Arghh! It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and to celebrate, we’re counting down some of our favorite Disney pirates.
How International Talk Like a Pirate Day Started
You may think that International Talk Like a Pirate Day just happened; there’s no one really behind the holiday. However, you’d be entirely wrong. The truth is that International Talk Like a Pirate Day was started by John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summer (Ol’ Slappy) of Oregon. The two decided to celebrate the holiday amongst themselves in 1955, sharing their love of pirate talk with close friends and family.
The pair of self-proclaimed pirates marked September 19 as the perfect day for their fun-loving holiday and celebrated amongst themselves for years. That is until Dave Berry received written correspondence from the duo asking the columnist to declare the holiday official in 2022. After that fateful day, the rest is history. The two successfully created a day that would focus on talking like a pirate by hosting pirate-themed parties, promoting pirate history, and the binge-watching of pirate films. The holiday became so popular that Facebook even has a “pirate” feature for language!
Disney and Pirates: A Romantic History
Maybe using the word “romantic” conveys a different meaning than what we’re going for, but long before Jack Sparrow, Disney had a long history with the lore and stories around pirates. Walt Disney, being the kind-hearted big kid he was, absolutely loved stories about the maritime Captains and their search for treasure. Once funding became available, Walt Disney wasted no time bringing one of the greatest pirate stories ever told to life.
Well before Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan, Walt worked on the 1950 release Treasure Island, which brought to screen the Robert Lewis Stevenson story featuring Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins. The film would be followed up by several other live-action stories that either included or were focused on pirates. Swiss Family Robinson (1960), Davy Crocket and the River Pirates (1956), and Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968) all include mention or heavy focus on maritime seafarers.
Of course, Walt Disney’s love for pirates and adventure would lead him on a path that culminated in the beloved dark ride attraction Pirates of the Caribbean. The boat ride, which featured cutting-edge animatronics and impressive sets, was a massive hit with guests, eventually leading to several variations of the ride being included in Disney Parks worldwide. Most notably, the ride’s lore and storytelling would be further immortalized once Johnny Depp set sail in 2003 as Disney’s most famous on-screen pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow.
How to Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day
Although it’s likely pirates never spoke the way we portray them, don’t let that stop you from having a great time. International Talk Like a Pirate Day means one thing: you don’t need an excuse to spend the entire day demonstrating your expert grasp of pirate vocabulary. If your pirate vocabulary isn’t where it should be, don’t fret; we have a few terms to help you. Use our list of pirate slang to make sure all your friends, family, fellow students, and co-workers know you’re celebrating this September 19.
- Fire in the Hole – to fire cannons.
- Heave Ho – to pull with all of your might.
- Davy Jones Locker – the place pirates go when they’re done with the mortal world.
- Yo Ho – a phrase to express excitement and joy.
- Scallywag – a rookie pirate.
- Scurvy Dog – a name given to those who were suspected of having scurvy.
- Bilge-sucking – an expression of great disdain.
- Booty – treasure.
- Shiver me Timbers – used to express shock or surprise.
- Hull – the watertight body of a ship.
- Poop Deck – the area or platform that sits on top of the ship.
- Stern – the back end of the ship.
- Port – the left side of the ship.
- Starboard – the right side of the ship.
- Landlubber – one who prefers sticking to dry land.
Now that you’re equipped to talk like a pirate, nothing is keeping you from celebrating with the rest of us, and there’s a lot to celebrate. Despite their origins as national fugitives, Pirates have become an unbelievable part of storytelling and lore. Although considered criminals in their time, they’ve become something else entirely, captivating our imaginations and becoming a focal point in American pop culture. Pirates are cool, and at some point, we’ve all wished we could be one – well, one that we’ve seen in movies.
International Pirate Day Could Mean Free Food
Although not the same as International Pancake Day or International Donut Day, International Talk Like a Pirate Day doesn’t mean you have to go hungry. Krispy Kreme is getting in on the fun by offering up a free donut to any patron who talks like a pirate while ordering or wears an eye patch at one of their locations. This is one of several International Talk Like a Pirate Day freebies out there to help you and your “hearties” enjoy the day to its fullest!
Ranking Disney’s Long History of Pirates on Film
Disney has a rich history with featured pirates. Some of them are as iconic as Depp’s Sparrow, while others are somewhat forgotten, like Captain Nathaniel Flint. In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, we will be counting down our favorites! How many do you remember?
9. Long John Silver – Treasure Island – 1950
Based on the best-selling novel, Disney’s 1950 Treasure Island brought the famous pirate exploits of Billy Bones, Jim Hawkins, and Long John Silver to life. Played by Robert Louis Stevenson, seeing Long John Silver in person was a huge deal for many who read his story as children. The film helped stabilize our modern outlook of pirates and is the basis for how they are viewed in media today.
8. Blackbeard – Blackbeard’s Ghost – 1968
1968’s live-action comedy gave us a look at what would happen if Blackbeard’s ghost was accidentally conjured up in modern times. Peter Ustinov played the famed pirate from history, giving a hilarious look at Blackbeard that had never been shared before in film. Typically displayed as a serious, cut-throat, villainous type of pirate, seeing Blackbeard depicted in a humorous sense made for great laughs and a memorable film.
7. Captain Flint – Treasure Planet – 2002
The 2002 space pirates of Treasure Planet have amassed a following of devout viewers since its release. Featuring Joseph Gordan-Levitt, amongst others, the film gave viewers a fresh take on pirates by putting them into space. Although there are several historical pirates mentioned and named in the film, Captain Nathaniel Flint’s skeletal presence sent shivers down our spines.
6. Mr. Smee – Peter Pan – 1953
Everyone knows the story of Mr. Smee, the loyal sidekick to Peter Pan’s Captain Hook, Smee is the seemingly kind-hearted and loyal comedy relief in the film. Recognized easily by his striped shirt and red cap, Mr. Smee is an adorable, family-friendly take on pirates. Voiced by Bil Thompson, the boatswain is a very popular Disney character, even today.
5. Captain Hook – Peter Pan – 1953
Next to Mr. Smee, you’ll most likely find Captain James Hook, the immortal adversary of Peter Pan. Voiced by Hans Conried, Captain Hook was a remarkable Disney villain, still easily recognizable to this day. Insanely obsessed with destroying Pan and the lost boys, Hook was an embodiment of what we all didn’t look forward to – growing up.
4. Blackbeard, again – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – 2011
Although Disney has portrayed the infamous Blackbeard, Edward Teach, before, Ian McShane’s version took the character to an entirely new level of scary. Opposed to religion, and subdued in the dark arts, Blackbeard faces off against Jack Sparrow in the 2011 sequel as they search for Ponce De Leon’s famed Fountain of Youth. McShane plays the role perfectly, expressing the madness that some historians suggest impacted Teach’s real-life persona.
3. Hector Barbossa – Pirates of the Caribbean – 2003
Of course, this list will be heavy on favorites from Pirates of the Caribbean. As the series of five films has provided a slew of memorable performances, it’s the gold standard for what pirate films should be now. Introduced in the first of many, Captain Hector Barbossa is the frenemy of Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow. Geoffrey Rush possibly has the greatest pirate accent of all time, and his performance alongside Depp is just as fantastic.
2. Davy Jones – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – 2006
We quickly covered a little about Davy Jones earlier in the article. However, in 2006, Pirates of the Caribbean got its first sequel and the world was introduced to the fishy face of Billy Nighy’s Davy Jones. At the time it was difficult to tell if Nighy’s face was CGI or cosmetic, but the villain gave us all the creeps. Giving Depp a run for his money, Nighty’s Davy Jones was an exceptional work of art captured on film.
1. Jack Sparrow – Pirates of the Caribbean – 2003
There’s zero surprise here at number one. Jack Sparrow, famously played by the renowned Johnny Depp, has become the very image that pops into our heads when we hear the word “pirate.” Revitalizing the popularity of Disney films and rides alike, Depp is ultimately responsible for the smashing success of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. His take on Jack Sparrow is often mimicked, but rarely duplicated.
There you have it maties! Did we miss anyone? Disney’s history of telling pirate stories remains unmatched as the salty scallywags were a favorite of Walt Disney. We can only hope that in honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Disney will finally announce their plans for Pirates 6. It’s wishful thinking, we know, but now that you’re equipped with pirate knowledge and pirate slang, you too can head off on your next big adventure. Until next year, me hearties!