FC0009 Pirate Gold
'Pirate Gold' proved to the publishers that Donald didn't have to be in constant turmoil in order to be interesting. His bungling mistakes and his blissful innocence of danger and of being outrageously victimized proved just as amusing as his tantrums. He came off great in a sympathetic role, and his brattish little nephews came off equally great as the 'brains' of the family.
The comedy situation of Donald, the reckless bungler, getting into hopeless troubles from which he is extricated by his sharp-witted, suspicious-natured nephews was competently developed in this story, and it has carried on into many tales of high and not-so-high adventures ever since.

FC0029 Too Many Pets
The September 1943 D.D. story 'Too Many Pets' was a sort of collaboration. The script was started by a writer at the Disney Studio who found himself so overloaded with work on plots for the Mickey comic strips that he had to quit 'Too Many Pets'. I was handed the half-outlined plot and asked to do what I could with it. I merely polished up the other writer's gags and situations, and lengthened the tale, and lo! it didn't look too bad for that spy-conscious era. The Disney writer was named Merrill. He had been Walt Kelly's partner in a story unit at Disneys. I understand he got fed up with gag writing and bought a nursery (plants and trees) and lived happily ever after.

FC0079 The Riddle of the Red Hat
Strange to say, I had completely forgotten the story. Reading it, I could see my drawing style in the artwork. My old pay vouchers prove that I did do the art, so I'll puff out my chest and brag that I did a pretty fair Mickey and Goofy.

FC0108 The Terror of the River
For 'The Terror of the River' I needed a villain that was a mean son of a gun. I felt that if I made him totally nutty, it would get by the editors a great deal more than if I made him murderous. I created a guy that didn't leave any bad taste in people's mouths, didn't cause children any nightmares afterward. I was not writing for the horror comics.

FC0108 The Firebug
The editors objected to the last couple of panels of that story because I had Donald set fire to the judge's wastebasket. It accidentally burned down the courthouse, and he wound up in jail. Western couldn't have a Disney character looking out from behind bars in the final panel of the story, so they changed the ending. They didn't usually redraw my art like that; the editors would often suggest that the artist do the changing himself. But these two panels would have been done by one of the staff artists, either Carl Buettner or Tom McKimson.

FC0159 Ghost of the Grotto
I can remember the first idea I had on that was just trying to figure out something Donald could do. I thought of him sailing boats and came up with a potential ten pages of gathering seaweed, and selling this kelp, which would give me a lot of gags with boats. I think of a scene, a locale, and think, 'Well, I feel in the mood to draw boats, and the ocean, and so on,' and that would cause me to start working on that particular type of story. As I developed more and more things with the story, I think it's quite possible that that 'Ghost of the Grotto' was brought in as a menace. There is so much in that, I couldn't have thought of it in a whole bucketful of writing at once. It had to come out one thing after another.

It is interesting to know that this was Garé's favorite story, because, as she said:
It's got pathos.

FC0199 Sheriff of Bullet Valley
Barks caricatured himself on a wanted poster: That caricature originated in the old Disney studio days in the gag sheets that us guys used to draw of each other and circulate around. Some of the guys took to drawing me with this tremendous big schnoz, so I just copied that old caricature.

FC0203 The Golden Christmas Tree
The editors ordered me to tone down the initial version of the story.

FC0223 Lost in the Andes
On the choice of story: The 1943 cartoon 'Saludos Amigos' had some influence on my choice to do an Inca story. I realized that it was a popular subject and that Disney's would love to have me use that locale. At that time, they were trying to get access to show their films in South America. They'd lost the whole European market during the war.

On the half-page stone wall: It was influenced by the old Inca method of laying stone. I got a lot of material out of the Geographic. I notice that I botched up my perspective a little in drawing that. I should have laid out all these squares by measuring points instead of from the vanishing point. They become diamond shaped toward the bottom of the panel. When I was drawing it, some neighbour friend dropped in and sat there persistently talking to me, all the time that I was trying to make that big, complicated layout. And I would have to look up and answer, with my thoughts interrupted. There I was, hell-driven to draw that scene! It was just in my system. I wanted to draw it; and there I had this talking neighbor: talk, talk, talk. It's been a problem my whole life: whenever I was up against something on which I had to use my head and do some really deep thinking, somebody would always come along and have to talk about something. Even a stranger will buttonhole me and start talking. I was trying to work out all those complicated perspectives. He just looked at it and kept right on talking.

On the square egg theme: Square eggs have been a joke for more years than I've been on earth. I remember hearing people talking about breeding chickens that would lay square eggs from the time I was a little child.

FC0275 Ancient Persia
I have four files full of clippings of every sort of subject and type of drawing. Also have many years of National Geographics, and an Encyclopedia Brittanica. The Rock of Gibraltar picture in 'Ancient Persia' and the authentic-looking background props and frescoes are from Nat'l Geo. I simplify such material, naturally.

FC0308 Dangerous Disguise
As soon as I took 'Dangerous Disguise' in, and Carl Buettner (Western's publisher - Editor's remark) took a look at it, he said, 'That doesn't go good, having real humans. It takes the ducks out of their own world.'

FC0328 In Old California!
I would have preferred to have drawn the characters as real humans, but I was warned for using humans when I submitted 'Dangerous Disguise' four months earlier.

FC0367 A Christmas for Shacktown
Barks submitted 10 pages in February 1951, followed by 22 pages the next month: I think what happened there was that they wanted some of the material early, and so I just sent them the ten pages I had drawn at that point.

FC0386 Only a Poor Old Man
On the title: I later came to think that the story should have been titled Only a Poor Old Duck.

On Scrooge's money diving: I don't explain that trick because I don't understand it myself. Perhaps it has something to do with his character: often he can do things which other people can't. He can go out in the desert and smell the presence of gold; other prospectors would have to dig mountains of dirt before they could find any nuggets.

FC0408 The Golden Helmet
Barks' second marriage (to Clara Balken) ended in a painful divorce in 1951, and it gave him a life-long mistrust to money-grabbing, self-righteous lawyers. The character of Sharky was, by his own admission, inspired by the divorce proceedings.





http://www.cbarks.dk/thereflectionsfc.htm   Date 2004-09-01