Huey, Dewey and Louie --- Geneology and origin

Per Starb{ck starback at Minsk.DoCS.UU.SE
Thu Mar 25 00:27:49 CET 1993

Lots of interesting questions and discussion floating around now...
I probably don't have time to say everything I want to right now, but
let's start with Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Fredrik Ekman told of the two different versions of their appearance
in the Duck household, and Harry Fluks replied:

> I always thought the _comic_ version was Della, while the _movie_ version was
> Dumbella. Apparently, I'm wrong...

I always forget details like that, but I've checked, and you were right.

HD&L appeared for the first time in the Donald Duck newspaper Sunday page
October 17, 1937 where Donald got a letter with the following text:

	Dear Donald:
	I am sending your angel nephews Louie, Huey and Dewey, to stay
	with you while their father is in the hospital.  A giant
	firecracker exploded under his chair.  The little darlings are
	*so* playful.  I hope you enjoy them.
		Your cousin,

This was written by Ted Osborne and drawn by Al Taliaferro by the
way.  At the time the Studio was working on a cartoon called
_Donald's_Nephews_ (by director Jack King) with the same theme, but
due to the longer production time it didn't premiere until 1938.  In
the cartoon the letter was from Donald's *sister* *Dumbella*.

Supposedly the cousin Della in the Sunday page is the boys' mother,
but as it isn't explicitly said so we might toy with the idea that she
isn't, if that makes it easier to untangle this mess.  Maybe the
mother was away or something, and Della just was a nearby relative who
took care of getting the boys a home when their father was in the

What about the cartoon?  I haven't seen it for some time---is it
absolutely clear that Donald's sister Dumbella is the mother of the
boys there?  I don't know what I'm getting at, though.  Maybe one
solution would be that the Sunday page and the cartoon is about
different occasions.  First time (the Sunday page) the boys' mother
(Dumbella) was away somewhere, so when their father (unnamed) had to
go to the hospital, Dumbella's (and Donald's) cousin Della (who
probably lived in the same town as Dumbella) sent the boys to Donald.
When the father got back the boys returned.  (It's a fact that the
boys disappeared in the daily strip for a while to reappear again
later.)  Then the boys' father had to go to the hospital *again*, and
this time their mother Dumbella, who wasn't away any longer, sent the
boys to Donald the second time.

But of course Donald would then recognize the boys in the cartoon.
Hm...  Probably it's futile to try to get Disney cartoons and Disney
comics to belong to the same "universe".  It's enough of a problem
just with all the inconsistencies in the comics.  Is Della a possible
nickname for Dumbella by the way?

Note that if we ignore the cartoon and only believe the comics, then
there is nothing (or is it?) that says that HDL are Donald's sister's
sons and not his brother's sons, because the hospitalized father might
be Donald's brother!  (In Swedish there are different words for
"sister's son" and "brother's son", and in Swedish translations HDL
have always been Donald's brother's sons, in spite of the facts from
the cartoon.)

Then of course there is Carl Barks's family tree that Rich Bellacera
mentioned.  In that tree HD&L's mother is called Thelma Duck and is a
sister to Donald.  This Thelma has never been used in a published
story though, but was only a name in Unca Carl's private notes, so
maybe she's not very canonical?
--       "
Per Starback, Uppsala, Sweden.  email: starback at
 "Life is but a gamble!  Let flipism chart your ramble!"

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