Lee was: the Incarnation !
Answered on: 2 Aug 2005
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was: > Oracle of oracles, whose radiant visage is outshone only by his > wisdom, please tell me which great captain first said "The floggings > will continue until morale improves!"
And in response, thus spake the Oracle: } Arg, ye best sit down, Supplicant, 'cause ye're likely not to believe } me answer. } } Ahem. Sorry, the Oracle had suffered a little flashback to his long } gone, sea-going days. Anyway, it was none other than Cap'n Crunch! } Yes, the cereal guy. } } You see, many years ago, just after he became captain of his own ship, } Cap'n Crunch was not the lovable character you know today. It was } only his third voyage as captain and he was attempting to get a } shipment of cheap toys from China to the U.S. The first two voyages } had had their difficulties, but nothing like this one. } } First, the crew left port with a typhoon coming in from the south. } They managed to outrun the worst of it, but just barely, and the seas } were so bad even the most experienced sailors were getting seasick. } Then, just as the skies cleared, one of their engines broke down. } } After a couple days delay to fix it, they were set upon by pirates. } Although they were boarded, the crafty Cap'n Crunch managed to turn } the tables on the pirates. In many ways, the chaos that ensued } resembled a "Home Alone" movie. Unfortunately, the crew sacrificed } a quarter of their cargo in the process. } } At this point, the ship wasn't even halfway to its destination yet. } There were rumblings of discontent from the crew and Cap'n Crunch } feared mutiny. Several were still loyal to the captain, though, and } one informant ratted out the ring leader of the mutineers. The } captain felt he had no choice and had the man lightly flogged as an } example to the rest. A ship's captain is, after all, the absolute } master of his ship. It was at this point he uttered the famous } phrase, "the floggings will continue until morale improves." There } was no laughter from his crew in response. They knew he was quite } serious. } } Remarkably, the rest of the voyage went well and morale actually did } improve. When they reached the U.S., all sailors were given shore } leave, and the Cap'n's quote started circulating at all the local } bars. It slowly spread across the country, but quickly became an old } tale and largely forgotten for decades. In the meantime, Cap'n Crunch } retired from sailing and started his cereal business. He had greatly } mellowed in the years since he uttered the soon-to-be-famous phrase. } } Then came computer bulletin boards. The phrase was the perfect length } for using as a tagline. Once one old sailor who still remembered the } tale put it in his tagline file, it wasn't long before others stole } it. The attribution to Cap'n Crunch was, of course, lost in the } process and it was largely regarded as a joke. Then came the Internet } and the phrase quickly became a part of pop culture. } } There are a few, besides myself, who still remember its origin. } Whenever we tell others, they scoff of course. No one believes Cap'n } Crunch could ever have been such a hard man, but it's true. } } You owe the Oracle a cat-o-nine tails made of cereal, a part of a } complete breakfast.
Notes: It took me a few minutes to decide which "captain" was the best choice. Captain Kangaroo was an early front-runner, but I decided it best to stick with an "actual" sea captain.