Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Robert Newton catapulted (?) his fame as the character from Disney's Treasure Island and Long John Silver to star in this syndicated series.  Aaargh, matey, but he be no pirate here, shiver me timbers, no. Long John Silver is a reformed pirate now, doing good (of sorts) here and there, mostly here at the local tavern.

Newton had an erratic thirty-plus year career, marked by alcoholism and unreliability on the set.  He died at the age of fifty shortly after finishing the first and only year of this series.  The cause of death was officially listed as heart attack but it was generally accepted that the booze did him in.

Brooklyn-born Connie Gilchrist played Purity Pinker, the woman who set her sights on Long John Silver.  She turned to films after a two decade career on the stage and worked in films and television through the 1960s.  The role of Jim Hawkins was filled by young Australian teenager Kit Taylor.  Newton, Gilchrist, and Taylor were all reprising their roles from the 1954 Disney sequel to Treasure Island, Long John Silver.

Although filmed in England, the production company was Australian, which may in explain in part why the show featured an English actor and an Australian child actor, but does not really explain why the main actress had a Brooklyn accent.

This pilot episode (and six others of the 26 in the series) was directed by Lee Sholem, one of the busiest directors in the business -- he was said to have directed over 1300 shows.  Once, while directing a Tarzan flick, there was a sudden need to cast a new person for the role of Jane; Sholem tried -- and failed -- to convince his producer to hire a talented new actress named Marilyn Monroe.

The script was by Martin Rackin, a former comedy writer for Red Skelton.  Rackin (The Horse Soldiers, North to Alaska, The Enforcer) eventually wrote the scripts for more than half the Long John Silver episodes.

In the first episode, "The Necklace," dated April 9 1957, Silver is accused of murder and theft and Purity Pinker volunteers to save him if he agrees to set a wedding.

Please note that the following link mistakenly dates this show as from 1954, which was the date of the Disney movie.

1 comment:

  1. In Stevenson's book Long John Silver already has a wife- an unofficial one, you might say. She's also black, which probably wouldn't have gone down too well in the 1950s.