Unidentified Barks

creator of Duckburg and Scrooge McDuck

Postby Daniel73 » Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:46 pm

From a private email sent to "A Guidebook"-site:

From: [N.R.]
To: [dve]
Sent: Friday, December 30, 2005 4:34 PM
Subject: the four mysterious gags...

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I'm a great amateur of Carl Barks DUCKS stories. I'm trying to collect and to make an exhaustive list of all stories and gags by "the good artist".
I lead for months a serious study of many references and first your book, and my list is now quite completed, thanks to you and others good references.

But it still remains a mystery that I can resolve. There are 165 gags (1 page or less) known by Carl Barks, and only 4 gags doesn't have known creation date (the publication date is ok) :

Code Title Creation date Publication date CB Library

DD 71-05 Rainbow's End ????-??-?? 1960-05 II/3/570
US 25-07 Uncle Scrooge ????-??-?? 1959-03 IV/1/185
US 32-05 The Homey Touch ????-??-?? 1960-12 IV/2/416
US 32-07 Turnabout ????-??-?? 1960-12 IV/2/317

I would like to order all the onepagers by creation date (the comics I have) and these four are disturbing me because they have no date. I'm an exhaustive man ;-). At least, I would like to know between which others onepagers are they (for the creation date).

I read that these four gags could originally have been one of three unidentified /disappeared Uncle Scrooge gags submitted on October 1, 1958.

About the 4 "undated" gags, the only thing I can say for sure is that they were most probably done in the second half of the 1950's. Barks' stories were usually published about a half year after he had drawn them, but there are many exceptions from this rule.
From looking at the artwork, I would say that DD 71/1, US 25/6 and US 32/4 are more typical for Barks' work of the late 1950's (i.e., 1958 or 1959), while US 32/6 seems to be a somewhat earlier work - note the stylistic and thematical resemblance to US 33/1 "Tree Trick".

So, DD 71/1 and US 32/6 may indeed be some of those unidentified gags from 1958-10-01, which is supported by the fact that the other known 1958-10-01 gag, US 27/4 "Crawls for Cash", is a half-pager, too. I have doubts about US 25/6 for which the publication date is just a bit too early. (DD 71/1 may originally have been intended for the US series).

But this is all just guesswork on my part and it doesn't solve the mystery. That's why I'm asking you :

1. Do you have new elements on these four gags ?

2. Can you tell me if you have other ideas for replacing these gags among the others by creation date. Is analysis good or do you have an other point of you ? For US 32/6, who seems to be ealier, do you have an idea to place it among the others ?

3. Could you indicate me a mean to reach the creation dates, maybe an editor, maybe ancien barks work relations, or whatever. I'm ready to lead the quest for the mysterious four gags date ;-) please just tell me how to begin...

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Posts: 313
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Netherlands

Postby Daniel73 » Thu Dec 21, 2006 2:54 am

Unidentified article, titled 'Remembering Walt: Carl Barks'.
About Barks at the Walt Disney Studio. Taken from compilation pamplet 'Carl Barks - Background Material and Current Events'. A pile of stapled pink-coloured pages, monochrome xerox-quality, lacking any clear internal coherence. Apparently, this compilation was made during the Carl Barks Studio years and sent to people requesting information on Carl Barks. My copy was supplied in a promotional package by the Carl Barks Studio, received by post on 20 December 1997. The compilation has also been identified as an "Orange Pamphlet", so there appears to be more versions.
On top of the first page of the article, "Remembering Walt", someone has noted "'94" (included in the xerox). In September and/or October 1998 notes, Barks has identified some of the contents in the pamplet as being fake or at least dubious. According to a October 8, 1998 email by a Barks intermediary, who described these margin notes, Barks made no comments on this article. (Indicated should be that "these notes only represent Carl's best recollections.")
As Barks also didn't comment on xeroxes of pages by Jim Fanning, Leonard Maltin and Michael Barrier, this article appears to have passed the test. On the contrary, it should be noted that the text appears to be done with an electronic type-writer, raising the question if (and how) it has been published and trusted as such.

Judge for yourself. Can someone identify this article?

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Sixty-five years ago, Donald Duck was a mere bit player who
just happened to steal the show. But Walt Disney knew a star
when he saw one.
After the Duck's 1934 debut in "The Wise Little Hen," Walt
immediate1y elevated his hatchling to co-star status in the
"Mickey Mouse" cartoons. To assure Donald fulfilled his destiny
as a major, marquee-topping star, Walt formed a crack team of
Duck specialists, chief among them Carl Barks.
Internationally renowned for his "Donald Duck" comic book
stories, Disney Legend Carl Barks is today, at age 93, still
producing art, including oil paintings and sculptures
spotlighting Donald and his quacky kin. But it was in the Disney
Studios' Story Department where "the Duck Man" first hatched
funny business for Donald, under the wing of Walt himself.
A self-taught magazine cartoonist in the 1930s, Barks was
well aware of the immensely popular Disney cartoons even if he
knew little of the man who produced them. "I admired Disney as
the studio that put out the best cartoons," Barks says, citing
"Three Little Pigs" (1933) as the short that really captured his
attention. "Before I went to work at the Walt Disney Studio, I

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had no idea what Walt might be like. I didn't know he was a one-
man show."
Barks was soon to find out what Walt Disney was really like
when he joined Disney in 1935 as a beginning animator. When
Barks started submitting gags to the Story Department Walt Disney
again recognized a newcomer's potential. "Walt had seen my idea
for a robot barber chair and sent me a bonus for it," Barks
That robot gag was for "Modern Inventions," the follow-up to
Donald's first solo flight, "Don Donald" (1937). If Donald's
stardom was to be cemented, "Modern Inventions" would have to be
a smash. Walt assigned Carl Barks as a story artist on the
burgeoning project.
It was at a crucial story meeting for that milestone picture
that Barks first encountered the Boss. "The first time I met
Walt was a pleasant experience," remembers Barks. "At that time
director Jack King and I made up the total Duck Unit. Walt had
come to review our full storyboard layout for "Modern
Inventions". It was about 80 percent done. He reviewed
technical things such as pan shots, backgrounds, and camera work.
He decided that the robot should be talking all the time through
his speaker system. He also offered a few ideas on what the
robot barber chair should say.

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"Walt liked the story from beginning to end. He specially
liked the beginning where Donald enters by putting a coin in an
automatic ticket taker and gets it back on a string."
Thanks to Barks' story work and Walt's TLC, "Modern
Inventions" (1937) was the short that launched a thousand quacks,
assuring there would be many more cartoons to show off Donald's
star quality. Walt continued to give the "Donald Duck" cartoons,
star vehicles for his biggest box office draw, his personal
attention. The loom on which Walt wove these tapestries of
comedy and characterization was the story meetings. Barks was a
major player at these exhilaratingly creative conferences.
"Walt was an organized, creative, and methodical
businessman," observes Barks. "He never came to the Duck Unit
without letting us know well in advance. If he liked the story
we had done, he would get right in with us and 'gag' it up. He
had an extreme talent at organizing a story. If a story seemed
to lack purpose, he would think of some way to tie the gags
together to make the story flow. We would re-arrange the
storyboard as he worked."
Carl himself had the challenge of presenting the Duck
storyboards to Disney. "Walt would take about ten minutes before
the formal presentation to read the storyboard for the first time
to understand what the story was about. The formal presentation
was a stop and go affair. After opening sequences and gags, Walt
would usually come up with an improved way of doing them. Then I

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would present the second group of gags. So, we would slowly go
through the storyboards."
With one cartoon hit after another cooked up by Barks and
the Duck Unit, Donald soared to the stratosphere of superstardo[m.]
Barks helped develop such other Disney short stars as Daisy Duc[k]
and Donald's Nephews, and two of the hit cartoons for which he
helped devise Ducky story material -- "Good Scouts" (1938) and
"Truant Officer Donald" (1941) -- were nominated for Academy
Awards. "There were other good box-office stories among the ma[ny]
I helped produce during the six years I was a storyman."
Barks was well aware of exactly who was Donald's biggest
fan. "Walt made it very apparent to the Duck Unit when he liked
one of our cartoon shorts. He didn't come around personally and
say 'great job'. He sent the paymaster around with bonus
In 1942, Barks left the Disney Studio to begin his
incredible comic book career, writing and drawing hundreds of
stories chronicling Donald's misadventures and creating the
parsimonious multi-billionaire Uncle Scrooge McDuck. Though
Barks left Disney animation behind, he never forgot Walt. "He
was a dominating personality without being domineering," say
Barks today. "We all respected his judgment of what was funny,
but sometimes some of us conservatives wondered if he was out of
his field with such ventures as 'Fantasia' and Disneyland."

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Full of gratitude and respect for the man who started it all
for both Donald and "the Duck Man", Carl Barks dedicated one hard
cover collection of his comic book works to "Walt Disney, whose
aggressive promotion of theatrical cartooning built a great
industry and a mighty stage upon which lesser playwrights, such
as I, could produce plays that would otherwise have died
somewhere in a wastebasket."

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transcription: v20061221.01
font is best viewed non-proportional, as in the source
on page 4 some text is fallen off the xerox, but appears to be easy to restore ("superstardo", "Daisy Duc", "ma"/"mar").
Posts: 313
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Netherlands

Postby Daniel73 » Thu Dec 21, 2006 4:54 am

Unidentified, undated interview, titled 'Carl Barks' interview'. Four pages, three of them numbered.
Taken from compilation pamplet 'Carl Barks - Background Material and Current Events'. A pile of stapled pink-coloured pages, monochrome xerox-quality, lacking any clear internal coherence. Apparently, this compilation was made during the Carl Barks Studio years and sent to people requesting information on Carl Barks. My copy was supplied in a promotional package by the Carl Barks Studio, received by post on 20 December 1997. The compilation has also been identified as an "Orange Pamphlet".
At the bottom of the third page of the interview, someone has noted, included in the xerox:
"Note: worked on storyboards for: Snow White, Bambi & Fantasia.
Fantasia: Mickey sequence w/water rising is Barks' scrip[t]".
In September and/or October 1998 notes, Barks has identified some of the contents in the pamplet as being fake or at least dubious. According to a October 8, 1998 email by a Barks intermediary, who described these margin notes, "Carl Barks' Interview" is notated as "may have been interview by Helnwein". (Indicated should be that "these notes only represent Carl's best recollections.")
It should be noted that the text appears to be done with an electronic type-writer (or a computer), raising the question if (and how) it has been published.

Can someone identify this interview?

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Carl Barks' interview

1. What kind of childhood did I have?
At 93 my childhood was so long ago it seems to have happened in another lifetime. I only remember the cold and the dust and the wind. The ranch house was a lonely place with no close neighbors. My parents had little patience with the yearnings of a small boy, both being old enough to be my grandparents, and my slightly older brother had little patience with my "sissy" fascination with drawing and reading, so, other than the farm animals, I had little companionship.

Do not disparage the influence that animals can have on a growing boy's character. In my rare periods of self-analysis, I get the feeling that I learned my good manners from the pigs, my stubborness from the mules, and my gung ho courage from the chickens.

2. Did I have any formal art training?
None. I sort of stole my knowledge from artists who had learned it the hard way. I stole it by imitating their ways of concocting ideas, and by drawing my ideas with the same kind of pens and brushes that they used so eloquently.

3. What did I do before joining Disney?
Many types of work, farming, logging, feeding a printing press, cracking rocks in a quarry, heating rivets for a riveting gang. Common labor of any kind. All jobs were merely ways to earn subsistence while I practiced drawing and learned whatever I could about creating art and humor that would sell.

In the late 1920's I happened to buy a humor magazine that luckily was publishing material as crude as the stuff I was producing. I sent them a drawing and a gag line to go with it. They bought the drawing for $2.00 and returned the gag. That made my day! I nearly buried the editor with cartoons and gags over the next few weeks. I learned afterwards what a pest I was making of myself, for eventually I became the editor of that magazine. Anyway, within two years I was selling enough cartoons and wisecracks to quit my hard physical labors and become a white-collar free lancer.

Yes, jobs were very hard to find during the depression. Only those able to do three persons' work for one person's wages could find employment. I was one of those, and felt no resentment toward my employer. I was working in a warm office at drawing and writing humor. How sweet it was.

4. When and how did I come to Disneys?
November 1935. I knew the little joke magazine job wouldn't last much longer, and I was looking for ways to continue earning a living in the gag and cartoon profession. Saw an item in a Minneapolis newspaper about Disney studio being on a hiring binge. I whipped out some sample drawings in pen and ink and very slanted toward the Disney comic strip style. Sent the drawings to Disneys and was asked to come out to Hollywood for a try-out.

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5. How did I come to animate the duck?
I never animated the duck. I only did a few months work as an "in-betweener" before being transferred to the story department where all movie cartoon mice and fowls get parts in the stories that animators animate. I am glad I never had to animate the ducks. They are not even easy to draw in still poses.

I did story work on more than thirty Donald Duck shorts, not all of which made it to the screen. I received no credits for work in those days, nor did the directors or animators.

6. How was Walt Disney to work for?
Disney was a genius, and he tried to make geniuses of his employees. He gave compliments for good workmanship and creative ability. Also he gave bonuses for exceptional work. My partner, Harry Reeves, and I collected bonuses on a couple of stories, and would have gotten more had Walt not kept the company in debt with his extravagant feature films. I can think of no one of Walt's employees that ever became a friend in the social sense of the word. Such friends have a way of encroaching on a busy man's time, and Walt was a busy, busy man.

7. Which Disney artists influenced me?
Many of them. I was always awe-stricken by the quality of artwork done by the layout men and background painters. For my type of sketching work I found the pen and ink artists in the comic strip department most inspiring, especially Floyd Gottfredson.

8. Why and when did I leave the studio?
America's entry into World War II caused big changes in the type of movies the studio could produce. The work was no longer fun. Also my sinuses were giving me increasing misery. I could no longer stand the cold blasts of air down my neck from the air conditioning system. In 1942 Jack Hannah and I "moonlighted" on the drawing of "Pirate Gold", the first long comic book story produced by Western Publishing Co. I found that I liked comic book work, and began to think of it as a way to make a living if and when my health forced me to leave Disneys.

It took courage to leave such a good job, but I feared that if we were locked into our jobs at Disneys for years of making training films, I'd be carried out in a few months dead.

I have never regretted leaving. In retrospect I view my years in the studio as just another way to make a living while I polished my skills for the work I was really suited for - comic book story telling.

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9. When and how did I come to draw Disney comics?
After leaving Disneys in November of 1942 I moved to a little place I had bought in San Jacinto, ninety miles east of Los Angeles. I was building a set-up to raise chickens for a living while trying to develop a comic book connection. I was thinking of drawing adventure type stories with human characters. In December I heard through friends that Western Publishing was planning to start publishing an original 10-page Donald Duck story in their Walt Disneys Comics & Stories monthly. I wrote them a letter telling them I would like a crack at drawing some of those stories. Soon they sent me a rough script for a story in which Donald tries to grow a victory garden. They liked what I did and asked if I would be willing to write the stories as well. Neither the staff at Western or myself ever imagined that I was going to be doing those stories for the next twenty-three years.

10. Did I write and draw all of those stories alone?
Not all of the stories. There are perhaps twenty stories, more or less, that I developed from suggestions that I bought from friends or which were sent to me by the editors. I do not consider stories that I drew from scripts sent to me by the editors as my work, although I often revised the scripts extensively. The office gave me great freedom to create story subjects and to invent characters, and they never complained when I rehashed one of their other writer's scripts.

11. Why did I add new characters to the original cast?
To increase the opportunities for story situations. The creation of Gyro Gearloose helped the ducks do things with crazy machinery that they could never have made themselves. So, too, did Uncle Scrooge and his money create funny business that involved the ducks in all the seven seas and outer space. New characters were like blood transfusions to a cast dying of Anemia.

12. Do children and adults appreciate my work for the same reasons?
Not at all. It is my belief that children like lots of movement in the stories - characters in action; jumping, running, fleeing, chasing. They despise long dialog balloons that tell what the characters are thinking. Adults, on the other hand, like to see their characters think out loud, and then put their thoughts into rip-roaring derring-do!

I tried to write stories that pleased both factions, and evidently succeeded to some extent. Many people have told me that they like the stories just as well at age fifty as they did at ten. They notice how I made the dialog meaningfull.

13. How did Uncle Scrooge originate?
He originated as a sort of antagonist to help me flesh out a Christmas story. Also he seemed to be a necessary sort of relative. Many newspaper comic strips had rich uncles drop in every few months to bedevil the lead characters. I believe he is becoming my favorite character. He makes so much work for Donald and the kids.

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14. Why do I think Scrooge is so popular?
He is not the usual type of rich man. There is little in his lifestyle that anyone can envy. As the owner of three cubic acres of money he is such an impossibly ridiculous figure nobody can take him seriously. I know that a few wild-eyed communists have tried to blame him for all the poverty in their starving nations. Such people have no sense of humor.

I believe the main body of Uncle Scrooge fans recognize that he is only a fairy tale figure hoarding great riches in fantastic ways, and finding fantastic treasures in fairy tale ways. He is merely a clown in gold buttoned spats and silk hat. Am surprised that Italy can make any sense of Scrooge's economics.

15. Why did I use the kids more often than Donald for Scrooge's protagonists?
The kids temperament is more flexible than Donald's. They can understand Scrooge's goals more sympathetically. I've always felt that the readers expect Donald to be an uncooperative rebel. I didn't try to push him too far.

16. How many "recurrent" characters did I create?
I am not sure I can remember them all. Most used were Uncle Scrooge, Gyro Gearloose, Gladstone Gander, The Beagle Boys, Magica de Spell, and various be-medalled grandiloquent commanding officers of the Junior Woodchucks as well as the Woodchucks official hound. I used a pig-faced villian incognito in a few stories. In one I think he was named Porkman de Lardo.

17. Do I have an explanation of the duck family ties?
Saner men than I have tried to make sense of the duck family lineage, but none have found any reasonable explanation. I feel we have to figure that the words Duck, Goose, Gander, Drake, etc. are merely family surnames, and do not have to indicate bloodline relationship. We don't figure that everyone named Jones has to be a cousin or relative of every other Jones.

As for Huey, Dewey, and Louie being nephews of both Donald and Scrooge. Easy. Scrooge is their grand uncle. Gladstone and Donald are cousins because their mothers were sisters who wed guys named Gander and Duck. Another of Donald's Aunts wed the father of Gus Goose.

Some of my fans have protested that ducks do not mate with geese!

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transcription: v20061221.01
Page numbering, at the bottom of page 2-4 ("pg. 2", "pg. 3", "pg. 4"), is left out of the transcription.
The word "villian" (16) is left uncorrected. (Correct spelling is "villain".)
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