in Trick or Treat

This comic-book adaption of the Donald Duck cartoon of the same name has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the story with the greatest number of pages cut. It was originally a 32-page story that Barks had been asked to adapt from a Donald Duck cartoon of the same title. It was published as a 23-page story, though.

The story as it was published, has a splash-panel on which the nephews are painting the story-title on a window. It is followed by a scene in which they try to steal candy out of Donald's kitchen where they get rudely betrayed. When the nephews warn Donald for witches, he self-confidently replies that there's no such thing. This comment is followed by an introduction of Hazel the Witch. Originally, the story didn't begin with the sequence of Donald and the nephews. Faithful to the cartoon-version, it began with a splash-panel which has a view on Duckburg and Hazel flying on her broom. The bottom half-page of published page 2 immediately followed.

The reason for dropping the original splash-panel was possibly for being too gruesome, since on the foreground a graveyard is shown and the title of the story seems to be written in blood. Instead of just a different splash, the one and a half page with Donald and the nephews were added to the story. One reason that could be given for this is that since this is a "Donald Duck" comic, the title character really ought to appear on the first page, and as originally done, Donald did not appear until page 4 and even the nephews did not appear until page 3. The new opening of the story has Donald and the nephews both appearing on the first page. The caption "Oh Yeah? Suppose we look in on a real Halloween witch! Her name is Hazel and her broom is Beelzebub!" in panel 4 of published page 2 (originally page 1 panel 2) was either added or expanded to provide a transition from the new opening sequence. The published version of this panel can be seen here as illustration.

Trick or Treat, published panel 2.4 After this change, the story is intact up to published page 16. After this page, a sequence of nine pages(!) was cut. These pages start with Hazel transforming herself in a beautiful girl duck and getting candy from Donald. She reveals herself as the witch and hops on her broom with the candy and the nephews. Donald lassoes them and he retrieves the candy. Hazel vows revenge and conjures up her pet: a six-armed, derby-hatted ogre named Smorgasbord the Bad. Smorgie succeeds in getting the candy from Donald, but he's also given a "little extra bonus" for himself: A stick of dynamite looking like candy. Except for the derby-hat, Smorgie vanishes without a trace and a jeering Donald walks back into his house with the candy. This is followed by published page 17, on which the hat can still be seen in panel 1. This cut sequence was made up by Barks and was not in the cartoon-version of the story.

In notes for "The Carl Barks Library", dated November 17, 1985, Barks explains why he had added this sequence: "I was sent the storyboard stats and told to make the stuff into a feature-length story. I soon found that the material wouldn't fill the thirty-two pages that were then the lenght of a feature, so I ad-libbed some extra stuff about Smorgasbord the Bad. I didn't see the movie until long afterward." (The cartoon was still in progress when Barks was making the comic-book adaption.)

Besides the above mentioned additions, Barks had also added the sequence of the nephews getting the whiskers of the billy goat. The editors saw nothing wrong in that, but the girl duck and the ogre were another matter.
In a January 25, 1971 letter to Michael Barrier, Barks wrote: "Alice Cobb, the Western editor at the time, gave me photostats of the story board sketches and asked me to adapt them to a comic book version. I believe it was sort of open end as to length. Anyway, in the part where Hazel is trying to bust into Don's closet, I departed from the movie script and added some business with an ogre that Hazels summons. Alice Cobb deleted the extra business and didn't pay me for the unwanted pages. She was that mad."
Cobb wanted the comic to follow the Disney cartoon and thought that nine pages of non-cartoon stuff was too much.

Strangely enough, in another part of the story, material was cut which does follow the cartoon closely: The barn dance sequence were Donald swallows and regurgiates the closet key three times (Actually, Donald does not actually swallow the key a third time in the cartoon. He catches it and holds it in his beak until the pain of sitting in the fireplace makes him yelp and drop it.) By the time the story "Trick or Treat" was published, two gags about dislodging the key, amounting to a page of art, had been cut from the story. In between panel 5 and 6 of published page 19, there originally was a sequence of Donald kicking himself in the rear and being backed to a cactus.

Why this art was cut is unclear, but it is known that it occured after the Smorgie material was excised. (The three-panel segment where Donald kicks himself in the butt bears two page numbers: 27-B, its original location in the story; and 19-B, its position after nine pages were cut from the center and one page added to the beginning of the comic.) Barks may simply have wanted to tighten the story; but chances are that he needed the space for other art. To replace the sequence with the ogre, he had written the nine-page story "Hoblin' Goblins". That left twenty-three pages for "Trick or Treat." But Alice Cobb had requested a new, longer opening, bringing the page count to twenty-four, so somewhere a page had to be cut. The repetitious business with the key seemed the most logical thing to trim: On the screen it can rattle past the viewer, but laid across two pages it becomes long-winded (especially when a lot of other art in the story is cut, making it a relatively larger part of the story).

The rest of the story, panel 6 of published page 19 up to page 23, was published without changes.

Trick or Treat, scrapped art

Except for one panel, the story's cut material has survived. The Carl Barks Library - Set II premiered the story in its original version, the missing panel being recreated by using figures of Donald and Hazel from other scenes in the comic. The one and a half page opening sequence with Donald and the nephews is published apart from the story.

In The Netherlands, an earlier attempt in inserting cut art was done in 1978. At that time, not all art had surfaced. Of the sequence with Smorgasbord they for example only had the piece up to the ogre placing his foot in between the door. To make inclusion of this sequence possible, they came with the idea of adding to the dialogue that the ogre vanishes when his foot is being wedged. Later, in the 80's, more material had surfaced and it was inserted in the album-reprint of the story (a version which has both splash-panels being included). Having neither the 23-page version as the fully restored version of the story, reading this paragraph might be very confusing for the Dutch readers. Fortunately, Dutch Barks-collector Harry Fluks has made a detailed comparison of all versions.

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