“She’s ready for her close-up.” A bona fide film star arrived in Newburyport on Friday, courtesy of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Chase and Lunt Insurance. The HMS Bounty was built as an ocean-faring vessel in 1960 for the movie, “Mutiny on the Bounty,” the famous story of the British crew who overthrew Captain Bligh in order to remain in the Islands of the Pacific, rather than return to England. The movie starred Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian and Trevor Howard as Captain Bligh.
Paula and her crew delighted partygoers with delicious hors d’oeuvres at two consecutive events: the Mayor’s Reception, generously sponsored by Chase and Lunt Insurance, and a fundraiser for Lowell’s Boat Shop Whale Boat Project. In addition, North Shore Bartending and Turkey Shore Distilleries’ Old Ipswich Rum helped to keep attendees hydrated.
Built in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, this replica of the Bounty displaces 412 tons, is 120 feet on deck, 180 feet overall, 115 feet off the water. It’s actually a third bigger than the original Bounty. MGM sailed the ship around the world to promote the film, eventually bringing her to New York for the World’s Fair in 1964. She made St. Petersburg, Florida her permanent home for 21 years until Turner Broadcasting bought the MGM film library in 1986. In 1993, Ted Turner donated the ship to the city of Fall River, MA. In 2001, a Long Island, New York businessman purchased the ship. The Bounty returned to the sea July 2002 after undergoing $1.5 million in renovations in Boothbay Harbor, ME, in the first of a three-phase renovation to restore the ship to the grandeur of her Hollywood days.
The Bounty has returned to the big screen with frequent appearances in documentaries and films. In the summer of 2006, Bounty had a starring role in the movie of Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Mans Chest,” starring Johnny Depp. She also appeared in “Treasure Island,” “Yellow Beard,” Sponge Bob Square Pants, the Movie,” a documentary on Captain Bligh for a Baltimore film production company, and a documentary for the History Channel on Queen Anne’s revenge.
According to the Bounty Captain Robin Walbridge, who has presided over Bounty for 19 years, the distinctive two-rimmed ship’s wheel is a tell-tale sign of the Bounty. Visitors get a chance to stand where Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and Johnny Depp have all stood at the helm.
Although the Bounty participates in movies, her primary goal is to greet and educate the hundred of thousands of fans at port appearances around the waterways of the United States. Bounty encourages school groups to visit the ship as well as offering sail passages to learn how to sail an 18th Century ship. Bounty is one of the largest active wooden square-rigger that is also a full-rigged ship sailing today and one of the most recognizable tall ships in the world. She’ll be open for tours today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday). Come on down to Newburyport’s waterfront and check her out!