3 Copies of This Film
1) [BLANK]
Film; 16mm film; [725 ft.]; Silent; Color
2) 2157.0004_DVD
DVD; Silent
3) [BLANK]
BetaCamSP; Silent
"God's Tugboat"
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1948 – 1955
This film focuses on the ministry of Sunbeam III built in 1939. Collection Notes: "Script for the film "GOD'S TUGBOAT" Introduction (Read before film is shown.) The Maine Sea Coast Missionary Society was founded in 1905 to undertake religious and benevolent work in the neglected communities and among the isolated families along the Maine coast. It is non-sectarian and interdenominational. The permanent staff consists of 10 or more, with additional volunteers, especially during the summer, as the work requires. The field of the Mission is the whole Maine cost, 250 miles long as the gull flies, but due to its indentations 10 time that long. The Sunbeam cruises the year around, and the Mission also reaches many mainland coastal communities by car and truck. This film presents a pictorial description, in natural color, of the Mission's work as it centers in the Mission boat, Sunbeam. Commentary (Titles appear throughout the film, but a few words to amplify each title are given which can be read during the showing of the scenes immediately following it.) IN A SETTING REPLETE WITH BEAUTY etc. In addition to the familiar gulls and black cormorants, winter scenery and ice-coated buoys, we see a whale rolling and spouting. IN SUMMER THE COAST TEEMS WITH PLEASURE BOATS. Among them are the racing fleet of Northeast Harbor and sailing vessels of all sizes from such places as Boothbay Harbor and Camden. FISHING VESSELS FORM THE BASIS OF THE COAST'S WORKING FLEET. Here are the large draggers and seiners, a freighter bound up West Penobscot Bay for Searsport, an oil tanker coming out of Portland Harbor, and a coastwise tug with its tow. Herring are being dipped from the net and loaded into a smack. Then at a wharf the day's catch of groundfish (cod, haddock, etc.) is unloaded and packing in ice to be shipped to market. THERE ARE SIX THOUSAND LOBSTER FISHING BOATS IN THE REALM OF THE SUNBEAM. Lobster fishing is the chief support of most of the families served y the Mission. Whether carried on from a well equipped power boat or from a small punt or dory, lobstering is a rugged and uncertain occupation. STONINGTON GRANITE QUARRY, NOW THE HOME OF SUNBEAM I. There are now only three active quarries on the Maine coast. Sunbeam I serves as a ferry between one of these quarries and the town of Stonington where the workmen live. THE SISTER SHIP OF SUNBEAM II The second Sunbeam is now a pilot boat at New Orleans, La. This is her sister ship, the hull of which was built on the same lines. THE PRESENT BOAT, SUNBEAM III, BUILT IN 1939. The present Sunbeam is 72 feet long and 16 1/2 feet in the beam. She draws 7 feet of water. Her diesel engine drives her at a speed of 10 knots. Interior accomodations [sic] include the main cabin, Superintendent's stateroom with radio telephone, dining saloon with table seating 8, galley equipped with bottled gas stove, sink with hot and cold running water, and electric refrigerator, regular sleeping accomodations [sic] for 7 with additional space for emergencies, and a hold for the storage of heavy freight. The boat is heated in winter by a thermostatically controlled oil furnace. CAPTAIN, COOK AND ENGINEER etc. Three men form the Sunbeam's permanent crew. Here they are lined up on the wharf at Matinicus, an island 20 miles out to sea. MISSION HEADQUARTERS AT 24 LEDGELAWN AVENUE The brown building is the Mission office with a shipping room at the back where the Christmas gifts are selected and wrapped. The rest of the year this room is the center of the used clothing exchange. The green and yellow building beside the Mission House is the Superintendent's home. THE MISSION'S DISTRIBUTION CENTER FOR FURNITURE etc. The Mission receives as gifts all kinds of articles, large and small, which are stored in this building until they go, by Sunbeam or truck, to be used in some coastal community. Following the Bar Harbor fire of 1947 tow burned-out families were housed on the second floor of this building. NOW WE REJOIN THE SUNBEAM etc. the Sunbeam cruises the year around and no matter what the weather. It is often too cold on deck, or too rough, for pictures to be taken, but here are a few scenes of usual cruising conditions. VAPOR ON BITTER WINTER DAYS etc. The vapor occurs during the early winter when the temperature of the cold air is lower than that of the water. It has been said to resemble a steaming cauldron. THE SUNBEAM SERVES AS A HEARSE. Now we come to instances of the different errands on which the Sunbeam frequently goes. In this case the body of an island man, who died on the mainland, is being taken home for burial. At the island a truck is used for a hearse. FOR THE SERIOUSLY ILL THE SUNBEAM IS A FLOATING AMBULANCE. Especially during the cold months the Sunbeam is often called on to carry the sick from islands to mainland hospitals. The second ambulance patient is being returned on the Sunbeam to her island home where her daughter, who was a trained nurse, could take care of her. THE SUNBEAM CARRIES ALL KINDS OF CARGO. Traveling libraries, linoleum, wood for an island pastor, are shown here. AT CHRISTMAS INDIVIDUAL GIFTS etc. The Mission remembers the island children, lightkeepers and their families, and those who are sick and shut in. Most of the presents are given to the Mission by groups and individuals all over the country. The Christmas packing starts in early November, and the package for each child contains something warm to wear, a book or plaything, and a box of candy. PROTECTED AGAINST COLD AND SPRAY THE GIFTS GO TO THE SUNBEAM. The Sunbeam's Christmas trips begin well in advance of Christmas, and the cartons of gifts are delivered on each island and lighthouse stop. On Christmas Day there is often a community tree at which the Mission presents are given out. PORTABLE EQUIPMENT, DENTISTS, AND HELPER etc. More than 500 children normally look to the Mission for dental care. Here is a dental team, with portable generator to furnish electricity, being landed by the Sunbeam for an island clinic. The Mission also sponsors tonsil, baby, immunization, and other kinds of clinics as needed. THE 1947 BAR HARBOR FIRE etc. These scenes of the great fire were taken the day before the town was evacuated. No Mission property, and no churches or other public buildings, were damaged. THE SUNBEAM CARRIES MAIL AND FREIGHT etc. These pictures show the Sunbeam carrying mail, bread, milk, and other perishable foods to the islands when the mailboats could not get through. Decks and ladders are slippery, but there are always willing volunteers to help with handling the freight. The heavy bags of coal are for an island school which was without fuel. A view of the vapor off the Bar Harbor town wharf closes this sequence. WINTER BRINGS FREQUENT ICE BREAKING OEPRATIONS etc. The Sunbeam is especially designed to break ice. Her bow is of the cut-under type which rides up on the hard ice and breaks through by her own weight. In addition, the forward part of the full is sheathed in greenheart, a very hard South American wood which compresses but does not crack under pressure. The Sunbeam can break ice of a foot or more in thickness. She also churns her way through slush ice, the consistency of cream of wheat cereal. among these pictures we see a missionary pastor walking ashore on the ice for his weekend visit to an island. The Sunbeam is also seen breaking channels, and opening the way from a small boat yard so that two new lobster boats could be launched. Freezing spray covers the Sunbeam's guard rail and deck house with an ice coating. MISSION PASTORS VISIT OUT OF THE WAY PLACES. Landings must often be made by rowboat. When the Sunbeam ties up at a wharf the children like to come aboard and the older folk, like the man with his performing do, also come down to be sociable. CARRYING CARS TO AND FROM THE ISLANDS etc. Island people find it increasingly difficult to get their cars on and off the islands. With a suitable wharf and high tide, a car can be driven onto the aft deck of the Sunbeam where it is securely lashed in place. these pictures show how incongruous it is to see a car roosting on the stern of the Sunbeam and being drawn sideways over the water. THE SUNBEAM IS AMOVING VAN FOR ISLAND FAMILIES Several times a year the Sunbeam is called on to move the household goods of island families, to whom the cost of hiring a large enough boat would be prohibitive. In the same way, the Sunbeam carries secondhand furniture to the islands for rummage sales.
Screening notes: Intertitle: "The Sunbeam, serving as a Christian guardian, travels thousands of miles each year to provide extra security which transforms grim existence into tolerable living for those who live on the islands of the Maine coast." Intertitle: "In a setting replete with beauty and abounding in wildlife, thousands of families look to the sea for their livelihood." Views of waves crashing against the granite coastline. View of a lighthouse and keepers house from a boat. Views of a coastal village from the sea, and what look like the mountains of Mt. Desert. Intertitle: " Fishing boats form the basis of the coast's working fleet. There are also cargo vessels and tugs." View of a harbor with fishing trawlers at a dock, and larger boats docked from Cape Elizabeth and Rockland. Navigational buoys are on the dock. Views of fisherman bringing a catch to the dock, weighing out fish in baskets and putting them in barrels. A large fish is winched up from a boat to the dock. Men work on a lobster car which also has a fire going for cooking the catch. Crabs are seen in the car water, then steamed in a pot. Lobsters are seen in the car. Intertitle: "The story of Sunbeam III, a boat maintained by voluntary gifts and dedicated to Christian service along the coast of Maine." Intertitle: "Owned and operated by: The Maine Sea Coast Missionary Society 24 Ledgelawn Avenue Bar Harbor, Maine" Intertitle: "The present boat, Sunbeam III, built in 1939." Views of the wooden Sunbeam III tied to a dock. Interior views of the facilities on the ship, including the galley. Intertitle: "Captain, cook, and engineer, joined here by Rev. Neal D. Bousfield, the Mission's superintendent." Views of three men posing for the camera, who are then joined by a man in coat and tie. Intertitle: "Mission headquarters at 24 Ledgelawn Avenue, Bar Harbor, with the Superintendent's house next door." Brief view of the neighborhood street in Bar Harbor. Intertitle: "Sargent House, one of the homes maintained by the Mission as a residence for its workers." Shot of a large residential property with car parked in front. Intertitle: "The Mission's distribution center for furniture, clothing, and bulky supplies." Views of a building obscured by trees and shrubbery. Intertitle: "The Mission provides a special ministry to the lighthouses and life boat stations." POVs aboard the Sunbeam underway in heavy seas. Vies of the top of a lighthouse, showing the light and lens, then pan down to the ship anchored just offshore as a lighthouse keeper watches from the base of the light. Shots of staff aboard the Sunbeam handing over a pile of Life magazines to a Coast Guard officer in a dory tied alongside. Views of the officer and his family posing on the lighthouse as the Sunbeam is at anchor offshore. POV of the Portland Lightship at anchor in calm seas as Sunbeam approaches. Views of the crew of LS90 (Portland Lightship) posing on the fantail of the ship. Intertitle: "Ministers are carried to many remote communities for non-denominational religious services." Views of a small church on a remote island. Intertitle: "The Sunbeam is a moving van for island families." Household furniture and supplies are laid out on a dock, and are passed down a makeshift ramp into the hold of the ship. In another shot, a large wooden crate is winched onto the deck. A car is eased down a ramp onto the stern of the ship. Intertitle: "Portable equipment, dentists, and helper are brought for clinics by the Sunbeam." Views of equipment being unloaded and put on the back of a pickup truck, and views of a dentist working on a patient. Intertitle: "The 1947 Bar Harbor fire. The Sunbeam and staff were at work throughout this emergency." Views of men loading equipment onto the Sunbeam, including many fire hoses. View of the ship underway with the equipment. Aerial views of the smoke rising from the Bar Harbor fire. Land views of the smoke seen in the distance, as well as the red glow from the fire behind the smoke. Intertitle: "Carrying cars to and from the islands is a ticklish but much appreciated work." Shots of a car being carefully driven on a ramp from the dock onto the stern of the Sunbeam. Intertitle: " In the summer island children are taken on picnics." Views of children looking down over the ship railing as the anchor on Sunbeam is raised. Views of the anchor coming out of the water. Scenic view of Sunbeam underway with the ocean and islands behind her. Intertitle: "Winter brings frequent ice breaking operations for the Sunbeam." View of Sunbeam steaming toward the camera, cutting its way through ice. View from onboard of the trail made through the ice. View of the ship stopped , surrounded by ice, and a man with two suitcases walking on the ice away from the ship. Intertitle: "The Sunbeam carries mail and freight to the islands when ice cuts off regular boat service." POV from the ship cutting through ice heading for an island. At a dock, residents wait for the Sunbeam. Bags and boxes are unloaded, and views of men carrying the bags and boxes away from the dock in the snow, and into a small building (post office?). At another location, the USMail bag is unloaded with boxes of Mother's Bread. Intertitle: "The Sunbeam serves as a hearse." Views of six men struggling to put a pine casket aboard the ship, and then loading it onto a vehicle at the end of the trip. Intertitle: "For the seriously ill, the Sunbeam is a floating ambulance." Views of a man on a stretcher being loaded onto the ship and put in the cabin. At the end of the trip, another group of men loads the stretcher into an ambulance. Intertitle: "Vapor on bitter winter days is one of the coast's awesome sights." Views from the ship of high seas with whitecaps, the mountains of Acadia covered in snow, sea smoke rising over the roiling water. Intertitle: "At Christmas individual gifts for more than 2000 people are wrapped at Mission headquarters." Views of a pile of packages, wrapped in the traditional Mission way: White papers with red string and a Christmas card. Views of clothing, dolls, stuffed animals, books, toys. Intertitle: "Protected against cold and spray, the gifts go to the Sunbeam." Volunteers carry large boxes out of the Sargent House, and load them into a station wagon. At the dock, the boxes are loaded onto Sunbeam. Views of Sunbeam backing away from the dock with her load of Christmas presents. Intertitle: "Now Godspeed to the Sunbeam as she sails away at sunset." More POV shots of roiling sea, sea smoke, and sunset light on the water. Intertitle: "THE END"
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