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The working title of this film was Return to Treasure Island. The title card of the viewed print, which was from the film's 1968 re-release, reads: "Robert Newton as Robert Louis Stevenson's immortal Long John Silver in Long John Silver's Return to Treasure Island (formerly Long John Silver)." The film is based on the characters created by Stevenson in his book Treasure Island (London, 1883). Newton had previously starred as "Long John Silver" in the 1950 Walt Disney production Treasure Island, which was also directed by Byron Haskin (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50).
A June 25, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item includes Martex Clark in the cast of Long John Silver, but his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. The picture marked the film debut of Kit Taylor. Interiors of the film were shot at the Pagewood Studios in Sydney, Australia, and some of the exteriors were shot at Botany Bay, according to Hollywood Reporter news items and reviews. The film's pressbook noted that the cave sequences were shot in the Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountain ranges of New South Wales.
Long John Silver was the first CinemaScope picture filmed in Australia. According to a June 2, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, the film was also shot in a regular 35mm format. A June 3, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Twentieth Century-Fox "advanced part of the sterling [British] financing" for the picture in exchange for the eastern hemisphere distribution rights. Fox was thus able to count the film as part of its "quota" of pictures shot in the United Kingdom, using funds obtained from distributing its pictures there. Distributors Corporation of America (DCA), which also supplied part of the financing, distributed the film in the United States. As noted in contemporary sources, the picture was the first "big release" by DCA, which was headed by theater circuit owner Fred J. Schwartz. The picture was released on a double bill with Hunters of the Deep, a documentary that was the company's first production.
After Long John Silver completed filming, producer Joseph Kaufman maintained his lease on the Pagewood Studios and filmed a series of twenty-six, half-hour television programs, which aired on the CBS network in 1956. The series, originally titled The Adventures of Long John Silver and later syndicated as Long John Silver, starred Newton, Taylor and Connie Gilchrist. The programs, which were among the first color television shows broadcast in the United States, were released theatrically in Great Britain.