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The true story of the easy-going pirate

Anyone who remembers the glorious era of Carosello will no doubt recall one of the best-loved characters from that great advertising program, which Jean-Luc Godard defined as the best product of Italian cinema.  

The true story of the easy-going pirate

We are of course talking about the “Pirata Pacioccone” (the easy-going pirate), who together with his crew belonged to one of the important moments in the history of business communication in Italy. His is a story of success and creativity, from an era which was able to surprise and astonish people and reinvent itself, as well as the story of two great friends. He was created in 1965 by the designer Ebro Arletti together with the author and director Guido De Maria. The latter soon involved two brilliant unknown young men from Modena as script writers, who had known each other since they both used to hang out at the Grand Italia bar in Modena. The names of these two resourceful, hard up young men were Franco “Bonvi” Bonvicini and Francesco Guccini, and soon after they would become, respectively, one of most popular comic-strip writers and one of the best-loved singer-songwriters in Italy. 

It was thanks to them that the adventures of the Pirate and his sidekick “Mano di fata” (Fairy Hand) became part of the collective imagination.  Italian families loved the adventures of the slightly overweight buccaneer who was always looking for booty and treasure, so much so that the catchphrase “Captain, can we torture him?” which could be heard at the end of each advertisement, became part of everyday language.  Salomone would answer this question by saying “But why are you talking about torture? Be patient, I know how to make him open his mouth!”  The solution was, quite obviously, by using one of Fabbri’s products.

The advertisements were so successful that the Pirate inspired a wide range of gadgets, from ice crushers to measuring glasses showing how much syrup to use, to Pirate whisks. Today, these are highly sought after collectors’ items. In 1976, a series was also produced without using cartoons, but with Plasticine characters created by Francesco Misseri and Lanfranco Baldi. This is a historical episode for Fabbri, but also for the whole of Italy.