Mutiny on the Bounty - Campbell Playhouse

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This radio play, starring Orson Welles as Captain Bligh, was broadcast via the Campbell Playhouse on January 13, 1939

It tells the story of a mutiny on HMS Bounty - also known as HM Armed Vessel Bounty - which occurred on the 28th of April, 1789 and was led by Fletcher Christian.  (Later, Christian - who died in 1793, at the age of 28 - named his first child "Thursday October" because he wanted his son to "have no name that will remind me of England.")

Set adrift in a small boat, with non-mutineers, Captain Bligh and his crew reached East Timor - and safety - after being at sea 47 days.  They had traveled 3,618 nautical miles (6,701 km).

Bligh survived the ordeal, returned to England, reported the mutiny and testified about it (in a court martial which examined why the Bounty was lost).  He was aquitted of any wrong-doing. 

Although Bligh was not as harsh as some commanders of the Royal Navy, he insulted people.  In his narrative comparing Bligh with Captain James Cook, author J. C. Beaglehole tells us:

...there were men to whom he did not wish to be kind, and dogmatic judgments which he felt himself entitled to make; he saw fools about him too easily, and the thin-skinned vanity that was his  curse through life was already with him ... Bligh learnt a good deal from Cook:  he never learnt that you do not make friends of men by insulting them.  (The Life of Captain James Cook, by J. C. Beaglehole, page 498).

In 1792, Bligh published an account of the mutiny, entitled A Voyage to the South Sea.  This map depicts Bounty's route of travel during her last voyage (with solid blue as the path of the journey before the mutiny and dotted-blue as the path followed by Fletcher Christian after he took control of the ship).  Also included is the journey (depicted in dotted green) of Bligh and his men as they made their way to Timor.
This radio play - adapted from Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall's novel by Howard Koch, John Houseman and Virginia Nicolson (Welles) - stars:
Orson Welles (as Captain Bligh)
Joseph Cotten (as Fletcher Christian)
Frank Readick
Edgar Barrier
Ray Collins
Richard Wilson
William Alland
Eustace Wyatt
Agnes Moorehead

Media Credits

Campbell Playhouse broadcast of Mutiny on the Bounty, as dramatized and produced by Orson Welles and his Mercury-Theatre-on-the-Air colleagues. 

Radio broadcast originally aired on January 13, 1939.  Clip online, courtesy Archive.org.


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Mutiny on the Bounty - Campbell Playhouse" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 19, 2020.
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