"Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard"
Edmund Keane, 1834
Part One: Double Trouble
by Dennis E. Power
The many faces of Ollu and Buzsla
1698-99 Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952) Abbott and Costello feature film
On their way to work at the Death's Head Tavern in
Tortuga, Oliver and Rocky are stopped by Lady Jane and asked to deliver a love note to Bruce Martingale, a singer at the tavern. Meanwhile the ruthless Captain Kidd dines with the female pirate Anne Bonny. She argues that the Captain raided ships in her territory and she wants the booty that rightfully belongs to her. Kidd informs her that he hid the treasure on and only he has the map to it. They decide that Bonney will sail to the island on Kidd's ship and her own vessel will follow ready to attack if any treachery is attempted. Oliver nervously waits on the two pirates and serves them dinner. In a scramble Oliver's love note and Captain Kidd's map are switched. Rocky discovers that Oliver now has the map and bargains with Captain Kidd for a piece of the treasure. Captain Kidd agrees but plans to kill the boys once he regains the map. Skull Island
The pirate ship sets sail with Kidd, Bonney, Oliver and Rocky and Bruce whose been shanghaied. The Captain's attempts to do away with Rocky and Oliver are foiled several times as the map and the love letter continued to be mixed up. Captain Bonney meanwhile thinks that Oliver inspired the gushing love letter and is intrigued. On the way to
, Kidd's men raid an English ship and kidnap Lady Jane. On the desert island, Oliver and Rocky dig up the treasure and Kidd reveals that he plans to double cross Bonney. She signals her ship and her men open fire on Captain Kidd's forces. Oliver and Rocky help her to recover her treasure join her crew and take Captain Kidd as their prisoner. Skull Island
The film's location places Captain Kidd in the
Caribbean Sea. While Kidd did travel in this area; most of his piratical activities took place near the and in the African Coast Indian Ocean. It was in fact in the Indian Oceanthat his most famous and heinous acts of piracy were committed. In the film Ollu and Buzsla are said to have worked at the Death's Head Tavern on Tortuga, the Pirate's Island. While Tortugawas a pirate haven, its heyday as a main pirate port ended around 1688, this was before William Kidd even turned to piracy. There was however a very strong pirate haven in the Indian Ocean, on St. Mary's Islandoff the coast of . Pirates trafficking in the Madagascar Indian Oceanused this base of operations.
Beginning in April of 1697, William Kidd turned pirate and began attacking pilgrim ships in the
Red Seaarea. He also preyed upon ships of the East India Company. His biggest prize was the Quedah Merchant that he renamed as the Adventure Prize and made his flagship.
In April of 1698, while landed at St. Mary's
Islandmost of Kidd's crew deserted and joined other ships' companies. The exact reason are not known although it is generally believed that Kidd was a cruel and harsh ship master or that he tried to cheat the crew out their correct shares of the booty. Kidd's own account is rather vague on the subject, although he blames rival pirate Captain Culliford for wooing away his men. In April of 1699, Kidd's ship appeared in Anguillain the Caribbean, little of his activity is known in the intervening year. His own account is rather misleading since his autobiography serves as means of self justification for his actions and also as a means of affixing blame onto others.
Among the booty from the Quedah Merchant was a map to an island in the
Indian Ocean, southwest of Sumatra. It was named . According to legend great dangers lurked on Skull Island , as well as great treasure. Captain Kidd planned to voyage there in the Adventure Prize. Hearing this his crew deserted. He recruited more men and also went into partnership with a female pirate named Bonny Ann.(15) In a mix up, although probably not as innocently as portrayed in the film, Ollu ended up with Kidd's map and they bargained to gain a share of the treasure. In order to avoid being killing while on the voyage, Ollu had cut the map into several sections and only showed parts of the map as needed. Their friend, Bruce Martingale, who worked at the tavern, accompanied Ollu and Buzsla. However he was along for a share of the treasure and had been recruited to help Ollu and Buzsla watch out for each other. He was an excellent swordsman. Skull Island
As in the film, the Adventure Prize captured and boarded an English ship and took Lady Jane captive. This however is the first time that Lady Jane became involved in this adventure; the earlier romance between her and Bruce as depicted in the film was merely a plot device to add romance to the film. There was a relationship of sort between Ollu and Bonny Anne as well.
When the two ships reached Skull Island the film version and the historical version divergence is even greater.
Despite the map, the island was hard to find being in an almost perpetual dense fog cover.(16) They sailed around the island once finding most of it was in sheer cliffs. They found a landing on a small peninsula of the Island. Once landing, they then had to deal with the natives of Skull Island who appeared to be a mixture of Negrito and Polynesian ethnic groups. One of the Malagasy crewmembers spoke their language. The natives lived in an area of the island between the sandy peninsula and the main part of the island. The main part of the island was behind a sheer precipice hundreds of feet high. Between the precipice and the peninsula runs a wooden wall that stood over one hundred and thirty feet high. The natives' small village is built among and atop the ruins of ancient civilization, which one no one can be exactly certain since none of the parties which visited Skull Island did extensive exploring. It is possible that the ancient civilization was either a remnant of lost Mu or possibly of Lemuria as suggested by fellow researcher Mark Brown.(17)
Once subdued by the superior firepower of the pirates the natives struck a bargain with Captain Kidd in exchange for Bonny Anne and Lady Jane, they would willingly show Captain Kidd the great treasure of Skull Island. According to Ollu's map however there was a treasure in the island's interior so Kidd decided to hedge his bets. He gave the natives Lady Jane but not Bonny Anne, feeling he might need the female pirate's crew.
Despite Bruce and Ollu's protests, Lady Jane was tied in between two columns and a metal drum was pounded. Giant gates were opened in the wooden wall and in walked a giant ape approximately fifty feet tall. He tenderly took Jane in his hands and returned back into the jungle. Kidd asked where the treasure was, the natives replied that Kong was the treasure of Skull Island.
Kidd and his crew forced the natives to reopen the gates and went inside. They discovered all manners of giant dragons, large reptiles and insects. In the center of the island was a mountain carved into the likeness of a skull, probably by the ancient race that had once lived upon this island. Near an asphalt lake was another ruin, many buildings having either slid into the asphalt lake or having become overwhelmed by it. Exploring the ruins Kidd and his men found three great treasures, a single sheet of solid gold some one-inch thick and ten feet across and seven feet high. This gold slab had at one time depicted the history of this island but only a few images were preserved the heat from the asphalt lake had caused the pictographs to run and fade. Another treasure was a statue of a giant ape holding a sun. The ape was carved from diamond and the sun was of pure gold. The last treasure was inside an odd ruin which had precious gems placed into broken machinery of metal and crystal. (18)
While Kidd and his men set about looting these ruins, Martingale, Ollu and Buzsla left to see if they could find Lady Jane. Using tracking skills, nearly but not quite forgotten Ollu and Buzsla found Lady Jane. They also found an entire group of the giant apes in a mountainous area near the northern part of the island. The apes are of various sizes, the smaller apes having white coats. Lady Jane had been stripped of her clothing and was being cuddled by one of the female apes.(19) Waiting until the apes had bedded down for the night in trees or among the rocks, Ollu and Buzsla sneaked into the Apes compound and rescued Lady Jane. They are about a half an hour's distance from the ape's sleeping grounds when they hear a loud bellowing and the loud trampling of brush. The leader of the apes is tracking them, accompanied by one of the females and another male.
Running for their lives Bruce, Lady Jane, Ollu and Buzsla happen to meet up with the pirates who are carrying their heavy burdens of treasure. The pirates were forced to abandon all of the golden pieces they had cut from the pictograph palace and run towards the gate. The natives would not open the gate. Bonny Anne remembers that she had seen a picture of a tunnel under the wall. Racing along the wall, they discover the tunnel. Unfortunately the tunnel has been taken over by giant spider. They have to fight the spider and its dog sized progeny to make their way through the tunnel.
Once on the other side of the wall, Captain Kidd makes plans to retrieve the gold but Bonny Anne declares she has had enough of the island and will be satisfied with the treasure they have collected. Kidd agrees and they split what gold they had managed to carry and the gems. Once they had reached their ships however Kidd made plans to disable Bonny Ann's ship, give her and her cronies to Kong and get the rest of the gold. Ollu and Buzsla overheard Kidd's plans. After which they spiked his ship's cannon and tore its sails.
Bonny Anne left Kidd on Skull Island. They discovered that Kidd had fouled their water, rather than return to Skull Island and face him; they found a small but inhabited island that they negotiated with the natives for food and water. While on the island Ollu showed the natives how to create an effective trap to capture wild boar. As they departed Ollu gave the chief of the tribe a large discolored gem from Skull Island. Bonny Anne planned to use her cut of the treasure to become a respectable married woman, and included Ollu in those plans. Bruce revealed that he was a member of the Knights of Malta and had been investigating pirate attacks on pilgrim ships to see if the Maltese fleet needed to become involved. He had fallen in love with Lady Jane however and wished to leave the order, to do this he needed to visit Malta and the permission of the Grand Master. Ollu convinced Bonny Anne that instead of returning to St. Mary's Island or to England, she should establish an identity as an English noblewoman in Europe, possibly Italy.
When Bonny Anne's ship made port in Naples, Ollu, Buzsla, Bruce and Lady Jane jumped ship and made for their separate ways. Bruce and Lady Jane went towards Malta. Ollu and Buzsla traveled North to escape Bonny Anne and make their way towards England and then to the New World. They did not fare so well. Yet they fared better than Captain Kidd who decided to return to the Caribbean and discovered he had been charged with piracy. Upon his return to New York, he was arrested and was eventually hung. Among his lost possessions was a map he created using the reassembled map of Ollu had possessed. This version of the map eventually ended up in the hands of Nils Helstrom, who would sell it to Carl Denhem.
The title of the adventure had the studio decided to use the entire story could have been Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd and King Kong. However the studio thought that the mixture of pirates, dinosaurs and giant apes was just too fantastic. They also had the idea of making another film revolving around the visit to Skull Island called Abbott and Costello Meet King Kong. Unfortunately this film was never made although the giant ape did appear briefly in Africa Screams.
1705 Fra Diavolo (1933) Italy. Laurel and Hardy feature film
Stan and Ollie have their life's savings stolen by a bandit. They decide to become bandits themselves, in order to get their money back. Ollie takes the name of Fra Diavolo, a ruthless bandit known by all. Unfortunately, their first victim is the real Fra Diavolo. After being captured, the boys are forced to become the henchmen of the evil bandit.
After loosing their life's savings to bandits, Stanlio and Ollio decide to become bandits themselves. Ollio takes the name of Fra Diavolo, a ruthless bandit known by all. Unfortunately, one of their first victims is the real Fra Diavolo. Diavolo doesn't take kindly to the impersonation and orders Ollio to be hanged. To
make things worse, Stanlio is forced to be the executioner. However, the evil bandit spares their lives only to force them to become his servants.
Prior to his encounter with Ollio, Diavolo had been posing as the Marquis de San Marco while traveling with Lord Rocburg and Lady Pamela. Diavolo's band of men had robbed the Lord and Lady, but had missed the 500,000 francs that were in their possession. Outraged, Diavolo decides to return to his cover as the Marquis de San Marco in order to get their money.
Once again in the company of Lord Rocburg and Lady Pamela, Diavolo turns on his charm and tries to find out from Lady Rocburg where her husband has hidden his money. Stanlio and Ollio are instructed to take a glass of wine laced with sleeping powder to the Lord Rocburg's room, so that Diavolo may search the sleeping man's room. When he refuses it, Stanlio decides to drink it himself. Diavolo sneaks in the Rocburg's room but is unable to find the money.
Meanwhile, the local innkeeper's daughter is about to marry a wealthy nobleman whom she does not love. Her true love is Captain Lorenzo, a poor man who hopes to make his fortune - and thereby marry the woman he loves - by capturing Fra Diavolo and collecting the reward. While in the cellar, Stanlio and
Ollio indulge in a bit too much of the wine they are sent to retrieve. Stan indulges himself with games of "Kneesie, Earsie, Nosie" and "Finger-Wiggle." In his drunken state, Stanlio has an altercation with Lorenzo and reveals Diavolo's true identity.
Diavolo finds out from Lady Pamela that the money is hidden in her petty coat. When she decides to slip into something more comfortable, Diavolo is able to get his hands on the money. With the money in his possession, Diavolo is ready to leave. However, Lorenzo is there ready to make his capture. Diavolo
and his men are arrested and sentenced to death. While in front of the firing squad, a weeping Stanlio takes out his red handkerchief to blow his nose one last time. It catches the attention of a nearby bull, which charges at the firing squad and breaks it up. Diavolo escapes, as do Stanlio and Ollio.
Ollu and Buzsla parlayed their small fortune in gems into a modest fortune. While traveling on the road this fortune was stolen by bandits. Ollu and Buzsla became involved in the band of the "Devil's brother" after attempting to recoup their finances by turning to banditry. The Devil' Brother and his alter ego the Marquis de San Marco became a partial inspirations for the diverse persons of Count Cagliostro and the Scarlet Pimpernel. In the late 1790's a young man by the name of Michele Pezza would adopt that name he took part in the resistance against the French invasion of 1799, acquiring some kind of respectability and even being made a colonel by the king of Naples. Unfortunately when the French once again invaded in 1806, this Fra Diavolo was hung. (20)
1707-1760 During this time period Ollu and Buzsla manage to scrape enough to establish themselves in the New World without becoming indentured servants. After arriving in America, they had one of the rifts and spent many years apart.
1780 Time of their Lives (1946) Abbott and Costello feature film partial
Two ghosts who were mistakenly branded as traitors during the Revolutionary War return to 20th century New England to retrieve a letter from George Washington which would prove their innocence.
In 1780 master Tinker, Horatio Primm arrives at the estate of one of his best customers, Tom Danbury. Horatio plans to wed Danbury's housemaid, Nora O'Leary and he hopes that a letter of commendation from General George Washington will persuade Danbury to permit the marriage. But Horatio has a rival in Cuthbert Greenway, the butler at Danbury Manor. When Nora overhears that Danbury is an accomplice in Benedict Arnold's dastardly plot, Danbury seizes the letter and hides it in a secret compartment of a mantel clock. Danbury's fiancée, Melody Allen, learns what has happened and set off to warn General Washington. As she and Horatio ride away, American troops overrun the estate and mistakenly shoot them as traitors. Horatio and Melody are buried in a well and the soldiers condemn their spirits to remain bound to Danbury Acres unless some evidence proves their innocence. The evidence of course is the letter in the clock. The advancing forces overrun the estate, ransack the house and burn it down.
Continued in 1942
Much of the film is fictional especially as regards to Horatio Primm being a ghost. The events of 1780 however were pretty much as depicted. Ollu were going through one of their periods of separation. Ollu as Horatio Primm made a living as an itinerant tinker. Buzsla as Cuthbert Greenway was the butler for Thomas Danbury, a wealthy New York aristocrat.
Although Horatio and Cuthbert had for the time being dissolved their partnership, they still maintained a friendship. That is until a woman became involved. Horatio and Cuthbert both fell in love with Nora O'Leary.
Nora was one of Thomas Danbury's bondservants. Nora returned Horatio's affections that made Cuthbert insane with jealousy. In September of 1780 Horatio arrived at the Danbury estate on his quarterly visit. His intention was to pay off Nora's bond and marry her. However the war had made times hard for many of Horatio's customers so he had to extend more credit than usual. In some cases Horatio felt compelled to make a loan to his customers who were very poor off. As a result Horatio showed up at the Danbury estate without the means to pay Nora's bond. She and Horatio decided to elope. This would have broken her bond and was a criminal action.
About the only thing of value that Horatio had garnered from his trip was a letter from George Washington. The letter praised Horatio's patriotism and also applauded his skills as a craftsman.
Thomas Danbury's fiancée Melody Allen was an ardent supporter of the revolutionary cause.
Nora took Horatio's letter from General Washington to show Mistress Melody. Since Horatio was such a patriot Mistress Melody might help them elope.
Cuthbert overheard the conversation between Horatio and Nora. He tricked Horatio into getting inside a packing trunk and locked him inside. Cuthbert thus prevented Horatio and Nora from committing the serious crime of bond breaking. He also planned to inform Tom Danbury of Horatio's attempt to break Nora's bond. This would send Horatio to jail for some time. During that time Cuthbert planned to press his suit on Nora.
Thomas Danbury was making secret plans of his own. He negotiated with a group of British agents to lend his influence and aid to aid Benedict Arnold deliver West Point to the British. Once the war was over Thomas Danbury would receive a title, perhaps one day even be made Viceroy of the Americas.
Melody Allen heard Danbury's conversation with the British agents from outside the window. She saw Danbury open a door and discover Nora O'Leary standing there. He grabbed the letter from her hand and read it. Seeing the name of George Washington, Danbury and the agents suspected that Nora and Horatio were spies. He had the British agents take Nora away to see what she knew. Danbury hid Washington's letter in his library.
Mistress Melody decided to warn George Washington about the plotting. In the riding stable she found Horatio Primm locked in a truck. She told him about the plot and asked him if he knew George Washington.
As they were riding out of the Danbury estate they saw a group of men approaching the estate. Believing that they were Danbury's cohorts Melody fired upon them. Horatio and Melody were shot down. Horatio's and Melody's bodies were thrown in the well. The men who had shot them were continental soldier who thought they were part of Danbury's traitorous rabble. The commander of these soldiers cursed Melody and Horatio as traitors, to remain on the Danbury estate until the crack of Doom.
Danbury was arrested and his servants looted the house and finally set if afire.
It took Ollu a while to recover from his gunshot wounds. In fact it was not until that summer when the well water receded and his lungs dried out that he regained consciousness.
Had he been conscious when thrown into the wall, he would have been able to control his breathing and adapt to underwater conditions.
Ollu's and Buzsla's involvement with the Danbury estate continues in 1942.
1781-1800Moving ever west with the expansion of the frontier, Ollu and Buzsla settle in the frontier of Kentucky, lured by John Filson’s promotional tract, The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke. . .To which is added an Appendix, Containing the Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon (1784. They married and had several kids. However as over a decade passed and it became apparent to the superstitious folk nearby that Ollu and Buzsla were not aging, they went out hunting one day and never returned. Although they practically abandoned their families, they were able to discover what when on with them. His wife married again and gave their children her new married name of Payne.(21)Ollu's daughter's married into the McCoy families.
15. Although the film states that the female pirate was Anne Bonny this does not appear to have been the case. The real Anne Bonny does not appear to have been a Pirate Captain but was a story promulgated in The General Historie of Pirates This could have been the woman who briefly used the name Anne Bonny as seen in Chloe Gartner's Novel, Anne Bonny . However these characters operated mostly in the Caribbean theatre. Most likely the female pirate was another woman's whose name has been lost to history and writers merely gave her the name of one of the most legendary female pirates. I have given her the name Bonny Anne to distinguish her from the historical pirate and yet also allude to her.
16. Skull Island's cloud cover was shown in the classic film King Kong and in its supposed remake King Kong. If we dispute Carl Denhem's account that Skull Island sank circa 1933. We can see that the 1976 versions despite some similarities was about an different ape that the Petrox oil company captured and cruelly used. The island of Caprona had a similar fog enshroudment.
17. As seen in Mark Brown's Prehistoric Survivors in the South Pacific
18. To Ollu and Buzsla these crystals and gems set into the machinery seemed oddly familiar. It was not well after this adventure they recalled where they had seen similar gems. This was during their assault on the Giant's castle back in Merrie Olde England. The Castle had been a Space-Station and the gems had been various types of power crystals and fuel cells. These particular gems did nor arise from the interstellar civilization that Ollu and Buzsla had encountered. Not exactly anyway. These were remnants of the lost civilization of Lemuria as depicted in the books of Lin Carter in his Thongor series. According to several sources including H. Warner Munn in The Ship From Atlantis, Atlantis also possessed to some extent the ability to make power crystals.
19. One of the most common interpretations for King Kong's attachment to Ann Darrow has been that it was a primal sexual attraction. I hope to put that erroneous and rather disturbing theory to rest by this simpler explanation. This interpretation is probably more a result of anthropomorphic projection than actual biological fact. The basic facts are that as a rule despite their similar biological make up, Humans and Apes are not sexually attracted to one another. Human antrocentrism being what it is we believe that we are most attractive and most delectable beings in the universe which is why every alien species in the universe either wishes to mate with us or consume us. This antrocentric outlook colors our relationships among the other animal species of the Earth which is why when animals suddenly get a glimmer of intelligence they suddenly desire above everything else to either mate or eat a human being, despite there being an abundance of other species they could in the same manner if they were so inclined.
Son of Kong provided us with a better understanding of King Kong's behavior towards Anne Darrow.
We know from the existence of Son of Kong that there were female Kongs on the Island. Although the Island may have been rather small it probably could have supported one of two small bands of these giant apes. Therefore Kong and his "Son" were more than likely not the only such apes on the island. This is especially true when you take in the visit to Skull Island by the Petrox company circa 1974. With females of his species around, King Kong was quite likely not in such a state of sexual denial or frustration that he became sexually bonded to Anne Darrow. Anne Darrow not only would not have had the correct sexual pheromones, she was so tiny compared to Kong that physically her physical sexual attributes may not even have
registered as such to him. Not only would they have been so tiny compared to a Female Kong but their shape and texture would have greatly differed as well.
If Kong's behavior was not sexual what was it then? One of the most dramatic ways in which song of Kong differed from his "Father" was that his coat was white. Although this may have merely been a fluke, it could very well be that in the species of Kong the young are born hairless and their first coats are white which darken as they age. If this is so, this may explain Kong's behavior towards Anne Darrow.
Kong first saw Anne Darrow when she was offered as a Bride to Kong. This was the first such Caucasian woman to be afforded this great honor. As with the others Kong picked up the offering and carried it into the Jungle. He immediately stripped Anne of her clothing and beheld her smooth pale skin. She screamed believing she was going to be raped. To Kong her scream may have sounded like the cries of a baby Kong. He immediately bonded with this orphaned, little baby Kong. All of his actions from that point on were geared towards protecting her from these tiny pale monkeys who could kill or hurt. It was probably because the men wore clothing and had the power the hurt him that Kong did not think of them as baby Kongs but rather mean little monkeys.
The observant reader may ask, if there was not a sexual component to the sacrifices that were made of Kong why were they made. Well, being human the natives of course were as likely to have an antrocentric sexual outlook towards Kong as anyone one else. What happened to the Brides of Kong who were the dark skinned natives sacrificed to Kong? Since their dark skin did not trigger an instinctual parental impulse, because the young Kong were pale not because of innate racial prejudice., there are two possible outcomes for the previous Brides. One is that Kong ate them. They were after all fresh meat and since they were an entirely different species this could not be considered cannibalism. Another possibility is that they were ignored and left to fend for themselves in this jungle land filled with left over dinosaurs and other mutations.
20. For more about the later Fra Diavolo and about the men who used the name Count Cagliostro and the Scarlet Pimpernel, please visit The Face Stealer: The Man With a Thousand Faces by Vincent Mollet
21. A descendent of Ollu's named Willie Payne accompanied Kentucky militiaman John Breen into Alabama where they defended French settlers against some evil river pirates. This was portrayed in the film, The Fighting Kentuckian
© 2002 Dennis Power
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