one had irreversibly fallen victim to InsideTheWeb's increasing instability.
The other one was Rangerphiles Against Gadget Erotica (R.A.G.E.) which protested against the increasing number of questionable or downright pornographic depictions of Gadget, the kind of which was already banned at the Cafe and its accompanying forums from the very beginning. While such an endeavor may sound strange to members of fandoms which indulge in pornography, the reasoning behind R.A.G.E. was that the Rangerphiles saw Gadget as a character and not as an object of lust.
In 1999, CDRR as a TV series celebrated its 10th anniversary. To commemorate it, and also due to the sheer amount of fanworks that had meanwhile been created, fandom awards were given away for the first time, the Plato Awards. They included a fanfic-like ceremony reminiscent of the Academy Awards.
An increasing amount of fanworks leads to the creation of new fandom awards at the Acorn Cafe in 2001, the Golden Acorn Awards which come in basically the same way as the Plato Awards previously, complete with ceremonies. These ceremonies are held annually until 2018 and cover about one year of fanworks except for the 2002 Golden Acorn Awards which cover the time since the Plato Awards.
In 2008, the Russian CDRR Headquarters held their first Golden Screw-nut Awards ceremony. The Golden Screw-nut Awards put a special focus on the Russian-speaking part of the fandom which isn't easily accessible for the Acorn Cafe due to the language barrier (although quite a number of Golden Acorn Awards has gone to members of the Russian-speaking community). Golden Screw-nut Awards were also given to foreigners, partly in separate categories, thus strengthening the bonds between the communities. Like the Plato Awards, the 2007 Golden Screw-nut Awards covered all creations and achievements of the fandom so far.
Of Mice and Mayhem
Rarely has a fan work had a bigger impact on the fandom than Of Mice and Mayhem. This Graphic Novel was released in December 2002 and posted at the Acorn Cafe by its creator, a New York City-based professional illustrator and musician originally going by the name of mayhem, but soon changing it to fish, on January 3, 2003. Whereas fan comics are usually released page by page nowadays, each page being published as soon as it's done, Of Mice and Mayhem was released in its entirety all at once, all 232 pages.
The Rangerphiles were left in awe. There were even demands for the 2003 Golden Acorn Awards which had just been given away to be redacted and a great deal of them awarded to Of Mice and Mayhem. At the 2004 Golden Acorn Awards, it ended up winning more than a dozen awards and kept winning Best All-Time Fanfic from the same year on, tying with Rhyme & Reason for years to come until both were declared uneligible to give other works a chance.
Of Mice and Mayhem is one of the very few Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fanworks that became highly acclaimed outside the fandom.
2006: The Fourth Age of the Rangerdom
The main difference between the Third and the Fourth Age of the Rangerdom is that the fandom begins to connect with its own history more and more in the latter. Before mid-2006, it is basically only Dr. Indy who acted as a chronist and carried bits and pieces of fandom history together, mostly from his own memory.
From then on, the fandom's interest in its history begins to increase, particularly driven by the curiosity of two fans who have joined the Acorn Cafe in late winter within two weeks of one another, Sir Salazar Ovid Spumoni and Midnight Man. They influence each other by unearthing old websites and Cafe posts. Soon, Mr. Spumoni starts working on his masterpiece, The Rangerillion which remains a total secret until its release in 2007. In the wake of their efforts, Dr. Indy himself starts to increase his own conservation of fandom history and its presentation to the fandom. His Rescue Rangers History Page, part of Indy's Ranger Museum, is one of the most informative sites on the Web when it comes to the history of CDRR and its fandom.
What certainly helps is that it's also around this time that Elders who have been absent for years begin to return to the fandom and the Cafe. They are asked for their memories of earlier fandom days, and they usually gladly share them. In fact, the Cafe starts a thread for this very purpose, the HIST101 thread. Some of these Elders even come to stay instead of quickly leaving again.
Chip 'n' Dale Online started out mostly as another forum with an attitude that was quite different from the Acorn Cafe's. At first, it prided itself in not having any rules. This changed in the wake of a conflict between the Acorn Cafe and a few patrons in late 2006 when the banned patrons sought refuge at CnD Online. The formerly almost silent forum was henceforth mostly used almost exclusively to slander the Cafe. This explicitly had to be banned in order for CnD Online to stay in good terms with the Cafe.
As the name suggests. Chip 'n' Dale Online didn't specialize in CDRR; it was an all-round Chip 'n' Dale fansite which also offered some information on both classic Chip 'n' Dale and CDRR. Over time, it was expanded with extra features such as a user gallery that could also be used for fanworks of many kinds. The forum itself has never been as active as the Acorn Cafe, so when general activity in the Rangerdom declined over the 2010s, it suffered harder than the Cafe.
As of early 2021, Chip 'n' Dale Online is mostly defunct, and the Acorn Cafe is the only remaining active CDRR fan forum.
The Ranger Wiki was conceived for gathering all kinds of information about CDRR. Unlike many other fan wikis, it has never been a "Wikipedia clone" that took over Wikipedia's rules, especially those for notability and reliability, completely ruling out fandoms as sources. At that point, it was clear to the Rangerphiles that, when it came to the show itself, fansites were often either the more reliable sources or the only sources available at all. Besides, the Ranger Wiki was also to cover the fandom. Not only was the Rangerdom well-documented by itself already, but it was so obscure that there simply were no non-fannish sources on it at all, much less reliable sources, because it has always flown completely below the mass media's radar.
As ambitious the Ranger Wiki was—several long-time fans were invited to fill it with content before its grand opening, as were the fandom historians—, as ill-fated it ended up. The conflict mentioned above included various attacks on CDRR fansites, and to prevent the still young Ranger Wiki from rampant vandalism, account registration was closed. The only way to get an account was to contact the admin at the Cafe and ask him to register one. There has never been another way to get into contact with the admin, nor has there ever been a second admin, also because the Ranger Wiki is a stand-alone wiki.
Things got even worse when the admin disappeared from the face of the fandom just a few weeks later. Over time, it became increasingly unclear whether one could send him a message at all. People were interested in contributing to the Ranger Wiki but couldn't get an account. After only a short time, edit activity at the Ranger Wiki sank to almost zero. Nonetheless, it is still online.
It was also in 2006 that organized meetings of Rangerphiles became a topic, and three "conventions" went into planning stages. Although they were named RangerCons, they were never planned to be anything like what is commonly known as fan conventions, no guests of honor, no panels nor ceremonies, not even ticket sales. Instead, they were to be more or less private fan meet-ups whose participants would announce their attending at the Acorn Cafe. It was also there where all planning happened.
The first RangerCon was planned to take place on the US West Coast at a date as late as in 2008, but it never really came to pass.
The West Coast RangerCon idea did inspire two more RangerCons, though. EuroRangerCon 2007 in Antwerp, Belgium, was the first RangerCon to actually happen, planned and organized within just a few months by someone who had only just joined the Cafe.
All in all, three EuroRangerCons happened, all in different countries and run by different people, namely whoever wanted to host one at home. The other two EuroRangerCons were in Saulheim near Mainz, Germany, in 2008 and in Warsaw, Poland, in 2010.
2008 finally saw the first East Coast RangerCon. In general, East Coast RangerCon has been not only the largest by attendance, but also the steadiest and most long-lived: The last East Coast RangerCon that got into its planning stage was East Coast RangerCon 2020.
The Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fans refer to their likes as "Rangerphiles". The fandom itself is sometimes referred to as "The Rangerdom".
The suffix "-phile" is also used for fans of certain characters including popular one-shots, usually adding -phile behind the name. There are four exceptions to this rule:
- As "Chipphile" is a bit cumbersome, his nickname is used instead of his normal name: "Chipperphile".
- The same applies to Monterey Jack: His fans are known as "Montyphiles".
- Once again, this rule is used for Foxglove's fans who are known as "Foxyphiles".
- "Gadgetphile" is legitimate, but more often, the "t" is omitted, and it simply becomes "Gadgephile".
Another three terms come from Chip/Gadget, the only disputed shipping in the fandom:
- "Pros" are Chip/Gadget supporters.
- "Antis" are against Chip/Gadget, regardless of any alternatives whatsoever.
- "Neutrals" don't want to take a side.
- "Elders" are fans who appeared in the fandom at least five years ago.
- "Learned Elders" are Elders who have also proven to be both creative and helpful.
- "Founders" are fans who were around during early founding events, especially the launch of the Acorn Cafe on February 8th, 1998 and the Great Migration on February 28th, 2001, but no later than that, rather even earlier.
It is not too uncommon either for people, show makers and fans alike, and characters, legacy Disney characters as well as such from CDRR canon and fanworks, to be mentioned by their Rangerillion names.
Speaking of names: Natasha Kashefipour, the founder of the Acorn Cafe, has always been and is still sometimes referred to as the "Grand High Page Maintainer Lady".
"Gadgetism" refers to the way Gadget's talking sometimes goes out of hand. It's basically a form of rambling that goes into details more than necessary and sometimes tends to drift into side-topics every few seconds. Bits of technobabble aren't a requirement, but may occur.
- August 7th: Talk like Gadget Day. Speak or write in Gadgetisms to celebrate this day. The idea came up in 2006, so the first Talk like Gadget Day was in 2007.
- October 19th: Talk like Monterey Jack Day. To celebrate this day, speak or write in Monty's (faux) Australian and throw in tall tales of adventures in more or less exotic locations you may or may not have experienced. It's basically a side-product of Talk like Gadget Day, but it happened in 2006 already.
The Worldwide Fandom
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers found its way into and thereby new fans in non-English-speaking countries by the 1990s. However, North American Rangerphiles were largely unaware of the existence of fans outside of North America until 2002. Their discovery even led to the creation of separate categories at the 2002 Golden Acorn Awards for US citizens and everyone else in the world.
In general, fandoms especially of North American media tend to be much smaller outside of North America. Since the CDRR fandom is rather small itself, many fans in, for instance, Europe are completely unaware of the existence of a fandom, also because the CDRR fandom barely had any non-English-speaking branches.
There is one notable exception, though: The Russian-speaking fandom rivals the English-speaking one not only in size, but especially in activity. Fan artists from former Soviet countries are as prolific as they are talented. Several fanfics from these circles have been translated to English, some even won Golden Acorn Awards.
The Russian CDRR Headquarters is not only one of the most advanced CDRR fansites, it also hosts archived static copies of the Rescue Ranger Database (which currently is the only fully working instance), The Foxglove Feature and the original pages of the fan-made Graphic Novel Of Mice and Mayhem at a higher resolution than the copy in the RRDatabase.
Even though the show has two male lead characters who are very close to one another, every last popular pairing in the CDRR fandom is het. One could blame this on the conservative rules at the Acorn Cafe, but these came into existence nine years after the premiere of Rhyme & Reason, and in this timespan, the fandom produced no fanfics with homosexual pairings amongst main characters. In fact, Meghan Brunner's Mooncrystal series stood out for making Gadget lesbian, but she was paired with an original character.
That said, due to the nature of the setting, pairings tend to be interspecies and even more so between show characters than involving OCs who can be written to match their partners in species.
The most popular pairing is Dale/Foxglove which is also the closest to being supported by the show. At first glance, it seems unusual because only Dale is a major character whereas Foxglove is a one-shot who only ever appeared in one episode, "Good Times, Bat Times". However, no other character pair in the series shows so much romantic interest in each other and is therefore likely to become a loving couple.
Aside from Foxglove matching Dale much better than Gadget, this pairing is likely to happen due to Foxglove's huge crush on Dale to the point that she begins to stalk him. Dale himself may start out annoyed, but she quickly grows on him. He starts calling her "Foxy"—nobody else calls her that—, it is mostly him who defends her in the climactic battle, and he even has Gadget—his previous love interest—build a hang glider for him so he can fly with Foxglove.
Also, while Foxglove is neither seen again nor even mentioned in later episodes, keep in mind that this show was neither produced nor aired in anything resembling a chronological order, and nothing ever happens in the show that has to occur post-"Good Times, Bat Times". So this episode may be the chronologically last.
Her being a one-shot character is not an obstacle. The show has only got seven characters who are seen in more than one or two episodes, and it has got a whole gallery of remarkable one-shot characters, some of whom got unusually popular. And Foxglove is easily the most popular of them all, probably surpassing even Monterey Jack's or Zipper's popularity. She even had a Web site dedicated to herself, the Foxglove Feature.
Dale/Foxglove is also the only pairing supported by official material: Foxglove returns in the BOOM! comics as a regular character, an additional Ranger and Dale's girlfriend. Then again, the BOOM! comics were made for and marketed at Rangerphiles and therefore show not exactly little influence from the fandom.
There is no other pairing (at least not worth mentioning) that involves Foxglove. In fan fiction, she usually either appears as Dale's girlfriend, as Dale's soon-to-be girlfriend or not at all.
Pairings Involving Gadget
In 1990, after "Good Times, Bat Times" had aired, this changed in favor of Chip/Gadget. Both are the brains on the team, both can be quite serious, Chip seems to see the competition for Gadget as more serious than Dale, and most importantly, the love triangle was broken by Foxglove taking Dale out of it.
Ever since, the most disputed shipping question in the fandom is whether Chip and Gadget should be together. There are three factions: the Pros (for Chip/Gadget), the Antis (against Chip/Gadget) and the Neutrals (impartial). Two major flame wars broke out over this one shipping in 1997 and 1998, the Ranger Wars, which taught the Rangerphiles to agree to disagree.
Dale/Gadget is still around, but marginalized. In fan fiction, it is mostly supported by Dr. Indy and Chris Silva's Untold Ranger Tales.
Sparky/Gadget has been a fringe shipping all along although Sparky, a lab rat from "Does Pavlov Ring a Bell?" is the only male character whom Gadget has ever been interested in for longer. Whether this interest was romantic is a matter of debate.
Chip/Tammy seems obvious at first glance, but it doesn't have many supporters. For one, Tammy, a young squirrelmaid from "Adventures in Squirrelsitting", is still a teenager and thus too young. She is also portrayed as bratty, stubborn and inobedient. Unlike Dale towards Foxglove, Chip never develops any romantic interest towards her, only respect for the untrained squirrel's engagement in the Rangers' ongoing case.
Like Dale/Foxglove, Zipper/Queenie is backed by canon down to the mutual love between the two, but unlikely to develop because the queen bee is royalty and an active ruler over a bee hive. Besides, there isn't much incentive to write Zipper-centered fanfic, much less involving said queen bee.
Monterey Jack is left out of shipping with show characters entirely. He does have a love interest in the show, but although Désirée d'Allure used to be as romantically interested in him as he was in her to the point of almost getting married, she turned into a villainess after having been "dumped" by Monty, and when she returned, she just used him and even tried to kill him and the other Rangers. Unlike Bronies, Rangerphiles have no tendency of redeeming villains.
For a fandom as small as the Rangerdom, the creative output has been enormous. Fan fiction deserves a special mention: It started out on a very high level already in the mid-1990s, and later writers sought to follow in their predecessors' footsteps both in style and quality.
The creation of fan art started quite early, too, in a time when creating digital art was difficult, more so when it started out in the analog realm, and sharing it was even more difficult. The earliest known piece of CDRR fan art on the Internet is Gadget Reclining by Liz Kalter from 1995, a time when even handheld scanners were expensive.
Other forms of fan creativity are much less common. A few CDRR-based videos exist on YouTube, but there is hardly any fan animation. This shouldn't come as a surprise in a small fandom of a traditional cel-animated show whose style can't satisfyingly be imitated by means of digital animation. And while there are hundreds of written song parodies, there is almost no fan music, and some of it only exists as MIDI files.
Popular Fanfic Conventions and Tropes
For more information on CDRR fanfic, Christopher E. Barat's meta essay Ch-Ch-Ch-Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers!, published in 1999 to commemorate the show's 10th anniversary and reworked in 2001, gives an insight on not only how a fan sees the show and its characters, but also the inner workings of the fandom and what characterizes its (early) fanfic.
The Same, but More
That said, fanfic-writing Rangerphiles are neither limited by Disney's content rules and guidelines nor by round about 20 minutes of episode length. They can go all out without these limitations which, taking even only popular fanfic classics into consideration, really appear as limitations. The only remaining limitation the writers impose on themselves is a high PG rating as a maximum. But even within this rating, the Rangers have often proven to have much more potential than what the show demonstrates without going OOC even a smidge.
The classics were written in a time period in which it was popular to make fanfics noticeably darker and edgier than the source material. CDRR fanfic writers didn't have to avoid it; actually, writing CDRR fanfic allowed the writers to fully indulge in it. Barat calls this "Darkness of Vision".
Typical CDRR fanfic unites action, adventure, thriller, often mystery as well and usually also drama in one fic. The Rangers basically do what they do in many a show episode, but on such a big scale that they're not seldomly driven to their limits or even beyond, something that Barat refers to as "The Gauntlet". For example, they may be entangled in conspiracies or targets of someone else's vengeance.
Another popular ingredient is emotional turmoil, not rarely of the romantic kind. The CDRR fandom has barely got any pure shipfics because shipping is usually woven into the usual action/adventures and thrillers most of the time to the point that it becomes a byproduct or at least a side plot. Romance intertwined with a challenging case really is part of what characterizes CDRR fanfic. That said, not nearly all CDRR fanfics include romance.
Apart from the dimensions, the main difference between casework in the show and most casework in fanfic is that the villains in fanfic are much more often animals. And yet, they frequently challenge the Rangers much more than the humans in the show.
No Alternate Universes
AU is a popular means for writing about one's favorite characters if one can't write them in character and/or within their canonical setting. So they are transferred into something the author finds easier to write about. In the worst cases, not much more than the characters' names is left.
All this is generally a big no-no in CDRR fanfic. Instead, it's actually considered a kind of challenge to write every last character from the show who is included in a fic as in-character as possible. Expansions upon the characters are allowed and actually welcomed, but breaking them without any good reason isn't. The same goes for the setting: In the show, the Rescue Rangers are small animals within the human world in North America around 1989. Of course, expeditions are allowed, as are stories taking place in later years, but in the latter case, all characters have to age accordingly (where fanfic takes over canon's assumption that animals age at about the same rate as humans).
There are CDRR AU fics, but they're usually written in jest, and they still try to keep the characters themselves in-character as far as the new setting allows. For example, The Rod Squad puts the Rangers in a late 1970s setting in the style of a live-action TV show from around 1979. The whole fic was extrapolated from one drawing of Gadget in bell-bottoms and humorously exaggerates the 1970s theme.
Characters who only appear in one episode or two tend to return in fan fiction, especially popular ones.
Foxglove's return is almost a given. Her romantic entanglement with Dale is regularly continued in fanfic to the point where there may be more fanfics with Foxglove than without her. The Rangerphiles see them as a cute couple which usually also doesn't have to jump through hoops or even go OOC to become one. Besides, Pros love to continue this shipping so that Dale stops competing with Chip for Gadget.
Gadget's doppelgänger from "Gadget Goes Hawaiian"—there will never be a consensus on the spelling of her name, seeing as there are even three different official spellings—is another popular one-shot character, albeit far from Foxglove's near-omnipresence in fanfic. Her use cases range from trying to replace Gadget again to her redemption, and villains being redeemed is an extremely rare case in CDRR fanfic which depends on the existence of villains. Either way, fanfic writers also love to include her in their stories so they can try to explain just exactly why there is a mouse in Hawaii that looks exactly like Gadget.
Some one-shots appeared as a pair in the show, but only one of them became a popular character in fan fiction. The young squirrels Tammy and Bink from "Adventures in Squirrelsitting" are such cases. That is, earlier fanfics barely featured either of them because even Tammy appeared too bratty and irresponsible for fanfic use, and she was mostly a subject of fan art. Of Mice and Mayhem takes place several years after the end of the show, let her mature a great deal, made her a permanent member of the Rescue Rangers and gave her a specific task on the team. It's fair to say that her popularity in the fandom may come much more from Of Mice and Mayhem than from the show. Bink, on the other hand, is a toddler in the show and will remain useless for the Rangers' typical casework for many years to come. Hence, she has barely ever appeared in fanfic.
It's similar with the "motivated" guinea pig Buzz and the electrified, forgetful lab rat Sparky, both from "Does Pavlov Ring a Bell?". Sparky is easier to work into fanfic. He becomes good friends with Gadget in the show, and he is quite similar to her in terms of occasional absent-mindedness and technical knowledge. Of Mice and Mayhem included him on the team and thereby raised his popularity as well. The only difficulty in using him is his partial loss of memory which, however, sometimes has disappeared over time or was cured in fanfic. But while Buzz isn't a bad character by himself, he isn't as easy to use as Sparky and doesn't make for such a good additional Rescue Ranger. So he has rarely ever appeared in fanfic since Rhyme & Reason.
Teamfics are the standard in CDRR. The Rescue Rangers almost always act as the tight-knit team they have been ever since the pilot episodes. Even if a member is missing, the rest carries on as a team. Since most CDRR fanfics are case fics, this is even a requirement.
Since the whole fandom came to exist on an already and to this day closed canon, fanfic tends to pick up after the show has ended. The vast majority of CDRR fanfic takes place after the show.
Writing futurefics is a necessity for writers who want to include Foxglove. Her presence as Dale's either current girlfriend or, more rarely, girlfriend-to-be technically requires "Good Times, Bat Times" to be the chronologically last episode, hence the entire show has to take place before the fic.
Including Tammy is much easier in fics a few years after the show when she is no longer the bratty teenager "Adventures in Squirrelsitting" portrays her as. See also Nurse Tammy.
Another advantage of futurefics is that the fics can reference each one of the 65 episodes without the author first having to construct a chronological episode order and then weaving the fic into it.
The tendency of most CDRR fics to do the same as the show, but on a much larger scale, makes it appear as though the Rangers don't get their really big cases until after the show.
Chip and Dale's Family Names
Rhyme & Reason by Michael Demcio has defined the two chipmunks' full names as Chip Maplewood and Dale Oakmont. While nobody, Demcio himself included, has ever dared to write a sequel to Rhyme & Reason or at least a fic that clearly takes place in the same verse, these names have been largely accepted as fanon and used in many fanfics.
In general, in contrast to many classic Chip 'n' Dale fans, Rangerphiles don't see Chip and Dale as brothers.
The amount of information the show gives on Gadget's parents is scarce. In "To the Rescue, part 3", we see a picture of her father Geegaw Hackwrench, we learn that he was an old friend of Monterey Jack's and a test pilot for Ultra-Flight Laboratories which also built his plane, the Screaming Eagle, that he and Monty had last seen each other in Zanzibar and gone separate ways as the result of an incident which involved a cheese bread, and that Gadget herself has "lost" her father over a year before the events of the episode. How exactly she has "lost" him remains unknown because Disney refused to mention death in those days. As for her mother, we learn nothing about her at all.
This has inspired quite a number of fanfic writers to fill in the gaps. Most writers who use Geegaw actually pronounce him dead and explain how he died—usually in a plane crash. Some make the circumstances of his death the foundation for an Action/Adventure and/or a thriller; for example, John Nowak's Icarus is about investigations upon Geegaw's death which involve the Rangers. Other writers interpret Gadget having "lost" her father in such a way that she doesn't know for sure that he's dead. That way, he can be written as still alive.
Gadget's mother is a completely blank slate. But if a fanfic uses Geegaw, she is very likely to be included, too. Unlike Geegaw, however, she has to be a complete OC. There is no fanonical consensus upon Gadget's mother, neither on her name nor on her appearance nor on her character nor on why she is separated from her daughter, as this would block the writers' creativity. That said, she is often written as having passed away, too, sometimes already at childbirth which explains why Gadget doesn't even mention her in the show: She grew up with her widowed father and has never known her own mother. Even if Gadget has gotten to known her mother, the latter is usually declared to have died long before Geegaw, so the reason why Gadget doesn't mention her is because Monterey Jack already knows she is dead.
Gadget is a special case here because Chip's, Dale's and Zipper's families remain completely untouched by the show and generally also by fanfic. Monterey Jack's parents are actual show characters, Camembert Kate and Cheddarhead Charlie.
Of Mice and Mayhem was the first story in which Tammy is a nurse. This role fit her so well that she has been occasionally portrayed as a nurse or nurse in training ever since.
Some fanfics portray Gadget as addicted to either strawberries or—much more frequently—coffee. Neither of these addictions is even hinted at in canon, and their origins in the fandom are currently unclear.
Clarice Meets CDRR
Clarice is one of the three main characters from the classic Chip 'n' Dale cartoon Two Chips and a Miss from 1952 (the other two are Chip and Dale). Of all CnD cartoons, this is the one that is the closest to CDRR as it's the only one depicting a small animal society hidden from the humans. Besides, it's the only CnD cartoon to feature another rodent character which also makes Clarice the only other animated chipmunk character from Disney. The Rangerphiles sometimes even refer to Two Chips and a Miss as "episode zero".
Including her in CDRR fanfic doesn't seem logical at first since she comes from a cartoon made almost four decades before CDRR. But the similarities between the cartoon and the show make it tempting, and it has happened on quite a number of occasions already. It takes some effort to make it work to the degree that CDRR itself becomes an AU for Clarice who otherwise stays the same character as in the cartoon. Whichever way this is pulled off, however, Clarice is always shown as an old acquaintance of the Munks' from their own (albeit not too distant) past.
Notable Fan Fiction
The most frequently recommended CDRR fanfics are from the 1990s to about the mid-2000s, but in spite of their age, these are considered absolute classics and have inspired many other fanfics.
|Miami Munks||David Walker||1990||originally intended to be a CDRR season 4 episode script, but rejected by Disney and published as fan fiction afterwards|
|Rhyme & Reason||Michael Demcio (Questy)||1993-1995||first CDRR fanfic ever written as such, the longest for almost a decade, still considered one of the best|
|Sizable Chances||The RoboNerd||1996||The Adventures of Gadget Hackwrench #1/#2||the story that actually launched the CDRR fanfic-writing tradition|
|Home Is Where You Hang Upside-Down||The Enduring Man-Child||references Sizable Chances, but works without it||crossover with The X Files|
|Consummation||The Enduring Man-Child||sequel to Home Is Where You Hang Upside-Down|
|Let's Suppose Chip And Dale Behaved Slightly Differently After The Kidnapping[v1][v2]||The J.A.M.||tangent from Consummation with two alternate endings|
|Death Of A Comedian[v1][v2]||The J.A.M.||sequel to the first alternate ending for Consummation from Let's Suppose...|
|I Dream Of The New Ranger[v1][v2]||The J.A.M.||sequel to the second alternate ending for Consummation from Let's Suppose...'|
|Under the Bridge||John Nowak||1998||Nowakverse #1||MSTed by Nowak himself and Matt Plotecher|
|Icarus||John Nowak||1998||Nowakverse #2|
|Sovereign||John Nowak||1999||Nowakverse #3||unfinished|
|Chip n' Dale's Rescue Rangers: the movie - Somemouse to Watch Over Me||Matt Plotecher|
|Caretaker||Rachel||sequel to Somemouse to Watch Over Me||MSTed by John Nowak and Matt Plotecher|
|Fly to the Light||Matt Plotecher||1999||Chip Noir Dale's Rescue Rangers #1|
|Plots||Matt Plotecher||1999||Chip Noir Dale's Rescue Rangers #2|
|Color Me Confused||Matt Plotecher||1999||Chip Noir Dale's Rescue Rangers #3||written after Swarm as an interquel|
|Swarm||Matt Plotecher||1999||Chip Noir Dale's Rescue Rangers #4|
|Wedding Bells Will Ring; Death Knells Shall Chime||Matt Plotecher||2000||Chip Noir Dale's Rescue Rangers #5|
|My Dinner with Monty||Matt Plotecher||2000||Chip Noir Dale's Rescue Rangers #6|
|Payback||Matt Plotecher||2001||Chip Noir Dale's Rescue Rangers #7|
|Homefront||Matt Plotecher||2002||Chip Noir Dale's Rescue Rangers #8|
|The Gift of Thundera||Dr. Indy||crossover with Thundercats|
|The Times of Their Lives||Dr. Indy & Chris Silva||sequel to The Gift of Thundera||crossover with The Great Mouse Detective|
|Gadget in Chains||Loneheart||2002-2006||the first CDRR fanfic that grew longer than Rhyme & Reason|
|Of Mice and Mayhem||Chris Fischer (fish)||2002||232-page Graphic Novel, ranks as one of the best CDRR fanworks next to Rhyme & Reason|
|The Rangerillion[Vol. 1][Vol. 2][Vol. 3]||Sir Salazar Ovid Spumoni||2007||three-part Metafic re-telling the history of both Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers and its fandom in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien|
Archives and Fannish Links
- Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers works at AO3
- Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers works at FFN
- Fanfic section of the RRDatabase
- Fanart section of the RRDatabase
- Fanfic section of Indy's Ranger Museum (only contains Dr. Indy's fanfics including collabs)
- The DisInsider: Exclusive: Disney’s Live-Action ‘Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers’ Will Debut on Disney+
- The DisInsider: Exclusive: New Details on Disney’s ‘Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers’
- Everything Rescue Ranger: W.T.F.B.
- Seth Triggs and Megane 6.7's MST of 9½ Chipmunks
- The Internet Gadget Archive
- Everything Rescue Ranger
- Disney's Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers Homepage by Paltiel Goldstein
- The RRDatabase at the Russian CDRR Headquarters
- Newest archived copy of Gadget Hackwrench and the Rescue Rangers
- Of Mice and Mayhem thread at the Acorn Cafe (the Mayhem posting here is the author who later changed his name to fish; the Mayhem later to be found at the Cafe is someone else)
- Dr. Indy's Rescue Rangers History Page
- The Acorn Cafe: HIST101: Introduction to Cafe' Studies
- Kat's Acorn Cafe Glossary
- The Acorn Cafe: How about a "Talk Like Gadget" Day? Also contains good examples for Gadgetisms
- RRDatabase: Gadget Reclining by Liz Kalter
- RRDatabase: Ch-Ch-Ch-Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers! by Chris Barat
- RRDatabase: Kat's drawing of Gadget in 1970s attire