Possible Joke

Cato Elder cato at rock.com
Tue Apr 10 03:17:58 CEST 2012


Ole asked:   a look at Barks' W WDC 151 story, The Easter Parade
Marshall. One
of several stories where an editor decided to change the dialogue.
After Gladstone has poured kerosene over Donald's candy, and the
children are understandably angry with him, on page 4, panel 4, Donald
says "Well, I'll show him that CLEAN play can beat dirty play,
Not really funny, is it? Now, to me, it looks as if the word "play" on
both occasions have been substituted for slightly longer words, probably
Barks' own hand.
What would be a funny pun here, and one which needed to be edited?
I'm thinking that maybe the line should read: "...clean sweets can
beat dirty treats..."!
Two idiomatic expressions, clean sheet, and dirty linen, are implied -
which might be considered inappropriate in a children's book.
Also dirty tricks are jumping to mind (trick or treat), and sweets and
treats rhyme...But perhaps first language English speakers can puzzle out
original funny better?

Ole: it is hard to say what might have happened.   "CLEAN treats can beat
dirty tricks" does not seem to need censoring, and neither does
"sweets...treats."  I checked the panel and it does seem that a longer
word might have been replaced by "play."

"Dirty pool" (not a longer word, unfortunately) implies that one starts
to play "pool" (i.e. billiards)  with an opponent, and one pretends at
first to have little skill, losing a game or two.  Then one says to the
opponent "How about a wager?  Maybe I'll play better under pressure." 
And then with money on the line one's real skill overwhelms the opponent.

It is hard to say if even that would be too obscure or somehow
objectionable for kids in the 1950's.  (I would say no, but who knows?)

Maybe "CLEAN ducks can beat dirty ganders... "  [IMAGE]
Or "CLEAN play can beat dirty cheaters..."

Agreed: not really funny!  [IMAGE] 

(Perhaps a joke was not originally intended, but a life lesson?  If so,
then the point is clear with "clean play" vs.  "dirty play.")

Best Wishes!

L. Schulte

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