Weekly Human Wednesday: Long John Silver

Today’s Weekly Human Wednesday post was written by Kyle Mahoney. Kyle wishes to apologize for his long absence from writing for the Weekly Human Wednesdays series. He was stuck in a bank vault for three months with only Honey Nut Cheerios to eat. It was rough.


Performed by…
Tim Curry

Appeared in…
Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

Acquaintances and Shipmates…
Benjamina Gunn (former flame), Jim Hawkins (friend), Polly Lobster (Pet)

Best known role…
Head cook on the Hispaniola, Briefly the Captain of the Hispaniola, former first mate to Bernie Flint, the
One Legged Man.

Memorable quote(s)…
“Talking… parrots?”
“Bright as paint you are lad, bright as paint!”
“You’re honest and brave and true. You didn’t learn that from me.”

Years before the adventures of Jim Hawkins, Captain Bernie Flint buried a treasure and left his crew for dead, but not all of his crew. His first mate was Long John Silver, who survived Flint’s attack and vowed to get the treasure back.

Billy Bones also knows of this story, and warns Jim Hawkins, Gonzo, and Rizzo to beware the One-Legged Man, for he brings death. On the great ship Hispaniola the gang meets Long John Silver, who is the cook for the voyage and they befriend him, even after seeing his one leg and meeting his shifty pet, Polly Lobster.

It is learned that Long John Silver was able to persuade Mr. Bimble to hire the questionable crew that lies under the command of Captain Abraham Smollet. During the voyage, Long John and Jim become close friends, almost father and son. Jim eventually reveals to Long John that he was in possession of the map before being forced to give it to Smollet. After Polly Lobster, Clueless Morgan, and Mad Monty were put in the brig, Long John comes to visit to tell them his revised plan for mutiny. Silver then tricks Mr. Samuel Arrow into giving him his keys and abandons him in a lifeboat.

Soon, Jim, Gonzo, and Rizzo learn of his plans and Captain Smollet decides to let them go to the island and will leave them all there for a year or so. But Long John, being the sneaky genius he is, brings Jim along with them. On the island Jim is forced by Long John to guide the pirates to the treasure. His crew begins to turn on him when there is no treasure in the chests, but using his power of persuasion, he gets their trust back.

We also learn that in the past, Long John had a romance with Benjamina Gunn, who refers to him as “Loooooooooooooooong John.” But their reunion is cut short when he threatens her former fiancĂ© Smollet. He hangs the two lovers above the ocean and heads for where Benjamina has hidden the treasure.

During the final battle, Long John does battle with Smollet and loses quickly. He gives up his sword with honor to Jim and is brought upon the Hispaniola to be brought to trial back in England. He escapes, steals the treasure and almost makes off in a lifeboat until Jim finds him and almost blows his cover. After a heartfelt exchange, Jim tells Long John to leave, and he does. But in the very end Mr. Arrow informs the Captain that Long John took a very unsafe lifeboat, and he is later seen trying to save his treasure in his sinking little boat.

Because it would have been a very boring movie otherwise. Long John is a brilliant, filthy villain, but is still able to have a heart and still honors the friendship he made with Jim. Long John needs to be there so that there is adventure, without him then it would have been a simple mission. Long john brings the action and Tim Curry had the perfect cockney accent to make a human character as vibrant as a Muppet.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

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