WHEN Walt Disney first planned a movie based on Treasure Island fifteen years ago, he was going to make it an animated cartoon. I’m glad he didn’t because I like real people in pictures. But I wasn’t even born then, so I guess I was just lucky that he changed his mind later on and gave me the part of Jim Hawkins in Stevenson’s famous story of pirates and buried gold. Saying I liked this part is like any boy’s saying he likes electric trains or puppies. Who wouldn’t enjoy getting right inside a story-book like Treasure Island? And I had some extra reasons for liking this part, because I went to England with my parents to make the film. We saw England, France and Ireland. We also saw the king and queen near Buckingham Palace, and climbed the Eiffel Tower and kissed the Blarney stone.
The thing that struck me funniest in England was the way everybody stopped work when the tea cart was rolled in. But my real love was a parrot, a stand-in they used in the picture.
It would sing, “When the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day,” and when I left, it would say, “Don’t go. Don’t go. Come back.” I tried to bring the parrot back to America, but I couldn’t because they were afraid of parrot fever’s coming into the country.
The scenes in this picture that I liked best were the ones with guns and knives. But I really never did get wounded, as some people apparently thought. So I felt funny when I opened a letter containing an adhesive bandage and read: " I felt so sorry for you because you hurt your arm. If you need any more bandages, let me know.”