Don McCune Library

Tugboat Annie

Tugboat Annie
90 minutes -$24.95

Video introduction by Don McCune.

Tugboat Annie jacket  Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery, Maureen O'Sullivan, and Robert Young star in this classic 1933 black-and-white version of "Tugboat Annie".  Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, some of the movie was filmed aboard the historic tugboat "ARTHUR FOSS" in Seattle.

The character of "Tugboat Annie", created by Norman Reilly Raine, was inspired by the real-life Thea Foss, who started Foss Tug and Barge Company with a five-dollar row boat.  The idea of a woman starting any business, let alone a tugboat business, was unheard of in 1889. Thea Foss was actually nothing like the "Tugboat Annie" character in this movie, but she was the stabilizing factor in the business.  The FOSS motto "Always Ready" had more to do with the fact that Thea always had the coffee pot on for the workers.

Arthur Foss  The "ARTHUR FOSS", now owned by the Northwest Seaport Foundation in Seattle, was built in 1889 by the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company in Portland, Oregon and originally named "WALLOWA". She was bought by Foss Tug and Barge Company in 1929 and renamed the ARTHUR FOSS in 1934 after the filming of the movie.

She is 120 feet in length with a 28-foot beam and 15-foot draft.  Her hull is made of 7x8-inch sawn Douglas Fir frames with trunnel-fastened Douglas Fir 4 inches thick and sheathed with 1-inch ironbark above the turn of the bilge. Interior ceilings and deck planks are 4-inch Douglas Fir, and the massive deck beams are 11x12 inch Douglas Fir.  Accommodations for 3 officers are on the upper deck, with 6 crew in 3 main-deck rooms.

After the movie was filmed in 1933, this steam tug was re-powered by Washington Iron Works in 1934 with a diesel engine that produces 700 HP at 200 RPM.  The 6 cylinders are bored to 18 inches, and the pistons move through a 24-inch stroke.  The engine drives a huge 3-blade, 98-inch diameter, 68-inch pitch propeller.  There is no reduction gear or transmission; reversing is accomplished by stopping the engine and re-starting it in the opposite direction!