19, the parodic yo-ho-ho-holiday gives every swashbucker and hornswaggler the opportunity to grab an eyepatch, stuff a parrot on their shoulder and yell “Arrr!” at the most unsuspecting, lily-livered of pals.
In 1950, the popular tale was adapted for Hollywood in what was Walt Disney’s first movie made with live actors only.
His performance was certainly a memorable one; TIME’s 1950 review of Disney’s Treasure Island notes that it “offers the fun of watching an eye-rolling, lip-twitching Robert Newton as he wallows outrageously through the role of Long John Silver, one of fiction’s most ingratiating scoundrels.” Born in Dorset and educated in Cornwall, Newton based his pirate talk on his own native British West Country dialect.
His accent might not have been far off—the south west of England has long been associated with pirates because of its strong maritime heritage; notorious pirate Blackbeard was even said to have come from Bristol, in the heart of that area.
Newton’s iconic role as Long John Silver was so influential that a variation his West Country English became the standard for portrayals of pirates on stage and in the cinema.