Captain Pugwash is a pompous, vain, greedy, cowardly and profoundly stupid 18th-century pirate. But children fell in love with this cartoon character through the weekly comic strip in "The Eagle," the books and the TV series, all written by John Ryan (1921-2009). The character first appeared in the 1950s.

Pugwash is captain of the pirate ship "Black Pig" but, despite numerous adventures, does not actually do much in the way of piracy. Most of the time he seems to be getting out of scrapes, which he has usually made worse by his own incompetence. Two factors contribute to his repeated rescues from disaster: luck and the cabin boy.

Tom the cabin boy is the most resourceful member of the “Black Pig’s” crew. He is also the most intelligent (but it is a low bar). Tom is the only crew member who knows how to cook or to sail a ship; he can even play the concertina. The rest of the crew found they were unable to operate without him, when he and the captain left the “Black Pig” after a mutiny. Tom’s ability to think up schemes is often the only thing that prevents Pugwash from ignominious failure.

But best of all for the TV audience would be the narrator’s comment at the end of the episode as the “Black Pig” sailed away after another escape masterminded by Tom: “And Tom, the cabin boy, said nothing.”

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