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Robert Newton, www.robertnewton.net

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Nicholas Newton presents Pirates of Penzance touring show in the UK, also working with Long John Silver Trust establish Pirates Trail culminating in Robert Newton statue in Bristol

From May 18 through July 20, 2013, Nicholas Newton's Promenade Productions and Genesius Theatrical Productions are co-presenting a new production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance with D’Oyly Carte and Scottish Opera. The production began at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, to the delight of audiences and is now on a national UK Tour. More information about the fun and lavish show—with over 90 in the company—can be found at www.thepirateshow.com. Nicholas Newton and Promenade Productions, will be General Managing the show once it opens at the Opera House, Manchester on 11th June.

The show will also be performed in Bristol, where Nicholas Newton and Promenade Productions are working with the people of The Long John Silver Trust. Nicholas is a patron of the Trust, which is aiming to set up a Pirates Trail around Bristol Docks culminating in a statue of Long John Silver, based on his father's likeness.

(May 31, 2013)

The work of Algernon Newton recognized at Bond Sreet Exhibit

From now until December 21, 2012, the artwork of Robert Newton's father is being showcased in a rare London exhibit entitled "The Peculiarity of Algernon Newton." According to the gallery's website, "The exhibition will feature sixteen paintings by this underappreciated artist, and is accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Andrew Graham-Dixon. ..." For more details on the exhibit, as well as more information on Algernon Newton himself and sample images, click here.

Location: Daniel Katz Gallery, 13 Old Bond Street, London W1, Phone: 020 7493 0688.

(December 6, 2012)

Robert Newton's Disney Legends Plaque

Many thanks to long-time fan Steve Bingen for sharing the following photos from his recent visit to Disney Studios in Los Angeles! (7/13/10)

Updated Contact Info

CMG Worldwide is now the exclusive licensing agent for Robert Newton. Please contact them via the form at the bottom of this page for business inquiries into licensing opportunities. For communication regarding this website, however, please click here to send me an e-mail as usual. Note: due to some temporary upheavals in my personal life, my trusted friend and fellow Robert Newton fan/expert Sue Gantz will be assisting me in responding to e-mail regarding the website. So if you receive a response from her, please feel free to communicate directly with her as you would with me. (5/26/10)

FAQ: Robert Newton Biography?

In response to a frequently-asked question, there is no published biography of Robert Newton at this time that I or his family are aware of. However, I hope to rectify this situation eventually and am currently at work on one myself. If you have any information about Robert Newton that you'd like to contribute to such a biography, I would be very grateful and, if I use the material, will gladly credit you in the book. Click here to send me an e-mail; please wait to to receive a reply from me or my assistant Sue Gantz before sending any files or attachments. (10/12/09)

Robert Newton article in Pirates magazine

June 15, 2007: The spring issue of Pirates magazine hit newsstands on May 30 and includes a 10-page article on Robert Newton penned by your humble webmaster, including full-page glossy photos plus exclusive photos contributed by Kim Newton. Get your copy today! (Available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Waldenbooks or via subscription.)

June 29, 2007: A couple of corrections to that will appear in the next issue: The photo on page 36 from The Beachcomber was provided by Susan Gantz. (And just to clarify, the rights to all photos provided by Susan Gantz and Susan Ciriello are reserved by their respective copyright holders, not by us!) Also, Long John Silver's ship is accidentally referred to as "The Fancy." Here's a quick quiz: Do you know the correct name of the ship (from the TV series The Adventures of Long John Silver)?

Les Miserables now available on DVD

May 17, 2007: The 1952 version of Les Miserables with Robert Newton as Javert was released on April 24. Sue Gantz reports: "The two-feature DVD is 20th Century Fox Cinema Classics Collection and contains the 1935 and 1952 versions of Les Miserables. The 1935 production stars Frederic March as Valjean, Charles Laughton as Javert and Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Rochelle Hudson, Frances Drake and John Beal. The 1952 production stars Michael Rennie as Valjean, Robert Newton as Javert and Debra Paget, Edmund Gwenn, Sylvia Sidney, Cameron Mitchell, and Elsa Lanchester. Both movies have been restored and contain a restoration comparison under 'Special Features.' They both have a still gallery that contains stills from both the movies and behind the scenes, and there is a featurette called 'The Fugitive and the Pursuer: Vidocq' (this was an 18th-century French crook-turned-cop in which Victor Hugo based both his main characters in the novel of Valjean and Javert). The DVD case also included four still cards (3 from 1935 and 1 from 1952). It is selling for $15.99 at Movies Unlimited but I'm sure that you can get it cheaper if you seach around at other sources." Other possible online sources are Critics' Choice and Deep Discount DVD.

My visit to the Mariners' Museum

November 17, 2006: This past Monday, I had the opportunity to visit the Mariners' Museum and explore the Swashbuckler: The Romance of the Pirate exhibit first-hand. Click here for a report and photos from my visit. The exhibit was originally scheduled to run at least through December, and possibly through next July; however, I was informed by Assistant Curator Marc Nucup that it will definitely be ending in March to make way for another exhibit, so if you're planning to go, don't put it off!

Long John Silver is Number One

July 15, 2006: A Sunday, July 2, top-ten countdown in Newsday by Frank Lovece names Long John Silver, as portrayed by Robert Newton, the "No. 1 pop-culture pirate"! The article calls him "a pirate's pirate—the archetype for all who came after. The complex antagonist and father-figure of Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 children's novel Treasure Island has nearly all the accoutrements we associate with pirates today: The wooden 'peg leg,' a crude prosthetic of the time. A buried treasure chest. The pirate's parrot. Even the stereotypical pirate sea shanty, 'Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum.' Everything but the eye patch and the hook. And you know how pirates growl 'Yarrrr?' That originated with British actor Robert Newton—honored every September 19 on International Talk Like a Pirate Day—as Long John Silver in the Disney film Treasure Island (1950). Not to mention he ended up getting a fast-food chain named for him! Yarrr!"

(Incidentally, the first verse to the "stereotypical pirate sea shanty, 'Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum'" was originally written by Robert Louis Stevenson and allegedly refers to a tale about Blackbeard. Young E. Allison wrote additional lyrics in 1891, titling it "The Derelict," and in 1901 Henry Waller added the tune for the Broadway musical version of Treasure Island. Read the complete lyrics [warning: they're a bit gory!] and story behind them here. And you can hear the original melody here. Also, not to detract from Mr. Lovece's excellent choice for the top spot, of course—and his acknowledgement of the originator of the pirate growl!—but as we know from seeing Robert Newton in the movie, technically, Long John Silver did not have a peg leg; rather he used a crutch since, according to the novel, "His left leg was cut off close by the hip.")

Thanks to Lorraine Crennan for sharing this article!

New Pirate Documentary

June 30, 2006: More good news for pirate history buffs: On Sunday, July 9, 2006, the History Channel will premiere a new documentary called True Caribbean Pirates. Here's the official description:

"Some of the best-known pirate stories and clichés are little more than fantasy. True Caribbean Pirates separates fact from fiction as two centuries of pirate history and lore is condensed into the exciting two-hour summer experience. True Caribbean Pirates presents the thrilling yet historically accurate tales of the world’s greatest pirate adventures. Journey aboard the vessels of Captain Henry Morgan the wealthy pirate pioneer, the fearsome Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach, 'Calico Jack' Rackam and the first and most famous female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and witness the end of the golden age of piracy with history’s most successful pirate, Bartholomew 'Black Bart' Roberts. The blood stained history of piracy springs to life on screen with the help of state of the art CGI and reenactments in exotic locales, archival imagery and artifacts. Interviews are provided by some of the world’s foremost pirate scholars, which help viewers understand the dark nature of the pirate’s life. True Caribbean Pirates succeeds in humanizing these larger-than-life pirate legends, and showing the tolls of being a cutthroat."

Robert Newton at the Mariners' Museum

June 30, 2006: Coinciding with the U.S. premiere of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, a pirate exhibit including photos of Robert Newton and other Hollywood swashbucklers opens Friday, July 7, 2006, at The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia, and is scheduled to run through March of 2007 [updated November 17, 2006]. Here's the official press release:

Mariners' Museum's special exhibition Swashbuckler: The Romance of the Pirate offers high-stakes exploration of the appeal of pirates

Newport News, Va.—Arrgg . . . ! Just in time for summer, me matey. Let out your inner pirate for a high-seas adventure at The Mariners' Museum's latest special exhibition, Swashbuckler: The Romance of the Pirate, opening July 7. Using period artifacts and images juxtaposed with famous actors, movies and costumes—this exhibition offers a unique view of how film and literature forever changed the appeal of the men and women who plundered the high seas.

"The term 'swashbuckler' is associated with the genre of literature and action film that details the larger-than-life adventures of sword-wielding heroes," said Mariners' Museum Assistant Curator, Marc Nucup. "This exhibition takes a fun approach contrasting the life of a real pirate with that of a swashbuckler. Kids will enjoy the pirate clothes, the opportunity to act in front of a camera, create their own pirate flag and break a pirate's code for treasure."

A secret pirate's code is hidden throughout the exhibition text. By deciphering the hidden message visitors will receive pirate's booty—but only if you can get it right.

From the very beginning, visitors to Swashbuckler will enjoy the environmental feel and flow of the exhibition. Upon entering, a larger than life-size book introduces the romantic image of the pirate. Early books portrayed real but embellished accounts but later books such as Treasure Island and Peter Pan were fictional accounts that helped romanticize the image of the pirate.

A theater marquee and movie posters from the early 20th century lead visitors to learn the three elements to a swashbuckling film: swordplay, setting and stars. Photographs of scenes from movies such as Hook, 1997; The Spanish Main, 1945; and The Black Pirate, 1926 show famous actors displaying a daring display of swordplay. Visitors will then have a chance to see the real tools of the piracy trade—a cup-hilt sword, wrapped wire-hilt knife, matchlock musket and more.

The exhibition offers young visitors, and adults still kids at heart, an opportunity to try their skills at being a swashbuckling star. A camera focused center stage of a pirate ship set, allows imaginations to soar as visitors are encouraged to let out their inner pirate.

"Two of the interesting aspects of the exhibition are the contrast of pirate clothing vs. a costume as well as the realities of real pirate's treasure," Nucup added. "Treasure chests filled to the hilt with gold coins, cups and jewels were definitely not the norm. So, on our own recreated desert island, we've placed a chest filled with the treasure that pirates wanted next to a chest filled with the items pirates frequently got-rope, tobacco, tools and rum."

The section—"Fame and Infamy"—explicitly shows the difference between a swashbuckler and a real pirate. This section compares and contrasts the fictionalized character with the real-life sea rover. Life-size cutouts of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn stand next to infamous pirates such as Blackbeard and Ann Bonny revealing a significant difference in demeanor.

Other hands-on activities in Swashbuckler let visitors try their hand at making a pirate flag or pirate hat. After learning various pirates' symbols and what they mean, a sketching station offers an opportunity to make a pirate flag or shape your own hat to take on a high seas adventure.

"While much of the exhibition focuses on historical pirates and Hollywood actors, we have to mention pirates still exist today," said Nucup. Using an AK-47 assault rifle, laptop computer and cell phone, the exhibition reveals the new weapons of today's pirates. A press release sent by the Seabourn Cruise Line regarding the 2005 attack also shows ocean targets are still considered perfect attacking ground for pirates.

Swashbuckler: The Romance of the Pirate is sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding Employees Credit Union, Car-Robics Auto Wash, Hauser's Jewelers and Comfort Suites. This exhibition is on display through 2006 and is included with Museum admission.

The Mariners' Museum, an educational, non-profit institution accredited by the American Association of Museums, preserves and interprets maritime history through an international collection of ship models, figureheads, paintings and other maritime artifacts. The Museum is open Monday - Saturday, 10 A.M. until 5 P.M., and Sunday, 12 to 5 P.M. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. For information, call (757) 596-2222 or (800) 581-7245, or write to The Mariners' Museum, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23606. The Museum can be reached on the World Wide Web at www.mariner.org.

Directions: The Mariners' Museum is located between Colonial Williamsburg and Hampton/Norfolk/Virginia Beach. From Interstate 64, take Exit 258A. Proceed 2.5 miles to the intersection of J. Clyde Morris and Warwick boulevards. Cross Warwick Blvd. and take your first left onto Museum Dr. The Museum entrance is straight ahead. Museum admission is $8 for adults, $6 for children (ages six to seventeen). Group rates are available for parties of 10 or more. Mariners' Museum members receive free admission.

The Mariners' Museum and The South Street Seaport Museum of New York City are partners in America's National Maritime Museum, an innovative alliance recognized by an act of Congress in June 1998 to share collections, exhibitions, educational programs, publications, and other endeavors.

Robert Newton's 100th Birthday Celebration

June 15, 2005: The town of Shaftesbury, Dorset, celebrated June 1, 2005, Robert Newton's 100th birthday, with the unveiling of a plaque on the house where he was born. See photos and press release below for more details.

Neighbors Janie Locke and Bill Brumage unveil the plaque on the house in Victoria Street, Shaftesbury, where film star Robert Newton was born in 1905. (Click on image to view larger version.)

A Plaque for Robert Newton—and Funds for the Arts Centre

Wednesday 1 June 2005: Shaftesbury today (1 June) celebrated the birth of arguably its most famous son, the film and stage actor Robert Newton, with the unveiling of a "blue plaque" in his memory on the house in Victoria Street where it is believed he was born exactly 100 years ago.

The present residents of "Iona," now two separate houses, are the ceramic artist Janie Locke and retired businessman Bill Brumage who came together to celebrate the unveiling on Newton's birthday.

Newton, most famous for his portrayal of the archetypal pirate Long John Silver in the famous 1950 Disney film 'Treasure Island', died in 1956 at just 50 after a long battle with alcoholism.

A special screening yesterday (May 31) of Treasure Island at Shaftesbury Arts Centre raised nearly £250 for arts centre funds. The screening included recorded readings by Newton of love poems by 17th century poets on a CD donated by Newton's son Nicholas, a film producer living in France. Both CD and a DVD of the film were raffled off at the end of the evening.

High and the Mighty DVD Release

October 18, 2005: The two-DVD collectors' edition of The High and the Mighty was released on August 2, 2005, coinciding with the first TV airing of the film in many years. This forerunner of the popular 1970s Airport series of disaster movies came out in 1954 and starred John Wayne. According to Susan G., however, the extra DVD features do not include Robert Newton. Thanks, Susan, for posting this info on the chatboard!

Around the World in 80 Days DVD Release

June 15, 2005: The 2004 "Two-Disc Special Edition" Region 1 DVD release of Around the World in 80 Days is presented in widescreen and includes outtakes from Robert Newton's jail-cell scene with David Niven. (Alas, there's no audio.)

Pirates of the Caribbean

March 1, 2004: In the running film commentary on Disney's Oscar-nominated Pirates of the Caribbean DVD, Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski discuss Robert Newton's influence on the film:

Verbinski: ... [I]t was very important to me to cast as many Brits as possible because in looking at the genre and saying "Why hasn't it worked?" I found a lot of sort of dialect that felt like it wasn't really that Robert-Louis-Stevenson, you know, [in pirate voice:] "the black spot." You know, it didn't have any of that kind of pirate flavor that was in ... Treasure Island and all that stuff. It seemed to be that stuff kinda went away in some way. And these guys, you know [pirate voice]: "Here 'tis." And it was nice that, you know, if you look at the movie, Barbossa [Geoffrey Rush] is the only one really doing the hard "r."

Depp: Yeah, the "Arrr!"

Verbinski: Yeah, the Robert Newton sort of—

Depp: Yeah, which is great. I think it's nice that— It's a nice homage, I mean, it's a nice salute, you know, back to that—and to the genre ...

[The ending credits list "Dialect and Dialogue Coach to Mr. Rush" Barbara Berkery and "Dialect Coach" Howard Samuelsohn, making Geoffrey Rush the only cast member with his own (credited) dialect coach. Rush is the only actor to utter the "Arr" word in the film—although the blooper segment on Disk 2 of the DVD includes a montage of cast members giving their interpretations of the infamous interjection.]

March 7, 2004: The "Below Deck" segment on Disk 2 of the POTC DVD uses a number of clips of Robert Newton in Treasure Island and an image of him as Blackbeard to illustrate the history of piracy.

Pirates of the Caribbean was nominated for five Oscars in 2004: Best Makeup, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Actor (Johnny Depp), but was overshadowed (like everything else that year!) by Lord of the Rings.

The July 2003 issue of No Quarter Given includes two mentions of Robert Newton:

  • An article about actor Lee Arenberg, who plays Pintel in Pirates of the Caribbean, states, "Robert Newton's version of Long John Silver is the best, he thought. Lee explained, 'It's good to be over the top.' "
  • Asked whether Robert Newton should be declared the patron saint of Talk Like a Pirate Day, the holiday's co-creator Mark Summers replied, "He really should, honestly. All our talking really goes back to him ... His was a great voice, a great characterization—again, that playfulness."


While I update this calendar as frequently as I can, if you find it out of date, please visit the IMDb for the latest TV listings in the UK. Sorry, I don't currently have a free online source for listings in other countries. If you know of any you would like to have included, please click here to e-mail me and I'll be glad to add them.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013, 11:05 a.m. Oliver Twist on more4
Tuesday, 27 August 2013, 12:05 p.m. Oliver Twist on more4 Plus 1
Thursday, September 19, 2013 International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Need some inspiration to get your "arr"s and "belay"s in shape? Click here for an inspirational scene from 1954's The Adventures of Long John Silver.)
Currently showing online Click here to watch Robert Newton in Alfred Hitchcock Presents "The Derelicts" on Hulu

US TV schedule for Robert Newton

Thanks to Susan Gantz and Spev Moon for assistance with the TV schedule


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