Friday, 3 March 2017

"The Se-DUCK-tion Of An Innocent Youth"

I, like many of the students, was anxious returning to school from the comforts of staying at home. There was the impending science fair project that I delayed over the break. The most I could do was how I would layout the tri-fold. Where would I glue paper and paste it on there? It reminded me of when the Three Stooges were paperhangers or Donald in one short decorating his house with wallpaper. Once again it was my dad at the helm of my science fair project. We bought a book listing the numerous experiments. I felt it would be fun conducting if the bounce of a ball depends on the type of ball.

Among the feeble ideas, I jotted down about possible science experiments.
My dad when explaining me potential and kinetic energy, relayed it with an analogy of Curly at the top of the stairs which demonstrated potential energy, as his body was at rest. He said if Curly were to tumble down the flight of stairs that would demonstrate kinetic energy because his body was in motion. He then drew a picture of a set of stairs with Curly falling down accompanied with his sound-effect “Woo-woo-woo”. When I saw that drawing that interested me.
During this era, I watched repeatedly Donald's "antagonizes" a series of ants in "Tea For Two Hundred" (1949). As politically incorrect as it was to have the ants depicted as African Americans it was humorous. 
My favourite part was when the ants throw Donald over the cliff. Beautiful backgrounds from Thelma Witmers and Oliver Wallace music added to what was to have been a serene outing in the mountains for Donald.  
Once again we were learning how Canadian elections were held. Ian, Spencer, Jerry, other classmates and I created our own party, “The Ghostbusters”. I was in charge of creating a poster and a political announcement. I recorded a political announcement over Ray Parker’s 1980s hit “Ghostbusters”, as his song included the lyric “Who ya gonna call” which suggested we were the party to elect. I recreated a poster of “The Ghostbusters” insignia using markers and pastel. When I brought the poster next day in class, Ian was surprised by how well it looked.

Friday afternoon I went downstairs to the library in order to do some research for an assignment. I was in the middle of reading a book when I heard a familiar sound; upon further inspection, it was Clarence Nash as Donald Duck and Paul Frees as the Narrator. I could not help myself from looking into the classroom where students were watching “Donald Duck and Mathmagic Land”. I did not want to make it look obvious that I was looking into the classroom so I headed upstairs.
The scene where a distraught Donald observes his transformation into  Alice of Wonderland fame is the moment I saw the film.   
I was always excited to play “Capture the Flag” with my classmates, on the “Marion Carson Elementary” soccer field: A perfect topper to the end of the school week. In order not to get trapped by the opposing team, I devised a clever way of maneuvering around them. I would quote the promotional texts from issues of “Uncle Scrooge”. For example, on the cover of issue #62 “Yeeks! Advance To The Rear! IT”S THE QUEEN OF THE WILD DOG PACK”. Classmates would give me a puzzled look as to why I would say that, but that did not matter to me. It served its purpose of distracting the opponents. I madly maneuvered around them. When one classmate was close to catching me I said, “I was the Cannon on the Wabash Cannonball” as I ran rampantly from their clutches. You are probably wondering where I had come across this quotation.

A couple of days earlier, my friend Joey had lent me his issues of “Uncle Scrooge” (285-297) that printed “The Life And Times of Scrooge McDuck”. Each installment of “Life and Times” would be accompanied by a commentary where Don Rosa explained the historical events he used or references that Carl Barks inferred to about Scrooge’s past. Therein would lay panels from “Uncle Scrooge” stories. It was a treat for me, as I had not read most of his adventures. Don Rosa did a gargantuan feat of using the few references that Carl Barks made to Scrooge’s past and create a great series. I had a better appreciation of the battles Uncle Scrooge triumphed over when he was attaining his fortune. We were introduced to his family – his parents, uncle’s, and sisters.

When I returned to class that Monday. I was working at my desk when I saw Mr. Pugh pushed a TV trolley in the classroom. I leaped out of my desk when seeing the cover of “Donald Duck and Mathmagic Land”. It was a thrill viewing the cartoon as I had seen only pictures of it. A nifty cartoon that combined math concepts with my interest. After we played soccer, my friend Ian had arrived from a dentist appointment, he asked me what he missed in class. My friend Spencer said that we watched an Uncle Scrooge cartoon, and I corrected him that it was Donald. One thing that irked me at that time was how people would confuse Uncle Scrooge with Donald.
The Narrator (Paul Frees): Look at the condition of your mind: antiquated ideas! Bungling! False concepts! Superstitions! Confusion! To think straight, we'll have to clean house.

A pin-up drawing of Daisy(!) in Donald's mind.

I always felt this was a reflection of my mind as I had difficulty in school, but I recalled inane knowledge about my interests.
I visualized this scene of when I needed to focus on complex concepts in class. 


The background artists imaginatively incorporated numbers in the background.

Each night I would unwind by reading a chapter from "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck". It was “Chapter 11: The Empire Builder From Calisota” that I found to be the most intriguing as his personality shifted to the hardened, villainous character he was when Barks first introduced him to the world. I found it heart wrenching how once he accomplished his goal of being the richest Duck he loses his family. I thought had he not made that immoral decision in securing his position of the wealthiest. Would it have resulted in him in cutting all ties with his family?

On February 5, 2004, we presented our projects once in front of our class. When it was my turn to talk about my project “Bouncing Balls”, Jare one of my classmates asked Adel how far did your balls bounce? Once he said that I could not contain my composure. We presented in the gymnasium after recess and later in the evening. It would be a few weeks later until we would discover who would be the representatives of the Calgary Youth Science Fair, but I was preoccupied in enjoying the " The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck". 

Out of good conscience, I couldn't keep Joey's comics for a long time. The night before I had to return the comics Joey lent me I was reading “Chapter 8C: Hearts Of The Yukon”. I remember listening to “Desperado” by the Carpenters as I read the story. The song aptly fit the faltering relationship between Scrooge and Goldie. The final lyric “You better let somebody love you, before it’s too late,” supported the notion of how Scrooge was to reveal his desire for Goldie in the burning Blackjack Saloon before being knocked unconscious from a fire hose. It was a biter sweet moment as I could not wonder what would have prospered had he conveyed his feelings towards her. I preferred their relationship over Donald and Daisy’s as their relationship was one-sided. The fact that they both had rigid hearts and could not openly display their affection was appealing. Don Rosa could be more explicit with how he handled their relationship, as he did not have to deal with the confines of censorship.
The lyric "Don’t your feet get cold in the winter time?” alludes to how Scrooge’s imperceivable fortitude conquers the frigidness he is experiencing, while visiting Glittering Goldie. The set of lyrics "The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine. It’s hard to tell the night time from the day" describes the constant bleakness as he was making his way through the storm.In the lower panel, you can sense the struggle he is putting up against the storm by his gesture. Don Rosa's drawing makes you feel as you are battling the elements with him. The colours of blue and purple add to the coldness.
Scrooge's hallucination of Goldie as a reindeer was humorous, yet odd.
The lyric "Your prison is walking through this world all alone" is applicable to both Goldie and Scrooge as they both have put up walls preventing each other from being hurt. In the final tier, Don Rosa through different perspectives conveys how they both feel the same loss.
Sadly I had to return the issues that I had borrowed from Joey. It was “Valentine’s Day” that I picked up “Uncle Scrooge” #325 as it reprinted, Carl Barks classic “Back To The Klondike”. I never owned a copy of the comic. A frequent writer to the Uncle Scrooge letter column, Joe Torcivia, commented: ”Like a cherished holiday TV special, [“Back To The Klondike”] should return regularly to thrill each new crop of readers,” which conveyed my sentiment. I read the story online with my dad, however, it was not the same experience. The tale included the infamous scene of him recalling what happened between him and Goldie. I was enamored with how Glittering Goldie drugged his coffee in order to obtain the Golden Egg Nugget. How he inflicted over the top violence upon the locals in the bar was fantastic.
It was ironic that at the time in Calgary, Alberta there was deep snow, which matched the panel of Scrooge surrounded in a snowdrift. White Agony Creek was reminiscent of the scenery in Calgary. It made me appreciate the great lengths Carl Barks went to make sure the backgrounds were accurate to the story’s setting.

Carl Barks looking back on the morality of the scene said: " Scrooge picked her up and carried her out to his claim and made her go to work. It didn't look like kidnapping, yet it was. He was taking the law into his own hands and that is not lawful. And what did he do with her at night?” My interpretation was there were platonic undertones to their relationship. What was great was how he stirred up interest of what may have happened during the stint without going too much into detail. I had no qualms about the young Scrooge kidnapping Goldie being unethical. At that age, it was cool seeing him as an antihero, as you saw Goldie withering in her ripped clothes and tousled hair. Ha-ha-ha I loved this sequence so much it's scary! The DUCKTALES adaptation of the story appropriately altered the incident of Goldie willingly offer Scrooge to replace his nugget. For further reading on the adaptation, I HIGHLY recommend Chris Barat’s analysis.
His style during this period was nice. As the characters had a 'soft' look to them. The censored pages include a gamut of emotions from scorn, seductiveness, and sorrow were striking that I traced many poses from here.
The interplay between the lethargic Donald as he struggled to carry a crotchety Scrooge on his back while climbing the Chilikoot Pass was witty. It was similar to the beginning of “McDuck of Arabia” (US#55) where he was excited in tossing moneybags, while Donald was intent on sitting on a chair. A few months later, I was having a conversation with my tutor who was from British Columbia. I asked her if she had seen the Chilikoot Pass? She told me she had. After she left, my mom asked me how did I know of the Chilikoot Pass? I told her I learned about it from “Back To The Klondike”. The story is still enjoyable as when I read it in my formative years. 

The Marion Carson School Newspaper announcing the  City Science Fair. 
A couple of days later the list of qualifiers of the Calgary Youth Science Fair was posted outside Mr.Pugh's classroom. I remember how I made my way through the sea of 'grade sixers' to see if I made it. I scrolled down through the list with my finger and I saw my name listed there. Then as I was leaving I went back to check that it was actually my name. There it was! I was awestruck that I was among the many contenders along with Ian, Spencer, and many others. One of my friends Jamie he was heartbroken that his project was not selected to win. I felt guilty about having been one of the contenders as it wasn’t my intention to have been a part of it.
That ride from school I proudly told my mom that I would be participating in the Calgary Youth Science Fair evoked this page from Don Rosa's "The King Of The Klondike.
  In the second tier, the secession of expressions as Scrooge's mood elapses from contemplation to greed was captured marvellously.
There was the day I wanted to borrow a VHS entitled “Donald Duck: Kids Is Kids”. The cover was a still from 1952 short "Lucky Numbers" or as I called it "the one that takes places at a gas station". 
I called all branches of “Rogers Video” to see if they carried the video. I was disappointed that none of the locations had it. The following day I walked to the library, to pay Joey a visit and ask him if I could borrow one of his volumes of "The Carl Barks Library". On the way there I had a longing for a Duck related surprise if it was a comic book or videocassette.

When I arrived at the library I went to the reception to talk to him. We had a brief conversation before he asked to be excused, which I allowed. At the age, I was not aware that our discussions may be distracting him from completing his work. I treasured our discussions about Carl Barks and other Disney artists. I would occasionally bring the subject about the Ducks up with my friends, but they did not share the level of enthusiasm as I did. Remember this was before I entered the world of blogs and forums, so I did not have anyone to discuss deeply the topic. When Joey returned he held a copy of "Walt Disney's Comic Digest" #44. Upon seeing the comic I did a "take" that exaggerated a Tex Avery cartoon. He explained how he found a spare copy while cleaning out his house. I was eternally grateful for him giving the comic to me.
Upon walking home, I was mesmerized by Tony Strobl's drawing and the clever caption. I always liked the layout of the digest's cover with a Disney character in the corner.
The quality of the digest was not in the greatest of shape, but I treasured it nonetheless. I got a real kick of seeing the stories muddily-reproduced in the digest. There were two stories "Donald Duck In Ancient Persia" and "The Pixilated Parrot" I had never read before. The covers that originally followed the stories were also reprinted. "Donald Duck In Ancient Persia" was the first story of his where I was really riveted.
The opening panel of the nephews looking at the ruins of Persia set the foreboding atmosphere.
It was eerie how Prince Cad Ali Cad left alone in the bewildering present, happily commits suicide. Barks revisited the concept of a character using powders to return to his former life in 1967’s “King Scrooge The First”, his last story written but drawn by Tony Strobl.
The scientist being an actual human being added to the chill factor. The scientist’s elixir, when invoked upon on human ashes, brought people to life fascinated me. What was even more foreboding was how he abducted the Ducks. That’s a joke, son! King Nevvawaza poked the scientist in the eye as he repeatedly asked about how his people were desiccated, reminded me of when Moe would inflict it upon Larry or Curly. His illustrations of the characters drying up were spooky.

After all, Donald endured, he was kind to his nephews it made the story upbeat. 
In "Donald Duck and The Pixilated Parrot" his gesture of giving Uncle Scrooge the parrot as a birthday present was thoughtful. Scrooge's reaction ("Me with a bird to support. I should give myself to the poor farm.) was priceless as he refused his nephew's present. The hi-jinx the parrot present as he endlessly enumerated numerous items was a good running gag. It was strange seeing his money stored in a vault inside a building instead of his Money Bin. I found it humorous how Scrooge had to kick Donald in order to persuade him to retrieve the parrot from a flagpole. I thought that the story was finished once they brought Polly from the jungle. I forgot about the robbers who stole his money. How it took them an entire month to split the money between them.
Later the evening, I went for dinner at "Pizza Hut". I looked at the final page before our order arrived. I was anxious that we would not have to wash dishes in compensation for payment as the Ducks did. Thankfully we did not!
On Thursday, March 20 during the last class of the day we played games outside. As we were representatives for our school Mr. Pugh told us to be on our best behavior. It felt as if we were embarking on a secret mission and our duty was to upheld the trust. As I left the building I was on top of a euphoric high that I could not be knocked off from. It felt special attending the City Science Fair while our classmates were in school. The feeling of being away from Marion Carson Elementary even for a day appealed to more.

That night we ordered from Pizza Hut; The leftover pizza slices were my lunch for the next day. It's the only food that can be tasty whether cold or warmed. On Friday, March 21 I went with Ian and Spencer with another participant's father driving us to the Big Four Building. It felt as we were on the cusp of adulthood where we didn't need adult supervision as we went from one booth. I was excited to discuss my project with the judges that would pass by.
I flipped through "Walt Disney Comic Digest" #44 and "Carl Barks Library I" book 1 was how I passed time. If I was bored I would visit Ian and Spencer.  A booth sponsored by APEGA who distributed stickers made me proudly exclaim to my friends how my father was a member of the organization. Ian's mother picked us up from there and we stopped by Roger's Video because Ian wanted to watch a film as he had a basketball game the following day. 

The back cover from "Bugs Bunny - Truth or Hare". As mentioned in a previous post I enjoyed looking at the cover art of the video cassettes at Roger's Video.

  I was intrigued with which short the still of Bugs Bunny as Groucho Marx belonged to. 

An energetic participant in front of his project.

Friday, 24 February 2017

"D-U-C-K-I-E"

The eventual morning on Tuesday, September 2 was a thrilling time as we, the students in Mr. Pugh’s assembled outside on a hill. It was fun talking with most of the other classmates who I had been in previous grades with. That week one of our exercises in Math class was how we would determine patterns. There was one sheet that I was unable to complete. In class, we were marking that assignment and others. Luckily Ian was marking mine filled in the answers that I hadn’t completed.

Prior to our class photo was taken, we were waiting in line, out of nowhere Ian had brought up the “Mr. Sparkle” episode of THE SIMPSONS. As I wanted to be next to Ian in our class photo I hunched my shoulders so I wouldn’t be in the front row with the tall students. It worked!
That's lil' ol' me wearing a dark blue shirt in the middle row next to my bud, Ian.
At the start of each class day, we would write in our journals. The previous day I went with my father to the library and I borrowed the book on comic books artists. I would read the entry on Carl Barks and I plagiarized it unaware I was doing that. Mr. Pugh’s comments on one of my entries, “You, sure know a lot about Carl Barks!” When we would assemble words for our spelling test, I would peruse through an Uncle Scrooge story to find words. 

One of my wishes that summer was to obtain a comic-book from the Dell or Gold-Key era. Despite the print quality being of a lower quality, I wanted to get a whiff of that oxidized paper. I wanted to know what it felt living in the era of the sweet sixties. When my mother came back from her visit, she gave me a Top Cat comic book. It was a bizarre product as the cover was from the Charlton first issue of Top Cat, yet the contents were from Gold Key issues #30 and #31 of the title.

Initially, I was unreceptive to the comic book based on the cover, however, once I read the first story, “Physical Fit-Mess” I was hooked. I was entertained by how Top Cat and his band of alley cats outsmarted Officer Dibble. Outside of hearing the theme of the show and seeing the snippet from a preview, I was unfamiliar with Top Cat. As odd as this sounds, I was wondering how the characters would sound in my head.
The first panel with T.C. and his alley cat members Brain, and Benny The Ball set up the setting of the series.
In the second tier I liked Top Cat's line.
I applauded their creative method of walking to Elmwood, namely as one member carries the rest while he walks. 
I was in awe of how spectacular the artwork look. The characters looked on model. Eleven years later I discovered the man responsible was Phil DeLara, who drew many of the H-B properties in addition to Daffy Duck, Gyro Gearloose. I can imagine this must have been what it must have felt like for many of Carl Barks fans to recognize his work, but not know who he was.

Another favorite story of mine "City Cats On Campout". Unbeknownst to me at the time what I found interesting about the story was how it drifted in the setting.

The variation of a different locale provided many new gag opportunities of T.C. and his gang causing mayhem for of all people - Officer Dibble.

I chuckled at how Top Cat's response to creating a fire with sticks and Benny The Ball's amusing witticism of extinguishing a fire. Years after I read this story I laughed as much then as I did now.
A good fraction of my lexicon comes from comic books. I learned the word - exorbitant from the story "Last Of The Pirates".  
It was later the following week, that after school, Ian asked me if I would like to come to his house. My mom had already arrived to pick me up, I asked her if she was all right with me going to Ian’s house. She told me that she was fine with the idea and that my dad on his way back from work would pick me up. I was envious of my classmates who resided in Varsity would hobnob as they walked on the way back from school. I imagined how fun it would be, to be a part of a clique. That day Ian and I stopped by the park to play with the other students.

One faithful weekend, Ian came over to finish our homework. When we were almost done, we decided to draw pictures of Donald. I checked out “Donald Duck: 50 Years of Happy Frustration” from the library again, we looked at the page that showed a collage of comic book covers. We drew pictures of Daisy Duck and Uncle Scrooge based on the cover of “Donald Duck” #95. On the way to “Pizza Hut”, he asked my dad, if he read Scrooge comics during his childhood. While we were there, I was opening a packet of sauce only for it to ooze onto one of the patron’s hair. I was quite embarrassed at that incident but he was laughing non-stop.
This was the very page that we looked at. Ian's drawing of Uncle Scrooge was based on Tony Strobl's rendition as seen here.
When I went to school on Monday, Ian presented me with an item wrapped with blue tissue paper. He told me not to unwrap it until I am at home because he wanted to keep it a surprise. Throughout the day I was very curious about what the item was. Once I came back from school, I eagerly removed the tissue paper to open Ian’s sketch of Uncle Scrooge. Underneath the drawing was issue #319 of “Uncle Scrooge”. Oh, boy was I ever excited to read it!

One long weekend, I went with Spencer and Ian to Westside Recreation Centre. (It was home to where Ian and I first spent time together.) We had a blast sliding down the water slides. Once we finished we dined at Boston Pizza. After my father dropped of Spencer at his house, we went to Ian's house to drop him off, however, nobody wasn't there. So we went to Rogers Video in Varsity rented "The Simpsons: Season 2". When we arrived home Ian and I binged watched THE SIMPSONS. What had detracted me from the early episodes were emotional. I felt a pang upon seeing Bart bawling after not receiving his desired grade ("Bart Gets an F"). Underneath their yellow flesh, we see aspects of our self that we can identify. 'Over time I miss the heart of the early episodes of THE SIMPSONS.  My favorite episode that was a complete shift in tone was "Three Men and a Comic Book". As a geek who was in love with comic-books, I related to the feeling of one day owning a vintage comic-book.

It was two weeks before Halloween I was deciding who to dress up as. I decided on dressing up as Uncle Scrooge. Using the pose of him from the cover of US#45 I drew it. When it was Halloween we whooped it up at school with a party. I was proud to show my mask. As the offerings in Varsity were substantially better than Hawkwood that was where I trick-or-treated. Spencer invited me to his house for a sleepover that Halloween. Originally the plan was for Ian to join us however, he had a cold and didn't want to pass his cold onto us. At Spencer’s house, Ian, Scott, Vickie, and myself assembled there. As it was snowed the night prior we went from house to in the bone-chilling cold. I remember towards the end how cold I was. We warmed up internally by watching "Treehouse Of Horror XII" an episode of THE SIMPSONS.
I had never seen the cold open for this episode and I was pleasantly surprised seeing Homer and Marge dressed as Fred and Wilma Flintstone respectively. 
Once school closed for the winter break, Ian and me, had one of our traditional sleepovers. We snacked on stuffed crust cheese pizza and chicken wings on the side from Pizza Hut, while we watched, “THE PARTY” (1965). The late Peter Sellers employed an impeccable Indian accent for the main character Hrundi V. Bakshi.  Peter Sellers (Hrundi V. Bakshi), poured a lot of sincerity in this role as the outsider trying to fit with the guests of the gathering. He has no idea of the social norms. Peter Sellers slapstick gags were in the traditional slapstick stylings of Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy. Henry Mancini’s score added to the swinging sixties with the sitar strumming in the background. The ending of the film left me with a warm feeling all over. When we came back from winter break, we regularly quoted Hrundi’s lines: “Oh! Bang! Howdy, Partner!” and “Birdie Num Num”. It was always fun to exchange lines back and forth from the film. 
Hrundi V. Bakshi (Peter Sellers) in the center; Claudine Longet (Michelle Monet), right in THE PARTY.
One of the downfalls during this break was that I had a bad case of the cold. I went with my mother to the newly opened Crowfoot branch of the Calgary Public Library. I was disappointed how that I didn’t find any “Donald Duck-centric” books. When we came back my head felt heavy, although I felt a bit better when I viewed the Rankin-Bass special, “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town”. I was fascinated by the stop motion animation. The voices were terrific, especially that of Paul Frees as Burgermeister Meisterburger.
The following day I went with my mother to Comic Kazi to pick up the recent issue of Uncle Scrooge along with “Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories” #635. A fine issue that provided lots of comforts, along with the hot soup and orange juice. Don Rosa’s opening story, “The Coin”, was interesting, it revolved around the titular coin from Scrooge’s money bin to all the hands of Duckburg. Throughout the tale, Donald endured a lot of pain. Here are some instances: Donald while flipping the dime that Uncle Scrooge gave him for a newspaper he bonked himself on the head. As he attempted to retrieve the dime, a tire ran over his foot. After the mixer inadvertently acted up causing it to overflow Daisy hit Donald in the back of the head.  Lastly, the dime fell from a building ledge onto Donald’s head causing him to fall down. I noticed how Donald in Don Rosa’s stories he tended to suffer the abuse from others.  I found his renderings when a character, mostly Donald, is victim to violence it looks a bit too realistic. I appreciated despite the pain he withstood, he was rewarded by Scrooge reinstating his position. It was cute seeing him and Daisy hold hands as they left the money bin. Overall a fun story where all major players in Duckburg having a bit part. The ending of the story Don Rosa showcased a flashback sequence from Carl Barks’ “Back To The Klondike” (1952). As I was unfamiliar with that tale seeing that panel (see below) was my earliest glimpse. 
An example of Don Rosa's excellent expressions. I experienced the rage as Goldie hurled the coins at Scrooge and the impact he felt of the cold coins.  
(When I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Don Rosa, I asked him if he preferred writing the long adventure stories or the short gag stories. His proclivity was for the adventure stories. I told him how I enjoyed “The Coin” due to how it focused on the denizens of Duckburg. He told me how that story was hard to develop the idea.)

Thursday, 3 March 2016

"3-D House Of Ducks"

On the last day of grade five, I was devastated upon learning that I would not be in the same class as my friends. When I was outside I saw Mr. McDonald, Ian's father waiting for him. I smiled politely not to reveal my disappointment over what had happened. My motive this semester in being studious was that I could be with my friends. I was completely crushed, but my mother was able to fix it that I would be with them. Once it was confirmed that I was in Mr. Pugh’s class, I immediately dialed Ian to let him know of the good news.

One day I had to run some errands with my father at “Northland Mall”. I went inside “Comic-Kazi” to see if by chance they had back issues from the Gladstone II era. The clerk told me there were no back issues, but he would take a look at the stock room to see if there were any. When he came back, he held a copy of “Maharajah Donald”, which was this year’s “Free Comic Book Day” offering. He told me there was a spare issue leftover. I asked him how much the price was? He told me it was - free. Then I had to clarify what he meant by - free - as I was dumbfounded that he gave it to me.

This was the first I discovered of the then-new publisher, Gemstone Publishing, having acquired the Disney comics license. Be still, my beating heart I had a ransom list of Carl Barks’ stories for reprinting. (Look at us now with Fantagraphics reprinting Carl Barks and IDW printing current Disney comics!) We went to the Nose Hill branch of the Calgary Public Library. When I was looking for an animation-related book, I was stopped in my tracks by one on the shelf – “Donald Duck: 50 Years of Frustration”. What ducky surprises I had that day! I imagined this was might have felt like to be on a streak of good luck, like Gladstone Gander. During that month, I was mesmerized by the facts that were printed here. I appreciated how well the book covered his life in animation and comic-books. The smattering of photographs of animation-director Jack Hannah, voice artist "Ducky" Nash, and Carl Barks was icing on the cake. This was LONG before the days of YouTube, where one could type in the cartoon you had never seen. I was in heaven as I saw stills from many Donald shorts. I spent many days drawing many pictures from here.


The following week, Ian called me over to his house. Ian skateboarded around the block while I rollerbladed. Then we played Nickey-Nickey-Nine Doors. Ian, the instigator of the game was having the time of his life watching me as I went door to door. I was fretting about getting caught by the time the homeowner arrived at the door. There was one house with a staircase; I was worried of falling flat on my face while walking hurriedly down the steps as I wore my rollerblades.

Early one day the DUCKTALES episode “Attack of The Metal Mites”. It was great seeing how Fenton without his Gizmoduck suit removed the metal mites by using his intelligence. I had wanted to see what I believed to be was the final episode of the show.

Later that day while I was channel surfing, I stopped at one channel showing a clip of Donald lighting his pile of leaves ("The New Neighbor", 1952). That clip was one of plenty excerpted in the special "DOWN AND OUT WITH DONALD". Thankfully I had a spare video to record it. The “duck-umentary” was similar in the vein of 60-Mintues tracing the life of Donald after a career-ending incident.

I was giddy when it was airing on the Family Channel that I called my dad at the office to tell him of the news. Among the artists whose music aided to the soundtrack of this special were: “You’re No Good” by Linda Ronstadt was over a montage of clips showing his breakup with Daisy, Dolly Parton’s “9 To 5” played over clips of him trying new careers, Steppenwolf’s blaring hit “Born To Be Wild” went over old clips of him vacationing, and lastly Weird Al’s farcical song “I Want a New Duck” coincided with his temper under control.
The selection of clips to the songs lyrics was appropriate. The lyrics from "Nine To Five" - "..Yawnin', stretchin', try to come to life" complement the bleary-eyed Donald. His comatose expression is what comes to mind when I wake up early. 
I identified most of the cartoons that were excerpted in the special. The “duck-umentary” cleverly intertwined clips from old Donald shorts sometimes with new voice over. For example, when he was returning from his vacation, he heard one radio announcer (Paul Frees) about him heading into parts unknown; he switched to another station I heard the nasal tones of Harry Shearer using a voice that he used for the irritating radio hosts on THE SIMPSONS.
Another set of lyrics, "They just use your mind and you never get the credit" perfectly accompanied the scene from "How To Have An Accident At Work" (1959).
 Donald's mind blanking out, with his shrunken pupils, encapsulates when I would lose focus in elementary school.
I recognized Stan Freberg was the narrator, as he employed the same voice on Disney’s “The Wuzzles”. He was perfect as narrator, as he had quips throughout the special about Donald’s behavior. “Donald had survived the greatest challenge of his career, never again will he lose his temper, and if you believe that you will believe a duck can talk. Not that clearly mind you but that’s the way it is.”

Spencer invited me to join him, his sister Megan, and his cousin Matt to “Calaway Park”. It was a very enjoyable time waiting in line for the rides. I recall pointing out a roof covered in pieces of gum. On the way back my mom took me to the Dalhousie branch of the now defunct Roger’s Video. I picked up “Cartoon Classics: Chip N’ Dale” so I could finally view the cartoon “Trailer Horn”. The music, in the beginning, was serene when Chip and Dale were sleeping. Donald repeatedly blasted the chipmunks with his horn was amusing.
I joined my mother and our neighbor for a walk to the library.  I preferred to ride on my scooter to there. Initially, it was relaxing, but as I descended the steepness of the slope made it extremely nerve wrecking. Had I passed through the difficult part of my excursion? Not by a long shot my friends. What lay ahead was gravel that aided in scraping my knee on the asphalt. I limped all the way back home. Later I went with my mom to “Roger’s Video” and rented “Cartoon Classics: Donald & Daisy”. I was exhausted from that event I went to bed early.

The first thing I did when I woke up was to view the video. In “Donald’s Double Trouble” the animation of Donald in the telephone booth exploding on the other end, as Daisy slammed the telephone was animated very well. It symbolized how explosive their relationship was at that time. Donald’s doppelganger eyes bulged upon seeing Daisy’s picture, reminded me of the wild “takes” that characters in Tex Avery’s cartoons exhibited. Donald’s repulsed reaction increasingly grew each time Daisy advanced on his double was coupled by a ringing sound effect, which effectively conveyed his infuriation. The ending of him hugging his double on the “Tunnel Of Love” was hilarious, but a bit racy. My sister joined me towards the end of the cartoon she remembered seeing it in her childhood. The short was followed by an interstial of Daisy showing Jiminy Cricket Donald’s diary, which led to the eponymous short. I found it odd hearing Russi Taylor voicing Daisy then it switched to June Foray voicing her.  
An example of one of the bridging sequences repurposed with new voice over. 
It was one of the more “adult” Disney cartoon I recall viewing. It was odd hearing Donald’s narrative voice being sophisticated and articulate.  Daisy in contrast to her earlier appearances was redesigned with her hair in a stylish bun, her color was peach, and she seemed bustier.
From "Donald's Diary" (1954) a smoking (!) Daisy with her lingerie scattered over the partition door was one of many scenes that seemed odd to a twelve-year-old me. 
Later she introduces him to her brothers, who suspiciously looked like Hewy, Dewy, and Louie. I could not discern if they were to be new characters or Donald’s nephews. The color palate for the 1950s backgrounds looked stunning. Donald’s closing thoughts are among his most eloquent: “I was born when I kissed her and died when we parted… but I lived for a little while.”
The beige skies, the hues of read, and charcoal grey contrast each other.  The architecture behind her captures the era of fifties San Fransisco. 
Many of the modern-esque backgrounds of Ralph Huttlett. The subdued color choice in this scene add to the romantic mood. 
I did not understand the satire of a married life; as a result, many jokes passed over my head for example: When Donald and Daisy carved their initials in a tree. The camera pulls back to reveal that her previous boyfriends have etched their names on the opposite side of the tree. Daisy noticed that her engagement ring changed color. Who can’t forget the scene when he sees her bride with curlers drinking coffee? As the flavor of wine enhances with age, this cartoon appealed to me once I turned thirteen.

The series get well cards I dew for my grandmother.
I drew a series of get well cards for my grandmother, who underwent a hip replacement. I gave the drawings to my mother when she was going to visit her. When my mom was not at home it was a lot of fun. I would wake up late in the afternoon, have breakfast, go through my math questions, surf on the Internet on websites about Carl Barks, and read comics.
The first drawing while my mother was away. Based on a Donald Duck pillow I had.
One morning I was chipper I woke up early, then I tried to solve some math questions, and did some drawings of Donald.  While I was waiting for my dad to wake up I watched “Sing Yourself Silly!” one of my SESAME STREET videocassettes. Ernie singing “The Honker Duckie Dinger Jamboree” and  “Put Down The Duckie” was just as ducky when I was three. The later song was impressive for the celebrities included in the montage; among them were Paul Simon, John Candy as Yosh Shmenge, and Andrea Martin as Edith Prickley. Later in the day we were sketching, he showed me his renditions of Batman complete with a square jaw and a perfect Gyro Gearlose in pastel. His method of drawing was drawing an outline then breaking the face into four quadrants.
As a three year old, I wondered who this bizarre man twirling the clarinet was. Who could imagine that I would encounter a person relate to him. Listen to Yosh Shmenge!
The following week to keep me occupied on Saturday when my sister and dad would be out. I went with my dad to “Blockbuster” and checked out a Three Stooges tape entitled “Dizzy Doctors. I was tempted to watch it immediately, but my dad suggested that I wait until tomorrow. Instead, we viewed another installment in Blake Edward’s canon of Pink Panther films “The Pink Panther Strikes Again” (1976). 
The relations between Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) and former Commissioner Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) are tense. Peter Seller's exaggeration of Clouseau's French accent was mirthful. 
I was eager to view “Goofs and Saddles” one of the shorts on that videocassette, as I had seen a snippet from the short of Curly in the bandwagon when it was included in the compilation “Stop, Look, and Laugh” (1960). Those boys looked “mighty purty” with their long hair and mustaches. The boys attempt to cheat during the poker game was fun. The highlight was when Moe and Curly who each had two aces and attempted to pass cards to each other, only they each hand each other their own aces! The climax was exciting as they escaped from Longhorn Pete’s saloon; I vividly recall Moe and Larry jumping from the window onto the covered wagon.

The dollar signs on Curly's apparel reminded me of you know. 
One of the highlights was when Ian would return from his cabin in Invemere, B.C. We took turns arranging a sleepover at each other’s house. When we were deciding which film we should view, I already had in it mind based on a conversation in grade three. When we had not known one and other closely, I brought up the topic about who his favorite comedy teams were. I asked him if he had ever seen The Three Stooges? He replied that they were one of his favorites. As I recalled the events of a Stooge short, “Tassels In The Air”, he interjected the scenes he found to be humorous. Especially Curly’s wild expression whenever he saw tassels, and how Moe and Larry would calm him with a brush. He later told me that he was related to John Candy. I raved about how it was awesome to have had him as a relative. Had I known of John Candy’s sycophantic character William B. Williams that he played on “SCTV”, I would have clapped my hands and have laughed cheaply. Come time to when we were planning our sleepover, the question about what film to watch came up. I suggested Mel Brooks’ film “SpaceBalls” (1987) because I knew he would enjoy it as much as I did. Once I mentioned that it stared Mr. Candy he was inclined.
A slight addendum, a couple of years when I religiously watched The Three Stooges on the weekends, (or as I called it "Stooge Saturday and Sunday") "SCTV" would precede it. I always liked the fast opening that would show a clip of the cast member, then shrink to reveal four squares with the characters he/she played. When I heard that theme, with televisions being tossed about, it was a signal that I was half-an-hour away from the slap-stick antics of The Three Stooges. 

From watching the opening I was aware that John Candy was a regular on the show, although I never paid attention to the characters he played. During my conversation with Ian, this screenshot was in my mind as I relayed the credits of his relative to him. 
On the way to his house, my sister and I were listening to Petula Clark’s hit, “Downtown” in the car. I could not help but recall Groundskeeper Willie’s off-key rendition in “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet”. As we passed “Marion Carson Elementary” I pretended as if I was revisiting it after a long period, as Uncle Scrooge did in the DUCKTALES episode, “Back To The Klondike” I always enjoyed being in the company of Ian’s family. His mother, sister, and father exuded warmth once you entered. It was a glorious time once I dropped my duffel bag into his room. I was skittish about taking the upper bunk bed as I had a fear of it collapsing, as I had seen the repercussions once Curly lied down. Ian was beaming with enthusiasm about the television that was in the basement was now in his room. He showed me the VHS releases of “Bart The General” and “Bart The Daredevil”. We were two pals without a care in the world.
The home where my late friend, Ian McDonald resided. Many's the time we would walk back from school to here. It was always filled with many merry moments. In my minds eye, I can see the arrangement of all of the rooms.
First we went to his backyard, bounced on his trampoline yelling “Tramp-amp-oline” as Homer referred to it. Then we took turns swinging from a tree and landing on the trampoline.  Once we were exhausted, we headed to Ian’s room where we watched “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet”, the very episode I had in mind earlier today. I can never forget watching it on his television with dials to the side. When I listen to “Baby On Board” it opens a flood of memories.
Bounce after bounce propelled to enormous heights of ecstasy. The panel from "The Unsafe Safe" (1960) by Carl Barks is what I pictured when I rebounded from the trampoline. I imagined that this must have been what Uncle Scrooge experienced.
After a scrumptious super of our favorite meal, Macaroni and Cheese, we then went to Roger’s Video to look at what another film to rent.  Back when VHS had not been yet phased out it was neat to see the array of titles down the aisles. When we came back we started our movie night. On the videocassette where I taped “SpaceBalls” the DUCKTALES episode “Robot Robbers” preceded it. Towards the end of the episode, Ian told me that Flintheart Glomgold reminded me of him. I was surprised as he was the most despicable of Carl Barks’ creations.
This was the exact point where Ian told me that Flintheart Glomgold reminded him of me. I was touched by his enthusiasm for my interest. Isn't it funny, how I think of him when I watch this scene in particular.
We snacked on popcorn and drank Coca-Cola while viewing “Spaceballs”. The both of us delighted in Mel Brooks’ spark of humor, from the many meta-references in his film (Dark Helmet obtaining a bootleg copy of the film to find out what to do next), Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) using “the Schwartz” to crush their testicles, the many expletives uttered by many of the characters. Early in the film, Lonestar and Barf owe a debt to the major gangster, Pizza the Hutt. We liked how the villain's name was an allusion to our favorite dining place. Pizza the Hutt's costume was believable with the gooey cheese and the steaming toppings. The rapport between Barf (John Candy) and Lonestar (Bill Pullman) echoed that of our friendship. The final scene of Dark Helmet, Colonel Sandurz, and President Skroob leaving the escape pod elicited chuckles until our stomachs ached. In typical Mel Brooks fashion, it was complete anarchy with everyone running for the Escape Pods in the film's climax — the orchestra, a variety of circus freaks, and even a bear.
John Candy's sincerity radiated with such lines as " I'm a mog: half man, half dog. I'm my own best friend! "
The next day Ian’s aunt took us to the science center. On the way there we had an interesting conversation about which comedians were Canadian. She asked us if we were familiar with Jane Goodal, as we were going to watch a documentary on her. Ian said that Jane Goodal was known for her exploiting monkeys in order to unearth diamonds. She asked him where he had learned that from, he said it was from an episode (“Simpsons Safari”) of THE SIMPSONS where the family won a trip to Africa. We were all laughing as he described what happened. It was tremendous fun playing around the various exhibitions over there such as building Lego cars and racing them, a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption that allowed you to control where a ball would land. I admired how hospitable Ian’s family treated me when I stayed over at their house. It was a fun couple of days spending with him.

What happened on the faithful day of Monday, September 1? I was treated to a meal of teriyaki chicken that was on the BBQ prepared by my father, served by a side of rainbow tortellini smothered with a rich alfredo sauce that my sister made.

That night, from the Abbeville book of Uncle Scrooge stories, we read out loud together – “McDuck Of Arabia” (1965). It was one of the Uncle Scrooge stories in his collection. There was agitation when the Hassan Ben Jaild threatened Huey with his weapons. I always liked how ingenious Huey was arranging the rocks in the shape of an arrow when he was kidnapped.
I liked the movement in the first panel of Hassan twirling his revolver. In the second panel of him drawing out a sword with the "toing" sound effect adds to the ominous nature. 
In the second tier, Huey's anxiousness and the shading behind him convey his plight.
We thought the Junior Woodchucks was an appropriate organization for Donald’s nephews, as their resourcefulness was utilized. In this story, it was demonstrated by Dewey and Louie in collaboration with the Arab division of the JWs, named, the Desert Patrol Six Four Six rescue the kidnapped ducks. We liked the witty name of the villain – Sheikh Hassan Ben Jaild. Carl Barks design of the sneering pig villain with – snout and beard worked well with Hasan Ben Jaild’s unscrupulousness.
Two years later I had the pleasure of briefly experiencing a sandstorm in Kuwait, I could relate to the one  Don and Scrooge were in.  
Carl Barks’ drawing was stellar as ever. His expressions for the dehydrated Ducks as they cross the desert made me feel what I was like as Uncle Scrooge and Donald crossed the “three-hundred miles of emptiness”. The portrayal of a full-scale assault of Uncle Scrooge and the Bir Shebans made me feel is if I were there. Not a bad way to end Labour Day on.
Uncle Scrooge's caption made me imagine the glittering surface of the land of Bir Sheba.
Seeing Sheikh Arrabi mentioning the deity, I worship Allah was cool. It made me appreciate the lengths Carl Barks  devoted into researching his stories.

The following morning as my dad was leaving for work, I mentioned second bottom tier, where Uncle Scrooge would not sacrifice five cents when they could drink for free at the hotel.  It got a chuckle from the both of us.
As I went to bed that night, I lay awake for most of the night thinking what wonders of the school year were in store. I also thought about how I was anxious the previous year when I looked at the class list and found out I was not in the same class as my friends. As I couldn't sleep that night I would talk to my dad about the supporting characters in Disney comics (i.e. Daisy Duck). It reminded me of SESAME STREET where Ernie would keep Bert awake at night.