>For whatever reason I am selfishly prone to consider my past and reflect on events, people, and things – like films – that have been a part of creating this person I call me. And I realize that lately, maybe from the beginning, my blogging tends towards the personal. So feel free, because you are, to take your precious time elsewhere. Anyway . . .
September 7, 1975 – September 11, 1977: Sunday, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
September 18, 1977 – October 23, 1977: Sunday, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
October 30, 1977 – September 2, 1979: Sunday, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
At some point during those years I saw Disney’s Treasure Island (1950). Recently I watched it again with my daughter. Although the film is dated and rather straightforward, it brought back memories and reminded me of some images that must have seared themselves into my brain. Treasure Island is a classic story for all ages, but for young boys especially (at least for me) it is a sort of touchstone.
Charming as a child actor, he made his mark in films like Song of the South (1946) and Treasure Island (1950). Unfortunately, as he got older and acting offers became fewer, he got involved with hard drugs, which ultimately ruined his health and reduced him to poverty. Years of drug abuse severely weakened his heart, and he died of a heart attack alone in a vacant building in New York. Driscoll’s body was discovered in an abandoned Greenwich Village tenement by two children playing there on March 30, 1968. When found dead, his identity was unknown and he was buried as a “John Doe” in pauper’s grave. A year later, fingerprints finally revealed his identity.
But L.J. Silver was more than that for me. As a boy I new he was a bad guy. But I also knew that he liked Jim as though Jim was the son Silver never had. That was confusing for me. Here was a bad guy that I could legitimately like, not because evil is fascinating, but because he was both bad and good. The idea of moral ambiguity was planted in my soul by Robert Louis Stevenson by way of Robert Newton.
The concept that one could hope for the best for one’s enemies also played itself out in the film. When Silver is trying to escape at the end of the film, Jim helps him. And then Jim and Dr. Livesey (Denis O’Dea) watch as Silver sails away. Dr. Livesey says he almost hopes Silver “makes it.” Silver even waves back – no hard feelings for him either.
And there he is, L.J. Silver sailing away, saving himself from the arm of the law, and here am I wishing he gets away. As a young boy what was I to think? I can tell you it got my head to thinking and wondering, and wishing I could be both good Jim Hawkins and a pirate of the seven seas.
switching gears slightly . . .
BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WONT DROWN
So, the other night I finished reading to my daughter a wonderful book called Swallows and Amazons. Lily loved it, but I have to say I became not a little obsessed with the book. I couldn’t wait to read her the next chapter each night. I would find myself thinking about the book during the day. In short the story is about some kids who, while on Summer vacation near a lake, sail a little sailboat, Swallow, to a little island and camp there for a few days. They meet a couple of other kids who have a boat called Amazon. The kids then have some great adventures and forge life-long friendships. It’s a book I recommend for adults as much for kids.
Apparently there was a film version in 1974, but it sounds like it wasn’t too good.
Anyway, like I said at the beginning, I suppose I could have titled this post “I want a sailboat real bad.”