Ben Gunn was a human man.
One of Captain Flint's pirates in the first half of the 18th century, Ben Gunn ended up marooned on Treasure Island for many years (sources disagree on whether the figure was 5 or 10). Going more than a little mad (with, for example, a craving for cheese), Ben Gunn nonetheless managed to survive, and even found Flint's treasure, which he moved to his cave. During Squire Trelawney's expedition to Treasure Island, Ben Gunn befriended Jim Hawkins and was key to foiling Long John Silver and his mutineers. Hawkins's adventures on Treasure Island were later turned into a popular novel, and many people portrayed Ben Gunn on-stage in adaptations of that story, including Goofy.
Behind the scenes
Ben Gunn appeared in the 1950 film Treasure Island and a few other Disney adaptations and parodies of the Treasure Island story.
In the original novel, Ben Gunn had been on the Island three years, having been marooned not by Captain Flint but by his crew, in retaliation for having claimed to know how to find the treasure, only for the pirates to get to the island and fail to locate the loot. This is closely echoed in the 1955 comic, where he was marooned for the same reason by Long John Silver alone, ten years prior to the events of the main story. In the 1950 movie itself, however, Ben does not appear to be aware that Captain Flint is dead, implying that he was one of the five seamen Flint took ashore, ordered to help him bury the treasure, and then killed; the idea being that Gunn managed to escape or to survive his wounds unbeknownst to the Captain. There, he is said to only have been stranded five years, a sort of halfway point between the novel and comic versions.
- Geoffrey Wilkinson (Treasure Island)