Carl Barks made numerous references in his comic book stories to well-known, real people using their real names. He also frequently referred to real people using slightly altered but still easily recognizable names such as Jane Girlsfield (Jayne Mansfield), Poncey de Loon (Ponce de Leon), Gnostradamus (Nostradamus) and so on, but they are not the subject here. One might suspect that Barks enjoyed incorporating the real people's names, because they almost never had any bearings on the plots other than supplying the dialogue with some kind of added punch.
This is a VERY small collection of some of the real people that Barks incorporated in his stories - restricted to 25 brief biographies with all names mentioned in their English versions and in alphabetical order. There are many more; after reading this page you might want to go and find additional ones.
WDCS085 'The Music Teaching Story' and U$16 Back to Long Ago are examples of stories filled with references to real people.




John Sidney Blythe (1882-1942)
American actor far better known as John Barrymore. He was a great Shakespearean performer and perhaps the most famous of the famed Barrymore dynasty counting celebrities which included siblings Ethel and Lionel, and his granddaughter Drew.

Mentioned in CP1 Letter to Santa when Scrooge is belittling Donald for his impersonation as Santa Claus. Donald responds by saying: Oh, so? You weren't no Barrymore yourself!


Gaius Julius Caesar (Appr. 102 BC - 44 BC)
Roman warlord who conquered a large part of Western Europe and later became dictator of the Roman Empire. The well-known outburst Great Caesar derives from a poem by Emily Dickinson.

Mentioned in WDCS099 'The Quiz Show' when Donald is studying for a contest: Caesar was born in 102 B.C.! In U$12 The Golden Fleece Scrooge sees the Larkies for the first time: Great Caesar's Ghost, Donald! What fantastic creatures are these?


Martha Jane Cannary (1852-1903)
This American frontier woman from the old West whose married name was Burke but is definitely far better known as Calamity Jane. Legend has it that she 'earned' her nickname during a battle with the Indians.

Mentioned in U$69 The Cattle King when a cowboy sees the nephews dressed up as an attractive girl: Purtiest critter since Calamity Jane!


Alphonsus 'Al' Capone (1899-1947)
Infamous American gangster who was responsible for numerous killings, but he always evaded the law because of produced, ironclad alibis. He was finally jailed for tax evasion instead.

Mentioned in U$70 The Doom Diamond when the Beagle Boys say: ...we're not riding in limousines like the Capone's boys did!


Kit Carson (1809-1868)
The famed American was a trapper, scout, Indian agent, soldier and authentic legend of the West, who became enshrined in popular mythology even in his own lifetime.

Mentioned in WDCS036 The Mighty Trapper where Donald is reading a book with Kit Carson's name on the cover.


William F. Cody (1846-1917)
Served as a Pony Express rider until he began hunting buffalo to feed the workers building the Union Pacific Railroad. This earned him his nickname Buffalo Bill.

Mentioned in U$30 'War Paint' when the movie director asks Gyro to make ...real war paint - exactly like real Indians made it in the days of Buffalo Bill. In WDCS075 'Turkey Trouble' when Donald fails to shoot a metal turkey in an open shooting gallery: Even Buffalo Bill missed once in a while! And in WDCS234 Riding the Pony Express when an injured jet pilot mumbles: ...Dye my wig and call me Buffalo Bill.


Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)
Italian ship captain later employed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to find a way to India by sailing west, but he landed on the American continent instead.

Mentioned in FC0062 Mystery of the Swamp by Donald: I want to be like Columbus an' Drake an' those old discoverers. In FC0256 Luck of the North the nephews find an old map ....drawn hundreds of years before the time of Colombus. In U$29 Island in the Sky the ducks find Indian-like people who kneel before them: ...They kneel like the American savages kneeled to Columbus! In U$45 Isle of the Golden Geese the nephews say about Scrooge's cannon: ...The last thing sold at every rummage sale since Colombus. Finally, in U$53 Interplanetary Postman, when Scrooge is leaving Earth in a rocket, a man greets: The spirit of the Vikings, of Colombus, and the Pony Express riders flies with you, McDuck!


The Dalton Brothers
(Gratton 'Grat' Dalton (1861-1892), Franklin 'Frank' Dalton (1864-1887), Robert 'Bob' Dalton (1869-1892), William 'Bill' Dalton (1863-1894), and Emmett 'Em' Dalton (1871-1937)). During their lives they worked both sides of the law.

Mentioned in FC0386 Only a Poor Old Man by Scrooge: ...I feel like my old self again! Like the Scrooge that gummed up the James gang and outfoxed the Daltons.


Francis Drake (1542-1596)
British sea captain on the vessel The Golden Hind. He is especially renowned for attacking Spanish ships laden with conquered silver on their way back from the Americas to Spain.

Mentioned in FC0062 Mystery of the Swamp by Donald: I want to be like Columbus an' Drake an' those old discoverers. In FC0159 The Ghost of the Grotto the ducks fight the old man who surrenders: What will my Lord, Sir Francis Drake, think of me? In U$16 Back to Long Ago! the ducks encounter a small-size copy of a Man O' War: Looks like something from the days of Sir Francis Drake! In WDCS155 'The Rainbow Heir Story' an old sailor shows the nephews an old map: ...It says there's a treasure buried somewhere along this very coast ... A Spanish galleon, trying to escape Drake's flotilla, buried a hoard of gold and jewels on an island in this bay!


Elizabeth I (1533-1603)
She was Queen of England from 1558 and known as The Virgin Queen, because she never married. During her reign she was affectionately called Good Queen Bess.

Mentioned in FC0159 The Ghost of the Grotto the ducks overcome the old man who explains: Long ago, ye old ship up yonder was bound for England, bearing this gold to ye coffers of Good Queen Bess. In U$16 Back to Long Ago! the ducks are forcing a treasure chest open, while Scrooge is saying: Good Queen Bess won't miss the money! In WDCS231 The Wax Museum a lady is dressed as the Queen at a masque ball.


Ferdinand (1452-1516)
King of Spain nicknamed The Catholic. His reign was generally cruel (he introduced the Spanish Inquisition), but he was also foresighted; he sponsored Columbus' journeys when others refrained.

Mentioned in U$32 That's No Fable! when Scrooge asks the two conquistadors how they got their ancient equipment. They answer: By joining the army of Ferdinand, Regent of Spain!


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
An American genius who was involved in a great number of fields. He was a printer, editor, inventor, scientist, author and statesman. He was a founding father of the United States. In 1752 he proved that lightning was electrified air.

Mentioned in U$13 'The Lightning Story' when Gyro is trying to trap lightning in a box. The mice brothers Morty and Ferdie say: ...Ben Franklin beat you to that by about two hundred years!


Robert Fulton (1765-1815)
American engineer and inventor. Contrary to common belief he did not invent the steamboat, but he was the man who patented the design and put it into practice.

Mentioned in MMA August Accident when Gyro reads an article about steamboats: Here in the paper is a picture of Robert Fulton who invented it!


The James Brothers
(Alexander Franklin 'Frank' James (1843-1915), and Jesse Woodson James (1847-1882)). They formed a gang with other criminals and robbed banks, trains, and stage coaches.

Mentioned in FC0386 Only a Poor Old Man by Scrooge: ...I feel like my old self again! Like the Scrooge that gummed up the James gang and outfoxed the Daltons. Furthermore, in U$70 The Doom Diamond when the Beagle Boys wonder: ...what would the James boys say about us petty thieves?


Nicholas II (1868-1918)
He was the last Czar of Russia. His reign began in 1894. He was forced to abdicate in 1917 and a year later he and his family were murdered by the Bolsheviks.

Mentioned in U$20 City of Golden Roofs where Scrooge says: Things are different than when I sold concertinas to the Czar's cavalry!


Philip II (1527-1598)
The very powerful King of Spain in the days when his country was exploiting the American continent. In 1588 he sent the Spanish Armada to conquer England, where it was defeated by brilliant English tactics and bad weather.

Mentioned in U$26 The Prize of Pizarro where Scrooge explains his purchase of a genuine Spanish galleon: It's one King Philip II had preserved to commemorate the Spanish conquest of the New World!


Francisco Pizarro (1475-1541)
Spanish conquistador who explored parts of Central and South America along the Pacific coastline. He later went on to conquer the vast Inca empire in South America.

Mentioned in U$16 Back to Long Ago where a hypnotists says about one of his clients: ...Back in history he found he was one of Pizarro's soldiers, and he spied the location of a cache of Inca gold! In U$26 The Prize of Pizarro Scrooge says about a Spanish galleon that he bought: Pizarro's men shipped home chests of Inca gold in its hold! As can be expected (from the title) there are several other references to Pizarro in the story.


Marco Polo (1254-1324)
Italian explorer who was the first European to travel vast areas of East Asia. He brought back a large number of materials and inventions unknown to the Western world.

Mentioned in U$06 'The Tralla La Story' when Scrooge asks a man where Tralla La is: My grandfather once said that his grandfather's grandfather saw a traveler that had seen the valley. Scrooge snarls: Must have been big news at the time of Marco Polo! In U$20 City of Golden Roofs the nephews wonder how Scrooge has learned the Bengali language. A morose Scrooge offers this explanation: I learned it when I sold road maps to Marco Polo! In U$64 Treasure of Marco Polo Scrooge is visiting the harbour to receive a certain cargo: This jade elephant is reputed to have been part of a shipload of treasure Marco Polo was taking from Ancient Cathay to Persia! The story has several more references to the explorer.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
English playwright of numerous comedies, tragedies, historic dramas, as well as poems and sonnets. Perhaps the best known author of all time. His influence on literature cannot be underestimated.

Mentioned in U$62 The Queen of the Wild Dog Pack when Scrooge in an agitated mood cries out: That's what's wrong in England! Beat singers are making all the money, and my Shakespearean Drama House is going bust!


Jefferson Randolph Smith (1860-1898)
Better known as Soapy. He was a swindler all of his short life (he died in a gunfight), and in the Yukon gold rush days he seized the leadership of Skagway, Alaska.

Mentioned in U$59 North of the Yukon where Scrooge was up against Soapy who had swindled him in the gold rush days. Scrooge reminisces: He was a crooked moneylender in Goldboom, Alaska!


Solomon (Appr. 1035 BC - 925 BC)
The third King of Israel, builder of the famed temple in Jerusalem, renowned for his great wisdom and wealth. Persistent stories continue to this day to circle around his mines, which are supposed to contain vast treasures.

Mentioned in U$19 The Mines of King Solomon where the nephews translate ancient writings on a cliff surface: I, Pinjab, Captain of King Solomon's caravans, passed this way with forty camels laden with gold and jewels! As can be expected (from the title) there are several other references to Solomon in the story.


Temuchin (1167-1227)
Better known as Genghis Khan which translates into Universal Leader. He was the chief of all Mongol tribes and conquered most of Asia. He then set his eye on Europe but died under mysterious circumstances.

Mentioned in U$14 The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan! the ducks are once again on a treasure finding trip and Donald asks Scrooge what they are after. Scrooge replies: ...The lost crown of Genghis Khan!


Erik Thorvaldsson (935-1001)
The adventurous Viking is better known as Eric the Red. After killing several men in both his native Norway and later in Iceland he was banished from both countries. He then travelled west and discovered Greenland.

Mentioned in FC0408 The Golden Helmet when Donald finds an old map in a Viking ship at the museum, and the inspector says: ...He sailed the ship to Iceland in 900 A.D. - years before Eric, the Red!


Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
An Italian genius scores of years ahead of his time. He was
a painter, architect, engineer, inventor, mathematician and philosopher. The famous painting of Mona Lisa is just one of his lasting works.

Mentioned in U$60 The Phantom of Notre Duck when Scrooge looks down from a trap door in the ceiling which is decorated with a painting. The nephews say: ...Leonardo da Vinci sure has you framed!


George Washington (1732-1799)
American military man who commanded the forces of the Revolutionary War. He became the first President of his country. He shunned partisan politics and warned against foreign involvement.

Mentioned in U$19 'The Coin Toss' where Scrooge is reading a sign saying: At This Point George Washington Threw A Dollar Across The Potomac River.



WDCS131 The Wax Museum
is practically swarming with both real people and fictitious characters. Have you ever identified them all?



THE INJOKES   Date 2004-11-06