Tugboat Annie is a 1933 American pre-Code film directed by Mervyn LeRoy, written by Norman Reilly Raine and Zelda Sears, and starring Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery as a comically quarrelsome middle-aged couple who operate a tugboat. Dressler and Beery were MGM's most popular screen team at that time, having recently made the bittersweet Min and Bill (1930) together, for which Dressler won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mervyn LeRoy|
|Produced by||Irving Thalberg (uncredited)|
|Written by||Norman Reilly Raine|
|Music by||Paul Marquardt (uncredited)|
|Edited by||Blanche Sewell|
|August 4, 1933|
|Box office||$2.6 million (worldwide rentals)|
The boisterous Tugboat Annie character first appeared in a series of stories in the Saturday Evening Post written by the author Norman Reilly Raine which were supposedly based on the life of Thea Foss of Tacoma, Washington. There is also a theory that her character is loosely based on Kate A. Sutton, secretary and dispatcher for the Providence Steamboat Company during the 1920s.
Tugboat Annie also features Robert Young and Maureen O'Sullivan as the requisite pair of young lovers. Captain Clarence Howden piloted Annie's tugboat "Narcissus" (real name Wallowa), which was owned by Foss Tug and Barge of Tacoma and had been leased to MGM for the movie. Howden's son Richard Howden is seen rolling rope during the credits.
Filmed in Seattle, Washington, Tugboat Annie used local residents as extras, including then-mayor John F. Dore. The tugboat used in the film, renamed Arthur Foss in 1934, is the oldest wooden tugboat afloat in the world and remains preserved by Northwest Seaport in Seattle.
A sequel called Tugboat Annie Sails Again was released in 1940, starring Marjorie Rambeau, Alan Hale, Jane Wyman, and Ronald Reagan, and another called Captain Tugboat Annie in 1945 starring Jane Darwell and Edgar Kennedy. Many of the publicity shots for the former were taken aboard the Arthur Foss, which had starred as Annie's "Narcissus" in the original film.
References in other media
- In The Railway Series book, The Twin Engines, Gordon the Big Engine references Tugboat Annie when he teases Donald and Douglas about their deep-tone whistles.
- Mentioned in the AA "Big Book" in the personal story of Dr. Bob, one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.
- 1990s indie rock band Tugboat Annie was named for the character.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles, California: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- Tugboat Annie Archived 2008-06-06 at the Wayback Machine, everythingnorwegian.everythingscandinavian.com; accessed August 4, 2015.
- Tugboat Annie, marinersmuseum.org; accessed August 4, 2015.
- Carter, Glen (May 16, 1981). "Tugboat gets top billing". The Seattle Times. p. B11.
- Burrows, Alyssa (January 24, 2002). "Filmography in Seattle". HistoryLink. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
- Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 191