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Franchise / Captain Sabertooth

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"We sailed in from the tropics;
Cast anchor here last night..."

Captain Sabertooth ("Kaptein Sabeltann" in the original Norwegian) is Norway's most famous and beloved pirate. He was first introduced to the Norwegian public in 1990, as the villain of an outdoors musical play at Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park, called Captain Sabertooth and the Treasure in Luna Bay. This play spawned several sequels and spin-off products, and since then Captain Sabertooth been the front and center of one of Norway's most successful multimedia franchises, having starred in movies, TV series, animated films, theater plays, books, comic books, video games and even theme park attractions.

The self-declared "King of the Sea," Captain Sabertooth is the fearless and feared captain of the pirate ship The Dark Lady, and is considered one of the most dangerous pirates on the sea; an impressive feat considering that his bark is considerably worse than his bite, and most of his crew are less than fearsome. He switches between being the villain of the story (usually in the earlier stories), a Villain Protagonist, or even an Anti-Hero (in the later stories).


Most often the real main character of the Captain Sabertooth stories isn't the Captain himself, but his youngest crew member, cabin boy Tiny ("Pinky" in Norwegian and in some translations, like in the 2014 movie), an orphan brought up by the pirates, and who more than anything wants to prove himself as tough and ruthless as them — though as early as the first play, The Treasure in Luna Bay, he ends up a Defector from Decadence and siding with the victims instead of the pirates.

Other important characters are the competent and polite first mate Longfinger, the fat and bumbling twins Wally and Wimp, the Deadpan Snarker and slacker Benjamin, and the incompetent ship's cook Tully — and of course Tiny's Love Interest Veronica of Luna Bay, her Aunt Bessie and the retired sailor Red Rudy. More recent stories have introduced Tiny's friend Raveena, nicknamed "Raven."


The franchise is best known for its well-written and extremely catchy songs, as well as its character-based comedy and kid-friendly horror.

Notable works in the franchise include:

Has nothing to do with the Marvel character.

Franchise-wide tropes:

  • Affably Evil: Actually, the majority of the pirates have traces of this; while they will plunder, rob and burn without a second thought, most of them are actually fairly decent and friendly guys if you catch them in the right mood.
  • Alleged Lookalikes: Wally and Wimp, in some productions. They're treated as completely identical, but their actors more often than not don't look completely the same (and their actors are usually not even related). It's particularly noticeable in the TV series.
  • Always Identical Twins: Wally and Wimp are identical twins, and a Running Gag is that Captain Sabertooth can't tell them apart. Their personalities are similar but not identical; they're both stupid cowards, but as a rule of thumb Wally's more stupid and Wimp is more cowardly (though they do pass the Idiot Ball between themselves fairly often). Wally also feels it's his right as the older twin to boss his brother around, and Wimp, as the younger twin, is the biggest Momma's Boy.
  • Anachronism Stew: The stories allegedly take place towards the end of the 17th century, but a lot of modern-day references and concepts are included.
  • Ascended Fanboy: His backstory varies a little from production to production, but when it comes up, Tiny is always portrayed as a big admirer of Captain Sabertooth and his men who wanted to be part of the crew for a long time before he was finally granted his wish.
    • A couple of spin-off stories and at least one made-for-TV movie has the modern-day boy Joachim, a big fan of the Captain Sabertooth franchise, meet the characters and be allowed to join them on their adventures. It's made fairly clear that he's just imagining/dreaming the encounters, though there are a couple of Or Was It a Dream? moments.
  • Apron Matron: Aunt Bessie.
  • Bad Boss: Captain Sabertooth, just like a ruthless pirate captain should be. He's a relatively mild example compared to many others, mind — he's more likely to threaten with horrible punishments than he is to actually carry them out.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Benjamin is actually one of the smarter and more competent of the crew members, but most often can't be bothered to put in much effort.
  • Broad Strokes: The franchise's general attitude towards continuity. The TV series is nominally a prelude to the stage plays, but there are several continuity errors between them, and who knows where the 2014 movie fits in. The stage plays can usually be placed into a continuity, except for The Hunt for the Magic Diamond, which only kindasorta fits in after three revisions that were so thorough that it's almost three separate plays, and even then you have to squint to make it fit (mostly due to the fact that Tiny all of a sudden has a little brother who's not so much as mentioned in the other plays).
  • Broken Pedestal: Tiny idolizes Captain Sabertooth and wants nothing more than to please him — though in Gory Gabriel's Treasure he gets disillusioned with him after the Captain has lied to and used him, going into a furious “The Reason You Suck” Speech:
    "I once thought the great Captain Sabertooth's word meant something, but now I see how wrong I was!"
  • Catchphrase:
    • Captain Sabertooth has a couple, for different situations. If he thinks things aren't happening fast enough, he'll say "I hate waiting!" When someone slights him or one of his antagonists has the upper hand, he'll always threaten: "My vengeance shall be gruesome and merciless!"
    • Red Rudy is prone to call out "walk the plank and jump in the sea!" when excited, startled or moved. (In the English dub of the animated movie, his phrase is "call me a mackerel and fry me!")
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Longfinger, with Rosa. In the TV series, Tiny and Raven try to act as matchmakers, with mixed results.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Benjamin has a definite eye for the ladies but not much luck with them.
  • Cheerful Child: Tiny, most notably in the stories that take place during his early childhood. Veronica and Raven as well.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Tully the cook, especially when it comes to cooking.
  • The Comically Serious: Longfinger, on occasion. Unlike most of the other characters, he's rarely played for comedy — on the occasions when he is, it's generally this trope.
  • Composite Character: Tiny, in the later stories, has pretty much taken on the personality and traits of his brother Marco (see Cousin Oliver below).
  • Cousin Oliver: An interesting case here is Tiny's younger brother Marco. He was introduced pretty much out of nowhere in the third stage play, The Hunt for the Magic Diamond, and in the play's original version he's very notably younger than Tiny (who at the time was still portrayed as being in his teens) and portrayed as a wide-eyed Cheerful Child who idolizes Captain Sabertooth. However, Marco only appears in that one stage play (as well as in the TV movie The Dream of Captain Sabertoooth's Kingdom, which is partially based on said play) and subsequent stories don't so much as mention him... but his personality and even age was transferred over to Tiny. The result being that when the play was Retooled later on to fit better with the later characterizations and iron out the Early Installment Weirdness bits, it was a lot like having two Tinys in the same story.
  • Damsel in Distress: Veronica, on a few occasions — though not nearly as often as you might think. While hardly an Action Girl, she is more likely to be a Spanner in the Works than she is to be in need of saving.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several characters have traces of this, but Benjamin, who often annoys the others with his comments, is probably the most obvious example.
  • Disappeared Dad: Some of the stories focus on Tiny's search for his father Morgan, one of Captain Sabertooth's men who vanished without a trace and left only his infant son.
  • Disguised in Drag: Benjamin does this on occasion, sometimes getting stuck with Tully as "her" husband.
  • Dub Name Change: Just about all the characters apart from Benjamin have had their names changed in the English version. A list of the more central characters and their Norwegian names compared to their English names:
    Kaptein Sabeltann: Captain Sabertooth.
    Langemann: Longfinger.
    Pinky: Tiny. (Some protuctions/translations keep his name as "Pinky,")
    Pelle: Wally.
    Pysa: Wimp.
    Benjamin: Benjamin.
    Skalken: Tully.
    Sunniva: Veronica.
    Tante Bassa: Aunt Bessie.
    Røde Ruben: Red Rudy.
    Grusomme Gabriel: Gory Gabriel.
    Ravn: Raven.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: While not the baddest of the bad, Wally and Wimp are very devoted to their mother Malena. Wimp in particular is a bit of a Momma's Boy and is repeatedly called out by Wally for it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Captain Sabertooth is a ruthless, greedy Bad Boss who thinks nothing of plundering and burning, or threatening people with murder, but he won't break a promise (though he may use roundabout words so that he technically never made the promise in the first place) or abandon a crewmember in need.
  • Evil Laugh: Hoo boy, this is everywhere, especially in the stage plays. Captain Sabertooth himself is the most frequent example, but just about every single pirate (except for Tiny and Tully) occasionally joins in on the evil laughing. Antagonists such as Happy Jack also frequently laugh evilly.
  • Expy: Happy Jack, the replacement cook and ultimate antagonist from Captain Sabertooth and Gory Gabriel's Treasure is a slightly toned-down, less complex Long John Silver. To really drive home the point, his Norwegian voice-actor in the animated movie is the same guy who played the cyborg Long John Silver in the Norwegian dub of Treasure Planet.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Completely averted with Wally and Wimp, who both have eyepatches but are still bumbling and unsthreatening comedy relief.
  • The Gadfly: Benjamin has traces of this; he's often seen teasing and annoying people just for the hell of it.
  • Gold Fever: Red Rudy's main character flaw. Allegedly Captain Sabertooth's as well, though in his case it comes across as more of a driving force than a flaw.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Both Tiny and Veronica.
  • Hakuna Matata: Several of the songs the pirates sing are about the cheerful and carefree life as a pirate.
  • Hook Hand: Benjamin's lesser-known brother Odin has one. In some productions, like the animated movie, Benjamin has one too, but most often he's portrayed with two normal hands.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Longfinger is by far the smartest and most competent of Captain Sabertooth's crew, and possibly just a little smarter and more competent than the Captain himself.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Averted with Wally and Wimp in most of the comic, books and illustrations; they look and dress exactly alike. A few comics and books, however, have differed between them by giving Wally a red headband and Wimp a blue one — and of course in the stage plays and live-action movies/TV series the actors who portray them are generally not completely identical.
  • Laughably Evil: Captain Sabertooth, for all his in-universe reputation as the worst of the worst, is actually a pretty comical character whose bark is far worse than his bite.
  • Large Ham: A few characters are this, but none more than Captain Sabertooth himself — especially when played by his creator and original actor, Terje Formoe.
    • The third, and current, Captain Sabertooth is actually played as sightly more subdued and less hammy, though he has his moments.
  • Lazy Bum: Benjamin, who's always lazing around, sleeping (or doing Sudoku) when he's supposed to be working. If he can shift his duties onto someone else, he will try — with little or no thought about whether they are actually capable of doing the job or not.
  • Lethal Chef: Tully, whose specialty is rat soup with cockroaches and earthworms, and whose further approach to cooking is basically "toss everything and anything that looks like it might be edible into the pot, stir well, boil and serve."
  • Lovable Coward: The aptly-named Wimp.
  • Loveable Rogue: Most of the pirates qualify as this, especially in the stories where they're the protagonists. The exceptions are Tiny, who is more a straight-up hero who happens to be on the side of lawlessness, and Captain Sabertooth himself, who has a few too many moments of genuine villainy.
  • Mundane Fantastic: There are certainly fantastic elements in this world, such as ghosts, witches and wizards, magic and wish-granting diamonds, but they often don't get a lot of attention.
  • Nice Hat: As is expected of a pirate captain, Captain Sabertooth has a really magnificent one. Longfinger, being the first mate, also has a very nice-looking hat. The rest of the pirates have to make due with head-scarfs.
  • The Nose Knows: Captain Sabertooth can smell gold and riches, at a long distance.
  • Not a Morning Person: According to creator and original actor Terje Formoe, Captain Sabertooth doesn't like mornings; he thrives more during the night.
  • Not-So-Safe Harbor: Port Abra, on the island known as "The Invisible Land" is a classic "Booty Bay" type; here's where the pirates live when not out on the sea, and are treated as heroes and protectors by the rest of the populace. The TV series largely takes place here.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Raven. Her real name is Raveena, but after Tiny nicknamed her "Raven," that's what everyone calls her — even her parents.
  • The Other Darrin: Given that the main stories are told as theatrical plays, all the major characters have had their actor swapped out at least once. Captain Sabertooth himself is currently on his third actor.
  • Parental Bonus: The stage shows are packed with these, including a lot of references that are a lot funnier for the parents than for the children.
  • Parental Substitute: Longfinger acts as a father figure to the orphaned Tiny. It's especially clear in the TV series, where it's also revealed that Rosa tries to be a mother figure to him and is the one who looks after Tiny when Longfinger is busy (though Tiny claims that he looks after himself more often than not).
  • Pirate: The franchise is based around pirates. Captain Sabertooth and his men have the in-universe reputation of Type 1 (scourge of the seas, enemies of all humanity), but are actually closer to Type 2 (more harmless and goofy than their reputation).
  • Pirate Booty: A large part of the franchise. There's lots of treasure everywhere, and though Captain Sabertooth's treasure chamber at Port Abra remains the biggest and most impressive collection of treasure anywhere, he still never stops his search for more gold.
  • Pirate Parrot: Surprisingly, there's an almost complete lack of them in the franchise. A couple are briefly seen in the animated movie (one of them acting as an alarm clock on board the Dark Lady), and in the TV series a cockatoo appears in one episode (as the pet of a fugitive) but other than that there's not a parrot to be found anywhere.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Sabertooth is definitely not an example, but his first mate and second-in-command Longfinger is. Though a stern, no-nonsense guy who doesn't suffer fools gladly (and doesn't hold back from the occasional evil-doings) he's unfailingly polite, actually pretty understanding when it comes down to it, and often counteracts Captain Sabertooth's Bad Boss tendencies.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Usually downplayed and presented in such a way that it might not even be true, but there are occasional hints that the pirates may be this. There are in-universe rumors that Captain Sabertooth has sailed the seas for centuries — though this could simply be a rumor with no basis in fact. In the first stage play, Wally says he's been a pirate for 250 years — but the same stage play also reveals that he can't count. There's always an explanation, and yet the hints add up after a while, and there is an air of mystery over the pirates that might occasionally make you wonder.
  • Recursive Adaptation: The animated movie is adapted from the two original stage plays, with some extra characters and plot twists thrown in. The stage play Captain Sabertooth and Gory Gabriel's Treasure is in turn adapted from the animated movie, changed around a bit to work better for theater.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Longfinger is the calm, Reasonable Authority Figure Blue Oni to Captain Sabertooth's temperamental Bad Boss Red Oni. Just how big the difference is tends to vary between media, though.
  • "Setting Off" Song: The light, bouncy Are You Ready? is sung by Captain Sabertooth (Longfinger in the most recent production of Gory Gabriel's Treasure) and the crew, and is all about preparing for the next adventure.
  • Silly Song: Wally and Wimp's Duel for the entire franchise. An almost as silly song is the birthday song, which was sung by Veronica in its original performance, but in later years became one of Benjamin's signature songs.
  • The Slacker: Benjamin, who is often found just loafing around or asleep on guard duty, and takes any excuse to shirk his duties.
  • The Stoic: Longfinger is usually a calm and collected man seldom driven to extreme emotions.
  • Supreme Chef: Aunt Bessie, who runs the inn at Luna Bay, is a renowned cook whose food is described as the best ever — then again, for some of the characters the alternative is Tully's cooking.
    • Gusto and Bella from the TV series, who run the inn at Abra Port, are from India and are hailed to be Bombay's best cooks. Captain Sabertooth at least praises their Chicken Tikka Masala.
    • And Malena Pirate is also a great cook (when she isn't using her frying pan to hit people with). She even briefly became the official ship's cook on the Dark Lady, but her forceful personality clashed too much with Captain Sabertooth's and she ended up getting sacked.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The TV series Captain Sabertooth, King of the Sea takes place before Tiny becomes a pirate, and as such Veronica doesn't appear. In her stead is the Indian girl Raven (her real name is Ravina), the daughter of innkeepers Gusto and Bella. She fulfills a similar role as Tiny's best (and more sensible) friend — though notably without the romantic overtones.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Longfinger, easily the most elegant and charming of Captain Sabertooth's men. His "I Am" Song is about how he uses his good looks and natural charm to catch people off-guard and steal their treasures.
  • Terrible Trio: In the very first story, The Treasure of Luna Bay, Captain Sabertooth forms one with Tiny and Wally, being the hands-on boss to the eager-but-bumbling Wally and the clever-but-reluctant Tiny. In later stories, more pirates are introduced, some of whom become major characters, and the trope never applies to the pirates again.
    • Other Terrible Trios make appearances in later productions, such as Happy Jack and his two henchmen, or the Count of Graal's three stooges.
  • That Poor Cat: At one point in the TV series, Longfinger is sitting at a table at the inn with Rosa, and rather nervously takes off his hat and throws it off-screen. Apparently it knocks over a stack of dishes, because the next we hear is the sound of dishes breaking and a cat yowling.
  • Those Two Guys / Those Two Bad Guys: Wally and Wimp, whose main function is providing comedy relief.
  • Treasure Map: The franchise is full of these, usually with some cryptic message or riddle that needs to be interpreted or solved correctly.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Tully is the worst chef on the seven seas, and though Captain Sabertooth is always complaining about the food and talking about getting a competent ship's cook, somehow Tully always ends up keeping his job — or getting it back, when it turns out that the replacement cook is either a traitor (Happy Jack) or more annoying than Tully (Malena Pirate).
  • Villain Protagonist: Captain Sabertooth, when he's not being an Anti-Hero or a straight-up villain.
  • Walk the Plank: One of Captain Sabertooth's favorite things to threaten his crew with. Often the fate of antagonistic characters.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Ghosts are the only thing Captain Sabertooth is afraid of. He's almost completely fearless in the face of pretty much everything else... but if he encounters a ghost, he loses all his nerve.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Rudy and Aunt Bessie in the two original plays. They do. Longfinger and Rosa in the TV series.
  • Women Are Wiser: Veronica is altogether more sensible than Tiny is, and Aunt Bessie is likewise notably smarter than Red Rudy. Raven zig-zags around the trope and occasionally subverts it; while she's on the whole more level-headed than Tiny, she has plenty of moments when she's being the foolish one of the two.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: Happens a number of times in a number of plays, stories and movies; the pirates think they've found the most invaluable treasure but it turns out to be something else that has a different kind of value.
  • Yes-Man: Wally to Captain Sabertooth.


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