Scrooge McDuck

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Scrooge McDuck

"Scrooge McDuck, the Richest Duck in the World", by Carl Barks
First appearance Donald Duck Four Colour #178 Christmas on Bear Mountain, 1947
Created by Carl Barks
Voiced by Alan Young
Background Information
Aliases The Richest Duck in the World, The Billionaire of Dismal Downs, The Buckaroo of the Bandlands,The King Of The Klondike, The Last of the Clan McDuck
Relatives Donald Duck (nephew), Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck (great-nephews), Fergus McDuck (father), Downy O'Drake (mother), Matilda McDuck (sister), Hortense McDuck (sister)
Friends Gyro Gearloose, Emily Quackfaster, Gladstone Gander, Elvira Coot, Launchpad McQuack, Webby Vanderquack, Donald Duck, Duckworth the Butler, Bentina Beakley, Daisy Duck, Fenton Crackshell, Bubba the Caveduck, Mickey Mouse
Rivals Magica De Spell, Flintheart Glomgold, John D. Rockerduck, the Beagle Boys, Argus McSwine, Phantom Blot,and sometimes Donald Duck

Scrooge McDuck or Uncle Scrooge is a fictional Scottish character created by Carl Barks who first appeared in Dell Comics Four Colour Comics #178 Christmas on Bear Mountain in December 1947. Over the decades, Scrooge has emerged from being just a supporting character of the Donald Duck Universe, spawning his own comic book series, Uncle Scrooge with subsequent appearances in various television specials, films, and video games. The popular 1987 animated series DuckTales follows the adventures of Scrooge, his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck and their life situated in the fictional city, Duckburg.

Scrooge's name is based on the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, a character from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Scrooge, along with several other characters of Duckburg, has enjoyed international popularity, particularly in Europe, and is frequently translated into other languages.

Comics history

First appearance

Scrooge, maternal uncle of previously established character Donald Duck, made his first named appearance in Christmas on Bear Mountain in December 1947, a story written and drawn by artist Carl Barks. Scrooge's appearance was probably based on a similar-looking, nameless Scottish character from the 1943 propaganda short The Spirit of '43.

In Christmas on Bear Mountain, Scrooge was a bearded, bespectacled, reasonably wealthy old man, visibly leaning on his cane, and living in isolation in a "huge mansion". Scrooge has always been a somewhat bitter character, but the sharpness of his 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!"

In the story, Scrooge plans to entertain himself by inviting his nephew Donald Duck and grand-nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck to his mountain cabin and then scaring them to derive schadenfreude. Though this was his his first appearance, the first Uncle Scrooge comic was Only A Poor Old Man

As a recurring character

Barks would later claim that he originally only intended to use Scrooge as a one-shot character, but then decided Scrooge could prove useful in 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 Scrooge 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".

First hints of Scrooge's past

"Voodoo Hoodoo", first published in 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 diamond-mining colony. The event was placed in 1879 during the story, but it would later be retconned to 1909 to fit with Scrooge's later-established personal history.

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. Bombie was not really undead and Foola Zoola did not practice necromancy.

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.

Precursors to later stories

"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 on the Indian part of the Himalayas. Scrooge offered a reward to competing cousins Donald Duck and Gladstone Gander to whoever would be the first to capture the unicorn for his collection of animals.

This was also the story which introduced his private airplane. Barks would later establish Scrooge as an experienced aviator. Donald had previously been shown as also being a skilled aviator, with Flintheart also being shown as such in later stories. In comparison, Huey, Dewey and Louie were only depicted having taken flying lessons in the story "Frozen Gold" (published in January 1945).

"The Pixilated Parrot", first published in July 1950, introduced the 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.

Scrooge as a major character

"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 of the story in Morocco when he was a member of a ship's crew as a cabin boy. It is 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 later 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, Finnish, and various dialects of Chinese. 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.

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. 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 it 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.

Final developments

"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.

"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 centre 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 comics, started thinking about using Scrooge as a protagonist rather than a supporting character, and 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".

Scrooge's wealth and personality


Scrooge is the richest duck in the world, rivaled by Flintheart Glomgold, John D. Rockerduck and, less prominent, the maharaja of the fictional country Howdoyoustan, having worked his way up the financial ladder from humble immigrant roots.

He keeps a portion of his wealth, that money he has personally earned himself, in a massive Money Bin overlooking the city of Duckburg. A shrewd businessman and noted tightwad, his hobbies include diving into his money like a dolphin, burrowing through it like a gopher, and throwing coins into the air to feel them fall upon his skull. 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 prized possession is his Number One Dime.

Estimated Net Worth

The sum of Scrooge's wealth is disputed. 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. Don Rosa's the Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck notes that Scrooge amounts to five multiplujillion, nine impossibidillion, seven fantasticatrillion dollars and sixteen cents.
The series DuckTales states that he is a quadzillionare.

Another sum given, "three cubic acres (of money)" is more succinct, but just as hard to estimate in net worth.

In 2002, Forbes magazine named Scrooge McDuck history's 4th richest fictional character but moved him down to sixth place in 2005. Scrooge McDuck was attributed 8.2 billion dollars which he obtained through his mining endeavors. See Forbes' Fictional 15.

It should be noted that Forbes attempts to measure his wealth by calculating the amount of money in the Money Bin. Several stories, however, show that most of Scrooge's money is invested in his properties and businesses around the world, and that the Bin only has the money he earned himself, personally, and thus each coin there has a special meaning to him. In one story by Don Rosa, he even mentioned that the Bin "is full of memories, not money".


Scrooge is not formally educated, as he quit 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 conducting research in various written sources in search of passages that might lead him to a 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 treasure hunting expedition.

As a result of his research, Scrooge has collected an extensive personal library, which includes many rare written sources. 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 ships and recover their treasures from their underwater graves. Mostly self-taught as he is, Scrooge is a firm believer in the saying "knowledge is power".

Scrooge is also an accomplished polyglot, having learned to speak several different languages during his business trips around the world, selling fridges to eskimos, wind to windmill manufacturers in the Netherlands etc.

Morality and beliefs

Both as a businessman and as a treasure hunter, Scrooge is noted for his need 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' 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 depict this phase to have negative effects on his health.

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 ideas 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 depiction of the character, but it has since come to be accepted as one valid interpretation of Scrooge's way of thinking.

However, Scrooge does seem to have a personal sense of honesty that offers him an amount of self-control. As a result, he can often be seen contemplating his course of action, while divided between adopting a ruthless pursuit of his current goal and using tactics which he considers more honest. At times, he can sacrifice this goal in order to remain within the limits of this sense of honesty. Several fans of the character have come to consider these depictions of him 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 Duck. Scrooge's sense of honesty also makes him different from his rival Flintheart Glomgold, who places no such limitations on his own actions.

Scrooge has a nasty temper and rarely hesitates to use violence against those who provoke his anger; 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 theirs. According to Scrooge's own explanation, this is in order to save himself from feeling guilt over their deaths; he generally awaits no gratitude from them. Scrooge has also expressed his belief that only in fairy tales do bad people turn good, and that he is old enough to not believe in fairy tales.

Carl Barks gave Scrooge a definite set of ethics that was in tone with the time he was supposed to have made his fortune. The robber barons and industrialists of the 1890–1920 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!" It is obvious that Barks's creation is averse to dishonesty in the pursuit of money. When Disney filmmakers first contemplated a Scrooge feature cartoon in the fifties, the animators had no understanding of the Scrooge McDuck character and simply 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. Many of the European Scrooge comics have created their own Scrooge McDucks as well, usually involving McDuck in slapstick adventures.

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: honour, 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.

This is Barks most outright defense of capitalism and the indictment of any political system that "tries to make everybody exactly alike", which is the Marxist philosophy of equality in all things. Accordingly, Scrooge McDuck is both morally righteous and has to exploit people (such as his nephews and Donald at 30 cents an hour) to accumulate his fortune. Scrooge McDuck is a noble capitalist as conceived by Barks. Other cartoonists generally fail to capture the nuanced morality and ethics held by Scrooge.

Scrooge McDuck Universe

The Scrooge McDuck Universe refers to Scrooge's collective adventures and life experiences as told by numerous authors. Based on writer Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, a popular timeline chronicalling Scrooge's adventures was created consisting of the most important "facts" about Scrooge's life. See Scrooge McDuck Timeline according to Don Rosa. However, Rosa left out important factors like the old lady Miss Penny Wise -- according to Scrooge, the only one who could ruin him, because he is in debt to her. Rosa also left out 'The magic hourglass', because Rosa doesn't believe Scrooge owes his fortune to a magical hourglass. However, in Barks' story it is never said whether or not the hourglass actually works as a lucky charm and provided Scrooge with good luck and fortune.

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. Scrooge has most notably met U.S. 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.


  • A possible prototype for Scrooge was a character (with no name) with a scottish accent who was featured in the Disney-produced World War II propaganda film, The Spirit of '43 in 1943).
  • Scrooge made a very brief appearance in the current storyarc of Bob and George, showing up bouncing on his cane as he does in the DuckTales video games in the webcomic's Hand-Drawn Universe to scare George, only to be fried by George afterwards. His appearance is explained in-comic as the Universe's local scientists experimenting with dimensional portals to different dimensions, the DuckTales video game being one of them.
  • Dagobert Duck is the German and Dutch names. Dagobert Duck was also the alias used by German extortionist Arno Funke.

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