Updated on March 5, 2022
September 19 is “Talk Like a Pirate Day.” In the tradition of odd recently-made-up “holidays,” it’s a day people are supposed to, well, talk like a stereotypical pirate. “Arr, matey,” “shiver me timbers,” and whatnot.
In my case, I usually instead opt to make parody baseball announcer lines on Twitter. (“Good afternoon, it’s a beautiful day here in the Steel City for today’s exciting game with your Pittsburgh Pirates!”)
All of the above brings me to today’s list post: a list of seven pirate references (either the baseball or naval variety) in cartoons.
Various pirate characters have appeared as the plots required. However, the dominant pirate character’s Yosemite Sam. Of course, he doesn’t fare any better as a pirate against Bugs.
Golden Age Aquaman stories gave the Sea King his first recurring nemesis: the modern-day pirate only known as Black Jack. Black Jack’s plans were simply to plunder the high seas by any means. This, of course, led him to clash with Aquaman on various occasions during the 1940s.
However, Black Jack’s final appearance was in 1950, after which he was dropped from stories. The 1950s saw various one-shot sea-based foes. However, the Silver Age’s dawn finally gave us Aquaman’s familiar foes (Ocean Master, Black Manta, etc.).
The New 52 Aquaman reboot in 2011 brought back Black Jack. This time, it’s as the identity of a woman who’s the leader of an evil terrorist organization.
Given its underwater theme, “SpongeBob” has had plenty of pirates appear. The most prominent one would be the “Flying Dutchman,” the evil pirate ghost.
There’s also SpongeBob’s boss Mr. Krabs, who talks like a pirate, plus is extremely greedy. In one episode, Mr. Krabs’ grandfather turns out to be an actual pirate.
Disney’s Captain Hook
Captain Hook, of course, is Peter Pan’s foe in Disney’s 1953 animated film based on the classic story.
Captain Hook, plus his first mate Mr. Smee, are also the main villains in the 2011 Disney Junior series “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” There, Hook continues his usual ways, while facing off against the show’s kid heroes.
Scooby-Doo’s featured a large number of pirates over the various spin-offs’ runs. A few of the more notable ones include:
- “Boobeard,” a pirate ghost in the Halloween episode of “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.”
- “Skunkbeard,” another pirate ghost in the 2006 direct-to-video film “Pirates Ahoy!”
- “Old Iron Face,” yet another pirate ghost the gang faced in an episode of “The Scooby-Doo Show.”
Rocky and Bullwinkle
“Peabody’s Improbable History” saw Peabody and Sherman sometimes meeting pirates on their time trips. In one such episode, Captain Kidd’s trying to steal a slot machine that’s due to pay off big for the British Empire. (Yes, it is improbable history.)
Bullwinkle’s “Maybe Dick” storyline saw Boris disguise himself as a pirate. As part of his latest “fiendish plan,” Boris operates the eponymous mechanical whale in order to plunder ships at sea. By the end of the storyline, the UK’s Royal Air Force sends out bombers to finally stop the global threat of Maybe Dick. Cue a particularly bad/amusing next episode title-pun: “‘A Whale of a Tale,’ or ‘Thar She Blows… Up.’”
The PBS series “Cyberchase” features Ivanca the Invincible. She’s a ghost (or “cyber-ghost”) who was once the mightiest pirate in Cyberspace. At one point, Matt tells Jackie and Ineztc he’s always wanted to be a pirate… a Pittsburgh Pirate.
Not a cartoon, but the actual Pirates baseball team dressed up as various superheroes in 2015. This included stalwarts like Superman, Batman, and the Flash. It also included heroes like Donatello (from TMNT) and a Street Fighter character.
Photo by daveynin (Flickr / CC BY / cropped from original)