Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Golden Turkeys

The following text about "The Golden Apples" is a rough translation of the last part of a longer text, about Carl Barks re-written Duck stories from the 50's and 60's. Published in Swedish Donaldist fan magazine "NAFS(k)uriren" this year.


When you read the stories Barks made new versions of in the late 50's and early 60's there's one that stands out and differs from the others. The Terrible Tourist WDC 248 (1961) was in fact a new version of a story that was intended to be published in WDC 64 (1945), but that was rejected by Western Publishing. It was shelved and was first published more than thirty years later. For readers in the 60's, this was not a re-make of an old story but a brand new one.
But what about the other stories that Barks saw disappear into the archives during the 50's? Why didn't he re-write any of them when he was looking for stories to re-work? Well ... Maybe that's just what he did.

In 1952 Barks drew a story that later became known as The Golden Apples. It was shelved and, unfortunately, it has been missing since then. The only thing we know about it are the bits and pieces of information Barks shared over the years.

The Golden Apples story took place during the Duckburg apple festival. There was a a contest where the men in Duckburg would gather golden apples in the woods. Apples that were placed there by the festival queen, inspired by the Greek myth of Atalanta. Donald becomes fond of the festival queen. Something that makes Daisy thoroughly jealous. One of the reasons why the story was never published is said to be that Daisy behaved too "unfeminine" in this story.

When one reads Turkey Trouble in WDC 243 (1960), it is easy to draw parallels between the two stories. Instead of an apple festival, it is a thanksgiving day feast and all men play at being pioneers who captures game and gather fruit in the forest. The main course to be served at the feast is turkey. Whoever captures the most wild turkeys in the woods gets to dine with the queen of the festival.

The basic idea is the same as for the 1952 story! Gladstone Gander appears in the 1960 story, but he was probably not in the golden apples story. Barks often changed the cast of his rewritten stories, and since he never mentioned that Gladstone would have been in the older one, we can probably rule out his involvement.

However, I can imagine that even in the story about the golden apples some crooked cheating took place in the woods. Where Donald is tricked to buy chickens disguised as turkeys, he might have been cheated to buy normal apples painted with gold paint in the old version.

Daisy's temperament that the publisher didn't like has understandably disappeared.
As with most other new versions Barks wrote these years, he retained the storys structure but clothed it in a new suit.
Of course, I'm just speculating. But it's fun to play with the idea that one of the lost Barks stories in a way, still remains. Although the golden apples turned into turkeys.

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