In Tic and Tac: Rescue Rangers, animated characters live alongside live-action humans – and not just Disney characters. The film follows the two cartoon chipmunks, voiced by John Mulaney and Andy Samberg, as they reunite years after their show. Rescue Rangers has been cancelled. As they search for a missing co-star from the show, their adventure takes them through Hollywood, where they encounter cartoon characters from all over animation history. Virtually all screenshots of Tic and Tac: Rescue Rangers is filled with Easter eggs and visual references, from Seth Rogen’s Pumbaa to “live-action” CG Lion King redo at My friendship with my little pony is magic‘s Mane Six crossing a congress.
But one of the director’s favorite cameos — and certainly the one he’s most proud of — is a smaller hat that might get lost among the bigger, flashier references. It also pays homage to one of the original creators of the Tic and Tac: Rescue Rangers television show, Tad Stones.
“He co-created with another guy named Alan Zaslove in the 90s,” says director and Lonely Island member Akiva Schaffer. “Alan was much older, like the mentor, and has since passed away at a ripe old age. Tad is still alive and well. And I got to zoom in with him a bunch and ask tons of questions.
In addition to creating Tic and Tac: Rescue RangersStones also wrote and produced dark duck and produced other Disney shows, like Star Command’s Buzz Lightyear and the Hercules and Aladdin animated television spinoffs. He worked on a number of Disney direct-to-video sequels, such as Aladdin 2: Jafar’s Return and Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
Stones does not make a physical appearance in the film. Instead, his cameo comes in the form of a phone call, a tiny little reference that might go unnoticed unless you’re intimately familiar with the voices of late 1980s and early 1990s animators.
“In the film, there is a moment when [Chip and Dale] are in [their] young Hollywood times and they’re trying to start their careers, and they get the phone call,” Schaffer told Polygon. “And there’s a voice on the other end that sounds like a Disney executive saying Chip, Dale, how about your own show? And it’s Tad [Stones]the voice.
Tic and Tac: Rescue Rangers hits Disney Plus on May 20.