"Secrets of the Pirate's Inn" was made 16 years before "The Goonies." Steven Spielberg obviously made "The Goonies" as a loving tribute to the Disney TV movies that he and the rest of the kids of the 50's and 60's grew up on, and if you've ever seen "Pirate's Inn" you can't miss the resemblance. "Pirate's Inn" was done in the old Disney mold; i.e., inventive and with an eye to quality, and was one of the last good TV movies to come out of that studio after Walt's death.
Ed Begley plays a man who inherits an old, long-closed inn; the town abounds with rumors that pirates had at one time buried their treasure there, but no one knows where. Three local kids become friends with with Begley's character, and together they try and solve the mystery. That wonderful, overlooked character actor Charles Aidman shows up to inject a sinister note in the proceedings. The atmosphere of the film is what makes it a success; we see lots of dark stairwells and passages leading downwards and hidden areas with secrets behind them. This is a film that keeps you interested and involved from the start. The three kids were later teamed up in "The Strange Monster of Strawberry Cove," a TV film not nearly as good as "Pirate's Inn," but also worth a look.
"Pirate's Inn" is not available on video, which is a crime. The Disney channel's "Vault Disney" used to run these old TV shows at midnight/1am most nights, but the Disney Channel appears to have stopped running "Vault Disney," just another example that they've turned their attention to young kids today and no longer think there is an audience for these older shows. "Secrets of the Pirate's Inn" is a great, fun-filled movie, and I still enjoy watching it.
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