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Treasure Island: An adventure for the whole family

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Today Classic Cinema Online features Treasure Island (1950), which is an adventure the whole family can enjoy.

The story depicts a young lad, Jim Hawkins (Bobby Driscoll) who finds himself on an adventurous excursion with none other than Long John Silver (Robert Newton), in a quest for buried treasure. Somehow Silver takes a liking to the boy and while he's rough with him, there's also some tenderness there.

Treasure Island was Disney's first live-action motion picture, and we can see from subsequent live action releases that this film was a good investment for Disney, as it set the tone of charm and family orientation that Disney is so famous for. Films like this never get old, as they are still enjoyed by the multitudes today.

Robert Newton, of course, is well known for his pirate voice and that famous, "Aaaargh!", which became the popular stereotype for on-screen pirates. He was well loved among the juvenile set for years and years.

Bobby Driscoll was the first juvenile actor to sign a long term contract with Disney Studios. His career took off, he was well liked by crew and well loved by audiences. But there was a turning point in his life when his parents opted to pull him out of the school he attended - which was a popular school that child stars went to - and put him in the pubic school system where his grades dropped and he was ridiculed and bullied mercilessly by his peers for the roles he played. It was also where he was introduced to drugs. By the time his parents put him back in his former school, the damage was done and the drug use continued.

Sadly, his behaviors cost him his career and after several bouts with the law, a failed marriage, and having lost his career, he died a homeless derelict in 1968 at the age of 31 and was buried in a pauper's grave because nobody knew who he was until about a year after his death when fingerprints finally identified him.

Bobby Driscoll's career included some rather notable films: The Fighting Sullivans, Song of the South, The Window (for which he won an Academy Award) and Peter Pan.



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