Treasure Island first editionFirst edition

Treasure Island

Publication details ▽ Publication details △

Original title
The Sea Cook: A Story for Boys

First publication
18811882 in magazine Young Folks

First book publication
1883

Literature form
Novel

Genres
Literary, adventure, young adult

Language
English

Author's country
Scotland

Length
Approx. 67,000 words

Adventures of Long John Silver scene
Yo-ho-ho and I'll have a little more of that dinner wine, says a domesticated Long John Silver.

Treasure Island

THE NOVEL | THE TEXT | THE MOVIES

1934, 1950, 1954, 1954, 19561957

At home with Long John Silver

The Adventures of Long John Silver (19561957): Television series; featuring Robert Newton, Connie Gilchrist, Kit Taylor

Between his two feature outings as Long John Silver, Newton had hammed it up similarly as Edward Teach, the titular character of Blackbeard, the Pirate (1952). The man was born to play memorable pirates. Unfortunately he got only one more chance to chew up the ersatz British and Caribbean scenery—in twenty-six episodes of a television series.

Newton, Kit Taylor and Connie Gilchrist reprised their recent movie roles in The Adventures of Long John Silver, which was shot in Australia in 1955, I believe— before Australia even had television. It was shown in England and America in 1956 or 1957 and around the rest of the world over the next decade, as well as later in the 1980s. They might have made more if Newton hadn't died at the height of his fame in 1956.

When the baby boomers were very young, The Adventures of Long John Silver seemed like one of the most exciting things on TV, along with Zorro, Ivanhoe and Robin Hood. More intriguing than the others though, because Silver wasn't quite the hero the other leads were. Kind of a bad guy, wasn't he? Except that he chummed with good lad Jim?

Looking back at it in context now, we can see the single-season of the show continues the taming of Silver, as he develops a relationship with Purity, gives up rum in favour of (gasp!) milk, and lives with the Hawkins family in an inn. He's still a lovable rascal but no longer a cutthroat scoundrel. Yet Newton plays him with all the old panache.

The writing and direction are better than for most TV shows of the period, though anachronisms abound: a Christmas episode actually references Santa Claus, who wasn't to be invented for a century or so.

Episodes are difficult to find. Only half seem to have been ever released on DVD. The technical quality is also not great by most accounts, since the masters are not available for making true copies.

But the adventure continues, with Newton's Long John Silver at the centre, which is what any Treasure Island fan really wants.

— Eric McMillan

THE NOVEL | THE TEXT | THE MOVIES

1934, 1950, 1954, 1954, 19561957

See also:

Movies
Kidnapped

Movies
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Novel
Robinson Crusoe

Movies
Robinson Crusoe

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