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Yellowbeard's Curse
September 19, 2003 2:41 PM   Subscribe

The Late Graham Chapman and the curse of Yellowbeard. Yar, don't be making fun of a pirate captain, even a fictional one. The curse of the film eventually claimed the lives of actors Graham Chapman, Madeline Kahn, Peter Cook, James Mason, Spike Milligan and Marty Feldman - the only one of them who died while filming the actual movie. Harry Nilsson wrote an unused ditty for the flick and soon visited Davy Jones' locker. It didn't exactly do wonders for the careers of Cheech and Chong or Martin Hewitt, who played Yellowbeard's son. Watch it and feel like you too have been cursed. (More Inside, Yar!)
posted by Joey Michaels (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Aye, the curse. It may not be true, but don't be tellin' me Talk Like a Pirate Day would be complete without a tip o' the skullcap to one of the movies that taught us how to talk like pirates. Very yar.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:44 PM on September 19, 2003


Great post - thanks Joey!
posted by viama at 2:58 PM on September 19, 2003


The curse will, of course, eventually touch every single person who was involved in this movie's making, distribution, screening, and viewing. And GWBush wants to go after those wimpy little Al Quaeda-ites!
posted by billsaysthis at 3:07 PM on September 19, 2003


Don't forget the late John Cleese.

There's no curse. John Cleese still has a semblance of a career despite the fact that he's awful and wasn't great even during the days of Flying Circus. Eric Idle more or less stunk, too, and he's now a definitive wash-out but he probably eats well.

It's a huge, huge shame that Yellowbeard was Graham Chapman's last film, because like Michael Palin and Terry Jones, he was incredibly talented.

(John Cleese did do a spectacular job with A Fish Called Wanda, and while that's amazing, he never impressed me before or after that. As for Idle, I think that his anti-inhalant PSA from the early 90's is the reason that I sniff three tubes of Testor's a day.)

Enough discussion of Python for me-- I have to go buy some 20-sided dice for the big game and call my fictional Canadian girlfriend.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:08 PM on September 19, 2003


Arrr, such fine booty in this post, I feel I need a cuddle ...

(Cuddle, I was rapin' you!)
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:14 PM on September 19, 2003


I believe that makes me yer first mate, lad.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:26 PM on September 19, 2003


Mayor Curley, you are not impressed with Fawlty Towers?
posted by me & my monkey at 3:53 PM on September 19, 2003


You arrrrrrrr a Yellowbeard.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:57 PM on September 19, 2003


There's no way the curse of any movie will ever match the death toll of The Conqueror, due to its filming location near the nuclear test sites of the day...
posted by wendell at 4:29 PM on September 19, 2003


Yeah, I gotta concede that "Fawlty Towers" is good, and that Cleese's writing probably helped to make it good. Basil's mostly the typical Cleese "straight man forced to watch as weird stuff happens around him," but the show worked very well.

I should also give Cleese some credit for a few Flying Circus sketches where he's very funny, like "Silly Walks." But not the "dead parrot." Hate that.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:40 PM on September 19, 2003


In defense of John Cleese's talents, I offer this, his self-penned bio. It's funny. Of course, there's no accounting for taste.
posted by tomharpel at 5:37 PM on September 19, 2003


Arrrrr! I was unaware of the curse of Yellowbeard...yar...are ye sure it wasn't shame that killed the scurvy buggers? I mean, blow me down, it wasn't a very *good* movie...
posted by dejah420 at 5:38 PM on September 19, 2003


Next, it's the Curse of Casablanca! Humprhey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Peter Lorre, Claude Raines, Sidney Greenstreet --- EVERY LAST ONE DEAD!!!
posted by briank at 6:37 PM on September 19, 2003


Yargh, Briank. Don't make me bring up the curse of "Birth of a Nation." They've been dead even longer.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:40 PM on September 19, 2003


Cheech & Chong meets Monty Python and you're questioning the quality?

Are you mad, woman? I haven't go fruit in me loins. Lice, yes.
posted by scarabic at 7:35 PM on September 19, 2003


at least two of the people linked above died of cancer a little before their time. granted, nilsson and madeline kahn had lengthly careers behind them, but iirc nilsson just cracked fifty at the time of his death, and mk was pushing sixty.

one thing that makes me happy about graham chapman was that he was responsible for the last movie hal ashby directed -- a made-for-tv movie called jake's journey, about a kid who falls through a space-time continuum to the camelot of king arthur and sir lancelot. i've never seen it, but it has to be better than eight million ways to die.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:56 PM on September 19, 2003


You want a curse, Joey? Today marks the one year anniversary of the killing of the entire on location cast and crew of Sergei Bodrov, Jr.'s The Messenger. Everyone on the set was killed when an 11-mile avalanche of mud careened through the valley in which they were filming. This scan [warning: incriminating self link] of the avalanche area provides an idea of the destruction.
posted by samuelad at 8:47 PM on September 19, 2003


Want more proof? I submit to you: Is Yellowbeard cursed? is an anagram of Yellowbeard is cursed! (cues spooky music...)
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:11 PM on September 19, 2003


Uh oh...it's also an anagram of "CURSED IS YELLOWBEARD" -- the dreaded 3-way anagram! Shiver me timbers!
posted by davidmsc at 9:39 PM on September 19, 2003


John Cleese needs to record an audiobook of Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat before he dies. Perhaps the fact that he hasn't is what is saving him even today. (But probably not.)
posted by wobh at 7:26 AM on September 20, 2003


John Cleese still has a semblance of a career despite the fact that he's awful and wasn't great even during the days of Flying Circus.

Yeah, that's why those final episodes of MPFC were so much better after he left. /sarcasm

I'm not suggesting that Cleese should be elevated above any of the others, mind you, but I find your claim "wholly without merit," as a wise judge once observed about something completely unrelated.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:23 AM on September 20, 2003


wobh, Michael Palin and Tim Curry were in the BBC adaptation, directed by Stephen Frears and adapted for the screen by Tom Stoppard. It's quite wonderful, catch it if you haven't..

I gotta concede that "Fawlty Towers" is good, and that Cleese's writing probably helped to make it good.

His writing probably helped? As opposed to what, Andrew Sach's impression of a Spaniard?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:32 AM on September 20, 2003


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