House of Haunts

When Barks submitted a synopsis for this story, which showed the Beagle Boys learning new crime techniques in prison school, Barks received a worried letter (dated 9 July 1965) from Chase Craig, his editor. "Your story synopsis sounds fine! The only thing that did not sound so good to me was your reference to the Beagle Boys learning all kinds of new crime tricks while attending Prison School. The idea of teaching crime in prison does not sound very well for our law-enforcing friends. You no doubt have something else in mind here, but the way I read it, it would put our prisons in a rather bad light. Why not just have the Boys going to Crook School somewhere and Scrooge gets word that they're about to graduate, etc."

In Barks' published version the Beagle Boys attend the "Studious Hours" prison school and instead of being educated by other crooks, learn honest, high-tech trades from the warden. Barks was thus able to get the prison system off the hook by showing that only after being released did the Beagle Boys use their new expertise for crime. However, he was still able to gently satirize the penal system by poking fun at the futility of repeated attempts to reform the incorrigible Beagles when they were resentenced. "I sentence you to be again!" says the judge, exhausted at the mere mention of the endless effort.

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