Sunday, May 22, 2016

Alan Young 1919-2016

It just came to my attention that Alan Young passed away a few days ago. This makes me very sad. During those friendless years in junior high and high school, one of my biggest pleasures was getting home from school and watching DuckTales, which has remained one of my favorite shows.

When I was a little kid, my Dad used to take me to his barber shop to get my hair cut. It made me feel terribly grown up. There was a magazine rack with three shelves. The top shelf had news magazines like Time, but also had Playboy. The middle shelf had more general entertainment mags. But the bottom shelf had comic books, and that's where I discovered the joys of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics. DuckTales just took me right back to that barbershop and those good times with my Dad, the same way smelling certain powders or aftershaves still does today.

I didn't know at the time that DuckTales was basically Carl Barks: The TV Series. But seeing it inspired me to go back to Disney comics and try to capture the feeling of reading those adventures again. And I found out all about Carl Barks, and that led me to Don Rosa, and to some of my favorite stuff that ever existed. And for me, Alan Young and his characterization of Scrooge McDuck is an integral part of it all. Scrooge is basically my favorite Disney character of all time, and the man who voiced him has passed on. In a time of pretty intense loneliness, Scrooge was an escape.

Young was also in George Pal's The Time Machine, one of my very favorite movies. I used to get excited when they'd show it on WGN's Family Classics show. "Thanks for being such a good friend, David."

Thanks for being Scrooge.


Jason said...

I didn't know Young had voiced Scrooge. I know him mainly from The Time Machine, one of my all-time favorites... in large part because of the scenes between him and Rod Taylor. The thought of a friendship outlasting decades that way has always been very powerful to me. I didn't watch much of Duck Tales myself -- I was in college at the time, busy and a tad too old for it (even though I was still watching plenty of cartoons) -- but I get how and why it mattered to you. And I'm sorry you've lost someone whose work mattered.

Hope you're doing okay, man.

SamuraiFrog said...

For me, the most moving part of The Time Machine is when Rod Taylor is just a little way into the future and he thinks he's meeting his old friend David, but it turns out it's David's grown-up son, and he tells him that they own his old house and never sold it, because David knew Rod Taylor would come back someday. That always made me a little misty.

I didn't realize for a long time it was Alan Young, either, and then when I found out, I sort of had a "Duh" moment because I realized his accent as David Filby in the Time Machine and his accent as Scrooge are almost the exact same voice, and both of those things loom large in my imagination.

There are only a handful of times when Alan Young didn't play Scrooge, so Young was Scrooge from about 1974 until now, even as recently as some of the new Mickey Mouse cartoons. It made me really happy that even at his age he was still Scrooge.