W US 22-02 and The Golden River

Panel 3.8 is one of the instances in which Scrooge gets rid of people by using a lever which opens a floor trap door in front of his office desk. In this story, Donald and the nephews are the victims because they ask Scrooge a donation for the Junior Woodchuck's playground fund, so that they can have fun. The British "Monty Python's Flying Circus" comedians use a similar joke in a sketch called "Merchant Banker" (4th episode of their 3rd television series, broadcasted from October 19, 1972 to January 18, 1973).

In this sketch, one Mr. Ford (Terry Jones) enters the office of a merchant banker (John Cleese) to ask him for a contribution for the orphan's home, so that the orphans will be happy. The merchant banker doesn't understand this incentive and after some more argueing, the sketch ends with the merchant banker pulling a lever opening a trap door under Ford's feet and Ford falling through with a yelp.

Because of the similarity between Monty Python's trap door and Barks' trap door, there could be a possibility that Terry Gilliam (the only Python member who came from the USA), might have suggested the idea to the other Pythons by remembering Barks' trap doors.

Commenting whether or not this connection is likely, Rob Klein wrote in a November 28, 2000 e-mail to the Disney Comics Mailing List:

I believe it is not only very possible, but probable. I saw a BBC interview of Terry Gilliam several years ago in which he indicated that he was a "big fan of Carl barks' work". Given that, I think it is unrealistic to think that Gilliam would not have had at least subconscious "inspiration" for sketch ideas he shared with his Python colleagues in comedy writing bull sessions. It IS possible to trace which sketches were written by which "team" (i.e. "Chapman/Cleese", Palin/Jones, etc.). But even that might not lead to the true origin of the idea or "inspiration". I imagine Terry had many many bits of "inspiration" from having read the Barks stories, lurking in his subconscious. Even the Python members might not remember in which group discussion they might have gotten the germ of an idea for a sketch. It IS doubtful, though, that the other (British) members had grown up knowing Barks.
Questions: Do you have more information on this BBC interview with Terry Gilliam?


E-mail   McDrake International - Carl Barks forum
Generated by DVEGEN 4.8b on 2012-11-24