Maltese Falcon story

Wilmer Rivers rivers at seismo.CSS.GOV
Fri Oct 6 15:35:19 CET 1995

Don Rosa writes:
> But was there a Maltese Falcon in real life? What a good question!
> After researching adventure stories for the past 8 years, I've learned
> that history is PACKED with fabulous true tales like that, so I
> wouldn't doubt there was some truth in that premise.

The premise of the movie was that the falcon was part of the treasure
of the Knights Templar, who operated out of Malta.  The Knights Templar
are one of those organizations who are considered by paranoids - er,
believers in "conspiratorial" interpretations of history - to be at the
root of much that has happened throughout the ages.  In particular,
Umberto Ecco has popularized that belief in "Foucault's Pendulum".  You
may recall that many reviewers compared Don's "Guardians of the Lost
Library" to that book, as well as to Ecco's earlier "The Name of the
Rose".  Since "GotLL" has a lot in common with the idea of a mysterious
society passing down its treasures from century to century and continent
to continent, I wouldn't be surprised if the Maltese Falcon had in fact
wound up in the remains of Fort Duckburg, perhaps now disguised not as
a black enamel falcon but instead as a black enamel woodchuck.

Incidentally, the other mysterious organization that conspiratorial
devotees believe to be responsible for much in the world today is the
Freemasons.  (This belief is reflected in many of Alan Moore's comic
books, especially "From Hell".)  The Freemasons and the Knights Templar
actually are entertwined in the Scottish Rite branch of Masonry.  Of
course, in "The Man Who Would Be King" the adventurers discover that
the Freemasons are responsible for preserving Alexander the Great's
treasure in India, so maybe Donald and Scrooge can find themselves on
the trail of lost treasure which leads from India to Malta to Fort
Duckburg.  I would certainly like to see the expression on their faces
when the high lama in the temple in India opens up the holy vault to
show our heros the milenia-old sacred symbol that only he is allowed to
see, which turns out to be the emblem of the Junior Woodchucks of the

Completely off the subject, fans of grand conspiracy interpretations
of history should read Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49", which
attributes the state of the work today to a band of Medieval robbers
who now operate the world's postal service.  Maybe there's a Beagle
Boys story in there.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing the Maltese
Falcon in a Disney comic book.  It would really be fun to see Gus Goose
as Sidney Greenstreet!

Wilmer Rivers

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