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A Rare O’Day Day Sailer Movie Review

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:20 pm
by Dashaway
A Rare O’Day Day Sailer Movie Review
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation - A 1962 Movie Featuring an O’Day Day Sailer
Randy Dickson - A tired Marscot DS 368, 12/8/2019

Staring James Stewart, Maureen O’Hara, and Fabian, and many others … but those are the big names you would know.

Music by Henri Mancini, but not his most notable work of course. It includes a catchy, granted 1960s bubblegum, song by Johny Mercer and Henri Mancini - called “Cream Puff” - Short Cake, Sweet Stuff, Jelly Roll.

It’s got the typical 1960’s Walt Disney family situational comedy, or pitfalls which ever way you look at it. It’s more than a tad on the silly side with a lot of water pressure problems at the kitchen sink, but this movie did come out in 1962 - remember? You see a classic white Studebaker sedan, and a cool green Dodge Station Wagon. It could still be a family movie today, but mostly for the young sailers among us, if they could sit through it.

On the deeper side of the plot, the film is trying to entertain young and old, be a comedy and tell a deeper story of family all at the same time, from the fathers point of view. Featuring a mother and father (James Stewart & Maureen O’Hara), like the earlier James Stewart movie, when he discovers “It’s a Wonderfull Family Sailing Life” - with one’s own family on vacation, that he only discovers with true emotional work and daily struggle. And some candid looks at three (if we don’t count the young love story) couples with all the trials and tribulations, of relationships many ups and downs. With happy plot twists at the end - of course.

Going Movie Sailing in the O’Day Day Sailer -

The sail on the water is couched in the assumption James Stewart’s character is taking his son out on a sailing adventure while on vacation at the sea shore, and he doesn’t know how to sail! The Day Sailer is introduced as a “Spatterbox”. I’m assuming that is movie term, so please let me know if it’s a true term from early Day Sailer (DS) history? In the movie - the DS has the typical light blue deck, with white hull. The name on the DS is “Dashaway” (I like that!) with some not so typical blue and white sails, with “DS” logo, and a class number of “973”. Who has that class number DS now (#973)!

You see many boats in the background at the dock - including a light blue topped O’Day (could be an O’Day Ospray, #66?), and a blue Thistle on a trailer. And there’s a R19, #240 in the background at the dock, having a light blue top w/ a dark blue hull. And many twelve meter class boats of the day.

Note - This harbor could be Newport, RI., or who knows? But, that is my guess - Newport. And it could of ben filmed in several places. Plus some shots in a move studio pool, with a movie screen in the background, plus a fog machine working in some shots.

With warning that the boat has a lot of “weather helm”, they take off from the dock like a rocket - I’m assuming it’s being towed, but I don’t see a wire. Then you notice some water jetting from the far side (starboard) of the boat - an underwater electric propeller, borrowed from Jacques Cousteau no doubt!
The rest of the Jerry Lewis style “almost hits” (alert the Coast Guard :) we can assume were filmed in a studio with a movie screen in the background. Several close-calls with mored motor boats, powered boats, while he figures out the centerboard. Plus an almost collision with a beige topped R19 sailing across the bow. A very scared James Stewart at the tiller, a verbally excited sun, and another close call for a water skier, as they head out of the harbor. A visual note from watching the DS at sea - showing it’s not truly at sea at all. I don’t think we ever see the boat truly heel over on a tack, beside a long shot or two (of which Jimmy Stewart may not be the sailer in the boat).

They get them selves lost in the fog at sea, have a close call with a tanker (more back screen shots in a studio), do some crop circles in the ocean - but some how Jimmy Stewart brings them back. Well of course he does, he navigated the “Spirit of St.Louis” across the Atlantic didn’t he? … sorry, couldn’t resist that one. And of course, they were NOT wearing life jackets. Maybe because they never were at sea in the movie filming, or the visuals of the life jackets of the day would not play so good for the movie.

Onto the real aqua star of the movie, the O’Day Day Sailer #973 :)

The number one point is that it may not be an O’Day boat. Well - yes, it’s an O’Day Company DS, but it was not manufactured by O’Day, is the point. It was the years just previous to the George O’Day company manufacturing their own boats, that Marscot Plastics of Fall River, MA. produced them for the O’Day Company. This movie DS (Day Sailer) is class number 973, which would put it at the last of the Marscot Manufactured Day Sailers, is my guess. And to add to the DS sea of movie mystery - it may not be class number 973 boat at all, as we only see the Main Sail number, and we never see the HIN (Hull Identification Number) tag.

The Featured DS in the Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation movie has two running rigging traits of a Marscot produced O’Day DS of that decade. Number one; 1) the Jib sheeting through the wood coming, and number two 2) no cam cleat for the main sheet - look at poor Jimmy just pulling on the main sheet - pulling it down from the boom, not up from a cleat (note - you do see it cleated down later). And the boat would had a simulated wood deck imprinted into the blue fiberglass top, not the knurled fiberglass deck that O’Day featured later. The Boston Whaler company did the same deck “wood look” on it’s early nineteen foot fiberglass deck design.

Pic. Below - HIN tag for DS #368, an example of a 1960 Marscot produced O’Day Day Sailer.

Re: A Rare O’Day Day Sailer Movie Review

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:38 pm
by GreenLake
Nice Review.

About sail handling in the movies: since almost none of the closeups in those kinds of movies are ever shot on the water, the actors wouldn't get any "feel" from the boat. That is, their seating positions wouldn't be based on the need to balance a heeling force, and there wouldn't be real(istic) tension on any sheets. Likewise, any particular posture, including direction of pull would be dictated by what looked good to the director.

Some of the best on-the-water photography showing small boat sailing in a fictional setting can be found in a German television series adaptation of "Riddle of the Sands" by Erskine Childers. (Unfortunately, it's not available with subtitles). Even there, the heavy-weather scenes are fakes (and cheap ones); but the remainder is quite nice. Too bad,the star of that show is a small keelboat. Wish there was something like that for the DS, though.

"Splatterbox" is a term used in a 1990 patent for an invention of a special box that can be used to contain excess solvent flicked off of artist brushes while being cleaned. To confuse the trail further, some search engines will pull up Wikipedia's list of sailboat types in the first page of search results for "splatterbox" but the term does not appear to be used on the page itself.

Re: A Rare O’Day Day Sailer Movie Review

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:20 am
by RobH912
This is a really good movie, I remember seeing it first as a kid. I haven't watched it in years, remember the sail boats and certainly the
They get them selves lost in the fog at sea,

Looked it up in Wikipedia "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation was filmed in California at Laguna Beach and Dana Point."

I'll need to watch it again to see the DS, Thistle, and R19.


Re: A Rare O’Day Day Sailer Movie Review

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:12 pm
by Dashaway
Greenlake -
Thanks for the complement on the review, ... I did work at it :)
As you mention a sm keel boat from Europe, The flying fifteen is the one I was looking for ... one in ME last summer.
Is that the one you were thinking of ?
“Spatterbox” is the term they use for the DS - I could not find it either ???
Note - you do not hear "O'Day" or "Day Sailer" in the movie at all. But, it was an O'Day show(off) in the movie with at least another DS (short) at least 2 R19s (maybe three) and at least one O'Day Ospray in the picture.

Rob -
Thanks for the "was filmed in California at Laguna Beach and Dana Point." - now we know where it was filmed !!
We had DS 2841 at Arey's Pond in the late 60s, just down the street from you ... small DS world hu !
As you know, APBY (Arey's Pond Boat Yard) was a big O'Day yard back when ...
It helps to "Stop" the DVD at key locations to see what is in the background at the harbor scene - if you are so interested.

Dashaway - Marscot DS#368

Re: A Rare O’Day Day Sailer Movie Review

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:07 pm
by GreenLake
I think I have the DVD somewhere, will have to put it on again one of these slow winter evenings.

Looks like O'Day was very engaged in what one might call "product placement" then.

If you're not familiar with it, and like reading, Erskine Childer's classic "Riddle of the Sands" might be very enjoyable, particularly the parts that involve sailing and navigation. (Fair warning: the first chapter is rather slow). The boat that features is not a one-design, but something commonly found sailing in the area the book is set in: a 20-something lift keel gaff rigger. The TV-series did a good job of finding matching boats, also for port scenes (and avoiding most anachronisms). There are other movie versions of that book, some in English, but I haven't seen them.

Re: A Rare O’Day Day Sailer Movie Review

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:35 pm
by Dashaway
Re: Erskine Childer's classic "Riddle of the Sands"
Ok - you know one story (movie) telling of "Riddle of the Sands", and I know another.
And ... as you mention it - it was already on the the top of the pile to do another movie review !
Go figure !

Not a DS movie - but I guess some will get interested in it, or will jog their memory of seeing it back when ...
Mine (or the one I know) I think is great - in it's own way.
A 1978 Film staring Michael York, Jenny Agutter, and Simon Maccorkindale
So, I'll look for this TV series you mention (never heard of it till now, or other movies of "Riddle of the Sands"?)

Re: A Rare O’Day Day Sailer Movie Review

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:48 am
by RobH912
DVD... what's a DVD? Only kidding. :)

Dashaway - no I didn't know that Arey's Pond Boat Yard was a big O'Day boatyard back when... They are now well known for building their catboats and with lots of skilled workers as the "go to" yard for any small boat repair, rigging work, sail repair, etc. They do get covered occasionally in Wooden Boat magazine.

The DS folks I sail with all point to APBY for any work needed and I've got # 2444 there this winter for some repairs and upgrades. It's a beautiful cove to sail out of into Pleasant Bay.


Re: A Rare O’Day Day Sailer Movie Review

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:18 pm
by GreenLake
The more reviews the merrier. Good timing, btw. Something for everyone without an all-year sailing season.

About the 10-part TV series, it's available here:ätsel-Sandbank-DVDs-Geschichten/dp/B001DCFF86/ (but without subtitles).

(The forum software only handles ASCII, so you'd need to cut&paste the link instead of trying to click on it).

Re: A Rare O’Day Day Sailer Movie Review

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:00 pm
by Dashaway
OK - I'll get to work on the other (couch sailer / slow sailer :) reviews
I have several others lined up ...

Just the other night I was watching Beta, or VHS, or ... or those modern DVDs :!
Yes - APBY (Areys Bond Boat Yard) was 110% O'Day (60s, 70s, and into the 80's) - it was a going, and growing in it's O'Day day!

They are a great Boat Yard again - redone as the "Catboat" yard (visited once or twice ..)
Which is fitting as there is not much water at low tide on the river, out to the bay (no room for a deep keel boat).

Recommended -
"The Catboat Book" is a lot of fun of their early american fishing / racing history of the Cat Boats
Published by the Catboat Association
Dad's first boat was a Beetle Cat - and it was in Arey's Pond! (early 1960's)