The Adventures of Tugboat Annie

The Adventures of Tugboat Annie is a 1957 Canadian-filmed comedy television series starring Minerva Urecal as Annie Brennan, the widowed captain of the tugboat "Narcissus," and Walter Sande as Horatio J. Bullwinkle, the captain of the "Salamander." The syndicated series lasted for 39 episodes.

The Adventures of Tugboat Annie
StarringMinerva Urecal
Walter Sande
Country of originCanada
United States
No. of episodes39
Executive producer(s)Anthony Veiller
Producer(s)Leon Fromkess
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Normandie Productions
DistributorTelevision Programs of America
Original networkSyndication
Original release1957 


Norman Reilly Raine's stories of the salty tugboat captain Annie Brennan, a character based on the life of Thea Foss,[1] first appeared in prose form in the weekly US journal Saturday Evening Post in the late 1920s. She was soon developed into a movie character, depicted in three films and portrayed by a different actress in each (Marie Dressler in Tugboat Annie, 1933; Marjorie Rambeau in Tugboat Annie Sails Again, 1940; and Jane Darwell in Captain Tugboat Annie, 1945).


In 1954, a television series was commissioned by the independent American production company TPA. The pilot took two years to complete, at a then-record cost of $129,000. Elsa Lanchester, Jay C. Flippen, and Chill Wills were all in line for major roles at one point or another at this early stage. The series was filmed in Toronto harbor and was first shown in Canada, having attracted ratings good enough to interest American television stations. What had succeeded in Canada proved a disappointment in the United States, where the viewing audiences had presumably become accustomed to greater sophistication than the simplistic humor of this series. The show was also screened in the United Kingdom, but is now largely forgotten.


Annie Brennan, widowed and the former skipper of a garbage scow, now captains a ship owned by the Severn Tugboat Company. A sympathetic, 50-year-old woman, her adventures consist of the humorous situations that develop when she attempts to assist people in trouble. Horatio Bullwinkle, a rival tugboat captain refers to her as “The Old Petticoat.” [2] The two of them traded insults and stole jobs from each other throughout the run of the series.[3]


  • Minerva Urecal as Annie Brennan
  • Walter Sande as Horatio J. Bullwinkle
  • Eric Clavering as Shiftless, Annie’s deckhand
  • Don Orlando as Pinto, Annie’s cook


  1. "Tugboat Annie". Archived from the original on 2008-06-06.
  2. Terrace, Vincent (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2007 (Volume 1). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-3305-6.
  3. Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
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