The Adventures of Long John Silver

THE ADVENTURES OF LONG JOHN SILVER/SYN/1955 (Missing Leg)

Long John Silver (Robert Newton), pirate with one leg living on the island of Porto Bello during the 1700s. Silver was the Captain of the ship called the Faithful. 

long-john-silver-crutch

Also featured were Kit Taylor as young Jim Hawkins, Long John’s unofficial ward; and Connie Gilchrist as Purity the owner of the Cask & Anchor, a local pub where Long John and his pirate cronies hung out. The bartender at Purity’s pub was named Ironhand   (Billy Kay) who sported a hook on his left hand. One of the ship’s crew was named Patch (Grant Taylor) who wore a black patch over his right eye.

“If sailor tales to sailor tunes, Storm and adventure, heat and cold, If schooners, islands, and maroons, And buccaneers, and buried gold, And all the old romance, retold Exactly in the ancient way, Can please, as me they pleased of old, The wiser youngsters of today: Ar! Haha! — So be it, and fall on!” (Opening Narration by Robert Newton as Captain Long John Silver)

The series was filmed in Sydney, Australia and based on the serialized 1881-82 adventure novel “Treasure Island” written by Robert Louis Stevenson.

long-john-silver-intro-crutch

Screen captures from the opening of “The Adventures of Long John Silver”

Long John Silver has appeared in a number of film adaptation including:

  • Treasure Island (1934) with Wallace Berry and Jackie Cooper
  • Treasure Island (1950), a Disney film version starring Robert Newton who first employed the now iconic catchphrase “Arrrrrh, matey!”
  • Long John Silver’s Return to Treasure Island (1954), an Australian film starring Robert Newton as Captain Long John Silver.
  • Return to Treasure Island (1985) Mini-series with Brian Blessed as Long John Silver and Christopher Guard as Jim Hawkins that takes place ten years later, as an adult Jim Hawkins meets up again with his former friend and nemesis Long John Silver.
  •  Muppets Treasure Island (1996) puppet adventure with Tim Curry as Long John Silver. In this version, Bill Bones (speaking in Scottish accent) offers this advice: “One: beware the one-legged man; and Two: Never, ever run with scissors, or any other pointy object – It’s all good fun until someone gets hurt.”
  • Treasure Planet (2002) Disney produced an adaptation of Stevenson’s classic novel (Disney’s first animated feature set in space). This futuristic tale followed the fatherless 15-year-old Jim Hawkins in search of the legendary Treasure Planet. Along the way he befriends a charismatic pirate/cook named John Silver (Voice of Brian Murray) who becomes a surrogate father to Jim despite his treacherous nature. In this version, Long John was a cyborg – part man and part machine. He has a large computer generated forearm, eye and leg (hand drawn animation for the human half and computer animation on the cyborg side).  Silver’s steely hand had many tiny gears and hydraulic pistons that swivel, twist and clench. The arm changed into a fire cannon.

In the novel, “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson, Long John Silver is missing his left leg and uses a crutch under his left arm to stabilize his condition.

Chapter 8 of “Treasure Island” (Jim Hawkins first meets pirate Long John Silver.)

As I was waiting, a man came out of a side room, and at a glance I was sure he must be Long John. His left leg was cut off close by the hip, and under the left shoulder he carried a crutch, which he managed with wonderful dexterity, hopping about upon it like a bird. He was very tall and strong, with a face as big as a ham–plain and pale, but intelligent and smiling. Indeed, he seemed in the most cheerful spirits, whistling as he moved about among the tables, with a merry word or a slap on the shoulder for the more favoured of his guests.

Now, to tell you the truth, from the very first mention of Long John in Squire Trelawney’s letter I had taken a fear in my mind that he might prove to be the very one- legged sailor whom I had watched for so long at the old Benbow. But one look at the man before me was enough. I had seen the captain, and Black Dog, and the blind man, Pew, and I thought I knew what a buccaneer was like–a very different creature, according to me, from this clean and pleasant-tempered landlord.

I plucked up courage at once, crossed the threshold, and walked right up to the man where he stood, propped on his crutch, talking to a customer.

“Mr. Silver, sir?” I asked, holding out the note.

“Yes, my lad,” said he; “such is my name, to be sure. And who may you be?” And then as he saw the squire’s letter, he seemed to me to give something almost like a start.

“Oh!” said he, quite loud, and offering his hand. “I see. You are our new cabin-boy; pleased I am to see you.”

And he took my hand in his large firm grasp.

External Link: The Opening of the TV series @ You Tube

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