Everyone knows Scrooge McDuck, right?
He’s the miserly old rich dude/duck who Disney introduced as Donald Duck’s nemesis in the 1940s.
Well … um … maybe.
He’s the rich and frugal — but still mostly kindhearted and adventurous — old duck who is Donald’s uncle and the Grand Uncle of Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Yeah, he’s definitely one of those.
But if there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s how old Scrooge is … right?
Well, maybe not.
But we can at least take heed of the available evidence … so here are the clues we have as to Scrooge McDuck’s age.
Artist Carl Banks was a hired gun for Disney (via Dell) in 1947 when the company commissioned him to create Christmas on Bear Mountain.
Scrooge was intended to be a one-off character, but Banks and Disney found his personality and developing back story useful for moving other plot lines ahead, so they began to flesh him out.
By 1955, folks were starting to ask about his origins, and Banks started filling in the pieces.
Specifically, in the one-page “Watt an Occasion,” Banks revealed that Uncle Scrooge was, at that time 75 years of age.
That would put his birth year at 1880 and would make him 139 this years.
If he were still going.
And … well, he is. Sorta, at least.
DuckTales … Twice!
Uncle McDuck treaded along just fine for nearly 40 years, enjoying a decent dollop of popularity through comics.
Then, in 1987, Uncle Scrooge and his grand nephews — Donald was their uncle, Della Duck their mother — hit the big time … a television series of their own.
DuckTales ran for four seasons and even hit the big screen with DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp.
By that point, and by Banks’ timeline, Scrooge would have been 107.
So, how does a centurion duck keep pace with his toddler+ nephews?
Well, it could be that the show was set in an earlier era. Except it wasn’t because it features 1980s technology.
That leaves us with deus ex machina dilemma that can only be solved by … The Fountain of Youth. Luckily, Scrooge had drunk from just such a fountain in “That’s No Fable!”, and Banks chalked up the old dude’s good health to the healing powers of that juice.
Presumably, that restorative mojo has carried over to the DuckTales reboot, which debuted in 2017.
Not everyone agrees, though.
The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck
Banks’ cranky duck hero resonated with a lot of kids in the 1950s, and one of those was a fella named Don Rosa.
As it turned out, Rosa would eventually take the helms of the McDuck comic universe, becoming the writer and artist for the series in 1986.
In the 1990s, Rosa took his experiences with the fowl, his admiration of Banks’ work, and his artistic license, and he spun up an unofficial but compelling life story for McDuck.
In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Rosa posited that Scrooge was born in Scotland in 1867 and died at 100 in 1967. That’s when Banks stepped away from the drawing board, in case you’re keeping score.
So how, then, did Rosa reconcile McDuck’s ongoing existence with his death 20-30 years before?
Rather, all of Rosa’s stories are set in the 1950s.
Who is right about Scrooge McDuck’s true age?
Your guess is as good as mine, but we know one thing for sure — his cartoon age is 72 as I write this, and the old bird shows no signs of slowing down.
And, for children of the 1980s, 1970s, or before, that’s a treasure chest of memories waiting to be unlocked.