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Author Topic: African Queen  (Read 7400 times)

Jonty

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African Queen
« on: October 31, 2007, 09:42:28 PM »

  Does anyone have any photos of the African Queen? Apparently, the boat used in the film is preserved near the Holiday Inn in Kay Largo, Florida.
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funtimefrankie

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2007, 10:29:42 PM »

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=African+Queen%20Key+Largo&w=all

Don't remember the outboard motor from the film, but I'm getting old.
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kayem

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2007, 02:11:48 PM »

  Does anyone have any photos of the African Queen? Apparently, the boat used in the film is preserved near the Holiday Inn in Kay Largo, Florida.

You've got a small problem there Jonty, you're going to have to decide whether you want to make a model of AQ as the boat appeared in the famous film, or as what is almost certainly the same vessel, appears today. The Florida boat has been altered over the years, to the extent that it isn't a very accurate representation of the film boat. The only usable pics that I know of appear in an autobiography by Katharine Hepburn, all of which appear to have been taken during filming. The Florida boat's main problems are that the foredeck has been extended, the mast moved, and also possibly the steam engine, which doesn't look like the film one to me. The Billings kit is a replica of the Florida boat, so they've copied all the inaccuracies, and they also seem to have got the scale wrong. How do I know all this? Well, funny you should ask, but I'm currently making pitifully slow progress on an AQ hull, and fibreglass versions will be available if I ever finish it. Just about all I have to go on is the African Queen DVD, and I've watched the film so often that I know all Humph's lines. One of the reasons for the slow progress is that I had to do some accurate drawings for the hull 36" one tenth scale, translate this into a plank on frame hull, and then do all the hull strakes etc, and it isn't easy, it's all very different from kit assembly, and Brian Young for one will appreciate the amount of thought and work involved. The pic shows how far I've got. The basic hull is done, extended about 15mm at the top for moulding purposes, and I'm hoping to have it finished some time around the end of this year, as long as too many other things don't get in the way.
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kiteman1

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2007, 08:03:07 PM »

The African Queen visited the American Adventure park in Derbyshire around 1990 I think.  I went to see it and got a free ride on it as part of the park's attractions.  On the trip the owner leant against the bulwark whilst checking the engine and nearly lost his wallet overboard from his back pocket   The following day it was due to go south for the Dunkirk Small Ships celebrations and I took a day off work to get some pix on and out of water.  As a result of my alerting the owner Mr Jim Hendricks I got to drive his 4.5 lt chevvie and forty someithing foot trailer to retrieve it from the water while he sailed it to the landing point. We drove to leave by the back exit but several fence posts were in the way and couldn't be removed.  We then had to drive up and over the raised miniature railway line, whiuch ran the perimeter of the lake, to leave the lakeside.  As the tow point went over the line the coupling snagged on the line and the boat ran back down about 70-80ft towards the lake on its trailer. We couldn't hitch it any higher so got a tractor with lifting bar and managed to get away, just, with 'scrape' clearance.  Then it was just a matter of driving a chicane to get to the exit. How did this come about?  When the boat was delivered the previous week a large crane was used to lift the boat over the line into the lake. No-one thought of getting it back for removal!!
This was around 11am at this point and Jim had to get the boat for re-engining to somewhere in Surrey and then to Dover that evening in time for the event.  The following day he got as far as the Harbour at Dover and almost got swamped on leaving the harbour.  The result being that he was unable to take part.

I got a few pix while getting the boat out, including the rudder setup, not to mention sneaking a day off work.  The boat itself was not very attractive closeup as it had been daubed with paint to make it appear old and oily. 

Jim Hendricks owned the boat and usually had it on display in the foyer of the Holiday Inn in Key Largo. He also had a share in the Hotel itself.  I understand that he was a retired lawyer from Tennessee. 

What an enjoyable experience that was................ ;D ;D O0

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Jonty

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2007, 07:53:58 PM »

  Thank you both for your help. Google also threw up a scathing but useful review of the Billings kit. Look forward to seeing your hull, Kayem.
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kayem

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2007, 08:37:44 PM »

Another interesting bit of information about African Queen, which helps to explain why the Florida boat doesn't look very much like the vessel in the film. The film boat wasn't steam powered, apparently steam was considered much too temperamental and unreliable for filming purposes, so Humph & Kath's boat was really powered by a petrol or diesel engine that lived under a large locker behind what was clearly a dummy steam engine and boiler on the film version. Where the steam plant currently fitted to the Florida boat came from I have no idea, probably a pre WW2 American steamboat of some kind, it must have been installed several years after the film was made, and presumably other fairly major changes were made at the same time. I haven't read the book 'African Queen' by C S Forrester that the film is supposedly based on, but I'm told that the film story is actually rather closer to 'Shout at the Devil' by Wilbur Smith (I haven't read that one either), and both of these books were inspired by the true story of the sinking of the WW1 German cruiser Königsberg off the East African coast. Amazing what you discover once you start researching anything like this.
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Jonty

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2007, 09:20:25 PM »

  Just bought Katherine Hepburn's book on the making of the film. Apparently has some good photos in it. There's a lot of interesting stuff on Google about the gestation of the fim. Bogart and Hepburn were by no means first choice.
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I eat my peas with honey,
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It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps 'em on the knife.

Tom Eccles

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2007, 09:13:25 PM »

Hi Jonty,

A fellow club member has a model of African Queen that he scratch built about seven years ago.
Like you he did a lot of video watching and estimated the o.a.l. at 30ft. his model is 30 ins o.a.l.

It is a cracking model and was displayed on our club (Southport) stand at the Blackpool show.

Cheers
Clegg
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Jonty

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2007, 10:19:43 PM »

  Not so far from the real thing, then, Clegg. One report I've seen states that the boat used in the film was built in Lytham St Annes.
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I eat my peas with honey,
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But it keeps 'em on the knife.

Tom Eccles

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2007, 06:12:01 PM »

I was talking to the builder of (our) African Queen this morning at the lake. He told me that some years ago the Florida version entered the U.K. via Liverpool docks (see posts above) and he was there to photograph it. He told me he was disappointed to see that it bore only a "passing resemblance" to the filmed version. I mentioned your posts, and if you want some photographs I am sure he will agree.

Cheers
Clegg
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kayem

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2007, 06:55:00 PM »

I was talking to the builder of (our) African Queen this morning at the lake. He told me that some years ago the Florida version entered the U.K. via Liverpool docks (see posts above) and he was there to photograph it. He told me he was disappointed to see that it bore only a "passing resemblance" to the filmed version. I mentioned your posts, and if you want some photographs I am sure he will agree.

Cheers
Clegg

That's right, the Florida African Queen was the centrepiece at the Boat Show at Earls Court a few years ago. I was rather disappointed as well when I saw it, and that was when I decided to do a bit of research of my own. Regarding the overall length, I foolishly assumed that Billings knew what they were doing when they made their rather suspect kit, but I know now that they and several others got the length wrong. A few minutes into the film, Humph himself refers to his "Thirty foot boat", and you couldn't have a much more authoritative source than that could you? So that's good enough for me, thirty feet it is.

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tonyH

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2007, 09:57:40 PM »

Just to add another side to the history behind the story.

The lake bit came about from the actions of two 40ft Thorneycroft armed (6pdrs) launches (originally built as seaplane tenders for the Greek navy) named 'Mimi' and 'Toutou' which were carried overland to Lake Tanganyika and sank a couple of German gunboats thereon.

There are a couple of books about it and some photos on the web.

Tony
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Jonty

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2007, 11:31:15 PM »

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kiteman1

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2007, 07:23:41 PM »

  Does anyone have any photos of the African Queen? Apparently, the boat used in the film is preserved near the Holiday Inn in Kay Largo, Florida.
Hi Jonty

Following my tale about African Queen visiting Derbyshire, I found a few usable pix which I've sent to Martin via normal email.  No doubt you'll get to see them sooner or later.  Hope they help a little.

It was sad to hear that Jim Hendricks had passed away.  I found him to be ok to deal with during his visit.  I hope his son will look after the old boat now, I wish him well. O0
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Archibald H.

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2007, 11:59:56 AM »

Hi all,

have a look at this clip. Seems like a nice build, even Hepburns bible is there.

http://nl.youtube.com/watch?v=844lZ8bJ7tY

Enjoy, regards, A!H.
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EXBoat

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2007, 08:40:47 PM »

My model clinker built boat would make a ideal African Queen type hull, I made it some time ago from a Vic Smeed plan, the plan may be still available.
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kiteman1

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2007, 07:59:15 PM »

I've emailed some pix from the African Queen's Derbyshire visit direct to you tonight, Jonty.  If you know how to post onto this site I'm sure others would appreciate seeing them.

 :angel: :angel:   
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Jonty

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2007, 09:14:18 PM »

  Thanks for all the info so far. I have, in fact, bought a Billings African Queen through eBay. It's fairly well made, but has never had RC fitted. There are no plans, and I cannot work out how to operate the rudder neatly.

  I've seen a geared system on a French web site which looks effective but complicated. Any better ideas? A photo of a completed model would be very helpful.
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I eat my peas with honey,
I've done it all my life;
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But it keeps 'em on the knife.

steamshed

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2007, 06:47:34 PM »

Hi
A couple of years ago I built the billings African Queen with a cheddar Pintail engine and boiler, which I still have also I'm sure I have the original plan/drawing, I'll hunt them out and send them if this is of any help.

Regards
Mike
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Jonty

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2007, 09:19:35 PM »

  Yes, please, steamshed.
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I eat my peas with honey,
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It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps 'em on the knife.

Martin [Admin]

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2007, 11:22:14 PM »

Seen on my local lake recently...
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kiteman1

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2007, 02:58:37 PM »

Looks good.  What happened to Bogie and Hepburn........................?.... O0
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: African Queen
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2007, 01:40:01 PM »

Via email to Mayhem...

Hi Martin
 
I was reading the 'African Queen' piece the other day and looked these up.  Maybe someone could use the info.  She was at The American Adventure theme park in Derbyshire in May 1990 where I took the pix.
 
The gent in the pix is Jim Hendricks who owned her and kept her at Key Largo Holiday Inn in Florida in the hotel foyer.
 
Cheers,
kiteman1

















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