Gladstone Gander

Gladstone Gander

name =Gladstone Gander

first appearance ="Walt Disney's Comics and Stories" #88 (January 1948)
created by =Carl Barks
voiced by =Rob Paulsen
relatives =Goosetave Gander (or Luke The Goose) (father), Daphne Duck (mother), Donald Duck (cousin), Fethry Duck (cousin), Huey, Dewey and Louie (second cousins?)
friends =Daisy Duck, Gyro Gearloose, sometimes Uncle Scrooge
rivals =Donald Duck, Magica De Spell

Gladstone Gander is a Walt Disney fictional character created by comic artist and writer Carl Barks for Western Publishing. Gladstone first appeared in the story "Wintertime Wager" in "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories" #88 (January, 1948).

Fictional character biography

Gladstone is a lazy and infuriatingly lucky gander (male goose) who never fails to upset his first cousin Donald Duck. Gladstone's luck defies probability (a fact Huey, Dewey and Louie tried to use against him on a raffle in Oolated Luck but only got to show Gladstone sometimes is lucky even when he doesn't seem to be) and provides him with anything he desires, with hardly the need of effort. His philosophy in life is summarised in leaving everything to chance and taking advantage of opportunities as they come. As Disney comics writer Don Rosa has commented on the character: "Gladstone is unwilling to make the slightest effort to gain something that his luck cannot give him, and, when things go wrong, he resigns immediately, certain that around the next corner a wallet, dropped by a passer-by, will be waiting for him". For all his luck Gladstone has no achievements to be proud of and no true ambitions, as he is incapable of long-term planning. All of this is in stark contrast to his relative Scrooge McDuck, who is also capable of taking advantage of opportunities but works hard to create situations favorable for him, is strongly motivated by his ambitions and takes pride in forming his fortune by his own efforts.

Scrooge may not know of Gladstone's luck (although in "Duck Tales" Scrooge recognises its existence as a possibility), but he is aware of his anti-work attitude. In an issue of the comics where Scrooge gives $1,000 to Donald, Gladstone, and Huey, Dewey and Louie to determine how they use it in order to be the most suitable heir to his fortune, Gladstone thinks of using the money to buy a television set until he finds a raffle ticket, in which he decides to save the money by placing it in a tree. Scrooge is pleased Gladstone saved the money, but the idea of putting it in a tree is hardly a sound idea of security. Later, when Huey, Dewey and Louie infuriate Scrooge by investing their money unwisely (according to Scrooge), he says to himself "I am afraid my heir will have to be Gladstone, and I am not confident he will properly protect his investments or go to work to earn more money". Soon afterwards, however, the children's decision proves to be the wisest, and they become Scrooge's heirs instead of Gladstone.

Gladstone finds working for a living deplorable and has held only one job in his lifetime; so ashamed was he at being forced to work that he hid his salary (a single dime) in a safe (in "Gladstone's Terrible Secret" from 1951). He is a rival of Donald for the love of Donald's girlfriend Daisy Duck. Gladstone is also considered among the prime candidates for Scrooge McDuck's succession. For all of these reasons, he and Donald have formed an intense rivalry with each other. Gladstone's arrogance and outrageous luck, combined with Donald's own ego and belief he can still best him despite all odds---or as Don Rosa's version of Scrooge comments, "Donald's eternal tendency towards self-destruction"---have set the stage for many stories featuring the two cousins' confrontations.


Barks gradually developed Gladstone's personality and at first used him frequently - in 24 stories between 1948 and 1953, the first five years of his existence. Gladstone's luck evolved slowly. In his first three appearances in 1948 ("Wintertime Wager", "Gladstone Returns", "Links Hijinks"), he was portrayed as the mirror image of Donald: an obstinate braggart, perhaps just a little bit more arrogant. In "Race to the South Seas" in 1949, Gladstone is amazingly lucky on his sail boat, but meets an unfortunate end, getting disinherited at his first encounter with uncle Scrooge. In his next two appearances, "Rival Beachcombers" and "The Goldilocks Gambit", Gladstone is portrayed as merely lazy and irritable, and also gullible. The breakthrough of his lucky streak occurs in December 1949, and the long adventure story "Luck of the North". It starts by Gladstone reading his horoscope: "I was born under a lucky star, and everything I do will bring me good fortune, it says here. And today, it says here, I’m to be especially lucky". And he remains extremely lucky throughout the story, to the chagrin of his cousin Donald, who attempts to get him lost in Alaska by drawing a phony map of a uranium mine. In the following stories, unlikely lucky coincidences continue to follow him, reaching surreal proportions in "Gladstone's Usual Very Good Year" (1952), where he enters his first raffle lotteries. His and Donald's rivalry over Daisy is established in "Donald's Love Letters" (1949), "Wild About Flowers" (1950), and "Knightly Rivals" (1951), and as potential heirs to Scrooge's fortune in "Some Heir Over the Rainbow" (1953). He competes with Donald on elaborate treasure hunts in "Trail of the Unicorn" (1950), "The Gilded Man" (1952), and later, most vividly, in "Secret of Hondorica" (1956). After that, Barks felt unable to develop the character further, finding him basically unsympathetic, and began using him less frequently. But by then, Gladstone had found a steady place in the Duck universe. He was first used by an artist other than Barks in 1951: "Presents For All" by Del Connell and Bob Moore.

Like his other first cousin Fethry Duck, Gladstone has little care for social conventions. Both of them have been sometimes described as the Beatniks or the Hippies of the Duck family.

His exact relation to the Duck Family Tree is somewhat uncertain. In Carl Barks' original version of the family tree from the 1950s, Gladstone was the son of Luke the Goose and Daphne Duck who died by overeating at a free-lunch picnic. He was later adopted by Matilda McDuck and Goosetave Gander. Later, Barks is reported to have done away with the adoption, which was never featured in any story. (Of course, no stories denying the event were published.) In a more recent version of the family tree created by Don Rosa, Daphne Duck (Donald's paternal aunt) married Goosetave Gander and the two were Gladstone's parents; in Rosa's stories that is the case. In Rosa's story "The Sign of the Triple Distelfink", first published on February 4, 1997, he added the fact that Gladstone was born on the day of Daphne's birthday on 1920, under the protection sign of the Triple Distelfink, and that he has inherited his mother's luck.

A number of recent Italian stories feature Gladstone's protector goddess appearing in person. In those tales, the goddess is named Fortuna, Goddess of Luck, whose equivalent in mythology is Tyche, the Goddess of Luck in Greek mythology. Fortuna appears in one noteworthy tale, "Gastone e il debole dalla Fortuna" ("Gladstone and the Struck of Luck"), by Enrico Faccini and Augusto Macchetto, first published on March 24, 1998. In this story, the Goddess takes mortal guise in order to be able to date her favorite gander (goose), and appears to be love-struck with him.

Appearances in other media

Gladstone appeared in several episodes of the animated series "DuckTales", where he was voiced by Rob Paulsen, later noted for playing Pinky on the cartoon "Pinky and the Brain". In the episode "Dime Enough for Luck", Gladstone is an unwitting stooge for Magica De Spell in one of her attempts to steal Scrooge's Number One Dime. He returns in the episode "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. McDuck", where he accidentally bids on an item that turns out to be valuable. This inspires Scrooge to bid on the next item - a trunk containing Dr. Jekyll's formula - which sets the plot in motion. He also makes non-speaking cameo appearances in the episodes "Sweet Duck of Youth" and "Till Nephews Do Us Part", as well as an episode of "House of Mouse".

External links

*Inducks character|GL
* [ Gladstone's profile on Disney's HooZoo]
* [ His profile in a "Who is Who in Duckburg"]
* [ A Rosa interview on his view of Gladstone]
* [,+Rob His voice actor's profile in the Internet Movie Database]

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