The reason for some Barks stories?

Don Rosa donrosa at
Thu Feb 19 06:39:00 CET 2004

from Geir Hasnes
Subject: The reason for some Barks stories?
 >>>>I wonder regarding some story ideas Barks had. Maybe Rob Klein or Don
Rosa can
explain a little more about these ideas?

All I can try to do is explain what these ideas are or might be based on...

>>>>>I always found the story about the midget racing cars somewhat hard to
Does anyone know anything about midget racing cars in the USA in the 50s and
why Barks should choose to elaborate upon this idea?

Car racing is not something that I've ever had an interest in... but I do
know that midget racing cars were a big sport in America in the 1930's-50's.
No, not something kiddies did... big ol' adults racing around in itty bitty
race cars. Not especially safe, but I don't think car racing makes a lotta
sense in general. Don't ask me to explain it -- maybe you can find websites
about it?

>>>>Also, there is a story on mini scooters making a race in the desert. Can
anyone tell whether this was something that was going on at that time? I
think it was, but the idea of mini scooters doing such a race is weird.

That one stumps me, but Barks lived in the area where there were deserts,
maybe he saw such races. However, I have a feeling this was based on
cross-country motorcycle racing... but drawing motorcycles and trying to
figure out how a Duck with stubby legs would ride one might have been a bit
too difficult, so Barks turned them into these "mini-scooters" which, no,
I've never seen, racing in deserts or not.

>>>>Was playing hookey, that is staying away from school, so common that
and towns had their own truant officers, spying around for kids taking the

Well, this wasn't how it was by the time I was in grade school, 50 years
after Barks. But in Barks' schooldays, playing hooky was quite a sport and,
yeah, they had truant officers who would be sent after such kids or just
roam the likely spots hokey players would congregate. By the time I was in
school, an agent for the school system might be sent around to the home of a
student who did not show up for long periods at a time. I guess. Such a
thing never happened where I went to grade school, in my lil'
maroon blazer and lil' gray/maroon striped tie, at the St. Thomas Aquinas
Preparatory Academy -- to not show up for school was an idea that never
would have entered our heads!
Nowadays, my wife (the teacher) will tell me that an agent is very seldom
sent to look for a truant kid -- even when kids are in school, discipline is
such that they can't be made to stay quiet or not cause a distraction to
everyone else, so teachers are happy when these types of kids don't show up.

>>>>Was a Jalopy race a common occurrence in the USA in the 50s / 60s? What
exactly did the term mean at that time?

Jalopy races -- I guess you mean stock car racing, in other words, good ol'
boys racing junk cars imitating the high-tech racing they call "Formula
One", slowly developed as an affordable imitation of the "real" car racing
for the average guy. This became the "Nascar" racing that has become so
*incredibly* popular here now, such that it's the only type of racing that
we hear about... only when I'm in Europe do I hear much about "Formula One"
racing like I did when I was a kid. The good ol' boys like to think that
these other good ol' boys are racing in cars made from the same sorts of
cars they drive everyday, and they don't seem to notice that these are now
only vaguely reminiscent of the old stock cars... these are millionaires
racing high-tech million dollar machines. But it's things that have a
"common" flavor to them rather than a sense of sophistication that have
become what America worships. Similarly, there was a time when people here
looked up to and desired leaders who seemed smarter than they were rather
than mistrusting anyone who seemed more clever than the average good ol'
boy. Understanding why stock car racing is so popular here will help
Europeans understand why George W. Bush is the President of the United

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