Follow TV Tropes


Radio / Patch the Pirate

Go To

Patch the Pirate (or The Adventures of Patch the Pirate when aired on radio) is a Christian audio comedy/adventure series created by Christian songwriter and evangelist Ron Hamilton, and was inspired by his experience with having eye cancer in his left eye.

In 1978, Ron Hamilton was diagnosed with cancer inside his left eye, necessitating its removal and leaving Hamilton to have to wear an eye-patch. In the time that followed, Hamilton would often get called a pirate by children at church and abroad thanks to his eye patch. Deciding to embrace his new reputation as a "pirate" instead of having to explain why he had a patch to everyone, this was ultimately the inspiration for the audio series for kids that you are reading about now.

Starting in 1981 with song compilation Sing Along with Patch the Pirate, one new installment of the series has been released every year since then. (Except in 1993 where a bonus Christmas Episode was released along with the one for that year.) The story details the adventures of Patch the Pirate, his faithful sidekick Sissy Seagull (played by Ron Hamilton's wife Shelly), and their crew of kids as they sail their ship the Jolly Roger around a world filled with unusual places and quirky characters. Most episodes are centered around a specific moral that is usually derived from Christianity (though other smaller side lessons are sometimes learned) and are notably filled with a variety of songs.

In 2017; Hamilton was forced to retire after being diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia and passed away on April 19, 2023 at the age of 72, but the series is very well-known among Christians and has sold several million copies since its inception. It still continues to this day with episodes produced by Megan (Princess Pirate) Hamilton and her husband.

Shouldn't be confused with Patchy.

    open/close all folders 

     Installments of the series 
  • Sing Along with Patch the Pirate (1981)
  • Patch the Pirate Goes to Space (1982)
  • ...Goes West (1983)
  • ...Goes to the Jungle (1984)
  • Kidnapped on I-Land (1985)
  • The Great American Time Machine (1986)
  • The Misterslippi River Race (1987)
  • The Calliope Caper (1988)
  • Camp Kookawacka Woods (1989)
  • The Custards' Last Stand (1990)
  • The Friend Ship Mutiny (1991)
  • Once Upon A Starry Knight (1992)
  • Down Under (1993)
  • Harold the King (1993)
  • The Evolution Revolution (1994)
  • Mount Zion Marathon (1995)
  • Giant Killer (1996)
  • Polecat's Poison (1997)
  • The Sneaky Sheik (1998)
  • Afraidika Fever (1999)
  • The Lone Stranger (2000)
  • The Tumbleweed Opera (2001)
  • Coldheartica (2002)
  • Limerick the Leprechaun (2003)
  • Shipwrecked on Pleasure Island (2004)
  • The Kashmir Kid (2005)
  • The Villain of Venice (2006)
  • The Colonel's Colossal Character Quest (2007)
  • Armadillo Amigos (2008)
  • Kung Phooey Kid (2009)
  • The Legend of Stickyfoot (2010)
  • Incrediworld (2011)
  • Kingdom Chronicles (2012)
  • International Spy Academy (2013)
  • Kilimanjaro (2014)
  • Ocean Commotion (2015)
  • Operation Arctic: Viking Invasion (2016)
  • Time Twisters (2017)
  • The Incredible Race (2018)
  • The Final Voyage? (2019; 2-part episode)
  • Mystery Island (2020)
  • Whale of a Tail (2021)
  • A Tail of Two Siblings (2022)
  • ‘’Passage to Paradise'' (2023)

This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Artistic License – History: The Great American Time Machine displays several errors as everyone jumps through time, such as showing and referring to Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860 when he hadn't actually taken the office yet. (A few other instances are likely Played for Laughs, on the other hand. It would be pretty obvious to a kid that Thomas Edison didn't invent the light bulb after watching a chicken lay a pear-shaped egg.)
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: In Goes to Space, the entire crew (including a whale) floats up into space without so much as a space helmet after eating special cookies given to them by a visiting alien. The splash artwork for the installment also doesn't depict them wearing any sort of space traveling equipment either.
  • Big Bad: Once the series found its footing in the mid-80s, Patch and the crew began to more frequently encounter some unsavory characters who usually became this in the context of the plot. They usually ranged from just being either Not Evil, Just Misunderstood or a Jerkass to...actually being pretty wicked.
  • Broken Pedestal: The overall theme of Polecat's Poison is to chose your heroes carefully, as two boys find out the hard way when they meet their "hero", a large burly man named Polecat Jack who they believe to be the area's biggest badass. However, Jack turns out to be a Jerkass who drinks too much moonshine, imprisons both boys in his house, and, when the building catches fire, turns his attention to saving his moonshine instead of the two (still trapped) boys. (Fortunately, the boys are rescued by the local Badass Preacher just in time.)
  • Christmas Episode: Harold the King
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The first two installments of the series showed some other sea-dwelling characters to hang out with the crew, such as a trio of oysters and a whale. They exited the series with little fanfare following Goes to Space. (It was probably justified in the whale's case, since it was probably difficult to take him anywhere that wasn't on the ocean.)
  • Cowboy Episode: Goes West and its two sequel episodes The Lone Stranger and The Tumbleweed Opera.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first several installments of the series were undeniably kid oriented and had looser and simpler plot-lines. Starting around the mid-80s the plots started becoming tighter and the writing matured somewhat.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Patch's eponymous trademark.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The series apparently takes place in a world where pirates, medieval kingdoms, vikings, cowboys, dragons, abominable snowmen, and numerous other different settings, creatures, and people comfortably co-exist. Unless of course, Patch and his crew are secretly traveling to other dimensions and time-periods on their ship.
  • Friendly Pirate: Patch is decidedly this type of pirate, and is a positive role model for the kids in his crew.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: In the Misterslippi River Race, Patch and crew end up in a race against Colonel Cottonmouth and his snake lawyer to try and stop him from closing down the local church. Despite the Colonel's attempts at sabotage, the crew ends up in the lead in the final stretch of the race. But when the Colonel sees he's about to lose, he forces his adopted son Arnie to jump off the Jolly Roger by threatening the boy's pet dog. Seeing Cottonmouth ignore Arnie about to drown, Captain Patch stops the ship to save him and loses the race in the process.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Some (but certainly not all) of the villain or Jerkass characters eventually come around. Some of the human characters may become Christians.
  • Informed Species: Sissy Seagull did start off looking like a seagull, but much of her current artwork has her bearing more resemblance to a pelican.
  • Karma Houdini: Colonel Cottonmouth in the Misterslippi River Race. Despite failing in his objectives of getting the church closed down and getting his hands on the Jolly Roger, Cottonmouth escapes any actual punishment despite being guilty of kidnapping, animal cruelty, child endangerment, and trying to get Patch and his crew killed multiple times.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: He's not quite so lucky in the follow-up episode, the Calliope Caper. His plans end in failure once again, he ends up accidentally blowing up his own property, and the resulting debris hits him on the head, causing him to lose his memory.
  • Mentor Archetype: Being the captain, Patch is usually there to offer advice to the younger characters.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Christmas Episode "Harold the King" does this three times in the span of a few minutes. After the titular king storms away from the crew in a huff, the tone starts scary when the rebel elves corner him in an alley, steal his clothes, tie him up, and leave him in a dumpster. But then, it turns funny when a pair of hobos look for food in the dumpster and find him, only to be so repulsed by his arrogance that they put him right back in the dumpster. Only for things to go right back to scary when the hobos closing the dumpster causes a pile of snow to fall on top of it, resulting in Harold nearly freezing to death after they leave.
  • Musical Episode: Every episode is this, really. There are typically at least ten songs per installment, all between various story segments.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Much like Jake And The Neverland Pirates years later, Patch and the crew don't really do much pirating aside from looking for treasure and adventure.
  • Put on a Bus: Much like, say, Adventures in Odyssey, the kid actors tend to stay on the show until they hit puberty and/or become adults, after which they leave the show. Their absence is usually acknowledged by the characters in the first episode where they aren't present, and they are usually mentioned to have had to start going to nautical schools.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • The titular pirate got his name because Ron Hamilton (who voices Patch) lost his left eye to cancer and began wearing an eye-patch prompting children to declare to their embarrassed parents "Look! There goes a pirate!" Ron (Patch) tells this story in The Misterslippi Riber Race.
    • The episode "The Final Voyage?" was written as a retirement episode of sorts for the Patch the Pirate character after Ron Hamilton was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2017.
  • Shout-Out: Dots the various installments of the series. Coldheartica, for example, features a penguin character who is pretty much Maxwell Smart (complete with his voice sounding very similar to Don Adams) in all but species and name.note 
  • Space Episode: Patch the Pirate Goes To Space. What? Were you thinking he went to Madison, Wisconsin in this episode instead?
  • Time Travel Episode: The Great American Time Machine involves traveling to see points in American history. Later episodes The Evolution Revolution and Giant Killer involves the crew using a different time machine to travel to points in Biblical history. (Meeting Adam and Eve and during when the Tower of Babel was being built in the former, and meeting future-King David just before his fight with Goliath in the latter.) Later installment Time Twisters involves the sailors hopping through time via different means to rescue an abducted Captain Patch.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: A consequence of having so many songs per installment is that at least one song invariably comes off as this, especially if it is part of a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: People who aren't familiar with the crew when they meet them tend to question the fact that Patch and his crew are pirates for only a few moments, if at all. Outside of that, in The Great American Time Machine, the Statue of Liberty, seemingly apropos of nothing, comes to life and is later shrunk down to six feet tall without any sort of reaction from anyone other than the main characters. None of the historical figures the characters meet in their time-traveling adventures seem very fazed by the presence of a completely green metal woman, for that matter.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: A few of the villain characters are just downright nasty for a show this light-hearted, such as the king in Kidnapped on I-LandWhy? , Squashy the Squid in Down UnderWhy? , disgruntled former employee Shamus McGreedy in Limerick the LeprechaunWhy? , and the Pleasure Islanders in Shipwrecked on Pleasure IslandWhy? (spoilers?)