Robert Newton was born to play Long John Silver. In these episodes the character of Long John is toned down from the R.L. Stevenson figure in Treasure Island, to one who can best be described as a "loveable rogue". Here Newton, as can be expected, plays the character with great gusto and humour.
I had not realized that when I first saw the series in the late 1950's, they were
in fact a landmark in Australian television.It was filmed entirely in Australia, in technicolour, with prominent Australian actors, several years before Australia itself had television.
Throughout the 26 episodes Newton is outstanding. Ably supported by his regular crew, notable contributions are made by Neva Carr- Glyn in " THe Orphans' Christmas" and George Simpson- Little in "Devil's Stew". "The Tale of a Tooth" is hilarious and "Execution Dock" is brilliantly surreal, way ahead of its time. THe tender relationship that both Long John and Purity Pinker have for Jim Hawkins (beautifully played by Kit Taylor), is moving. It is easy to forget that Newton was an actor of wide range and experience, capable of great sensitivity. His skill in avoiding the matrimonial intentions of Miss Purity is another amusing feature of the series.
The Adventures of Long John Silver is a thoroughly enjoyable series despite some reproduction flaws. I remember as a boy reading that Robert Newton did not always enjoy being cast as a villain but he loved playing a pirate. In this series it shows with every episode ending with a laugh and a smile. Excellent entertainment.