The Adventures of Tugboat Annie

1957 | United Kingdom, Canada

Anglo-Canadian sitcom about Annie Brennan, the fog-horn voiced captain of the Narcissus, a tugboat based in a harbour on the Pacific North West of America. Her main preoccupation was getting the better of fellow skipper Horatio Bullwinkle and the two spent most of their time trading insults although deep down they were really friends and shared many adventures together. Tugboat Annie first appeared in Norman Reilly Raine's short stories that appeared in the weekly US journal Saturday Evening Post in the late 1920s. 

In 1933 a movie was made which starred Marie Dressler as Annie and Wallace Beery as Bullwinkle. Tugboat Annie Sails Again appeared in 1940 and Captain Tugboat Annie in 1945. In each movie Annie was portrayed by a different actress. The independent US production company TPA (Television Programs of America) commissioned a series in 1954 but the pilot was beset with problems; taking two years to complete and costing a then record $129,000. 

Among the favoured stars to play the lead role was the original Bride of Frankenstein; Elsa Lanchester. When the series was finally made (by Normandie Productions, Inc. a Canadian subsidiary of TPA) former opera singer Minerva Urecal was cast as Annie and Walter Sande as Bullwinkle. Annie's deckhands were Whitey and Pinto (Don Baker and Don Orlando) while Bullwinkle was supported by Jake (James Barron). Filmed in Ontario, Canada for US Syndication and Associated Rediffusion in the UK.

Published on November 26th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.