What type of boat is this? Shrimp Boat??

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by GhostlySailor, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. GhostlySailor
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    GhostlySailor Junior Member

    Hey guys. I'm new here. I am however a member of a few model boat sites. I came here as I was hoping maybe someone here could help me out by telling me what kind of boat this is? It's the RITA from the old 1954 film "creature from the black lagoon." As you can see it has a rounded stem and the transom is raised out of the water, but its no fan tail. I'd built a scale model of it years ago and know a gentlemen who is interested in a full scale replica. But after lots of online searching I've been able to find exactly ZERO info on this boat. Any ideas? Thanks!
     

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  2. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    Hi GhostlySailor,
    I am also new here, although I joined some time ago. This is one of my first posts.
    That was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. It had it all for me, boats and adventure.
    I grew up on the Gulf coast of Florida and that doesn't look like any shrimper I've ever seen. I will hazard a guess based on the large boom on the bow and the ladder over the side that we might be looking at a sponge boat. The ladder, however, would be part of the movie set and the boom alone could be for cargo loading instead of sponge basket retrieval. But, I'm going with sponge boat.

    -Will
     
  3. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    Maybe the tramp steamer Rita was just a full size movie prop, but if so it would still be interesting to know what inspired her type.

    Saw your model, pic 1 - 2 - 3, nice work . . :)
     
  4. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    Here's a model of the 1818 built SS Savannah, take the masts and the paddle wheels off, remodel the bow bit, and you have the type . . ? ?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  5. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    About the Rita model, did the movie show under water lines ? If so, then I'm far off with the above SS Savannah type . . :confused:
     
  6. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    After doing a little reading, I found out that the movie was shot in a back lot in Hollywood. Only the underwater scenes were shot in Florida. None of the main cast ever visited the Florida set. So, the Rita was a California boat, not a Florida boat. As far as I know, there was little sponge trade in California. She had to have been a small cargo carrier. Probably about 20 to 30 years old at the time of the movie. Just a guess, of course.

    -Will
     
  7. GhostlySailor
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    GhostlySailor Junior Member

    Its an odd boat. I searched and searched for various types of boats ranging from the 20s to 50s and nothing looked much like it. I did find this model, which looks close, and even has the raised stern area.But its not exact. I guess its possible it was just a movie prop, but it sure looked real and on close shots you could see the marred up wood, that was a bit too detailed for an old movie prop imo
     

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  8. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    It wouldn't make sense that the boat was built just for the movie. TCFTBL was meant to be low budget and it wouldn't be hard to pickup an old boat to use. The steam could have been added for old fashion ambiance. The model shrimp boat you picture above has a working area aft of the cabin for hauling nets aboard and outriggers. The aft cabin on the Rita would get in the way. Maybe she was a private yacht, covered for the movie, but steam on a private yacht would only make sense in a 60' boat of you could afford the crew too.
    This is an interesting mystery that I feel is possible to solve to some satisfaction if not to find her exact heritage.

    -Will
     
  9. GhostlySailor
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    GhostlySailor Junior Member

    Thanks. I had an old Lobster boat hull laying around and decided to use it for the RITA. Lots of modifications, but in the end it worked
    Thanks. I built her off an old Lobster Boat hull I had laying around. I modified it heavily and it worked out ok in the end
     
  10. GhostlySailor
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    GhostlySailor Junior Member

    I'm not sure she is even a steam boat. She had a steam whistle, but there were at least a couple times in the movie where the Capt says he is gonna start the engine and it can be heard firing up. So I don't think it was steam.
    That Shrimper I posted above is incorrect. You're right. But the hull does look very similar if one wanted to build a model. But yeah, the Rita was no shrimper, upon seeing more pics of shrimp boats. They all have a typical look to them and don't stray too far from that typical design.
    As you say: An interesting mystery for sure. Someone has to know....in fact, it's a safe bet the old slab is still afloat somewhere
     
  11. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    [​IMG]
    This is a model of a steam powered drifter. Some of them used steam to run their windless.
    I agree, the Rita may have been described as a tramp streamer, but that could be an old term, like "steam roller".
    I just watched the movie, not 30 minutes ago. She was pretty breat up. Only about 45 feet too. Not steam.
    Still around? Like Errol Flynn's Vaca.

    -Will
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  12. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    Rita's bow is curved, kinda like a spoon bow, a lot of boats that look a bit similar sport a steeper bow.

    I've just looked for some boats from Rice Creek Florida, since a lot of the above water scenes were filmed there, the two below pictures from the 1890's showed up, both showing the same boat, but the bow is too steep to match Rita . . .

    [​IMG]
    (source)

    [​IMG]
    (source)

    P.S. - Here's a 3th pic of the same boat at same place at same time, clearly showing much less freeboard than Rita...

    Boat Browns Landing Rice Creek Florida 1890s.jpg
    (source)
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019

  13. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    From what I've read, all the scenes, except the underwater scenes, were filmed in a Hollywood back lot set. All the swimmers and drivers underwater were filmed using body doubles. None of the main cast visited the Florida set. That would mean the boat was most likely from the Pacific coast. She could have come from anywhere between Mexico and San Francisco, I would think.
    I posted the picture of the drift fishing boat because the mast boom setup and cabin layout had similarities.
    The Rita's bow is particularly fat. That would suggest an inland waters boat.

    -Will
     
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