John Ryan RIP

Saturday, July 25 2009


Captain Pugwash and Tom the Cabin boy

John Ryan, the creator of Captain Pugwash has died aged 88.


A hat tip to the Fact Compiler on whose blog I first learnt the sad news.



  1. I recall, from some time in the 1980s, an editorial in a certain right-wing British newspaper, pouring scorn on the Pugwash Conferences, held periodically at Pugwash, Nova Scotia, at which ways were sought to try to reduce the threat of nuclear war. “Just recounting” — not meaning in any way to enter the political arena — in this piece, gleeful play was made with the P-name, and with analogies with the comic adventures of the Captain and his followers.

    Captain Pugwash was equated with the perceivedly naive and unworldly scientists and academics who made up the bulk of the conference delegates — seen as being eager for the “good guys” to embrace nuclear disarmament, which would lead the “bad guys” to follow suit — in the eyes of the editorial-writers, “fat chance”. In the analogy, the West’s “hawks” and its military establishment, were given the role of Tom the Cabin Boy — usually despised and overlooked, but by a long way the brightest person on the ship, and the one who by using his abundant common sense, always gets the bumbling Captain P. out of the messes which he plunges “him and his” into.

    As said, no political taking of sides intended — just an illustration of how well-loved, and what a household word, the whole Captan Pugwash saga was in Britain in the later parts of the twentieth century.

  2. BTW, for the record, “Seaman Staines” and “Master Bates” were not characters in Captain Pugwash, but comic inventions of Victor Lewis-Smith (which were later taken seriously by the Daily Mail to become part of urban legend).

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