|The Adventures of Pinocchio character|
Il conduttiere del carro, as illustrated by Enrico Mazzanti
|First appearance||The Adventures of Pinocchio|
|Created by||Carlo Collodi|
The Coachman (Italian: Il Conduttore del Carro), also known as The Little Man (L'Omino), is a fictional character who appears in Carlo Collodi's 1883 book The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio).
The Coachman is introduced in chapter XXXI, and is described as thus:
|“||Picture for yourselves a little man, broader than he is tall, tender and greasy like a ball of butter, with a rosy face, a small, constantly laughing mouth and a thin, adorable voice of a cat wishing all the best to its master.||”|
The coachman's name is never revealed, though he identifies himself in Chapter XXXII as merely “The Little Man” (L’Omino). He drives to Busy Bee Island (Isola delle Api Industriose) on a coach pulled by twenty-four donkeys which mysteriously wear white shoes on their hooves. By the time he arrives to take Pinocchio and Candlewick to the Land of Toys (Il Paese dei Balocchi), his carriage is completely packed, leaving Candlewick to sit in front with him and Pinocchio to ride one of the donkeys. The donkey throws Pinocchio off and is reproached by the coachman, who comes to it and acts as if he's going to give it a kiss, but then bites half its right ear off. When Pinocchio remounts the donkey, the animal begins to weep like a human and warns Pinocchio of the impending danger he faces. The coachman again reproaches the animal by biting off half its other ear. The coachman proceeds to kidnap the delinquent children and take them to the Land of Toys, whilst singing to himself, “All night they sleep, and I never sleep...”
In Chapter XXXII, the coachman visits Pinocchio and Candlewick five months later, when they have themselves become donkeys due to their idleness. He violently breaks into their house, meticulously waxes their fur, and puts them on sale. Candlewick is bought by a farmer, while Pinocchio is bought by a circus ringmaster. He has become a millionaire by selling children for the donkey trade.
As opposed to the original character, he is large and physically imposing, and speaks with a harsh Cockney accent, though he does not bite his donkeys' ears. The Coachman is assisted by numerous silent black figures, who lock Pleasure Island's doors for him and handle the crates used to transport donkeys with.
He meets Foulfellow and Gideon in a bar called The Lobster Inn and hires them to round up naughty boys for him, promising to pay them lots of money but specifically warning them not to double-cross him. He intimidates Foulfellow and Gideon with a frightening grin, presenting himself as a sort of demonic figure as well as an antithesis to the Blue Fairy.
The Coachman takes the boys to Pleasure Island aboard a steamboat, where he encourages them to act like "jackasses" and misbehave turning into actual donkeys as they do so. When the boys are turned into donkeys and his henchmen load the fully transformed donkeys onto the steamboat as Jiminy Cricket discovers, the Coachman sorts the donkeys who can talk from those who cannot talk, the latter being sold to the salt mines and the circuses. Donkeys who can still talk are taken back and put in a fenced area where they beg to be let out. The Coachman quotes to them while cracking a whip "QUIET! You boys have had your fun. Now pay for it!" With Jiminy's help, Pinocchio escapes from Pleasure Island before the Coachman or his minions can see them. His ultimate fate is never revealed in the film, though he presumably claims Lampwick after he becomes a donkey.
He appears as a boss in the film's video game adaptation, where he fights Pinocchio on a cliff and attacks using a donkey as well as his own whip. At the end of the boss battle, Pinocchio knocks him over the cliff.
In the Descendants novel "The Isle of the Lost," the Coachman is among the villains imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost. Here, he operates a taxi cab that is pulled by normal donkeys. It is mentioned that prior to being imprisoned, the Coachman had to spend a year having to round up all the boys that were turned into donkeys.
- In Giuliano Cenci's 1972 animated film The Adventures of Pinocchio, the Coachman, voiced by Gianni Bonagura, is portrayed much more closely to the book than his Disney counterpart. He works alone and is portrayed as an effeminate and alluring character with a high pitched voice, who easily tricks Pinocchio and Candlewick to come to the Land of Toys. However, he is not portrayed as violently as in the book.
- In Pinocchio's Christmas, a sleigh driver working for a rich duke is based on the Coachman.
- In the 1992 GoodTimes Entertainment film, the Coachman (voiced by Jim Cummings) is portrayed as large and very harsh, like the Disney character. He gives the boys a ride to Dunceland, where they transform into donkeys.
- In The Adventures of Pinocchio, the character's role is fused with that of Mangiafuoco and The Terrible Dogfish into the villainous Lorenzini (portrayed by Udo Kier). Pinocchio accidentally sets the villain Lorenzini's theater on fire, causing Lorenzini to change career and begin luring unruly children to Terra Magica where the children inevitably drink cursed water which turns them into donkeys. During a struggle with Pinocchio, Lorenzini falls into the water and turns into a sea monster, which swims out to the ocean.
- In Geppetto, Pleasure Island's ringmaster (portrayed by Usher) is loosely based on the Coachman and operates the roller coaster that turns the boys into donkeys. After Geppetto follows the roller coaster that Pinocchio is in, the ringmaster orders his roustabouts to begin loading the boat.
- Collodi, Le Avventure di Pinocchio 1883, Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli