"The Think Box Bollix" is a 1952 comic story written and illustrated by Carl Barks.
A shorter remake of this story was later published as part of the comic This is Your Life, Donald Duck (1960). The remake was completely redrawn and some scenes were cut, but most of the story and dialogue was left unchanged. The remake was written by Vic Lockman, penciled by Tony Strobl and inked by Steve Steere.
Donald sees Gyro Gearloose, Huey, Dewey, and Louie riding Gyro's new invention, a "jet-powered baggage buggy". Donald considers that vehicle one of the most normal things that Gyro ever invented, and laughs at him because of that. Gyro crashes it on a tree, and states that he did so on purpose: he didn't perfect the baggage buggy because he was busy inventing think boxes. (In the remake, Gyro merely parks the buggy without crashing, and then introduces the think boxes.)
Gyro and Donald's nephews place two think boxes on the field. Donald learns that Huey, Dewey, and Louie are working as Gyro's assistants and that the boxes were designed to make animals think and talk like human beings.
Back in his house, Donald is worried that his nephews are working for a crackpot, but Huey, Dewey, and Louie believe in Gyro and compare him to Edison and Marconi. According to the three ducklings, these famous inventors, too, were thought to be crazy until their inventions were proven to work.
Donald gives up trying to convince his nephews to change their minds, and instead changes his plans. He wakes up the owner of a costume store, and buys a wolf costume. (In the remake, the costume shop and its owner don't appear, and instead Donald is simply shown with the costume bought.)
The next day, Donald wears the costume and pretends to be a wolf endowed with intelligence and speech from the thought boxes. Donald successfully deceives Gyro and his nephews with that story. The fake wolf adds that, as a result of his newly-found intelligence, he lost his taste for raw food such as chickens, and that he intends to eat cooked food, meaning roast ducklings.
Donald (as the fake wolf) attacks his own nephews, but a man appears and stops him, and says that he will defend them from the wolf. Donald takes off his costume and reveals that he was just dressed up to scare his nephews. The man takes off his "man" costume and reveals that he was a real wolf all along, and that ironically he got intelligence and speech from the think boxes and therefore really wants to eat Donald. Exactly like the fake wolf said before, the real wolf ceased to like raw food, and now wants cooked food, a roast duck.
The wolf ties Donald with a rope, and prepares to light up a fire. Huey, Dewey, and Louie discover that Donald was kidnapped because they see tracks on the ground indicating a struggle. A talking rabbit that was affected by the think boxes warns Huey, Dewey and Louie that their uncle is in danger. (In the remake, the rabbit does not appear and Donald's nephews find him by themselves.) They bring Gyro to the place where the wolf took Donald. Per Huey, Dewey, and Louie's request, Gyro is able to reverse the polarity of the think boxes, causing the wolf to abandon Donald and resume thinking like a wild animal.
Huey, Dewey, and Louie are glad because they proved that Gyro's invention worked, and Donald looks angry because of that experience. (in the remake, Donald looks expressionless and thoughtful rather than angry) The talking bunny asks him "Can you spare a dime for a bunch of carrots?", and Donald says: "Oh, shut up!" (In the remake, the talking bunny does not appear. Instead, Donald is seen trying to tell random people on the street that a wolf talked, but the people think that he is crazy or a liar.)
- Donald Duck
- Gyro Gearloose
- Huey, Dewey, and Louie
- Thomas Edison (mentioned)
- Guglielmo Marconi (mentioned)
- The costume shop owner (only in the original)
- The talking wolf
- The talking bunny (only in the original)
- Graham Bell (mentioned)
- People passing on the street (only in the remake)
Differences between original and remake
|Original (1952)||Remake (1960)|
|Writer and illustrator: Carl Barks|| Writer: Vic Lockman|
Illustrators: Tony Strobl (pencils) and Steve Steere (ink)
|It is 10 pages long.||It is 6 pages long.|
|It contains some repetitive or introductory dialogue, such as Donald asking what are the think boxes before he gets an explanation and the back-and-forth exchange as to whether Gyro is a crackpot or a genius.||Some of these lines are cut. Donald learns about the think boxes without asking first. The exchange about the competence of Gyro is shorter.|
|It is self-contained.||It is a story told by Gyro in Jiminy Cricket's TV show.|
|It has little narration: besides "The think boxes are set up on opposite sides of the cook-happy wolf!" describing the plan to save Donald, there are a few short phrases serving as narration: "That evening!", "Later!", "Next morning!" and "And so—".||It has more narration, because Gyro himself is telling the story.|
|Gyro crashes the baggage buggy on a tree and states that this was on purpose: he did not perfect the parking system yet, because he was working on the think boxes.||Gyro merely parks the buggy without crashing it.|
|Gyro, as well as Huey, Dewey and Louie tell Donald how the think boxes work.||Only Huey, Dewey and Louie tell Donald how the think boxes work.|
|Donald says this upon learning that his nephews are working as Gyro's assistants: "Oh, that the name of Duck should ever sink so low!"||This line is cut.|
|It is shown Donald waking up the costume shop owner to buy a package with the wolf costume.||This scene is cut. The costume shop and its owner don't appear. Donald is simply shown with the package bought.|
|When Donald is captured by the wolf, a talking rabbit that was affected by the think boxes warns Huey, Dewey and Louie that their uncle is in danger.||The scene with the talking rabbit is cut. Huey, Dewey and Louie find their uncle by themselves.|
|When Donald's nephews are bragging that the invention worked, Donald looks angry.||In the same scene, Donald seems expressionless and thoughtful, rather than angry.|
|In the end, the talking rabbit asks Donald: "Can you spare a dime for a bunch of carrots?", and Donald angrily says: "Oh, shut up!"||In the end, the talking rabbit does not appear. Donald tries to tell random people on the street that a wolf talked, and the people consider him crazy or a liar.|
- See think boxes for other appearances of the think boxes.