The Carl Barks (Disney) Lost Ship Connexion
Carl Barks drew one of the finest Disney comicbook adventures, The Seven Cities of Cibola - Uncle Scrooge #7, which is a Lost Ship of the Desert tale that had its origins at Indio / 1000 Palms. Here's Geoffrey Blum's trenchant review, Wind from a Dead Galleon, and some further backstory notes by Daniël van Eijmeren: seven cities of cibola. And don't miss John Steele Gordon's profile of Barks, Uncle Scrooge’s Father.
DisneyWorld incorporates Barks' imagery in their Coronado Springs resort - see The Digsite - The Lost City Of Cibola. Some of Barks' visuals were stolen, er adapted for Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Lost Ship legend also spawned a more recent film, Ghost Ship. For more, search for Cibola+Barks.
Thanks so much to 'DuneSong' Anne, who brought up the Barks connexion and who contributed the link to the comicbook images, as well as this: A la California: Sketches of Life in the Golden State (scroll down to page 201) - she writes, "there is just a brief reference to the ship but the whole thing makes for an interesting read." Yup!
Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge Adventures in Color #7
Commentary by former publisher, Bruce Hamilton.
One of the best remembered and most treasured stories of the 500 plus that Carl Barks wrote and drew is "The Seven Cities of Cibola," which originally appeared in the seventh issue of Uncle Scrooge comics (September 1954), also featuring Donald Duck and the nephews, Gyro Gearloose and the Beagle Boys.
"This tale results from more research than I usually devoted to my comic work," Barks once recalled. The lost ship of the desert, the fate of Admiral de Ulloa, and the location of the Seven Cities of Cibola came from reading very old books
in the La Jolla (California) library."
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, both admirers of Carl Barks and collectors of his original art paid ultimate homage to the Old Duck Man's genius by hijacking Cibola's emerald guardian for the opening sequence of the first Indiana Jones film, "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Fascinating details about Barks' research for "The Seven Cities of Cibola" -- the first Uncle Scrooge treasure hunt -- and more about Spielberg and Lucas' interest in Carl Barks is told in Geoffrey Blum's two-page article, "Wind from a Dead Galleon."
The Gene Autry (comics) Connection
"Dunesong" Anne of the DRSB group contributed this goodie, a panel from an old Gene Autry story about a (guess what?) lost ship in the desert. The source is Gene Autry Comic Book, issue #52. The title of story is Gene Autry and the Desert Ship. Maybe someday she'll scan and email me the whole story, hint hint. She writes,
The interesting variation on this one is the ship is lost in an old dry (disused, abandoned?) Colorado River channel and is covered and uncovered by flash floods from nearby washes.
Lost Booze In The Desert, etc
Besides the usual tales of lost treasures (on shipboard or not), related lore tells of wagons loaded with fine liquors bound for Old Alta California, caught in sudden sandstorms and buried under the relentless infinite dunes, aging for centuries now, smooth as silk. Harry mentions parts of the legend here and here and here, and Bob Wynn tells another part here. I'll try to dig up some online references Real Soon Now...
For more mysteries, see the Desert Mysteries section - if you DARE!