Because of Scrooge's success in the comic books Story Department Manager at the Disney Studio, Jack Kenneth Peterson, decided to make a cartoon featuring the character. He later remembered: When we were doing shorts, there was always a need for story ideas, and since Scrooge McDuck had really been developed fully in comics, it was natural that I would contact Carl Barks for help. Peterson had known Barks since 1936, when they worked in the same room as in-betweeners on the Disney cartoons.
After an initial phone call in mid December in which Peterson only got hold of Barks' wife Garé, he sent a letter to Barks on January 4th, 1955, inquiring if he was able to do outside work under the terms of his contract with Whitman (at the time Whitman was the division of Western Publishing that produced the comic books). Peterson was interested in 'a story idea for Scrooge McDuck, which would be suitable for an animated short'.
At the time Disney would often use stationery advertising their latest films. The twofold academy award winner 20,000 Leagues under the Sea had just premiered on December 23rd, 1954. Ken Peterson (who had also doubled as an uncredited production assistant on the film) made his first official approach to Barks.
Only 6 days later(!) Barks
responded with a 9-page manuscript, of which he provided
a condensed version in an accompanying letter. It started:
Then Barks moved on to a fairly
detailed raw synopsis, and he ended the letter by writing: