Come along, you belong, feel the fizz...

Artwork by Herwig Bartalszky

The following is a brief timeline of important events in the history of the online Rangerphile community, with some comments.

1989: Premiere of "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers" on the Disney Channel, then, later that year, in syndication

1990: "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers" joined the Disney Afternoon
This gave the program wider exposure. In this year, a series of 19 monthly comic books, published by Disney, also hit the market. While these comics are generally not considered 'canon,' they are still occasionally used for speculation.

August 1991: Disney Afternoon mailing list established
Juan F. Lara says this list (now unused) always had some Rescue Ranger related discussion going on it.

December 1992: W.T.F.B, a Disney Afternoon Zine, created, in response to the cancellation of the "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers" comic series
Some of the most prominent writers in Rescue Rangers fanfiction have had their work in this publication, and, although the number of subscribers is capped at 30, it did a lot to keep Rescue Rangers alive before the Internet became popular. In fact, ever since its inception, each issue of this zine has contained Rescue Rangers fan work of some sort. This is where "Rhyme and Reason," the most prolific Rescue Rangers fanfiction, debuted.

1993: "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers" taken off of broadcast television
Many Rangerphiles refer to the time after Rescue Rangers was taken off the air, and before they discovered an Internet following of the program, as 'the dark ages.'

December 1995 "The Internet Gadget Archive" put online
This is probably the first Rescue Rangers website to hit the Internet; it features a lot of pictures (screen captures and fan art) of the most popular Rescue Ranger.

December 6, 1995: "Rhyme and Reason" completed
This is the longest Rescue Rangers fanfiction, and the most well-known. It adds a dramatic element to the characters, with a villain who seems almost omnipotent, and an uneasy resolution, as opposed to the somewhat simplistic and always resolved cases in the original series. This fan fiction also brings together two couples, Gadget and Chip, and Dale and Foxglove, that the majority of Rangerphiles think belong together.

February 1996: "Everything Rescue Ranger" put online
This page (which hasn't been updated in a year or two) lists just about all the Rescue Ranger merchandise ever made. A fun page for any Rangerphile to explore (and lust after).

Spring 1996: "The Adventures of Gadget Hackwrench" put online
A page devoted to writing scripts for a sequel series to Rescue Rangers, starring Gadget. Inspired many authors to take up the pen (or keyboard) and write Ranger fanfiction.

August 1997 "John's Rescue Rangers Page" (now "The R-anger Files") put online
This page housed (and still houses) fanfiction by most Rescue Rangers authors. It is still useful in getting the works of those without webpage making skills online.

1997 Ranger War I
The topic of whether Chip and Gadget should become a couple came up on the newsgroup. Though there were only a few participants, it laid the foundation for some bitterness between those who supported such a relationship (pros) and those against it (antis).

1998: "Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers" (now "The Acorn Cafe") put online
This became the number one meeting place for Internet Rangerphiles. Almost anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can access it (unlike the Disney Afternoon newsgroup), and it has been growing ever since its inception. Juan noted that he sees the gang on the Acorn Cafe as the new generation of Rangerphiles,' one different from those present in the mailing list days.

February 1998: "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre"
A massive difference of opinion on the Chip and Gadget issue grew into a huge argument, which became a rather vicious war, with bad feelings on both sides. Eventually the 'pros' and 'antis' grew to realize that their enemies had a few good points, and even developed a grudging admiration for each other (at least, to some degree). While the Rangerphile community has experienced other disagreements since, there has been a general attitude of 'agreeing to disagree,' and no major flame wars have erupted. In fact, when a newcomer to the board brings up the topic of Chip and Gadget as a couple, there is no argument, as most people seem to be all argued out.

1998: "Rescue Our Animated Rangers" put online
This page was created in response to the awful upkeep of the Rescue Rangers' attractions at Disneyland, and also through outrage of the lack of merchandise given to the Rescue Rangers. Though this page (and this campaign) has stagnated to some degree, it is important in that most major television fan communities have organized campaigns to the companies responsible for their programs (Jenkins 1992). While an organized campaign is difficult to do with a small group of fans, there was some attempt in the community.

1999: The ten-year anniversary of the Rescue Rangers
In honor of this year, some art has been drawn, and an award process for fanfiction, art, and webpages, called the Platos, is in the works.


Now that the history of the current community has been explored, it would be interesting to explore the importance of message boards in the Rangerphile community.


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