The Narcissus - Hardworking tugboat seen on the maritime adventure THE
ADVENTURES OF TUGBOAT ANNIE/SYN/1957-58. Operating in the Pacific Northwest
(actually scenes of San Pedro Harbor), the Narcissus was owned by Murdock Severn
(Stan Francis) of the Severn Tugboat Company and skippered by Annie Brennan
(Minerva Urecal), a feisty middle-aged female known as Tugboat Annie (aka "The
Additional crew members included Pinto the tug cook (Don
Orlando) and Shiftless the deckhand (Eric Clavering).
The Tugboat Annie character was created by Norman Reilly Raine
whose short stories first appeared in the July 11, 1931 issue of Saturday
Evening Post magazine.
Shot in Ontario, the TV series was produced by Normandie
Productions, a Canadian subsidiary of Television Programs of America, in
association with Associated Rediffusion of the U.K. Lever Brothers sponsored the
In real-life, the "Tugboat Annie" character was inspired by Thea
Foss who started Foss Tug and Barge Company in 1889 in Washington State. Marie
Dressler starred in the 1933 movie version with Wallace Beery co-starring as the
blustery often drunk Horatio Bullwinkle (played by Walter Sande on the TV
Below: Text from
Annie's Very First Short Story
Tugboat Annie stood at the
wheel with a huge bean sandwich in one fist and a blue-granite mug of
steaming coffee near by, dividing her time between eating, steering and
watching speculatively the head of Conroy, who stood on the forward deck,
his hostile face turned toward the stormy waters of the strait ahead. She
“Foul-weather Jack’s abroad, so if ye like
fresh air ye’ll get plenty before the night’s out.”
He rounded on her, his eyes hard as lint
through his glasses, his clothes wrinkled and spattered with salt spray.
But before he could deliver the spiteful comment that rose to is lips, one
of the deck hands appeared in the pilot house.
He said, ‘‘Annie, Sam sent me to tell you
that Shiftless is drunk as a fiddler’s dog. He can’t go on watch.’’
“What’s that?” Tugboat Annie roared,
‘‘Here! Take the wheel., Look out, ye clumsy ox! There now. Keep her as
She lumbered hastily aft and disappeared
down the engine- room housing. For a few minutes there was the sound of a
minor hurricane below, dominated by her vigorous bellow. She reappeared,
breathless and disheveled, followed by the oil-grimed figure of Sam, the
“That’ll l'arn him, eh?’’ she threw over
her shoulder. The big man grinned.
TRIVIA NOTE: In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a
beautiful youth who refused the love of anyone. Punished for his indifference,
he was made to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.
Transfixed to the image, (which was unattainable in the physical sense) he pined
away and eventually turned into a flower.
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