Although Glittering Goldie appeared in only one story by Barks, she has made a lasting imprint on most of us. Certainly on Uncle Scrooge who seems to have had a soft spot for the golddigger all of his life. And on her creator Carl Barks, who went on to immortalize her through a number of paintings. What qualities does she have to make her so memorable? Let's have a look!

 

 

THE APPEARANCE

Goldie only appeared in FC0456 (U$02) Back to the Klondike. Still, Barks showed her maturing over a time-span of more than 50 years from being a typical gold-digging dance hall girl with an eye for shiny jewelry to an aged spinster with a record of helping needy children.


1898
The alluring

1898
The wronged

1953
The sympathetic

1953
The proud

 

THE STORY

Scrooge is having trouble with his bad memory but after a visit to the doctor he recalls a huge gold nugget he once left behind in Alaska. Along with Donald and the nephews he travels to the Yukon area. They arrive in Dawson where Scrooge met Goldie, the Star of the North, for the first time all those years ago, and he tells about the nugget that she swindled from him.
The journey continues until they reac
h his old hut and to their surprise it is occupied. The occupant forcibly resists their attempts to approach. Finally the nephews manage to disarm the old lady behind the attack - Goldie herself. As Scrooge and Goldie meet again he demands satisfaction. She gives her last jewelry to Scrooge and leaves, apparently quitting. Then Scrooge calls her back and challenges her to a contest.

A contest of who can find gold first. Goldie succeeds in finding Scrooge's old cargo which is now worth a fortune. Scrooge leaves - seemingly defeated - and pretending that because he hadn't taken his memory pills he had forgotten where the gold was. But behind his back Donald reveals to his nephews that Scrooge had indeed taken the pills and had therefore given the gold to Goldie. By the end his nephews realize that the old gentleman is more emotional than he would like to appear.

It is plain to see that Scrooge has a soft spot for Goldie. But Barks never implied that she was waiting for him. Quite the contrary, he showed a resilient woman who lived on her own in a woodland valley for decades, supporting herself through her own labor, and even raising the orphans of mining disasters.
Goldie embraces her femininity and acknowledges her beauty, but only on her own terms. She will not let herself be manipulated by others. In fact, she clings to her independence so stubbornly that she refuses to acknowledge her heart softening toward Scrooge - who in turn is equally stubborn in denying his attraction to her. Theirs is a poignant romance between equally strong characters.

 

THE CENSORSHIP

Barks received a lot of criticism for the story, because it involved different taboos. A half-page panel showing a barroom brawl was too violent and Glittering Goldie showed an unbecoming greed for gold. Furthermore, Scrooge also kidnapped the girl, made her live in his shed and forced her to work at his claim. Because they lived together in the small hut for many weeks, there is a suggestion that the two might have been lovers. The flashback sequences can be interpreted with either platonic or erotic undertones.

Only after the censors brought it to his attention did Barks realize how questionable the sequences were: Scrooge picked her up and carried her out to his claim and made her go to work. It didn't look like kidnapping, yet it was. He was taking the law into his own hands and that is not lawful. And what did he do with her at night? I had really overstepped the bounds, and I realized it when the editors cut the sequence out.

The censored panels (5 pages) remained cut from both the original and the reprints until the 1982 publication of the book Uncle Scrooge McDuck: His Life & Times.

 

THE FACTS


Similar nugget of the same goose egg shape.

The inspiration
Barks happened to run across photographer Ethel Anderson Becker's 1949 book about the Yukon gold rush of 1898. As he researched the event, Barks read about the dance-hall girls and others left behind when the boomtowns dried up. This led him to wonder what happened to the people who failed to strike it rich. He consciously painted the modern, aged Goldie as a sympathetic character to give a face to these forgotten figures of the gold rush.
The book also contained a photograph of a 2,180 gr. egg-shaped gold nugget which further inspired Barks to a detail in the plot - a Goose Egg Nugget. The motif was also used in a painting from 1996 titled Eureka! A Goose Egg Nugget!

   

The places
It is interesting that Barks used real geographical names and real locations in his adventure. This adds a new dimension so that we feel we are tagging along with the ducks. The towns of Dawson, Whitehorse, and Skagway and the Yukon and Klondike Rivers are real. As is the menacing Chillcoot Pass that meant suffering and death to many prospectors.


Chillcoot Pass at the time of the gold rush.
An endless line of prospectors are climbing the range.

   


Ursus Americanus AKA the Baribal Bear AKA the Black Bear.

The bear
Goldie's 'watchdog' Blackjack is most probably a Black Bear. The name is not at all exact, because Black Bears can be different colours; they are often brown. It is a common animal in the American national parks. Although they may appear to be friendly, visitors are warned against feeding them or approaching them, because they will attack if they feel threatened. As a curiosity it can be mentioned that the Royal Danish Life-Guard to the Queen and the Guard in Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens only wear bearskin caps from the Black Bear.

   

The song
The song 'After the Ball' that Goldie performed every night in her saloon, was carefully chosen by Barks. It was a real song with melody and lyrics by Charles K. Harris from 1892 and it became a gigantic hit. Harris sold more than 5 million copies of the sheet music. The lyrics are about an old man who never married and who is remembering a girl he could have married but never did. In the song it is because of a misunderstanding, but the stubbornness of the man is very much the same as Scrooge's.


Harris was the first songwriter to have a multimillion seller song.

 

THE PAINTINGS

Carl Barks never brought Goldie back in his comic books, but she did not disappear from his thoughts. After his retirement in the 1960s Barks began a series of oil paintings depicting the ducks and their adventures. Goldie appeared in no less than 7 of these paintings.


1973
068 The Goose Egg Nugget

1974
081 Nobody's Spending Fool

1975
105 Business Long Overdue

1975
109 She Was Spangled and Flashy

1976
120 Disputed Claim

1987
134 Trespassers Will Be Ventilated

1976
119 July Fourth in Duckburg

Goldie is only a minor character in the 7th painting. She and her pet bear are seen in the upper left corner waving at the parade.

 

...and Goldie lingers on. Several duck artists such as Don Rosa, Vicar, Rota and Scarpa have used her repeatedly. She was also a recurring character in Disney's television series Ducktales. She will not be forgotten...

 


http://www.cbarks.dk/THEGOLDDIGGER.htm   Date 2004-03-20