Wednesday, May 15, 2013

childhood obsessions: Scrooge McDuck.

It’s time, once again, to talk about a childhood obsession. Yes, another one. If you haven’t noticed, I was obsessed with a LOT of things when I was young. I’m sure you were, too… right?

The intensity of my obsession with Scrooge McDuck (yes, you read that correctly) is rivaled only by my Lion King mania. That’s saying something. Scrooge McDuck is the very first thing I can remember being fanatical about… isn’t that cute, my first obsession! I blame it on Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol is, as I bet you figured out already because you’re so smart – a cartoon TV special featuring Mickey and friends as the characters in Charles Dickens’ famous story. I’ve watched that Christmas cartoon every holiday season for as long as I can remember, and I took a liking to Scrooge McDuck (who, of course, plays Ebenezer Scrooge). Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was his dapper outfit, or maybe it was his crotchety personality (which I could already relate to while I was still aged in the single digits). All that said, I bet it was his Scottish accent that really hooked me.

Mom noticed a budding infatuation and bought me a stuffed Scrooge doll that she found at a rummage sale. 
He was dressed in his purple pajamas from Mickey’s Christmas Carol, so in my bizarrely wired five-year-old brain, that meant he was sick. We had a spare bedroom upstairs, but that quickly became Scrooge’s hospital room. I tucked him in under the pink covers and assured him that he’d be just fine. I would shush anyone who came upstairs, insisting that Scrooge needed his sleep. Who knows what malady afflicted poor Scrooge, but he never seemed to get better: not even when I snaked the Dimetapp from the medicine cabinet to keep by Scrooge’s bedside. (Sidenote: I used to LOVE the taste of Dimetapp – contrary to how that sounds, I never became a cough syrup addict – so I would fake-cough all the time to get my parents to give me some. As they are smarter than a dramatic kindergartner, they never fell for it.)

Scrooge wasn’t always sick; he was available for outings when I needed him. When my mom was pregnant with my brother Mitch, she invited me to go with her to a “big sister” class at the hospital. I was approaching six years old, and I had yet to develop an interest in babies. (Twenty years later, I STILL don’t care for babies. Some things just don’t come naturally to me.) I was already a big sister, but Mom must’ve thought she could get me to help out with the new baby that I was older. (She’d be wrong.) I agreed to go simply because I could bring along stuffed animals and learn to diaper them. Scrooge was one of the lucky few that I dragged along to the baby class that day, and I diapered him like a champ. Fun fact: that was probably the first and last diaper I’ve ever changed… and it was on a stuffed Scrooge McDuck.

Imagine my extreme delight when I found out that Scrooge had his own TV show. That’s right: we’re talking DuckTales. 
I made sure I was planted firmly in front of the TV every afternoon for my daily dose of DuckTales, and I can still sing you the theme song to this day. I was SO JEALOUS of Huey, Dewey, and Louie: have you SEEN Scrooge’s mansion? I would’ve killed for a place like that. (And let’s be perfectly honest: who doesn’t want to dive into a big pit of money?)
Painful, yet awesome.
A major portion of every DuckTales plot revolved around some crazy Russian witch duck named Magica and how she was trying to steal Scrooge’s lucky dime.
It should probably not surprise you to find out that I took to carrying around a lucky dime of my own: minted in my birth year, of course.

Much to my delight, my friend Sarah dabbled in DuckTales. While she was nowhere near the superfan I was, Sarah had something I didn’t: a copy of Treasure of the Lost Lamp. 
Remember that? It was that dorky movie about the DuckTales crew finding a lost treasure – including a magic lamp – and all hell breaks loose when it (gasp!) falls into the wrong hands. Every time I went over to Sarah’s house, I asked/demanded to watch Treasure of the Lost Lamp. Poor Sarah.

My sister and I each had a little memory book that was divided into sections for each school grade. Every year, you were supposed to paste in your school picture and fill out the questions. The questions mostly involved favorites: favorite color, favorite book, favorite school subject. The categories changed from school year to school year, but a few of them remained steady, one of them being “favorite TV show.” Not too long after I learned how to write legibly (kindergarten?), I decided to save my future self some time. I was absolutely positive that DuckTales would be my favorite TV show until I died, let alone until I graduated high school. So, thinking proactively, I went through the rest of the book and filled in DuckTales as my favorite television show from first grade up until my senior year. Sadly, DuckTales was overthrown the following year by Wishbone.
Sorry, DuckTales.
So my obsession with Scrooge McDuck and his associated TV show/movie was just the beginning of a long line of manias. But you have to start somewhere, right?

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