Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Appendix 1: Scrooge & Goldie
My earlier posts here on Don Rosa's magnificent epic, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck seemed to go down well, so I decided to spread the praise for the richest duck in the world a little further, and present some scenes from other important parts of Scrooge's life, stories that weren't included in the twelve-part miniseries but still fit into its continuity.
There'll be two "appendix" posts, both including snippets not only from Don Rosa's comics but also a bit from the late, great Carl Barks. And this first of the two is, of course, dedicated to Scrooge's one-true-love-that-almost-was, Glittering Goldie O'Gilt.
(Oil painting by Carl Barks)
If there was one big flaw in The Life and Times, it was the general lack of Goldie. However, Don Rosa later wrote and drew several "extra" stories about the young Scrooge, stuff that had to be cut from the original twelve-parter but still deserved some attention.
Only one epoch in Scrooge's life was deemed worthy of two extra stories, though; namely his time in the Klondike. And both stories further explore his relationship with Glittering Goldie and what might have been.
Before we get to that story, however, here's a little treat for you: The flashback scene from the original Scrooge/Goldie story, Carl Barks's classic Back to the Klondike from 1953 (32 pages). The story itself takes place mostly in modern times, where Scrooge and his nephews travel to the Klondike in order to find the aged Glittering Goldie.
Romantic? Not really. Scrooge's real reason for wanting to find her (or so he claims) is that she owes him a whole lot of money.
He does, however, take the time to tell Huey, Dewey and Louie the story of why Goldie owes him so much money, triggering a four-page-long flashback scene.
Life and Times timeline-wise, this scene takes place shortly after Scrooge finds the "goose-egg" gold nugget that finally makes him rich.
This flashback was actually removed from the first printing of Back to the Klondike, (the pages were re-drawn by Barks and restored to the story in 1981) because Barks's publisher (Dell comics) didn't like the implications of Scrooge's actions here. Of course, the worst part was that he'd kidnapped Goldie and made her live and work with him for a month... what did he do with her at night?
Don Rosa would expand on this story several decades later, in the story The Prisoner of White Agony Creek (33 pages), delivering a story that is quite probably the raunchiest of all the Disney Duck comics. If Barks had tried to tell this story in 1953, his publishers would have fainted -- because the implications and innuendoes are anything but subtle in this one.
It tells the story of what actually happened during that one month when Goldie was with Scrooge. And as you might have guessed, Rosa really goes to town with the quasi-romantic tension between the two.
(You might have noticed, in Life and Times, that Scrooge kept a lock of hair amongst his most valuable treasures -- well, this is how he got it.)
It's not all pseudo-romance, though: Soapy Slick, out for revenge against Scrooge, convinces the three men shown here -- who turn out to be none other than Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and "Hangin' Judge" Roy Bean -- to go and rescue Goldie.
Hopwever, Goldie (hoping to get her hands on the goose-egg nugget) isn't all that willing to let herself be rescued.
The resulting fight is pretty much standard for the young Scrooge, as is a follow-up chase scene and battle with two lowlives calling themselves Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who are also after both Goldie and the goose-egg nugget. The end result, however, is that Goldie does end up with the nugget after Scrooge has been knocked unconscious...
...but in the end, she can't bring herself to steal it.
See what I mean about implications? The big question now is, did they, or didn't they? We may never know for sure.
The next Scrooge/Goldie tale in the timeline is Hearts of the Yukon (24 pages), which takes place a year after Prisoner of White Water Creek and features a new arrival in the town of Dawson...
Yep, the people of Dawson eye a golden opportunity to get rid of Scrooge here. Of course, Goldie eyes a different opportunity...
You know, I'll include an extra page with Colonel Steele here, just because he's awesome.
After much chasing and fighting and back and forth, a fire has broken out in Dawson, and Scrooge is there to swoop in and rescue Goldie from the burning Blackjack ballroom...
Or possibly not. In any case, the misunderstanding with the law is cleared up, Steele finally gets his motto right (after a bit of a false start) and Scrooge is free to go:
The story ends with Goldie writing a letter to Scrooge, hoping that when he gets it, he'll return to her... but Scrooge, having lost his faith in her, thinks that it's probably just another complaint or lawsuit she's filed against him, and throws the letter away, unopened, to spare himself from seeing "the poison inside."
And there the story rests, and the two ducks go their separate ways, never to speak to each other again... well, not until fifty years later, in the events depicted in Barks's Back to the Klondike.
Well, I didn't say it was all flowers and candy. If you've seen the DuckTales episode that was based on this story, you've actually seen an extremely romantisized and sugar-coated version of the real tale: The DuckTales Scrooge was softened up a bit for TV and is on the whole rather more sentimental and soft-hearted than the Scrooge you find in the comics -- and Barks's Scrooge, even in this story, has to be dragged kicking and screaming along for ages before he'll admit to caring about anything but money.
That said, when he finds out that Goldie really did turn over a new leaf (she gave away her money to support children who were orphaned after mining accidents), he does manage to get her off the hook in a pretty clever way that he's convinced fools everybody into thinking has nothing to do with him going soft:
Yep, Goldie just found the secret cache of nuggets that Scrooge hid there fifty years ago, for emergency. Scrooge claims to have forgotten that this was where he hid it, and spends most of the trip back to Duckburg moaning and lamenting his loss... but Donald isn't fooled for a minute, having seen through the frankly pretty transparent ploy.
And that is the story of Scrooge and Goldie... well, so far, at least. Present-day Goldie does appear in a few other stories, particularly by Don Rosa, and it's not at all certain that the last word has been said.
(Two half-pages from A Little Something Special, 29 pages, a story made in 1997 for the fiftieth anniversary of Scrooge's first appearance in Christmas on Bear Mountain.)
Next appendix post will be dedicated to another aspect of Scrooge's life, namely his family.