From Treasure Island to Pirates of the Caribbean, I love a good pirate tale. But I was puzzled when I encountered the classic pirate-speak completely out of context in an old black and white comedy called Soldiers Three. After a bit of exploration on IMDB, it all began to make sense.
Soldiers Three is a 1951 movie based on a Rudyard Kipling story with actor Robert Newton playing the role of Private Bill Sykes. Newton played Long John Silver in the Disney classic, Treasure Island, and although there were a few earlier appearances of the definitive pirate exclamation, “Arrr!” it was Newton who popularized the utterance along with other pirate jargon such as “Ahoy, matey” and “Shiver me timbers”. He reprised the persona he created in Treasure Island for Blackbeard, the Pirate, and many iterations of the pirate character. So, while the story of Soldiers Three has nothing to do with pirates, Newton capitalized on his notoriety as a pirate by parodying the style of speech he created.
Sadly, Newton suffered from a severe drinking problem, but managed a diverse, if sporadic, acting career. He delivered many superb performances in such movies as This Happy Breed (1944), Odd Man Out (1947) and Oliver Twist (1948).
September 19th is the day to party like a pirate according to the founders of talklikeapirate.com, John Baur, aka Ol’ Chumbucket, and Mark Summers, aka Cap’n Slappy. The pirate holiday has been becoming an international phenomenon ever since Dave Barry mentioned it in a nationally syndicated newspaper column in 2002.
If someone asks why pirates are better than anyone else, tell ‘em they just Arrr!
Here’s a rum cocktail recipe to toast ye pirate self…
Dark and Stormy Recipe
- 4 oz. Ginger Beer
- 1 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
- Lime wedge garnish
Pour the chilled ginger beer in a glass over ice. Top with rum and admire the variations in color. Stir, swill, and talk like a pirate, matey.