Sunday, March 15, 2015

“Not Pony Tales, or HORSES Tales, but DuckTales! Whoo-oooh!”

There’s a convention in writing, particularly when the subject encompasses the various forms of entertainment, suggesting that, whenever you mention the name of an actor, director, etc., that you parenthetically add at least one (possibly more) well-known credit to directly follow the individual’s name – perhaps to serve as a common point of reference. 

Thus, when writing about particular pop-culture personages, one might tend to adopt this form, especially when it comes to a TV or film review, advertising copy, or descriptive text for a product. 

“Lorne Greene (Bonanza)”, or “Michael Curtiz (Casablanca)”, might be two prime examples of this convention if you were to write about either individual OUTSIDE of the context of “Bonanza” or “Casablanca”, respectively. 

Most often, it is the best-known credit on that person’s resume that finds itself between the parentheses – or, perhaps the one with the greatest overall impact. 

Alternately, if one is referring to a CHARACTER PORTRAYAL, the ACTOR'S NAME might appear within the parentheses, along with another well-known credit - such as: LOST IN SPACE'S "Professor John Robinson (Guy Williams, Zorro)".  

Shifting gears (but don’t worry, we’ll bring it all together in the end), as part of 2014’s “Black Friday Festivities”, I purchased MISTER ED: THE COMPLETE SERIES on DVD. 

MISTER ED (of course, of course) starred the great Alan Young as “Wilbur Post”, the original “horse whisperer”. 

WILBUR:  “What kind of name is ED for a horse?

MISTER ED: “What kind of name is WILBUR for a man?” 

Reading the “back of the package descriptive text” for MISTER ED: THE COMPLETE SERIES, we find Alan Young described per the above-mentioned convention this way: 

Click to Enlarge - in order to read the entire text!

How about that!  An offhanded (though convention satisfying) reference to Disney’s DuckTales, in which Alan Young starred as the voice of Scrooge McDuck!

 Traditionally, one might have expected to see Alan Young associated in this way with his classic role in the film “The Time Machine” (1960), which starred Rod Taylor.   And, indeed, one of the interior “season set cases” contained within this COMPLETE SERIES package does exactly that. 

But, it’s a real treat for us animation, comic book, and Carl Barks fans to see Alan Young so nicely – and unexpectedly – associated with DuckTales… per that good old convention!  (…Told ya I’d bring it all together!)

Say, you think I might ever be referred to as Joe Torcivia (“The Issue At Hand Blog”)? 

…Or, Joe Torcivia (“A Game of One-Cupmanship”, “Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold Again”)? 

Hey, if a horse can talk, a guy can parenthetically dream, can’t he!   


Comicbookrehab said...

Alan Young was never shy about being the voice of Scrooge McDuck; when he was interviewed by Bill O'Reilly in a "Where Are They Now?"-esque segment of "The O'Reilly Factor", Bill brought up that Alan is "..also the voice of Scrooge McDuck", to which Alan replied in character as Scrooge: "That's right, and I am a DUCK, not a goose, or a poppinjay!" Also, Young owns a percentage of "Mr. Ed", so it's not impossible for his reps to insist that all his other better-known past credits get equal time on DVD packaging. :)

Joe Torcivia said...


I’m simply flabbergasted to learn that Bill O’Reilly knows of Uncle Scrooge! I’ll have to start sprinkling the comics with hidden progressive messages and ideology just to get his goat.

Um… JUST KIDDING, editors and publishers!

REALLY... Just KIDDING! See the Smiley? :-)

TC said...

And the voice of Mr. Ed was Allan "Rocky" Lane ("Stagecoach to Monterey," "Marshal of Cripple Creek," "Stagecoach to Denver," "Sheriff of Wichita"). :)

Comicbookrehab said...

I wouldn't mind a Bill O'Reilly-written "Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck", just out of curiosity, given his interest in writing "non-fiction" history books. Of course, this means Scrooge is REAL and there IS a Calisota. :)

And his interview with Alan is hopefully still on YouTube

Joe Torcivia said...


Of COURSE, Scrooge is REAL! What in the world would make a feller think otherwise?!

I’m just another in his long line of biographers that began with the great Carl Barks! The chronicles of his long and adventurous life will resume this April. Be there, because there are still many tales left to tell!

And, say… Alan Young sure did a great job of portraying him in that “docu-drama” called “DuckTales”, didn’t he?

Joe Torcivia said...


I saw Allan “Rocky” lane in a bit part in GUNSMOKE, and I briefly considered the irony of his riding a horse.

He sure did a perfect job of voicing Mr. Ed! And he was as unheralded as Duck Tufeld for voicing the LOST IN SPACE Robot. I guess that’s how they “kept the magic alive” in those days, by not pulling back the curtain far enough to let us see who was behind it.

Ryan Wynns said...


Wow! It used to be standard practice in pretty much any press given to DuckTales to note who voiced Scrooge as such "Alan Young (Mister Ed), or "Alan Young (Wilbur on Mister Ed", etc. I never thought that, retroactively, the people presenting a new repackaging of Mister Ed would be concerned that not enough of the general public wouldn't be familiar with the series, and that it might help to tell them that Young is the guy who played Scrooge McDuck.

In other words, they're acting as if Scrooge is now his most well-known role! I have no wish to diminish Mister Ed (which as a kid, at the cusp of the '80's and '90's, I used to love staying up during summer vacation and watching on Nick at Nite, along with most of the lineup), but as a duck fan, I agree, this does give a certain satisfaction!

It's weird to think that Scrooge might be the most famous character that Young has played, but unlike with Wilbur, Scrooge is far from universally known through being played by Young (due to his premiere medium being the comics, and then his not being voiced by Young in non-English language versions of DuckTales). But I suppose this is inevitable when you have a character who, a), originated in comics, and, b) translates to animation but not to live-action, so his visage never becomes associate with that of the actor portraying him (e.g., Alan West, Christopher Reeve, etc.)

But even though to me the "real" Scrooge is that of the comics (Barks' more than anyone's, of course), where there was never any indication of a Scottish accent, to me, Young is Scrooge, voice-wise. Joe, I remember that you and Chris once wrote, "If Carl Barks is the father of Scrooge, then Young is the doctor who delivered the baby." Makes sense! Barks conceived him, but Young performed the procedure needed to bring the world a walking, talking Scrooge ... or something like that!

In the comments on my post about the announcement of the future new DuckTales, 'rehab and I were speculating as to whether or not Young would reprise his role. I brought up how when I first saw Disney's 2011 animated theatrical short "The Ballad of Nessie", the narration by Scottish comedian Billy Connolly had me wondering if he would make a good Scrooge. (I think I was at first wondering if it was actually Young or not!) Here's the first 48 seconds of the short -- any thoughts?

-- Ryan

Joe Torcivia said...


For what it’s worth, your comment above is the 3,000th comment to be posted to this Blog! (Yes, really!)

As such, I should come up with some way of honoring that. Maybe, as Stan Lee used to award a “No Prize” in the forever bygone classic days of Marvel Comics, I should award a “Joe Prize” for your continued contributions to the Blog!

Then again, as Scrooge McDuck himself would likely say, “A job well done (…or a comment well-placed) is IT’S OWN reward!” Saves on promotion and postage costs that way!

But, to that “Joe Prize” winning comment of yours, it is precisely because DUCKTALES received the “parenthetical placement” that it did in relation to MISTER ED, that made the whole thing “post-worthy” (…or, would that be “Wilbur Post-worthy”?).

You write: “But even though to me the "real" Scrooge is that of the comics (Barks' more than anyone's, of course), where there was never any indication of a Scottish accent, to me…”

Having avidly read those comics since the sixties, I remember how odd it was to first come across the notion that Scrooge was Scottish in Carl Barks’ 1965 story “The Swamp of No Return” (UNCLE SCROOGE # 57), when, on Page 7, Donald thinks: “For a Senor, that old duck sure had a SCOTCH accent like Uncle Scrooge’s!”. Of course, to that point, I never saw any of the older comics that had any background on his ancestry.

To completely digress, I also didn’t know at the time that “The Swamp of No Return” was the SECOND reference by Carl Barks to the enemy nation of “Brutopia” – and not a completely original concept for that story. Brutopia is something that’s “hung-on” over the years, all the way to my script in April 2015’s first issue of UNCLE SCROOGE from IDW!

As for which series, MISTER ED or DUCKTALES, might rank higher on the overall pop-cultural scale, I think that’s one of those generational things. Those my age and older would certainly give it to MISTER ED, while those your age and younger would vote DUCKTALES.

However, being a child of the sixties – but one who is also “young at heart” (…or, to go to that bad-joke-well once again, would that be “Alan Young at heart”?), I would tend to given them equal weight.

And you, being a child of the eighties – but one with greater overall pop-cultural awareness and appreciation – might tend to do the same.

To your last point, I fear it’s at least time to CONSIDER who might be the next voice of Scrooge McDuck, but I hope Alan Young gets to do it one more time for the new series – simply because he did it so perfectly!

Ryan Wynns said...


Wow (again!) -- it was a total accident and coincidence (...or was it), but nonetheless, I'm honored (again!) and proud that I took (by stumbling into it) that slot! And not only do I get a Joe-prize, but am I mistaken in noting this makes me the first-ever Joe-prize recipient?!

It's occurred to me that it'd almost be plausible that after "The Old Castle's Secret", Scrooge's Scottish heritage was something that had served that story but that Barks scrapped, kind of like the ruthless, cruel traits that the character exhibited in "The Magic Hourglass". But years later, Barks showed with "Hound of the Whiskervilles" that he hadn't "retconned" Scrooge's Scottishness ... as he did with that line from "Swamp of No Return" that you've pointed out ... which I actually very well may have never read (there's still some later Barks Scrooge stories for which that's the case -- lucky me!), because I had no idea that that Scrooge's accent had ever been mentioned in a Barks story! Why, that's almost like there being a line about how unintelligible Donald's speech is!

And at that, it surprises me that before DuckTales, whenever Disney lowered themselves to animating Scrooge, his Scottishness was somehow so explicit to them that they made sure to have whoever was voicing him at the time play it up -- such was the case with "Scrooge McDuck and Money", "Sport Goofy in Soccermania" .. .and for some reason, in Mickey's Christmas Carol, Ebeenezer Scrooge wasn't British!

Well, then again, I guess it's hard to overlook that prefix in his surname ...

I find it surprising that Barks' referenced Brutopia more than once, too, as his stories (as we know) were never very continuity-heavy. Well, it makes sense that he probably got a kick out of the name ... a decided case of "The name says it all!", and something that he could keep in his "Bag of Tricks" to pull out when a story called for an entity of the type which ... well, which that name describes!

Yes, though I hate to be blunt, Young is "up there", but I'm right there with you in hoping that we get another go-round with Young as Scrooge (in full-on DuckTales mode, which is the prospect here, and not a small cameo like that recent Mickey and Friends one).

I suspect that Scrooge is more well-known in, say, Denmark than Wilbur ... but as I said, I'm not rooting for one to "best" the other in any way. Equal footing seems just about right to me!

Of course, my ultimate dream has been to be directing recording session with Young delivering Scrooge lines that I wrote ... but just getting to be a viewer of new DT with Young as Scrooge is still a close second! (Maybe more so -- on more than one occasion in recent years, I've literally had REM sleep dreams about going to the theater to see DuckTales: The Movie II...)

-- Ryan

scarecrow33 said...

So there is seriously a new Duck Tales series in the works?

Seems a bit premature, considering that the original series hasn't been completely released on DVD yet!

But if there IS a new DT series coming, my plea is--bring Donald back from the Navy and make him more central to the stories like in the comics! Doesn't mean he has to star in every episode--like the original series where he starred occasionally here or there--just more often! I don't mind stories built around Launchpad or Mrs. Beakley or Doofus (no, let me take that back--I draw the line at Doofus!) but more of Donald is essential as far as I am concerned. That was mostly what kept me watching back in the 80's--would Donald appear in this episode? A few times I was pleasantly surprised--but not enough!!!

And as far as writers go, well, Joe, I guess you know who would top my list of requests!

Joe Torcivia said...

I dunno, Scarecrow… who?

Carl Barks is gone. Don Rosa is retired. The two greatest cartoon writers of all time, Michael Maltese and Warren Foster, are also gone (though their “duck tales” tended to be more “daffy” than not).

Ah, William Van Horn had that great run on Gladstone Series One’s DUCKTALES comic book in the late ‘80s-1990… and there’s THIS GUY who never failed to do great work on such series.

Me? I’m just thrilled to continue creating good dialogue for other people’s original comic book stories, and hope that you all enjoy those.

As for the new series, I truly have no idea what to think – beyond the admittedly selfish motives that A) it will finally loose those final original DT episodes on DVD, and B) the buzz of a new series, combined with the nostalgic pull of the original, will benefit the sales numbers of IDW’s coming Disney comic book line in the same way the 1987 series delivered a fortuitous bump to the comics of Gladstone Series One.

Beyond that, you can read more at THIS LINK, courtesy of our good friend Comic Book Rehab. Go there! He’s done a great job with it, and you’ll find more of my initial thoughts on the new series in the Comments Section.

Dan said...

Joe & Company:

Not to drag another famous fowl into this, but I'm reminded of the 1943 WB cartoon "To Duck or Not to Duck" in which the jaded duck Referee refers to "our beloved Daffy 'Good To His Mother' Duck." Does this possibly count as another kind of parenthetical placement? Or simply a web-footed bias? Hmm.

No matter, for I'm here to comment on another fine post by Joe Torcivia (“A Game of One-Cupmanship”)! I always considered that kind of role referencing as "casting captions" but "parenthetical placement" is a far more apt descriptor.

Had Mr. Young not taken on the role of Scrooge McDuck, it's likely the alternate parenthetical placement would have read as (Alan Young, Androcles and the Lion) if they'd opted out of re-using The Time Machine credit. Alan certainly has an extensive list of credits—he even showed up in a series of Frito-Lay commercials in the 1970s!

As to casting Uncle Scrooge for DuckTales 2017, there was a hint that Alan Young may return to the role on last week's broadcast of Stu's Show—Stu and Jerry Back mention that it isn't concrete, but there have been discussions of both Alan and Chuck McCann reprising their original roles on the new series. Time will tell!

Should there is a decision to re-cast the role of Scrooge McDuck, I believe it probably wouldn't be Billy Connolly (though he is a popular choice) as Mr. Connolly had been dealing with some unfortunate health issues for the past year or so.

My guess would be Craig Ferguson: he was born and raised in Scotland, he recently left the scheduling rigors of a late-night talk show, he lives in L.A. and can schedule studio recordings around his stand-up tours. Craig took on the role of Owl in Disney's theatrical 2011 Winnie the Pooh feature, not quite doing a direct impression of Hal Smith, but injecting warmth into the character in his own way. If there is a re-casting, I think Craig would be different take, but he'd make a fine Scrooge McDuck!

So let's see, we've referenced a rival cartoon star (Daffy Duck, "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery") our blogging host, (Joe Torcivia, “Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold Again!”) and Scrooge McDuck's current voice (Alan Young, Mr. Ed) along with my candidate for potential re-casting (Craig Ferguson, The Late Late Show)!

– (Dan Cunningham, Guy at Panera Bread with Turkey Chili and Lemonade Abusing the Free WiFi)

Joe Torcivia said...


I cannot be completely certain if you are the first ever “Joe Prize” recipient – simply because I can’t imagine I didn’t trot out that joke sometime or somewhere before. If not on the Blog, certainly in my prior APA and Fanzine writing days. It’s the lesson I learned from the great Irwin Allen, after years of watching his ‘60s TV series: Never throw anything away that can be used again later!

Yep, in the order the original Barks stories came to me, “The Swamp of No Return” was my first ever reference to Scrooge being Scottish. It made sense, thrift and all that.

There were also such references in the non-Barks DONALD DUCK comic books of the 1950s (which I also had not read at that point) such as “A Bucket of Scones” and “One for the Whammy” in DONALD DUCK # 48 and 65, respectively. Though now unjustly obscure, such stories offer proof that Scrooge’s heritage was in some way circulated throughout Western Publishing and / or Disney.

“Brutopia” first came into being in Barks’ Cold (literally) War epic “A Cold Bargain”, in UNCLE SCROOGE # 17 (1957, smack dab into the actual Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union), and was later a driving force in 1965’s “The Swamp of No Return”, as cited above.

Also, as cited above, Brutopia managed to hang-on as a part of Scrooge lore, subsequently used in various places – including by me for an incidental gag in UNCLE SCROOGE # 370 (2007), to great end by David Gerstein in UNCLE SCROOGE # 394-395 (2010), and will surface once again in IDW’s first issue UNCLE SCROOGE # 1 (2015).

But, if you’ve never read Barks’ “The Swamp of No Return”, you’ve REALLY got some great reading ahead! It was one of his best ‘60s stories! Oh, and there’s even a very minor reference to it in WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES # 718 (2011). …Try and find it, folks!

Joe Torcivia said...


How about “(Dan Cunningham, artist and illustrator, blogger supreme, Disney historian)”? I call ‘em like I see ‘em. Or, if we’re dealing strictly in named credits, “(Dan Cunningham, “I Can Break Away”)”?

I LIKE the idea of Craig Ferguson, even though I’ve never seen his recent talk show, strictly based on his character of Roddy MacStew on FREAKAZOID!

Though Alan Young and Chuck McCann, would be great to hear again! Every child of the sixties grew up with Chuck on WPIX 11 television.

Comicbookrehab said...

Thank You for the recommendation, Joe! I'm looking forward to writing more about every new bite-sized bon bon of information that comes our way, and welcome new visitors to check out what I have to more than 142 characters.

You realize, Joe, that you'll have to offer a counterpart to "F.O.O.M." with the "Joe-Prize"'s under way...and then you'll have the Blogger equivalent of T.M. Maple or Charles J. Sperling chiming in their "critiques" :)

Joe Torcivia said...


Happy to be of service, and to recommend your fine work. Keep it going!

That whole “more than 142 characters” thing, as you so perfectly put it, is what makes Blogging both special and worthwhile.

And I consider my intrepid commenters, like yourself, to be the Blogging equivalent of T.M. Maple and Charles J. Sperling. Yes, consider yourselves all special! Certainly around here!

Say, ya ever wonder what happened to all those great old letterhacks, once the letter columns faded away? They can’t ALL have moved on to Blogging…

Comicbookrehab said...

Well, it is a mystery,because if there's no online presence whatsoever, one is inclined to believe that they're attending the big Comic-Con in the sky, or moved on in a way which their online presence gives no clue that would turn up in a search - for example, there's a bunch of guys named "Joey Marchese", but none appear to have been into comics..I found your blog after one of your DVD reviews came up in a search - I think it was for reviews of the Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry DVD. From there, I saw the link to Chris Barat's blog. I remember finding out about Jim Burke "T.M. Maple" after reading his Wikipedia entry - his own Wikipedia entry..he's immortal now.

Joe Torcivia said...


Even with a name as (you’d THINK) unique sounding as mine, there appear to be at least three separate and distinct persons that come up on a Google search. I’m fond of telling people that, if you look up my name, I’M the one who writes about comics and DVDs. …And, of course, that I’m the REAL one.

So, the existence of several “Joey Marchese”s would not surprise me. Maybe they were / are all artificially created, or cloned, beings that may have been part of some failed plot to take over the world, or sumpthin’! There might have been one “Joey”planted into all walks of life! Sleeper agents waiting to strike against civilization, at the word of the “Master Letterhack” known to the world as “T.M. Maple”. …A name so feared, he rates his own Wikipedia entry!

Dale Coe (I think) was the name of the other persistent letterhack whose name I was trying hard to remember when formulating my previous reply to you, and whom I used to associate with T.M. Maple.

Oh, and if there IS a “big Comic-Con in the sky”, suddenly I feel less fearful of my eventual demise. Or, as I often say: “If there are no comics, DVDs, and pizza there, how can they call it Heaven?”

Dan said...


The parenthetical placement of "artist and illustrator, blogger supreme, Disney historian—now that's high praise, indeed! That level of admiration is reciprocal and then some to you and all the commenters on TIAH! Such a fine group of funny, sincere and intelligent souls gather here.

You know, I'd forgotten it was Craig that voiced Roddy MacStew! Boy, if there was ever a WB show that I'd like Cartoon Network to revive, it's FREAKAZOID! Can you imagine that team taking on parodies of current-day themes like Lady Gaga, over-produced reality shows, and the Christopher Nolan superhero films? Of course, Yakko, Wakko & Dot would have a similar level of fun with those topics, too!

You mentioned Chuck McCann's local shows in the '60s: I have a DVD of some of his old shows I must share with you next time we get together. Chuck included it with his book of memoirs from the WPIX/WNYW live TV days. Great stuff!

– Dan

Joe Torcivia said...

Thank you, Dan!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again… We (ALL of us) have a great thing going on here – and all of YOU are responsible for that!

Cartoon Network (combined with strong DVD sales) was responsible for the returns / revivals of both FAMILY GUY and FUTURAMA. Pity that failed to happen for FREAKAZOID! A count of 24 episodes is far too little for such a wonderful show.

I would love to see the Chuck McCann DVD!

Comicbookrehab said...

I suppose we should also thank Cartoon Network for influencing Disney to revive own of their own tv series, since revivals are usually Hanna-Barbara/Warner Brothers/Cartoon Network's thing. :)

Adel Khan said...

I hope Alan Young will reprise his role. It's a very natural burr. His rich characterization is what I first heard when reading "Only A Poor Man". If a successor has to be chosen then I can think of no appropriate than Glaswegian, Craig Ferguson.

It's neat how Carl Barks alluded to Scrooge speaking with a scottish accent. In "King Scrooge The First", the fortune teller says: "That voice! I've heard it before! The exact inflection! The unmistakable whirr of vowels grinding the edges off consonants! "The Swamp of No Return" is one of Barks' stories I have yet to read.

The "source" whose responsible for recruiting the voice actors is close to you and M.E. I hope the stories will be in tone with the characters.

It would be fun seeing Daisy and Ludwig Von Drake make more appearances in the reboot. Possibly Carl Barks' stories could be adapted for this incarnation.

Depending on what you've seen first, it's interesting how we can associate an actor with a different production. I would assume most people relate Alan Young with "Mr. Ed", but it will always be "DUCKTALES" for me.

From the excerpts on YouTube I've seen Chuck McCann's show is very entertaining.

Joe Torcivia said...


I have no idea WHAT could be behind the utterly out-of-the-blue declaration to revive DUCKTALES. But, unlike the practices of “Hanna-Barbara/ Warner Brothers /Cartoon Network”, I hope they stop well short of extending it to things like BONKERS. :-)

Joe Torcivia said...


My first reaction, naturally, is to have the voice casting (in ANY such revival) be as spot-on close to the original as possible. Sometimes producers succeed at this and sometimes they don’t. Needless to say, I’d want this for a series as iconic as DUCKTALES.

However, two places I would much mind seeing a change would be the two places where I felt the original 1987 voices diverged TOO MUCH from what my thoughts on what Carl Barks’ characters would sound like: Gyro Gearloose and Magica De Spell.

I’ve always “heard” Barks’ Gyro as more of a “prissy intellectual” than Hal Smith’s “country doctor” type of voice, and I’m certain Magica’s Italian heritage (very likely viewed with pride by Italian fans and those of Italian descent like me) was jettisoned to accommodate June Foray’s classic “Natasha” (of “Boris and…”) vocal.

In direct contrast, Hal Smith's Flintheart Glomgold was more perfect than I could ever have hoped for. Let alone Alan Young's Scrooge. So, you win some, you lose some.

But, by now in the case of Gyro and Magica, I’d suspect that fans of the show would end up being ironically displeased by what would seem to be an even greater adherence to Barks.