Monday, December 29, 2014

The Apocryphal Scrooge McDuck, Part 4

"Many is the book report that have been written by just reading the dust jacket"

- Linus Van Pelt in the TV special, Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!

I have reached the point in this series where I inevitably wind up highlighting books I don't own, but would like to have read, and would've owned if I had encountered them at any toy store/bookstore/dollar store/flea market/sidewalk book peddler table offering them. This means I unfortunately don't have a generous gallery to offer, or insightful snarky comments regarding key plot details, but my interest in these books remains piqued and they will be duly noted. As a bonus, I get to post another Christmas-themed essay! Ho ho ho/You didn't know/ Yo ho ho/ and a bottle of rum! ;)

The self-implied rule here is that I'm blogging about original Children's books featuring Scrooge McDuck as a member of the classic Disney stock players, be it as a primary character or guest-star, not Ducktales tie-in books, because I already wrote about Ducktales kid books in my Silver Dollars: Ducktales Anniversary series of posts, so why am I breaking the rule?...

...I didn't know Ducktales: Christmas At The North Pole existed, that's why. The book was part of Disney's "Wonderful World of Reading" mail-order book club series, which means only a faithful subscriber keeping up with his/her dues would've recieved this installment, rather than bailing out after receiving the umpteenth Alice in Wonderland or Cinderella. You would've also received the bizarre Disney Year Book, a Highlights for Children -esque book of stories mixed with anecdotal educational content featuring Disney characters.

The plot? Donald Duck, who is still in the Navy, is stationed at the North Pole and has invited Scrooge McDuck and Huey, Dewey and Louie to join him to celebrate Christmas. Mrs. Beakley, Webby, Duckworth and Launchpad get to come along, but  Launchpad drops the ball when he crashes the plane in a location that's vaguely North-ish. While McQuack makes repairs to the plane, the cast set up a campfire and fret about missing Christmas and Donald, but begin to perk up as they keep eachother entertained and attract the attention of local wildlife, who peacefully join in at the camp. Launchpad finishes the repairs and the gang is able to resume their trip. I  gather the point of this tale is that Christmas is a holiday that need not be celebrated in materialistic ways, nor can it be "ruined" if events don't work out as planned. Meanwhile, Donald was guzzing egg nog wondering why nobody showed up.

The 1980 Christmas tale, Merry Christmas, Uncle Scrooge McDuck!, looks interesting because it appears to suffer from a clash of art styles: it looks like Scrooge crashed the set of A Charlie Brown Christmas while dressed in an outfit he borrowed from Mister Magoo's wardrobe...I wonder what Ducktales would've looked like if it had been animated by DePatie-Freling Studios instead of TMS or Cuckoo's Nest...something like that cover, maybe?

The plot in this tale is that Scrooge refuses to give Donald an advance on his pay before Christmas, meaning Donald can't afford to buy presents for Huey, Dewey and Louie. There are two ways the plot of this book could go: 1) Donald enlists Mickey Mouse and Goofy's help in cobbling together four ghost costumes and they procede to scare Scrooge into having a change of heart and forking over some spare change; 2) Scrooge leaves work early and observes other people enjoying Christmas, even partaking in some holiday-themed pastimes (like a snowball fight, perchance?) then realizes how his nephews are missing out on the fun and has a change of heart. I'm going to guess the latter option, which sounds alright. After all, two visits with three spirits would be...goofy. ;)

I  hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a Happy New Year. And if you were visited by three spirits on Christmas should've called the Ghostbusters. Happy Holidays! :)

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