Saturday, 26 January 2013

Pirates! (Argh etc)

Here's something interesting, from the days before ridiculous Internet-based stuff reduced pirates to nothing more than annoying memes (and by extension, stuff like "National Talk-Like-A-Pirate-Day"). The days when pirates were romantic and exciting and murderous and fascinating all at once, and not something that's given Johnny Depp a career for life. This is a souvenir book from 1968, promoting the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride at California's Disneyland. Amazing what charity shops can be hiding, isn't it?

Filled with historical information, production drawings and photographs, and a guided tour of the ride itself, it's a nice read and a "historical document" of sorts - apparently most of the original animatronics from the ride have been replaced by likenesses of Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush and the rest of them. And of course, in the finest of traditions, Walt Disney's the only one who gets a named credit in the whole book! If anyone can tell me who the artists of any of the drawings in this thing are, I'd appreciate that a lot.

Particularly with the opening/closing pages - a nice big map of the whole thing. Available in wallpaper size! (Double click, obviously):

Here's the rest of the book, after the jump - enjoy!

Thanks to the book's previous owner for this bit of creative vandalism.

Let it be noted that I still enjoy reading about pirates, and watching films about pirates - including the four previously-mentioned Gore Verbinsky films, as well as CutThroat Island, Roman Polanski's Pirates, and Aardman's The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists. It's just all the annoying stuff that's sprung up around them that irks me - whoever first thought up the whole "pirate versus ninja" thing ought to be keel-hauled!

While we're at it, here's some recommended pirate-based reading (or at least, the books that I have on the subject):

Peter Pan (Volumes 1-6) by Régis Loisel

Cap'n Kyd's Kids, a Beano Comic Library


  1. That is an incredible find! What gorgeous art. I do think that in our era of shorter and shorter attention spans that companies like Disney underestimate our need for quality and quantity. Everything is bite-sized and sensationalized for faster more exciting consumption, and we lose a lot of the charm and almost all the potential resource. But we're living in a different culture now too.

    1. Agree completely - everything's so FLAT nowadays. There's definitely people out there who'd see your five-line comment there as an excuse to put "TL/DR".

      What happened??

  2. I seem to remember that there were also some model kits (with working bits) back around the mid-'70s. They were advertised in U.S. comics in the main.

    1. I've seen those somewhere online, a couple of years ago - very nice-looking, although finding one nowadays would be a challenge.

  3. They had a line of Haunted Mansion model kits in the same style as the Pirate kits too... man, you're lucky to have this book, it's awesome!