ABC Weekend Specials (1977–1995)
4 user

The Gold Bug 

Shortly after the Civil War, while exploring the long deserted and reputedly haunted Sullivan's Island off Charleston S.C., a boy encounters two obsessed eccentrics living there. These men ... See full summary »


Robert Fuest


Edgar Allan Poe (story) (as Edgar Allen Poe), Edward Pomerantz (teleplay)


Episode cast overview:
Roberts Blossom ... Mr. LeGrand
Geoffrey Holder ... Jupiter
Anthony Michael Hall ... The Boy
Robert Moberly Robert Moberly ... Uncle
Sudie Bond ... Agnes
Anne Haney ... Jessica Bessop
Alix Elias ... Barmaid
Philip Bruns ... Tattoo


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Shortly after the Civil War, while exploring the long deserted and reputedly haunted Sullivan's Island off Charleston S.C., a boy encounters two obsessed eccentrics living there. These men chase him away and warn him never to return or to tell anyone about them. Soon, however, they locate him and summon him back, because he has unknowingly given them a clue vital to their quest and they need his help to unravel the rest of the mystery. If he can do so, they will find buried pirate treasure and all become rich. But in joining the search, he falls under the same obsession and curse-- an ominous fate suggested by the unearthly electronic music which contributes to the film's atmosphere. Written by Paul Emmons <>

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Not Rated

Did You Know?


Edgar Allan Poe's original short story, published in 1843, is a first person narrative, so it is set on or before that year. In Poe's story he acknowledges that Fort Moultrie is located on Sullivan's Island and is manned and that people live on the island. The Gold Bug adaptation shown on the TV series "ABC Weekend Specials" is set in 1866 (shown in an on-screen title at 0:01:32) which places it after the US Civil War (1861-1865) and happens to be the year that the last troops in Fort Moultrie were mustered out (12/10/1866). In the adaptation, the narrator is a boy, Sullivan's Island is deserted and it is where Kidd's treasure is buried. In the original short story Kidd's treasure is buried on the mainland. This change was undoubtedly made because children would find it more believable due to the popularity of Robert Louis Stevenson's 1882 novel 'Treasure Island' (about Captain Flint's treasure) and its many movie adaptations. See more »

User Reviews

ABC Weekend Specials: THE GOLD BUG {TV} (Robert Fuest, 1980) ***
10 October 2013 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

A lonesome boy, who finds solace in studying the insect life on a desert island, stumbles upon adventurers seeking Captain Kidd's buried treasure. Modest, likable, evocative (lensed by cinematographer Alex Thomson) and quite faithful rendition of Edgar Allan Poe's atypical pirate yarn; not exactly horror material, then, but the adventurers here do get to meet a sticky (albeit unfortunately offscreen) end – apparently meted out by the vengeful ghost of the notorious sea captain! Or, at least, that is the way I remember it from my childhood days of poring over it (and many another abridged literary classic) as part of a pocket book illustrated collection of Poe short stories. The film stars Roberts Blossom as the older of the two gold diggers and the kid is well played by Anthony Michael Hall; the other two important roles in the story of Blossom's black companion and the boy's stern uncle are, respectively, filled by Geoffrey Holder and Robert Moberley. It is curious that, for all of the tale's cinematic possibilities, there has never been a notable film version of it; I am purposely discounting W. Lee Wilder's very loose modern would-be adaptation MANFISH (1956) – which I might get to watch regardless as part of my ongoing Halloween marathon. For the record, the TV series which spawned it was one that exclusively dealt with adapting popular children's books to the small screen.

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Release Date:

2 February 1980 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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