christmas caroling at peoples' doors [remake of reconstruction]

Excerpts from emails sent to the Disney Comics Mailing List

Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 17:35:26 +0000
Subject: Si-yuh-lent Niiiight!
From: "Anders Christian=?ISO-8859-1?Q?_Siveb=BEk?="


I hope some of you have read Barks' old story Silent Night-story (The unpublished one from the late 40'es) It's been published sometimes since, eg. in the Barks Libraries, but without the first halfpage which Barks sold to a fan sometime. Listmember Rob Klein later talked with Barks and reconstructed a first half page with help from typical start panels.
Anders Christian Sivebæk

From: "Fluks, H.W."
Subject: See-yilent Nee-yight (RE: Si-yuh-lent Niiiight)
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 18:03:26 +0100


> Wasn't Rob's/the other guy's version fitting

I think you must agree that this Gerstein/Jippes version is gorgeous! It looks much better than the Klein/Nadorp version. It is also probably closer to the original (e.g. it has no title, and it has dialogue in the first panel).

On the other hand, this new version is still based on Rob Klein's findings. But this time worked out with the knowledge of today (in stead of decades ago), and with an excellent artist (nearly no-one can beat Jippes).



From: [Rob Klein]
Subject: Silent Night
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 04:39:38 GMT

Regarding the new first half page of Barks' rejected 1945 Christmas story: I'm very curious to see Daan Jippes drawing (and his and David G.'s new layout and dialogue. I'm glad that Daan drew it, as in addition to being my favourite artist, I believe he is the best at mimicing Barks' style throughout the various eras and style changes. Yes Anders, - please make a scan of my original available. I DO have a scanner, but don't know how (nor have time) to make it available on a website. I would love to get a copy of a German, Scandinavian or Finnish issue.

Anders reference to the timing of my conversation with Carl Barks regarding what he placed on that half page may have been misleading. It took place in 1969 (long before the 9 1/2 pages were published by Another Rainbow). I drew my version in 1985. Michel Nadorp drew his final version in 1986. I first started talking to Carl about his unpublished work in 1966. Each of the complete unpublished stories, and several-page unpublished story segments popped up in subsequent conversations throughout 1966-1973 (when I had significant contact with him). I did ask him some of the same questions again years later, and by then, he definately remembered less details.

Rob Klein

From: [Rob Klein]
Subject: Barks' Silent Night
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 07:04:54 GMT

Regarding Carl Barks' original first 1/2 page of his 1945 Christmas story (originally slated for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories Jan. 1946 issue:

i believe that he did NOT "SELL" it to a fan. He told me in 1966, that he GAVE it to an acquaintence "many years ago". I assume that event occured during the late 1940s, not so very long after the rejected story art was returned to him.


Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 12:37:58 +0100
From: Stefan =?iso-8859-1?Q?Di=F6s?=
Subject: Re: Silent Night


And Rob:

>i believe that he did NOT "SELL" it to a fan. He told me in 1966, that he GAVE
>it to an acquaintence "many years ago". I assume that event occured during the
>late 1940s, not so very long after the rejected story art was returned to him.

Obviously, I suppose, it has been impossible during all these years to find out who that acquaintance was, and what might have happened to the drawing? I'm sure every fan has been wondering about that for years... but do you recall what Barks said about it? Maybe he forgot who the person was, or didn't want to tell?

Stefan Dios
Malmo, Sweden

From: [Rob Klein]
Subject: Silent Night
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 15:22:25 GMT

Thanks so much David and A.C. for sending me scans of the new "Silent Night" first 1/2 page. They are FANTASTIC!!! Daan even outdid himself! His Donald on the last panel and the Nephews could not be seen as not Barks, even by Barks, himself! The splashpanel is great! Only the Donald sitting in his chair has Daan's own distinctive style overshadowing that of Barks (and most people probably don't have a problem with that. I think michel Nadorp is a good artist, and was very happy with the job he did. But, I certainly would have preferred in 1986, that Daan would have done the final artwork then. David, you did a fine job on the script. In 1985, I should have put more of my own (educated) guesswork into dialogue in those panels. Carl only told me the "essence" of what was in the panels. He only told me that Donald was sitting is his large easy chair, reading a book about the "Good Old Days", and saying something like "Great Stuff! Great Stuff!". I dared not guess at what else he said, so added nothing else. Had i thought more deeply about it; I would have surmised, based on Barks' wont, that the story idea probably came to him from his disgust with the overcommercialism of Christmas. He probably wanted to play Donald's "discovery" of that idea off against the desires of the Nephews for gifts. As is Donald's character, he carries the idea too far in his actions. Barks used the "Great Stuff! Great Stuff! line in WDC 32, - so he wouldn't have used it again, as is. He might have had some wording that described his discovery that the old fashioned ways of celebrating Christmas were "true". Then, he would have seen the Boys coveting gifts, and shown his disgust. And then, he would have started pacing, thinking that the old fashioned way is best (as we have from him in the lower portion of the page.

The story was, indeed slated for WDC 64, January 1946 (as seen in the payment records). Carl told me nothing regarding the name or identity of the person whom he gave the drawing. It is clear that he did not remember in 1966, or his pal, Malcom Willits would have tried to track that person down; and we would have the complete artwork, today. Malcom tracked down the many scattered pieces of Barks' unpublished artwork.

Rob Klein

The making of the new half page

(Taken from an e-mail by David Gerstein, sent on June 4, 2003.)

[I'm] giving you my working notes from its production. Here's what I was thinking about as I planned the sequence...

* * * * *

Things to take into account

So what of it? * * * * *

     My initial plan was that the kids' initially offensive action be to play violent wargames with their old toys, intentionally wrecking them to make way for the new toys they're sure to receive at Christmas. Thankfully, Unn Printz-Påhlson pointed out that if the kids had been playing wargames, there would be broken toys lying about in Barks' lower half of the page - and there aren't.
     Hence my decision to have the kids simply talk greedily about presents-to-come. Thanks, Unn.

     Best, David

In December 2001, David planned to make changes in his dialogue. When asked about these changes, he replied in another e-mail of June 4, 2003: "I did try to change the text, but my new text didn't fit in the balloon and I didn't want to expand the balloon to make it fit ("it's the season to ask for presents" really ought to be "this is the season to...")."

In a July 29, 2003 e-mail, David identified the source of Barks himself recalling that the story opened with a long shot of Donald's house and that when we first saw Donald inside, he'd just finished reading a book: "Robert Klein reported it to me firsthand. That's why my half-page is similar to Robert's in this way."

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