Tuesday, October 17, 2006

McDuckin' It

A meandering draft post I tapped out over lunch this afternoon, emailed to myself, then edited somewhat and linked up by night, posted against some of my better judgment.


A shiny dime to anyone who can fit a plausible, Cole Porter-type melody to the following stanza:

Frock coat, top hat,
Pince-nez, cane, spats,
No shoes, no pants...
I'm hittin' the town like Scrooge McDuck!

At least a recognizable tune would be better than having the words drift in a sort of nonmusical singsong through my head.

I'm not sure why in general I'd ever think about Scrooge McDuck's attire (though it is one of the more peculiar entries in cartoondom's long list of pantsless character wardrobes). Mainly I know him from DuckTales, the centerpiece of the Disney Afternoon back in the early 90s and a fine enough kids' show, back when decent animation wasn't in vogue again yet. (Don Rosa's recent Life and Times volume is a solid, excessively rigorous exploration of Uncle Scrooge's backstory, which holds some interest for onetime fans of the show, though I'm not versed in the fairly massive literature of Duck comics that both the show and Rosa's work are derived from.)

Scrooge held some secondary interest for a couple of my friends and me in college, since he's basically Andrew Carnegie -- the Scottish heritage, the rags-to-riches life story. Granted, Carnegie made his fortune less through wacky adventures and more through vertically integrating the steel industry and ruthlessly opposing labor organization, but it was easy enough to think of Scrooge McDuck as a co-founder of our school. The lack of a money bin is a glaring inconsistency, but we generally agreed that Pitt's nearby Cathedral of Learning easily could have been adapted for that purpose. (That purpose being, if you're unfamiliar with the money bin concept, to store all of Carnegie's obscene wealth in the form of gold coins so that he could literally swim around in it. A loftier aim than founding a bunch of libraries and concert halls, if you ask me.)

Some semi-directional IMDBing can take you to a somewhat lower-wattage Disney Afternoon offering, Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers. From there you can find that Peter Cullen, who provided the voice of that show's burly adventurer/ cheese addict/ mouse character, Monterey Jack, has also enjoyed steady work as the voice of Eeyore in recent Winnie the Pooh products, as well as the role of Optimus Prime in the original incarnation of the Transformers, which he's reprising in Michael Bay's upcoming film adaptation. I can't imagine that'll do Bay's movie much good, since the level of vocal hamming appropriate for a series of budget-level, half hour toy commercials probably exceeds even that of your average multimillion-dollar special effects showcase. I don't expect that movie to do much other than exist, though; in particular I doubt it will heal the scars left by the 1986 animated movie, as has been (sort of) discussed.

(As regards my comment on that post about The Tick, the first season of that is in fact on DVD now, finally. Omnipotus, Devourer of Worlds -- not in season one -- is not in fact a direct reference to the Transformers movie, however. But more about The Tick some other time.)
Career voice actors are always more interesting to me than other actors since theirs seems to be the most thankless work in Hollywood that involves actual characterization. There's an old AV Club interview of Billy West (who was both Ren and Stimpy, plus a slew of Futurama characters, among others) that bears this out.

I'll stop now while you all aren't completely embarrassed for me yet. While I'm burnishing my nerd credentials, I'll note that if anyone out there could instantaneously remind me what decent C code written against the Windows Sockets API is supposed to look like, it would make the after-lunch portion of my work day a little smoother.


Blogger Jack said...

Okay, I fixed the blog so it says right up top who wrote the post.

10/18/2006 12:36 AM  

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