Johnson Smith, Dutch Disney

Dwight Decker deckerd at
Mon Jan 9 19:51:54 CET 1995

DAVID: The Johnson Smith company certainly does still exist.
I get their catalog now and then. They still sell the traditional
party gags like whoopie cushions and joy buzzers and fake doggy
doo and flies in plastic ice cubes, but they seem to have
expanded the product line in recent years to novelties and
doodads of all sorts. Kind of like a Spencer's Gifts for
teenage and 20-something blue-collar types, I'd guess; if
you're in the market for a baseball cap with a Confederate
flag on it, that's the place to go. They also sell a lot of
Star Trek knickknacks, too, for whatever that's worth.
	Uh...what's the coding on those Li'l Bad Wolf and Brer
Rabbit stories you saw in the Dutch comics? On my recent
jaunt to Holland, I picked up a couple of huge collections,
one with a summer fun theme and the other with a winter fun
theme, and while they reprinted a number of Wolf and Rabbit
stories, those stories were all Danish-originated. Since
English is the house language at Egmont, and all scripts 
are in English, there may not be any need to translate them.
	On the other hand, one of the Dutch stories I translated
for Gladstone did have an original English script, but it
still needed translating anyway. The script was written by a
writer/artist who was not a native English speaker, and it
was darned near incoherent. At times it was no more than an
artist's notes to himself. I ended up following the printed
Dutch version because whoever had translated the script into
Dutch had tightened it up, put in jokes, and made it
	On the third hand (!), Egmont's Brer Rabbit scripts, even
written in good English, would need some touching up for the
American market, because they generally aren't written in
Southern dialect, but in rather flavorless standard English.
Is Gladstone even interested in the minor characters?
	A friend of mine (a former Disney Comics staffer) expressed
some interest in writing for Egmont, and I told him that while
everybody in the world wants to write Great Duck Adventure Epics
Just Like Carl Barks (or so it seems sometimes), Egmont is kinda
overstocked on Ducks these days. But come up with good stories
featuring Lil Bad Wolf, Brer Rabbit, and Mad Madam Mim, characters
serious fans tend to overlook, and that might be the way to break
in. Besides, these days it seems like there's only guy who can
write Great Duck Adventure Epics Just Like Carl Barks, and he 
lives in Louisville; kind of stiff competition there. I'm just 
amazed that these minor backup characters from mid-'50s issues of
WDC&S are still popular in Europe, long after they faded from
view in the States. Heck, you'll even find Lil Hiawatha stories
and Scamp stories in Europe. New ones! Anyway, my chum promptly
wrote a Lil Wolf story. He might have been happier writing Ducks,
but it's probably the minor characters that are more in need of
new writers and a steady supply of stories.

--Dwight Decker

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