Hergé originally got the concept for Calculus’ machine in The Calculus Affair when he heard that some people’s windshields had broken outside of a building conducting secret sound related experiments, and decided to look into the technology and use it in an espionage theme story he wanted to set in Switzerland.
In the original printing of Destination Moon, the moon tank was originally bright yellow. It was changed later to the current blue color, because scientists thought that color would better absorb the light rays on the moon, and Hergé took their advice.
Hergé later realized that Bob De Moor had put so much work into getting the towers around the moon rocket right on the cover of Destination Moon that he forgot to add the steering wheel of Professor Calculus’ blue jeep.
In “Land of Black Gold,” the letter sent to inform Ben Kalish Ezab of Abdullah’s kidnapping literally says: “To Mohammad Ibm Khalil. If you want to see your son alive, you should sign the contract with the company Skoil. Signed: Bab El Ameer.”
Hergé told the story of how he and Edgar P. Jacobs went to collect sketches and data from a house Jacobs has discovered as the ideal location for the house of Professor Hercules Tarragon in The Seven Crystal Balls. Hergé spent considerable time with his friend writing down everything they needed, thinking that it would not be too difficult to explain to anybody why they were there, and that the house looked abandoned anyhow. But as soon as they had finished sketching and had put away their equipment, several grey cars pulled up in front of the house- it had recently been occupied by a member of the German SS! Had they seen them sketching the house, they would have had a great deal of explaining to do…
I hope to actually see this house in person one day…
In Red Rackham’s Treasure, Hergé is lightly making fun of Sacha Guitry, a french comedian, writer and director, by advertising a play called simply “Me” in which Guitry plays all of the roles (seen on page 2). For the English translation, the translators changed Guitry to Orson Welles.
Hergé’s friend Jacques Van Melkebeke (who we’ve mentioned earlier in the past weeks) is shown at the flea market, wearing a brown suit. Now I’m curious…is he in the movie?
When the Shooting Star was first put into book form, Hergé removed a panel of two caricatured Jews talking about the end of the world. The name of the villain is changed from Blumenstein to Bohlwinkel (after Bolewinkel, which means ”candy store.”) and the USA was changed to the made up nation “Sao Rico.”
Anti-alcohol forces led Hergé to change the panel in the original on page 19 for the redrawn version so that Haddock is not actually seen drinking from the bottle…
When King Ottokar’s sceptre was redrawn, Edgar P. Jacobs inserted himself and his wife among the dignitaries, on page 59.