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Urban Myth

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is Captain Pugwash and some members of his crew, stars of a very old British children's TV cartoon, much loved at the time.

I didn't realize until recently, but there was an urban myth that some of the character names were double-entendres. Specifically, that shipmates Master Bates, Seaman Staines and Roger the Cabin Boy were among the crew. It turned out to be untrue, although there were crew members Master Mate, Tom the Cabin Boy, and Pirate Willy.

The myth was promulgated by a number of media outlets that should have known better. At one point the respected Guardian newspaper had to publish a retraction as follows:

In the Young Guardian of September 13 [1991] we stated that the Captain Pugwash cartoon series featured characters called Seaman Staines and Master Bates, and for that reason the series had never been repeated by the BBC. We accept that it is untrue that there ever were any such characters. Furthermore, the series continues to be shown on television and on video. We apologize to Mr. Ryan, the creator, writer and artist of the Captain Pugwash films and books. We have agreed to pay him damages and his legal costs.


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