By JESSICA WILLIAMS
It’s hard to talk these days.
Our masks we all have to wear most places makes it hard.
Something as simple as asking the store clerk for help has never been more challenging.
Everything is muffled.
Nine times out of ten, we are repeating the word “Huh?”, or “I’m sorry” because we are speaking a muffled language.
Times are tough. There is no doubt.
Time for a minute of distraction, don’t you think?
Let me ask you if you could be any pirate who would it be?
Apparently there are many pirate admirers here in Hernando County. People here fall in love, head over heels with pirates and mermaids.
Do you remember the first time you saw the classic Disney film, Peter Pan? There was the notorious cartoon pirate, Captain Hook and his ole’ trustee side-hand, Mr. Smee. Who was it that Captain Hook captured? Her father was very upset and arranged for Peter Pan to bring her home. Can you remember her name? If you were a committed Disney fan, I’m sure you know the answer. The classic pirate-loving film was first released in 1953. It was based on the original play from 1904, Peter Pan or The Boy Who Would Never Grow Up. It was then turned into a novel in 1911 by J.M. Barrie, the same man who wrote the original play. Barrie had created the stories of Peter Pan with the young sons of a very close friend of his, Sylvia Davies. She and her husband both died early on, leaving Barrie as the caregiver to their young children. Who knew that Barrie’s brilliant imagination with his newly adopted children, who were grieving the loss of their parents, would influence children around the world for hundreds of years.
Things get a little more interesting when Hollywood Actor, Robin Williams appears in the popular film, “Hook” in 1991, directed by Steven Speilberg. This unique portrayal of Peter Pan as a lawyer who is also a workaholic suddenly takes an abrupt turn when Peter Pan’s own children are kidnapped by Captain Hook. But Peter Pan (who has grown up to be a prestigious and wealthy corporate lawyer) does not believe in Captain Hook or any of the hogwash written on a ransom note left in the family home. But who took his children? The pirate costume and makeup details of this realistic film are quite fascinating. If you are a fan of Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow, at 18 years old she plays a young Wendy in the movie. Also, if you’ll look closely, you’ll see a cameo played by Glenn Close. It really is a film that many have forgotten, almost like a lost boy in Neverland.
The fascination doesn’t stop there. We cannot forget Captain Jack Sparrow of The Pirates of the Caribbean phenomenon. Captain Jack fans are everywhere. He is portrayed in the Pirates of the Caribbean films by Hollywood Actor, Johnny Depp. There are 5 Pirates of the Caribbean films, the first one released in 2003 and the last one in 2017. An addicting series lasting 14 years. Captain Jack is not a violent pirate. Instead, he uses his wit and strangely wise negotiating skills, only fighting when he is forced into battle. The love of his life is his beloved ship, The Black Pearl. A fun fact about the Black Pearl is that there were actually two Black Pearl ships. The second one was built by highly talented Disney engineers and the Director of Marine and Energy Division for Firetrol Protection Systems in Mobile Alabama (a man by the name of Drew Overstreet). In the May/June 2019 issue of Celebrations Magazine (Walt Disney World), Drew and I wrote an article on how the second Black Pearl was built due to the first one getting destroyed on set during the first Pirates of the Caribbean film. It was a big secret kept under-wraps in 2005 as it was built at Steiner Shipyard in Alabama. It’s a fascinating story.
But let’s get a bit more real about our pirate admiration. James Zacharias, better known as “Zach”, Senior Curator of Education and History at The Museum of Arts and Sciences published a riveting article on real pirates just last year (November 2019). The museum is located in Daytona Beach. He is serious about his love for pirates, as seen at the Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. He tells of the myths of pirates as well as tales of real-life pirates such as Sir Francis Drake (first pirates to attack east Florida), Robert Searles (pirate who attacked St. Augustine, Florida), and Henry Jennings (one of few pirates who collected treasure, who arrived in Florida from Jamaica).
Just discussing this pirate topic makes me daydream of Halloween. Perhaps in these hard times of social distancing, we can use our imaginations and creativity within our pirate-loving community. After all, Saturday, September 19, 2020, is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Enjoy this fun-filled national holiday with your pirate admirers at home or virtually! Celebrate by reminiscing those classic pirate films and/or creating your own pirate costumes. Halloween isn’t that far away. Arghh mateys!