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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Farewell, Uncle Scrooge...

I'm taking a short recess from the "everything five years old is new again" theme to talk about something quite sad.

Now, I know that some of you can probably relate to this one, but you'd probably have different reasons why.  Take anybody who ever became a television journalist, for instance.  You might have been affected more by the death of longtime "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer this past Thursday than the average population.  But that's not to discount what Morley Safer did...he was a fine journalist.  One of the best.

I'll admit to taking the deaths of both Prince and David Bowie hard because both of them were so influential in the music paths of so many entertainers, and I totally grew up listening to their music.  It's been a tough year for musicians already in 2016, but both of them passing within three months of each other seemed too much to bear.

And now, another legend has passed on...and this is one that really saddened me because he was an even bigger part of my childhood than any of the ones that I've listed in this post.

It all dates back to the early 1980s, when I first watched the holiday special "Mickey's Christmas Carol".  Of course, everyone knows that Mickey and Minnie Mouse are the official ambassadors of the Walt Disney company, and nobody could ever take their place.  However, the character of Scrooge McDuck certainly did his best to...shall we say...upstage them?  It wasn't Mickey and Minnie I was paying attention to - it was Scrooge!  It wasn't the first time that Scrooge McDuck had appeared in a Disney cartoon - some sources say that his first appearance was all the way back in 1947!

But it wasn't until Alan Young started voicing Scrooge that his character really started to take off.  I think his appearance in "Mickey's Christmas Carol" was outstanding, and again, that was to the credit of Alan Young, who really gave him a lot of personality.

In fact, I think he breathed new life into the character, as Scrooge emerged a favourite Disney character for anyone who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s.  After all, I think it was that success that created this show in the late 1980s, as well as a motion picture in 1990.

All Disney theme songs were fantastic - but I have a soft spot for "DuckTales".  It was my favourite of all the Disney Afternoon cartoons, and again, it had to do with Scrooge being the star.

I guess when I was a kid, I took Uncle Scrooge for granted.  I just always assumed he'd be there forever.  But as we learned on May 19, 2016, there's no such thing as forever.

Alan Young, the guy who voiced Scrooge, died that day at the age of 96 of natural causes.  And although he died at an age that most of us probably hope we could, it still makes it hard to swallow.

And that was just my own experiences with him.  Sure, I remember him best as Scrooge McDuck, as well as many other cartoons he did voices for - I'm thinking mostly of "The Smurfs", where he did the voice of Farmer Smurf.

But some people who are much older than I am - like say, my parents' age - probably remember him best as Wilbur Post, the clumsy man who had a horse that could talk.

To this day, I have not seen one episode of "Mister Ed".  And honestly I have no idea why that is the case.  I guess it's because no cable channel in Canada felt it was a good idea to rebroadcast the show in their kids' block of programming (yet felt it was a better idea to show endless reruns of "Size Small" with that grandmother whose lisp was so severe that every S sound made her whistle - it was fine for a while, but it grew annoying very quickly...)

I'm rambling.  Where was I again?  Oh yes, Mister Ed.

So, I never watched Mister Ed, but I've heard it was a fantastic show.  And although the series finale of that show was fifty years ago, it's still a beloved memory for people who grew up or were around in the 1960s.  And I imagine that they are grieving the loss just as hard as people in my generation are too.

There is a silver lining to this though.  Alan Young's career spanned almost eight decades.  That means that there's nearly 80 years of work that he has done over the years.  And while his work on the radio may forever be just a memory, there are lots of videos, DVD's, television shows, movies, and even video games of his voice in existence.  

(I'm not kidding about the video games either - he voiced Scrooge in the "Kingdom Hearts" franchise.)

Knowing that makes his loss easier to handle.

Thanks for the memories, Uncle Scrooge...


  1. I definitely remember him best as Uncle Scrooge. He was also in the original "Time Machine" movie. My parents would have watched Mr Ed, but I only saw clips. So for me and my husband, Alan was and forever will be Uncle Scrooge. Need to cue up a marathon of Duck Tales episodes now. Vaya Con Dios, Uncle Scrooge.

  2. I just watched the DuckTales movie yesterday, so I know what you mean. :)