Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel
Real Name: Sir Percy Blakeney
Identity/Class: Normal human
Affiliations: The League of the Pimpernel; Marguerite
Known Relatives: Marguerite (wife)
Base of Operations: Britain and revolutionary France
First Appearance: The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905)
Powers/Abilities: Skilled strategist and fighter, and an able disguise artist.
History: With the French Revolution at it's height, the name of one man was a curse on the lips of the new regime and a prayer on the lips of the "Aristos" who had fallen from grace: the Scarlet Pimpernel. A master of disguise, unsurpassed swordsman, and superlatively quick-witted strategist, he masterminded the rescuing of countless condemned prisoners before they could lose their heads to the guillotine, ably assisted by the League of the Pimpernel, a band of devoted followers (many of whom were young English noblemen). Though the French, personified by their sadistic agent Chauvelin, sought to unmask and capture the Pimpernel, he continued to evade their best efforts.
The Scarlet Pimpernel was really Sir Percy Blakeney, one of the richest men in England, seen by his peers as a fool, a brainless fop married in a loveless relationship to Marguerite. Which was, of course, just what Percy wanted people to think, as he and his loving wife, herself one of the "most clever women in Europe" continued to run rings round their opponents.
Comments: The demmed elusive Pimpernel was created by the Baroness Emmuska Orczy and appeared in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905) and its ten sequels, as well as a number of films and appearances in other media.
The Pimpernel and his wife appeared in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1905), "I Will Repay" (1906), "Elusive Pimpernel" (1908), "Eldorado" (1913), "Lord Tony's Wife" (1917), "League of the Scarlet Pimpernel" (1919), "Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel" (1922), "Sir Percy Hits Back" (1927), "Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel" (1929), "Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel" (1933), "Sir Percy Leads the Band" (1936) and "Mam'zelle Guillotine" (1940).
'Marize' informs me "There's also a musical about him called the Scarlet Pimpernel. The plot is a bit different than the books. The show ran for over two years on Broadway, closing on January 2, 2000. Percy was played by Douglas Sills in the first and second version. This was followed by the first U.S. national tour, which played in thirty-two cities. The tour concluded on April 1, 2001 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is considered the fourth version of the show. Scripts and lyrics are available as well as many CDs and individual songs. Also, for an alias, in the musical, Percy's disguise is Grappin, a Belgian, and he works for Chauvelin to keep an eye on him." She also recommended the following links:
The Official Site for the Musical
Blakeney Manor - one of the most comprehensive sites on the Pimpernel
In Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen we can see from a portrait that Sir Percy was a member of the 18th Century League, alongside the his wife, the Reverend Dr Syn, Lemuel Gulliver (Gulliver's Travels), Natty Bumpo (Hawkeye from Last of the Mohicans) and Fanny Hill.
The Pimpernel has been portrayed several times on screen, starting in 1917 with Dustin Farnum as the Pimpernel, and continuing in 1934 with Leslie Howard in the title role, 1955 with Marius Goring playing him for an 18 episode series, 1982 when Anthony Andrews played Sir Percy against Ian McKellan's Chauvelin, and 1999's series with Richard E. Grant as the leading man. He was parodied in 1950's cartoon The Scarlet Pumpernickel with Daffy Duck playing the lead, 1975's Scarlet Pinkernel cartoon starring the Pink Panther, and in live action in Carry On, Don't Lose Your Head, where Sid James played Sir Rodney Ffing a.k.a. The Black Fingernail. The Pimpernel also turned up in Blackadder The Third, in the episode Nob and Nobility, where Tim McInnery played the part.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
de Tweede Pimpernel, a Dutch hero
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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