|First appearance||Christmas on Bear Mountain (Four Colour #178, December 1947)|
|Created by||Carl Barks|
|Voiced by||Dallas McKennon (1960)|
Bill Thompson (1967)
Alan Young (1974–2016)
Will Ryan (Sport Goofy in Soccermania)
John Kassir (Mickey Mouse; 2016–2019)
David Tennant (DuckTales reboot; 2017–present)
Eric Bauza (Legend of the Three Caballeros)
Enn Reitel (Kingdom Hearts III, Disney park appearances; 2018–present)
|Developed by||Carl Barks|
|Nickname||Uncle Scrooge, Scrooge|
|Title||Richest Duck in the world|
"Champion Treasure hunter"
Last of Clan McDuck
|Significant other||Glittering Goldie (love interest) |
Brigitta MacBridge (self-proclaimed fiancé)
|Relatives||Donald Duck (nephew)|
Della Duck (niece)
Gladstone Gander (nephew)
Huey, Dewey, and Louie (grandnephews)
Quackmore Duck (brother-in-law)
Fergus McDuck (father)
Downy McDuck (mother)
Gideon McDuck (brother)
Rumpus McFowl (half-brother)
Matilda McDuck (middle sister)
Hortense McDuck (younger sister)
Mr. Duck (nephew-in-law)
Scrooge McDuck is a cartoon character created in 1947 by Carl Barks for The Walt Disney Company. Appearing in Disney comics, Scrooge is an elderly Scottish anthropomorphic Pekin duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He typically wears a red or blue frock coat, top hat, pince-nez glasses, and spats. He is portrayed in animations as speaking with a Scottish accent. Originally intended to be used only once, Scrooge became one of the most popular characters in Disney comics, and Barks's signature work.
Named after Ebenezer Scrooge from the 1843 novella A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is an incredibly wealthy business magnate and self-proclaimed "adventure-capitalist" whose dominant character traits are his wealth, frugality, and tendency to seek more wealth through adventure. He is the maternal uncle of Donald Duck, the maternal grand-uncle of Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and a usual financial backer of Gyro Gearloose. Within the context of the fictional Donald Duck universe, he is the world's richest person. He is portrayed as an oil tycoon, businessman, industrialist, and owner of the largest mining concerns and many factories to operate different activities. His "Money Bin" — and indeed Scrooge himself — are often used as a humorous metonyms for great wealth in popular culture around the world.
McDuck was initially characterized as a greedy miser and antihero (as Charles Dickens' original Scrooge was), but in later appearances he has often been portrayed as a thrifty hero, adventurer and explorer. He was originally created by Barks as an antagonist for Donald Duck, first appearing in the 1947 Four Colour story Christmas on Bear Mountain (#178). However, McDuck's popularity grew so large that he became a major figure of the Donald Duck universe. In 1952, he was given his own comic book series, called Uncle Scrooge, which still runs today.
Scrooge was most famously drawn by his creator Carl Barks, and later by Don Rosa. Like other Disney franchise characters, Scrooge McDuck's international popularity has resulted in literature that is often translated into other languages. Comics have remained Scrooge's primary medium, although he has also appeared in animated cartoons, most extensively in the television series DuckTales (1987–1990) and its reboot (2017–present) as the main protagonist of both series.
Scrooge McDuck, maternal uncle of previously established character Donald Duck, made his first named appearance in the story Christmas on Bear Mountain which was published in Dell's Four Color Comics #178, October 22, 1947, written and drawn by artist Carl Barks. His appearance may have been based on a similar-looking, Scottish "thrifty saver" Donald Duck character from the 1943 propaganda short The Spirit of '43.
In Christmas on Bear Mountain, Scrooge was a bearded, bespectacled, reasonably wealthy old duck, visibly leaning on his cane, and living in isolation in a "huge mansion". Scrooge's misanthropic thoughts in this first story are quite pronounced: "Here I sit in this big lonely dump, waiting for Christmas to pass! Bah! That silly season when everybody loves everybody else! A curse on it! Me—I'm different! Everybody hates me, and I hate everybody!"
Barks later reflected, "Scrooge in 'Christmas on Bear Mountain' was only my first idea of a rich, old uncle. I had made him too old and too weak. I discovered later on that I had to make him more active. I could not make an old guy like that do the things I wanted him to do."
Barks would later claim that he originally only intended to use Scrooge as a one-shot character, but then decided Scrooge (and his fortune) could prove useful for motivating further stories. Barks continued to experiment with Scrooge's appearance and personality over the next four years.
Scrooge's second appearance, in The Old Castle's Secret (first published in June 1948), had him recruiting his nephews to search for a family treasure hidden in Dismal Downs, the McDuck family's ancestral castle, built in the middle of Rannoch Moor in Scotland. Foxy Relations (first published in November 1948) was the first story where Scrooge is called by his title and catchphrase "The Richest Duck in the World".
The story, Voodoo Hoodoo, first published in Dell's Four Color Comics #238, August 1949, was the first story to hint at Scrooge's past with the introduction of two figures from it. The first was Foola Zoola, an old African sorcerer and chief of the Voodoo tribe who had cursed Scrooge, seeking revenge for the destruction of his village and the taking of his tribe's lands by Scrooge decades ago.
Scrooge privately admitted to his nephews that he had used an army of "cutthroats" to get the tribe to abandon their lands, in order to establish a rubber plantation. The event was placed by Carl Barks in 1879 during the story, but it would later be retconned by Don Rosa to 1909 to fit with Scrooge's later-established personal history in Rosa's story The Empire-Builder from Calisota.
The second figure was Bombie the Zombie, the organ of the sorcerer's curse and revenge. He had reportedly sought Scrooge for decades before reaching Duckburg, mistaking Donald for Scrooge.
Barks, with a note of skepticism often found in his stories, explained the zombie as a living person who has never died, but has somehow gotten under the influence of a sorcerer. Although some scenes of the story were intended as a parody of Bela Lugosi's White Zombie, the story is the first to not only focus on Scrooge's past but also touch on the darkest aspects of his personality.
Trail of the Unicorn, first published in February 1950, introduced Scrooge's private zoo. One of his pilots had managed to photograph the last living unicorn, which lived in the Indian part of the Himalayas. Scrooge offered a reward to competing cousins Donald Duck and Gladstone Gander, which would go to the one who captured the unicorn for Scrooge's collection of animals.
This was also the story that introduced Scrooge's private airplane. Barks would later establish Scrooge as an experienced aviator. Donald had previously been shown as a skilled aviator, as was Flintheart Glomgold in later stories. In comparison, Huey, Dewey, and Louie were depicted as only having taken flying lessons in the story Frozen Gold (published in January 1945).
The Pixilated Parrot, first published in July 1950, introduced a precursor to Scrooge's money bin. In this story, Scrooge's central office building is said to contain "three cubic acres of money". Two nameless burglars who briefly appear during the story are considered to be the precursors of the Beagle Boys.
The Magic Hourglass, first published in September 1950, was arguably the first story to change the focus of the Duck stories from Donald to Scrooge. During the story, several themes were introduced for Scrooge.
Donald first mentions in this story that his uncle practically owns Duckburg, a statement that Scrooge's rival John D. Rockerduck would later put in dispute. Scrooge first hints that he was not born into wealth, as he remembers buying the Hourglass in Morocco when he was a member of a ship's crew as a cabin boy. It's also the first story in which Scrooge mentions speaking another language besides his native English and reading other alphabets besides the Latin alphabet, as during the story, he speaks Arabic and reads the Arabic alphabet.
The latter theme would be developed further in later stories. Barks and current Scrooge writer Don Rosa have depicted Scrooge as being fluent in Arabic, Dutch, German, Mongolian, Spanish, Mayan, Bengali, Finnish, and a number of Chinese dialects. Scrooge acquired this knowledge from years of living or traveling to the various regions of the world where those languages are spoken. Later writers would depict Scrooge having at least working knowledge of several other languages. He has also encountered several historical figures during his lifetime, such as U.S. President Roosevelt (The Buckaroo of the Badlands, The Invader of Fort Duckburg, and The Sharpie of the Culebra Cut), Apache leader Geronimo (The Vigilante of Pizen Bluff), Czar Nicholas II of Russia, (The Empire-Builder from Calisota) and philologist Elias Lönnrot (The Quest for Kalevala).
Scrooge was shown in The Magic Hourglass in a more positive light than in previous stories, but his more villainous side is present too. Scrooge is seen in this story attempting to reacquire a magic hourglass that he gave to Donald, before finding out that it acted as a protective charm for him. Scrooge starts losing one billion dollars each minute, and comments that he will go bankrupt within 600 years. This line is a parody of Orson Welles's line in Citizen Kane "You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in ... 60 years". To convince his nephews to return it, he pursues them throughout Morocco, where they had headed to earlier in the story. Memorably during the story, Scrooge interrogates Donald by having him tied up and tickled with a feather in an attempt to get Donald to reveal the hourglass's location. Scrooge finally manages to retrieve it, exchanging the item for a flask of water, as he had found his nephews exhausted and left in the desert with no supplies. As Scrooge explains, he intended to give them a higher offer, but he just could not resist having somebody at his mercy without taking advantage of it.
A Financial Fable, first published in March 1951, had Scrooge teaching Donald some lessons in productivity as the source of wealth, along with the laws of supply and demand. Perhaps more importantly, it was also the first story where Scrooge observes how diligent and industrious Huey, Louie, and Dewey are, making them more similar to himself rather than to Donald. Donald in Barks's stories is depicted as working hard on occasion, but given the choice often proves to be a shirker. The three younger nephews first side with Scrooge rather than Donald in this story, with the bond between granduncle and grandnephews strengthening in later stories. However, there have been rare instances where Donald proved invaluable to Scrooge, such as when the group traveled back in time to Ancient Egypt to retrieve a pharaoh's papyrus. Donald cautions against taking it with him, as no one would believe the story unless it was unearthed. Donald then buries it and makes a marking point from the Nile River, making Scrooge think to himself admiringly, "Donald must have swallowed the Encyclopædia Britannica!"
Terror of the Beagle Boys, first published in November 1951, introduced the readers to the Beagle Boys, although Scrooge in this story seems to be already familiar with them. The Big Bin on Killmotor Hill introduced Scrooge's money bin, built on Killmotor Hill in the center of Duckburg.
By this point, Scrooge had become familiar to readers in the United States and Europe. Other Disney writers and artists besides Barks began using Scrooge in their own stories, including Italian writer Romano Scarpa. Western Publishing, the then-publisher of the Disney crafty comics, started thinking about using Scrooge as a protagonist rather than a supporting character, and then decided to launch Scrooge in his own self-titled comic. Uncle Scrooge #1, featuring the story Only a Poor Old Man, was published in March 1952. This story along with Back to the Klondike, first published a year later in March 1953, became the biggest influences in how Scrooge's character, past, and beliefs would become defined.
After this point, Barks produced most of his longer stories in Uncle Scrooge, with a focus mainly on adventure, while his ten-page stories for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories continued to feature Donald as the star and focused on comedy. In Scrooge's stories, Donald and his nephews were cast as Scrooge's assistants, who accompanied Scrooge in his adventures around the world. This change of focus from Donald to Scrooge was also reflected in stories by other contemporary writers. Since then, Scrooge remains a central figure of the Duck comics' universe, thus the coining of the term "Scrooge McDuck Universe".
After Barks's retirement, the character continued under other artists. In 1972, Barks was persuaded to write more stories for Disney. He wrote Junior Woodchuck stories where Scrooge often plays the part of the villain, closer to the role he had before he acquired his own series. Under Barks, Scrooge always was a malleable character who would take on whatever persona was convenient to the plot.
The Italian writer and artist Romano Scarpa made several additions to Scrooge McDuck's universe, including characters such as Brigitta McBridge, Scrooge's self-styled fiancée, and Gideon McDuck, a newspaper or who is Scrooge's brother. Those characters have appeared mostly in European comics. This is also the case for Scrooge's rival John D. Rockerduck (created by Barks for just one story) and Donald's cousin Fethry Duck, who sometimes works as a reporter for Scrooge's newspaper.
Another major development was the arrival of writer and artist Don Rosa in 1986, with his story "The Son of the Sun", released by Gladstone Publishing and nominated for a Harvey Award, one of the comics industry's highest honors. Rosa has said in interviews that he considers Scrooge to be his favorite Disney character. Unlike most other Disney writers, Don Rosa considered Scrooge as a historical character whose Disney adventures had occurred in the fifties and sixties and ended (in his undepicted death) in 1967 when Barks retired. He considered only Barks's stories canonical, and fleshed out a timeline as well as a family tree based on Barks's stories. Eventually he wrote and drew The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, a full history in twelve chapters which received an Eisner Award in 1995. Later ions included additional chapters. Under Rosa, Scrooge became more ethical; while he never cheats, he ruthlessly exploits any loopholes. He owes his fortune to his hard work and his money bin is "full of souvenirs" since every coin reminds him of a specific circumstance. Rosa remains the foremost contemporary duck artist and has been nominated for five 2007 Eisner Awards. His work is regularly reprinted by itself as well as along with Barks stories for which he created a sequel.
Daan Jippes, who can mimic Barks's art to a close extent, repenciled all of Barks's 1970s Junior Woodchucks stories, as well as Barks's final Uncle Scrooge stories, from the 1990s to the early 2000s. Other notable Disney artists who have worked with the Scrooge character include Michael Peraza, Marco Rota, William Van Horn, and Tony Strobl.
In an interview with the Norwegian "Aftenposten" from 1992 Don Rosa says that "in the beginning Scrooge [owed] his existence to his nephew Donald, but that has changed and today it's Donald that [owes] his existence to Scrooge" and he also says that this is one of the reasons why he is so interested in Scrooge.
The character is almost exclusively portrayed as having worked his way up the financial ladder from humble immigrant roots. The real life of Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American immigrant and tycoon of the Industrial Age, and the fictional character of Charles Dickens' miser Ebenezer Scrooge are both believed to be strong influences on Scrooge's characterization.
The comic book series The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, written and drawn by Don Rosa, shows Scrooge's fictional life. As a young boy, he takes up a job polishing and shining boots in his native Glasgow. A pivotal moment comes in 1877, when a ditchdigger pays him with an 1875 US dime, which is useless as currency in 19th century Glasgow; he only notices what sort of coin he's been given after the man has left. Enraged, Scrooge vows to never be taken advantage of again, to be "sharper than the sharpies and smarter than the smarties." He takes a position as cabin boy on a Clyde cattle ship to the United States to make his fortune at the age of 13. In 1898, after many adventures, he finally ends up in Klondike, where he finds a golden rock the size of a goose's egg. By the following year, he has made his first $1,000,000 and bought the deed for Killmule Hill from Casey Coot, the son of Clinton Coot and grandson of Cornelius Coot, the founder of Duckburg. He finally ends up in Duckburg in 1902. After some dramatic events where he faces both the Beagle Boys and President Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at the same time, he tears down the rest of the old fort Duckburg and builds his famous Money Bin at the site.
In the years to follow, Scrooge travels all around the world to increase his fortune, while his family remains behind to manage the Money Bin. When Scrooge finally returns to Duckburg, he is the richest duck in the world, rivaled only by Flintheart Glomgold, John D. Rockerduck, and less prominently, the maharaja of the fictional country Howdoyoustan (play on Hindustan). His experiences, however, have changed him into a hostile miser, and his family leaves him in disgust at his new personality. Some 12 years later, he closes his empire down, but eventually returns to a public life five years later and restarts his business in the comic's final chapter.
He keeps the majority of his wealth in a massive Money Bin overlooking the city of Duckburg. In the short Scrooge McDuck and Money, he remarks to his nephews that this money is "just petty cash". In the Dutch and Italian version, he regularly forces Donald and his nephews to polish the coins one by one in order to pay off Donald's debts; Scrooge will not pay them much for this lengthy, tedious, hand-breaking work. As far as he is concerned, even 5 cents an hour is too much expenditure.
A shrewd businessman and noted tightwad, he is fond of diving into and swimming in his money, without injury. He is also the richest member of The Billionaires Club of Duckburg, a society which includes the most successful businessmen of the world and allows them to keep connections with each other. Glomgold and Rockerduck are also influential members of the Club. His most famous prized possession is his Number One Dime.
The sum of Scrooge's wealth is unclear. According to Barks' The Second Richest Duck as noted by a Time article, Scrooge is worth "one multiplujillion, nine obsquatumatillion, six hundred twenty-three dollars and sixty-two cents". The DuckTales episode "Liquid Assets", Fenton Crackshell (Scrooge's accountant) notes that McDuck's money bin contains "607 tillion 386 zillion 947 trillion 522 billion dollars and 36 cents". Don Rosa's Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck notes that Scrooge amounts to "five multiplujillion, nine impossibidillion, seven fantastica trillion dollars and sixteen cents". A thought bubble from Scrooge McDuck sitting in his car with his chauffeur in Walt Disney's Christmas Parade No. 1 (published in 1949) that takes place in the story "Letter to Santa" clearly states "What's the use of having 'eleven octillion dollars' if I don't make a big noise about it?". In DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, Scrooge mentions "We quadzillionaires have our own ideas of fun." In the first episode of the DuckTales reboot, Scrooge states that he runs "a multi-trillion dollar business".
Forbes magazine has occasionally tried to estimate Scrooge's wealth in real terms. In 2007, the magazine estimated his wealth at $28.8 billion. By 2011, it rose to $44.1 billion due to the rise in gold prices. Another, more in-depth, analysis of Scrooge's wealth was done by MatPat of The Film Theory channel on YouTube. Using four different methodologies to calculate the volume of actual gold in Scrooge's money bin (depth gauge, ladder length, blueprints, and 3 cubic acres), the four amounts from most conservative to "more money than the entire planet Earth" the amounts were: $52,348,493,767.50 (depth gauge), $239,307,400,080 (ladder), $12,434,013,552,490 (blueprints), $333,927,633,863,527 (3 cubic acres); with each valuation based on a then current gold price of $1243.30 per troy ounce. Whatever the amount, Scrooge never considers it to be enough; he believes that he has to continue to earn money by any means possible. A running gag is Scrooge always making profit on any business deal. On the other hand, his total estimated net worth is $315,360,000,000,000,000 or 315 quadrillion and 360 trillion as mentioned in one of his comics when Scrooge says that he would be broke in 600 years if he lost 1 billion dollars a minute but it is still not known.
Scrooge never completed a formal education, as he left school at an early age. However, he has a sharp mind and is always ready to learn new skills. Because of his secondary occupation as a treasure hunter, Scrooge has become something of a scholar and an amateur archaeologist. Starting with Barks, several writers have explained how Scrooge becomes aware of the treasures he decides to pursue. This often involves periods of research consulting various written sources in search of passages that might lead him to treasure. Often Scrooge decides to search for the possible truth behind old legends, or discovers obscure references to the activities of ancient conquerors, explorers, and military leaders that he considers interesting enough to begin a new expion.
As a result of his research, Scrooge has built up an extensive personal library, which includes many rare tomes. In Barks's and Rosa's stories, among the prized pieces of this library is an almost complete collection of Spanish and Dutch naval logs of the 16th and 17th centuries. Their references to the fates of other ships have often allowed Scrooge to locate sunken vessels and recover their treasures from their watery graves. Mostly self-taught as he is, Scrooge is a firm believer in the saying "knowledge is power". Scrooge is also an accomplished linguist and entrepreneur, having learned to speak several different languages during his business trips around the world, selling refrigerators to Eskimos, wind to windmill manufacturers in the Netherlands, etc.
Both as a businessman and as a treasure hunter, Scrooge is noted for his drive to set new goals and face new challenges. As Carl Barks described his character, for Scrooge there is "always another rainbow". The phrase later provided the title for one of Barks's better-known paintings depicting Scrooge. Periods of inactivity between adventures and lack of serious challenges tend to be depressing for Scrooge after a while; some stories see these phases take a toll on his health. Scrooge's other motto is "Work smarter, not harder."
As a businessman, Scrooge often resorts to aggressive tactics and deception. He seems to have gained significant experience in manipulating people and events towards his own ends. As often seen in stories by writer Guido Martina and occasionally by others, Scrooge is noted for his cynicism, especially towards ideals of morality when it comes to business and the pursuit of set goals. This has been noted by some as not being part of Barks's original profile of the character, but has since come to be accepted as one valid interpretation of Scrooge's way of thinking.
Scrooge seems to have a personal code of honesty that offers him an amount of self-control. He can often be seen contemplating the next course of action, divided between adopting a ruthless pursuit of his current goal against those tactics he considers more honest. At times, he can sacrifice his goal in order to remain within the limits of this sense of honesty. Several fans of the character have come to consider these depictions as adding to the depth of his personality, because based on the decisions he takes Scrooge can be both the hero and the villain of his stories. This is one thing he has in common with his nephew Donald. Scrooge's sense of honesty also distinguishes him from his rival Flintheart Glomgold, who places no such self-limitations. During the cartoon series DuckTales, at times he would be heard saying to Glomgold, "You're a cheater, and cheaters never prosper!"
Like his nephew Donald, Scrooge has also a temper (but not as a strong temper as his nephew) and rarely hesitates to use cartoon violence against those who provoke his ire (often his nephew Donald, but also bill and tax collectors as well as door-to-door salesmen). However, he seems to be against the use of lethal force. On occasion, he has even saved the lives of enemies who had threatened his own life but were in danger of losing their own. According to Scrooge's own explanation, this is to save himself from feelings of guilt over their deaths; he generally awaits no gratitude from them. Scrooge has also opined that only in fairy tales do bad people turn good, and that he is old enough to not believe in fairy tales. Scrooge believes in keeping his word—never breaking a promise once given. In Italian-produced stories of the 1950s to 1970s, however, particularly those written by Guido Martina, Scrooge often acts differently from in American or Danish comics productions.
Carl Barks gave Scrooge a definite set of ethics which were in tone with the time he was supposed to have made his fortune. The robber barons and industrialists of the 1890–1920s era were McDuck's competition as he earned his fortune. Scrooge proudly asserts "I made it by being tougher than the toughies and smarter than the smarties! And I made it square!". Barks's creation is averse to dishonesty in the pursuit of wealth. When Disney filmmakers first contemplated a Scrooge feature cartoon in the fifties, the animators had no understanding of the Scrooge McDuck character and merely envisioned Scrooge as a duck version of Ebenezer Scrooge—a very unsympathetic character. In the end, they shelved the idea because a duck who gets all excited about money just was not funny enough.
In an interview, Barks summed up his beliefs about Scrooge and capitalism:
I've always looked at the ducks as caricatured human beings. In rereading the stories, I realized that I had gotten kind of deep in some of them: there was philosophy in there that I hadn't realized I was putting in. It was an added feature that went along with the stories. I think a lot of the philosophy in my stories is conservative—conservative in the sense that I feel our civilization peaked around 1910. Since then we've been going downhill. Much of the older culture had basic qualities that the new stuff we keep hatching can never match.
Look at the magnificent cathedrals and palaces that were built. Nobody can build that sort of thing nowadays. Also, I believe that we should preserve many old ideals and methods of working: honor, honesty, allowing other people to believe in their own ideas, not trying to force everyone into one form. The thing I have against the present political system is that it tries to make everybody exactly alike. We should have a million different patterns.
They say that wealthy people like the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers are sinful because they accumulated fortunes by exploiting the poor. I feel that everybody should be able to rise as high as they can or want to, provided they don't kill anybody or actually oppress other people on the way up. A little exploitation is something you come by in nature. We see it in the pecking order of animals—everybody has to be exploited or to exploit someone else to a certain extent. I don't resent those things.
In the DuckTales series, Scrooge has adopted the nephews (as Donald has joined the Navy and is away on his tour of duty), and, as a result, his darker personality traits are downplayed. While most of his persona remain from the comics, he is notably more optimistic and level-headed in the animated cartoon. In an early episode, Scrooge crs his improved temperament to the nephews and Webby (his housekeeper's granddaughter, who comes to live in Scrooge's mansion), saying that "for the first time since I left Scotland, I have a family". Though Scrooge is far from tyrannical in the comics, he is rarely so openly affectionate. While he still hunts for treasure in DuckTales, many episodes focus on his attempts to thwart villains. However, he remains just as tightfisted with money as he has always been. But he's also affable and patient with his family and friends.
Scrooge displays a strict code of honor, insisting that the only valid way to acquire wealth is to "earn it square," and he goes to great lengths to thwart those (sometimes even his own nephews) who gain money dishonestly. This code also prevents him from ever being dishonest himself, and he avows that "Scrooge McDuck's word is as good as gold." He also expresses great disgust at being viewed by others as a greedy liar and cheater.
The series fleshes out Scrooge's upbringing by depicting his life as an individual who worked hard his entire life to earn his keep and to fiercely defend it against those who were truly dishonest but also, he defends his family and friends from any dangers, including villains. His value teaches his nephews not to be dishonest with him or anybody else. It's shown that money is no longer the most important thing in his life. For one episode, he was under a love spell, which caused him to lavish his time on a goddess over everything else. The nephews find out that the only way to break the spell is to make the person realize that the object of their love will cost them something they truly love. The boys make it appear that Scrooge's love is allergic to money; however, he simply decides to give up his wealth so he can be with her. Later, when he realizes he will have to give up his nephews to be with her, the spell is immediately broken, showing that family is the most important thing to him.
On occasion, he demonstrates considerable physical strength by single-handedly beating bigger foes. He crs his robustness to "lifting money bags."
When Scrooge later made his speaking animated debut in Scrooge McDuck and Money in 1967, he was voiced by Bill Thompson. Thompson had previously voiced Jock the Scottish Terrier in Lady and the Tramp and, according to Alan Young, Thompson had some Scottish ancestry. Following Scrooge McDuck and Money's release, Scrooge made no further animated appearances prior to Thompson's death in 1971.
In 1974, Disneyland Records produced the album, An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol, Performed by The Walt Disney Players. Alan Young belonged to a Dickens Society and was asked to help adapt the story to fit in Disney characters. Young, whose parents were Scottish and who lived in Scotland for a few years when he was an infant, voiced Scrooge for this record in addition to voicing Mickey Mouse and Merlin from The Sword in the Stone. When Disney decided to adapt the record into the 1983 theatrical short, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Young returned to voice Scrooge. Young remained as Disney's official voice for Scrooge until his death in 2016, although Will Ryan voiced Scrooge for the 1987 television special, Sport Goofy in Soccermania and Alan Reid voiced Scrooge for Tuomas Holopainen's 2014 album, Music Inspired by the Life and Times of Scrooge. Young's last performance as Scrooge was in the 2016 Mickey Mouse short, "No".
Since Young's death, several actors have provided Scrooge's voice. John Kassir has voiced Scrooge for the Mickey Mouse shorts starting with "Duck the Halls" in 2016. Eric Bauza voiced Scrooge for a cameo in the television series, Legend of the Three Caballeros. Scottish actor Enn Reitel voices Scrooge for Disney park appearances as well as in the English dub of Kingdom Hearts III.
David Tennant seemed to be the natural choice for this. We really wanted to find somebody who was legitimately Scottish. We thought that was really important in this iteration, someone who had the character to bring this icon alive. And David is an amazing actor. He’s morphed into this role in an incredible way.
Many of the European comics based on the Disney Universe have created their own version of Scrooge McDuck, usually involving him in slapstick adventures. This is particularly true of the Italian comics which were very popular in the 1960s–1980s in most parts of Western continental Europe. In these, Scrooge is mainly an anti-hero dragging his long-suffering nephews into treasure hunts and shady business deals. Donald is a reluctant participant in these travels, only agreeing to go along when his uncle reminds him of the debts and back-rent Donald owes him, threatens him with a sword or blunderbuss, or offers a share of the loot. When he promises Donald a share of the treasure, Scrooge will add a little loophole in the terms which may seem obscure at first but which he brings up at the end of the adventure to deny Donald his share, keeping the whole for himself. After Donald risks life and limb – something which Scrooge shows little concern for – he tends to end up with nothing.
According to Carl Barks' 1955 one-pager "Watt an Occasion" (Uncle Scrooge #12), Scrooge is 75 years of age. According to Don Rosa, Scrooge was born in Scotland in 1867, and earned his Number One Dime (or First Coin) exactly ten years later. The DuckTales episodes (and many European comics) show a Scrooge who hailed from Scotland in the 19th century, yet was clearly familiar with all the technology and amenities of the 1980s. Despite this extremely advanced age, Scrooge does not appear to be on the verge of dotage, and is vigorous enough to keep up with his nephews in adventures. With rare exceptions, there appears to be no sign of him slowing down.
Barks responded to some fan letters asking about Scrooge's Adamic age, that in the story "That's No Fable!", when Scrooge drank water from a Fountain of Youth for several days, rather than making him young again (bodily contact with the water was required for that), ingesting the water rejuvenated his body and cured him of his rheumatia, which arguably allowed Scrooge to live beyond his expected years with no sign of slowdown or senility. Don Rosa's solution to the issue of Scrooge's age is that he set all of his stories in the 1950s or earlier, which was when he himself discovered and reveled in Barks' stories as a kid, and in his unofficial timelines, he had Scrooge die in 1967, at the age of 100 years.
In the 15th episode of the 2017 DuckTales reboot, "The Golden Lagoon of White Agony Plains!", it is revealed that Scrooge was "stuck in a timeless demon dimension" called Demogorgana for an unknown amount of time, which is used to explain his young look. In the 21st episode, "The Other Bin of Scrooge McDuck!", Webby Vanderquack's research on Scrooge reveals that he was born in 1867, as previously established by Rosa. This would make Scrooge 153 years old as of 2020.
Grupo Ronda S.A has the license to use the character, as well as other Disney characters in the board game Tío Rico Mc. Pato from 1972 to the present. Being one of the most popular board games in Colombia and being the direct competitor of Monopoly in the region.
In the 2013 episode of Breaking Bad, "Buried", Saul Goodman associate Patrick Kuby remarks to fellow associate Huell Babineaux "we are here to do a job, not channel Scrooge McDuck" when Huell lies down on Walter White's pile of cash stored in a storage facility locker.
In August 2017, the YouTube channel "The Film Theorists", hosted by Matthew "MatPat" Patrick, estimated the worth of the gold coins in the money bin of Scrooge McDuck based on four sources, with the lowest source equaling $52,348,493,767.50 and the highest source ("three cubic acres") equaling $333,927,633,863,527.10 of gold value.
The popularity of Scrooge McDuck comics spawned an entire mythology around the character, including new supporting characters, adventures, and life experiences as told by numerous authors. The popularity of the Duck universe – the fandom term for the associated intellectual properties that have developed from Scrooge's stories over the years, including the city of Duckburg – has led Don Rosa to claim that "in the beginning Scrooge [owed] his existence to his nephew Donald, but that has changed and today it's Donald that [owes] his existence to Scrooge."
In addition to the many original and existing characters in stories about Scrooge McDuck, authors have frequently led historical figures to meet Scrooge over the course of his life. Most notably, Scrooge has met US president Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt and Scrooge would meet each other at least three times: in the Dakotas in 1883, in Duckburg in 1902, and in Panama in 1906. See Historical Figures in Scrooge McDuck stories.
Based on writer Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, a popular timeline chronicling Scrooge's adventures was created consisting of the most important "facts" about Scrooge's life. See Scrooge McDuck timeline according to Don Rosa.
In 2014, composer Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish released a conceptual album based on the book, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. The album is titled Music Inspired by the Life and Times of Scrooge. Don Rosa illustrated the cover artwork for the album.
The character of Scrooge has appeared in various mediums aside from comic books. Scrooge's voice was first heard on the 1960 record album Donald Duck and His Friends; Dal McKennon voiced the character for this appearance. It took the form of a short dramatization called "Uncle Scrooge's Rocket to the Moon," a story of how Scrooge builds a rocket to send all his money to the moon to protect it from the Beagle Boys. In 1961 this story was reissued as a 45rpm single record entitled "Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge's Money Rocket."
Initially, Scrooge was to make his animated debut in the Donald Duck theatrical cartoons. Late in 1954, Carl Barks was asked by the Disney Studios if he would be free to write a script for a Scrooge McDuck 7-minute animated cartoon. Scrooge was a huge success in the comic books at the time, and Disney now wanted to introduce the miserly duck to theater audiences as well. Barks supplied the studios with a detailed 9-page script, telling the story of the happy-go-lucky Donald Duck working for the troubled Scrooge who tries to save his money from a hungry rat. Barks also sent number of sketches of his ideas for the short, including a money-sorting machine, which Barks had already used on the cover of one of the Uncle Scrooge issues. The script was never used as Disney soon after decided to concentrate on TV shows instead.
Scrooge's first appearance in animated form (save for a brief Mickey Mouse Club television series cameo) was in Disney's 1967 theatrical short Scrooge McDuck and Money (voiced by Bill Thompson), in which he teaches his nephews basic financial tips.
In 1974, Disneyland Records released an adaptation of the Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Eight years later, Walt Disney Pictures produced a featurette of this same story, this time dubbed Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983). He also appeared as himself in the television special Sport Goofy in Soccermania (1987).
Scrooge's biggest role outside comics would come in the 1987 animated series DuckTales, a series loosely based on Carl Barks's comics, and where Alan Young returned to voice him. In this series, premiered over two-hours on September 18, 1987, while the regular episodes began three days later, Scrooge becomes the legal guardian of Huey, Dewey and Louie when Donald joins the United States Navy. Scrooge's DuckTales persona is considerably mellow compared to most previous appearances; his aggression is played down and his often duplicitous personality is reduced in many episodes to that of a curmudgeonly but well-meaning old uncle. Still, there are flashes of Barks' Scrooge to be seen, particularly in early episodes of the first season. Scrooge also appeared in DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, released during the series' run. He was mentioned in the Darkwing Duck episode "Tiff of the Titans", but never really seen.
He has appeared in some episodes of Raw Toonage, two shorts of Mickey Mouse Works and some episodes (specially "House of Scrooge") of Disney's House of Mouse, as well as the direct-to-video films Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas and Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas. His video game appearances include the three DuckTales releases (DuckTales, DuckTales 2, and DuckTales: The Quest for Gold), and in Toontown Online as the accidental creator of the Cogs. Additionally, he is a secret playable character in 2008 quiz game, Disney TH!NK Fast. In the 2012 Nintendo 3DS game Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, he is one of the first characters Mickey rescues, running a shop in the fortress selling upgrades and serving as a Sketch summon in which he uses his cane pogostick from the Ducktales NES games.
Scrooge also makes sporadic appearances in Disney's and Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts series, helping Mickey Mouse establish a world transit system to expand his business empire to other worlds. He first appears in Kingdom Hearts II as a minor non-playable character in Hollow Bastion, where he is trying to recreate his favorite ice cream flavor – sea-salt. Scrooge later appears in the prequel, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, this time with a speaking role. He works on establishing an ice-cream business in Radiant Garden and gives Ventus three passes to the Dream Festival in Disney Town. Scrooge returns in Kingdom Hearts III, now managing a bistro in Twilight Town with the help of Remy from Ratatouille. Alan Young reprises the role in the English version of Birth by Sleep, while Enn Reitel voices the character in III.
Scrooge has appeared in the Boom! Studios Darkwing Duck comic, playing a key role at the end of its initial story, "The Duck Knight Returns". Later he would also play a key role on the final story arc "Dangerous Currency", where he teams up with Darkwing Duck in order to stop the Phantom Blot and Magica De Spell from taking over St. Canard and Duckburg.
In 2015, Scrooge was seen in the Mickey Mouse short "Goofy's First Love", where Mickey and Donald are trying to help Goofy find his love. Donald suggests money, and they head over to Scrooge's mansion where Donald tells his uncle that Goofy needs a million dollars. Scrooge then has his butler kick them out. When Goofy is inadvertently launched from a treadmill and catapulted off another building, he lands in Scrooge's mansion. The butler kicks Goofy out and the process repeats itself but this time Mickey and Donald are catapulted as well and kicked out by the butler. Scrooge is seen at the end attending Goofy's wedding with a sandwich. In the 2016 Mickey Mouse Christmas special, "Duck the Halls", after Young's death, John Kassir took over voicing Scrooge McDuck, however he later tweeted that he won't be reprising his role in the reboot. Kassir continues to voice the character in subsequent appearances in this series. Scrooge makes a cameo appearance in the Legend of the Three Caballeros episode "Shangri-La-Di-Da".
In the DuckTales reboot, Scrooge is played by Scottish actor David Tennant. This series shows that Scrooge previously adventured with his nephew Donald and his niece Della Duck, but when Della disappeared during an expion to space, Donald blamed Scrooge and the two became estranged for ten years. He develops a pessimistic attitude about family as a result until Donald re-enters his life with Huey, Dewey, and Louie, rekindling his spirit of adventure and appreciation of family, and he invites them to live with him at McDuck Manor as they travel the world on adventures.
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