78r: Michael Palin / James TaylorThe Adventures of Miles CowperthwaiteFred Silverman…..John Belushi[ open on graphic: “Family Classics” ]Announcer: Tonight: “Family Classics” continues its second season, with Part II of the new Dickins novel Miles Cowperthwaite.[ dissolve to copy of book resting on tabletop ]Miles Cowperthwaite, by Charles Dickins. As told to Robert Louis Stevenson and Rafael Salbatini.[ hand turns book to first page ]
Miles Cowperthwaite V/O: “The wretched birth, miserable childhood, agonizingly painful adolescence, and appallingly vile and degrading death of Miles Cowperthwaite.
[ turns page to Chapter Two ]
Chapter Two: ‘I Am Nailed To The Hull’.
“It having been determined by my benefactor that a term of service at sea would make a man, I accordingly left Pinckley Hall in the company of Captain Ned, and put out from Bristol aboard his ship The Raging Queen.
Captain Ned, I learned from my shipmates, was a very manly, virile, manful person, and a firm believer in strict discipline, corporal punishment, and nude apartment wrestling. How truly strict he was, I learned on our first day out of port, when out First Mate called all hands on deck for an important annoucement.”
[ dissolve onto scenes aboard The Raging Queen ]
[ First Mate Spunk rings the deck bell ]
First Mate Spunk: Alright, please, everybody, please! Welcome aboard The Raging Queen! Now, of course, I can’t possibly introduce everybody, so you’re just going to have to wear your little name tags. And if that’s the worst thing you’ll wear on this voyage, you’re lucky. Now, before I introduce Captain Ned, there’s some quiche over here, some salad, and some banana bread in the bowl, and there should be a brie around, if someone hasn’t eaten it. And now, here is our own Captain Ned!
[ Captain Ned steps up ]
Captain Ned: Thank you, Mr. Spunk. Gentlemen, we have on board a young man whose name is Miles Cowperthwaite! And I have promised his guardian to teach him the man’s life at sea! To show him man’s ports, such as Key West and San Fransisco! I expect him to be treated manfully! Well, Miles, have you anything to say?
Miles Cowperthwaite: [ stsnds, cheerful ] Well.. I’m very grateful for this opportunity, Captain Ned! Up ’til now, my life has been the most degrading, pathetic, soul-destroying, humiliating, awful grovel..
Captain Ned: [ interrupting ] That’s enough, Miles.. [ Miles sits ] Now, men, I run a mans’ ship. I will run it in a manful and masculine way! I will tolerate no men under my command who act in such a way so as to discredit their manhood and manliness! Do I make myself clear?
First Mate Spunk: Three cheer for Captain Ned!
[ the men cheer ]
Miles Cowperthwaite V/O: “If there were any doubts as to Captain Ned’s severity, they were quickly dispelled that very afternoon, when a scuffle broke out on deck.”
[ Spunk approaches a Sailor tanning ]
First Mate Spunk: That’s my tanning spot! you! You’re in my spot! That’s my spot!
Sailor #1: You are daft! I’ve been here all morning. Now, run along, you are blocking my sun.
First Mate Spunk: Don’t you give me any back-sass, you tan tease!
[ fight breaks out; Captain Ned intervenes ]
Captain Ned: Is this how men act on a man’s ship? Where is your manliness? Fighting on deck is a serious breach on my articles of strict discipline! I’m afraid the guilty party is in for a very severe punishment!
Sailor #1: Captain.. I did indeed take Mr. Spunk’s spot. I’m ready to accept my punishment..
First Mate Spunk: Captain! I threw the first blow. If anyone is to be punished, let it be me. I ask only that whatever you do, please don’t put me in a tight-fitting Lassie costume and make me eat from a monogrammed dog dish.
Sailor #2: [ entering ] Captain, I encouraged this fight – punish me! Make me wear nipple-pinching clothespins, sir!
Sailor #3: [ entering ] Me, Captain! Punish me!
Captain Ned: Stop! I’ve heard enough! Your manly admission of guilt is most manful. However, as your Captain, it is I who must bear the full masculine responsibility! And therefore, I will be punished. Spunk! Take me alone! I want a boiling oil rub..
[ Spunk drags Captain below decks for his punishment ]
Miles Cowperthwaite V/O: “Having had no seafaring experience, I was surprised at how different the life of a sailor was from what I had imagined. Our day began at dawn, where, after a hearty breakfast, we had punishment ’til lunchtime. After lunch, there was more punishment ’til dinner. After dinner, we would pull up anchor and sail for an hour, then drop anchor again for soem verbal humiliation, followed by evening punishment. I imagine that the crew is quite used to it, for in all my rounds with the ship surgeon, Dr. Pierce, I never once heard a man complain.”
[ Miles follows Dr. Pierce during one of his rounds ]
Miles Cowperthwaite: Sir? I was thinking, wouldn’t we make better progress if we was under sail 14 hours a day, and had punishment only two hours a day, instead of the other way ’round?
Dr. Pierce: Miles, my boy, you have much to learn. Wihout strict discipline, we’d have mutiny on this ship.