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August 13th 2020 - 22:14

Thread #453

Portrait for firstmate

by: firstmate
March 22nd, 2019
tracking down an old Grand Banker
The Grand Banks schooner Oretha F. Spinney, bought for the Spencer Tracy Film Captains Courageous, re-named We're Here.
After they were done using the Weīre Here, she was tied up in Los Angeles Harbor, where she fell into disrepair.  She was re-discovered in August 1941 by actor Sterling Hayden, who in the middle of the film, Bahama Passage, had coerced the head of Paramount Films, Y. Frank Freeman, into buying her from MGM for Sterling. However by November Hayden, had decided to quit films entirely and become a British Commando. At which point he took a ship to Scotland to train, literally abandoning the schooner where she was, then came the war!!!  I cannot find any further information on her , Can anyone out there toss me some leads???
Thanks, Dave
New info:  It appears she was purchased from MGM by Paramount  and/or Sterling Hayden and sailed down through the Panama Canal to Miami.  Hayden may have taken a commercial voyage in her to Caraco either before, or right after, hearing the US Navy wanted to requisition her for the war effort.  The result Hayden was so upset that he apparently "stripped her of all her equipment" whether or not this included the diesel engine or not I don' t know. At this point it is said that "His agents(?)"  bought her from Hayden, whereupon Hayden immediately went to NYC and his wife, Madeleine Carroll, who may have initially supplied the money for Hayden to purchaser O.F.S. from MGM  or Paramount. The day after his arrival in NYC , Hayden went down and enlisted!. All this is still unproven, but is the best to date! Still trying to track down government records (USCG, NAVY, Official registration records,  Port of Los Angeles, and such, no luck thus far)

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Portrait for firstmate

by: firstmate
March 22nd, 2019
tracking down an old Grand Banker
steveo has no photo

by: steveo
October 31st, 2019
tracking down an old Grand Banker
I have a letter written to my father, from Sterling Hayden, concerning the Orethea F Spinney. (10/01/63)
          "I wrangled her free of the MGM*Paramount axis, took her to Nassau, sold her engine room intact for ten thousand dollars, then hauled some freight in the islands. . .but she was tired and a bit loose and so I sold her to my agents in Curacao -- who were distressed to find that on her first voyage under their auspices she had to be hauled in Kingston where repairs cost better then a thousand pounds.  What has become of her I don't know"

Greater detail might be in Mr. Hayden's book the "Wanderer" which was published later that month.

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