Friday, September 14, 2018

Forgotten Books: THE BUCCANEERS by Alice Sankey and Russ Manning (1958)


Who remembers The Buccanners? It was a British TV series produced in 1956 and '57 by ITC, the same outfit that did The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Adventures of Sir Lancelot. It was shown in syndication in the US.


The first episode featured a character named Captain Woodes Rogers, but he was soon replaced by Captain Dan Tempest, played by Robert Shaw (who starred, much later, in my favorite pirate movie Swashbuckler). Here's a clip showing the opening credits and the nifty closing theme song:


This Big Little Book features Dan Tempest, as drawn by Russ Manning. Manning is best known (to me, anyway) for his work on Tarzan comics and comic strips between 1965 and 1979, and his depiction of Dan Tempest in 1958 is a twin of his later Tarzan.


The story, by Alice Sankey, is merely adequate, which is the case in most Big Little Books. It's job is to provide context for the drawings, which appear on every other page. This book has 276 pages, and 270 of them are Russ Manning illos, which more than make up for the so-so prose.


This adventure sends Dan and his crew of ex-pirates (now serving England as buccaneers) after the notorious Blackbeard, and Dan's ship Sultana does battle with Blackbeard's famous Queen Anne's Revenge. On the plus side, it inolves a treasure map and a treasure. On the minus side, it involves a ship boy and his cat (also named Blackbeard), but in a thankfully minor role.


In all, it's a nice little book, and I've chose a few illos, some depicting a Dan Tempest that looks everything like Tarzan and nothing like Robert Shaw.


I looked at two other BLBs in this "TV Series" series, here: Jim Bowie and Wyatt Earp, and will likely get around the others, Gunsmoke, Sir Lancelot, and Andy Burnett as time limps on. 


I have a cheap DVD set of The Buccaneers series, which is pretty dang good. There are also quite a few complete episodes on YouTube. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is one of them:




3 comments:

Matthew Clark said...

Loved these fifties British adventure TV shows. The historic details were mostly pretty good. Though I wonder how everyone was able to keep their clothing so well pressed back in those days? Robert Shaw is great in this role.

Anonymous said...

There was a real Captain Woodes Rogers, who was a real privateer and buccaneer. Apart from his name lacking the ring of Captain Dan Tempest, he wasn't a very nice or heroic chap: just a good businessman in a dodgy business.

Cap'n Bob said...

I remember it and the other shows you mentioned. I can even sing part of the theme song without hearing what you posted first. I was lucky to grow up when I did.