RERUN FROM THE NEW ARCHIVES – The Rumored 3rd Thayer IV.. The Barn Find Of The Decade!

Woody Boater and U22-1460 Thayer IV – October 2010

This story is one of the most important stories in Woody Boater history. And marked the moment Woody Boater became a real thing in the wood boat hobby. Okay, not a thing. But a goofy website that from time to time was interesting. Kinda. Enjoy! The pics are small because they were all on the first platform. Sorry. Published 2010 Some of the images have been lost over time, and we are in the process of relocating them.

If you read the comments, 43 original ones, so any more than 43 and you are into new comments – sorry, more scrolling – things got rather testy, which of course only helps. Also you could post anonymously which was cool, but you never really knew the motivations of the comment.  Also for those of you wanting to search the archives. Its not live yet, but will be soon. STAY TUNED

In what is to be the barn find of all barn finds. Woody Boater has been on the trail of finding all the Golden Pond boats used in the film On Golden Pond. This adventure started for us when fellow Woody Boater Ken Miller stumbled across a scrap book of Golden Pond production photos and clippings in a yard sale. The scrap book was from Jim Hendricks the guy that bought one of the boats from Marine Coordinator Pat Curtin.. This all came about on the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Clubs Boat buzz on July 2008… .Folks chimed in and one post stuck in my mind. It was from Wilson Wright on October 14, 2008. Former Executive Director of the Chris- Craft Antique Boat Club and made this statement..
“May depend on which boat you or they are talking about…There were three…One for the surface shots and one for the crash scene that Hendricks bought. The latter is still at the Holiday Inn in Key Largo with the hole in her bow. I’ve heard no more on the other after she went to Minnesota…I guess a call to the guy who took her there might reveal some details. 
Then there was rumored to be a third boat used for the aerial shots which I’d heard went to somebody in Ohio. This boat could be that one….Maybe ??? Maybe not.”
Wilson Wright 
Executive Director Emeritus 
Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club
This is what got my motor running.. A rumored third boat.. That’s the day I started my search… And then.. Dec 23rd 2008.. eBay!  

Image of 1802 from the eBay sale.

A boat claiming to be one of the Golden Pond boats pops upon eBay.. After some research it appears to be the boat owned by Hendricks the owner of the scrap book purchased my Ken Miller back in July.. But the boat is bought and disappears.. Until last month where its unveiled launched and brought back to its public place in Classic boat history.. Hull number 1802 is now lovingly owned  by Jeff Thom of Minnesota..Restored by Sunrise River Boatworks. More on that tomorrow.

But what about the rumored third boat? Knowing about film, I knew that it only made sense to have multiple boats.. Cars.. Whatever you shoot.. How many Bat mobiles, General Lee’s… Lassies…Rin Tin Tins are out there? So is the third boat still out there? What about the US Mail Boat Mariah? I called Pat Curtin during the eBay boat sale. And he confirmed the third boat right off the bat, in fact there where four….Thayer IV’s… One was the Hendricks boat.. U-22-1802 a 1952 Chris Craft 22ft Sportsman … which has been reported on over the years, ….. One was the wreck scene boat also sold to Hendricks. And a third U22 was also a boat used in the movie.  U-22 1460. It was bought by a family in August1982 along with the Century Raven.. Mariah US Mail Boat. 

So? Are both boats  still in the same family?  Maybe.. No one could know with out digging.. I love to dig by the way… What about the 4th boat? First anyone had heard of this… Dear god, not another one!  I don’t have the energy… Not really…It was bought and never used or refitted with the scoops, ladder.. etc…. So it was sold off and has no connection to the film..not worth another mention… and better yet no digging. Just a great teaser to get you folks to tune in.. Sorry, it was too easy… We knew that the wreck scene boat was in FLA now, the 1802 boat was in Minnesota safe and being taken care of again…the only difference between U22-1802 and U22-1460 was the year of the boat and the steering wheel. 1802 had a two spoke and 1460 a three spoke.. A very tiny detail… Hendricks did not want the ladder or scoops or compass. So he had them removed.. This has been confirmed by Hendricks son and Pat Curtin.. Both boats were restored after the film by Curtin before they were sold.. 

Last week.. after about two years of digging searching and making painful calls to folks that did not either know what I was talking about or did not want to be found. We found the rumored third boat. And what a find it was.. Located in the same family since purchased from Pat untouched.. With all its original movie items on it. With one stipulation… The family does not want there names mentioned or the location of the boat.. Can you imagine all the calls wanting to buy the boat.. I don’t blame them one bit.  But they did want to get the story out to protect its legacy. They had over the years read newspapers stories of the Hendricks Boat, and just recently the story of the restoration of that boat, U22 1802.. It was time, and since we were on the hunt and relentless, they agreed to do a story.  That was the deal.. So here it is.. I will let the photos tell the story.. Enjoy.

The second we got permission to go see the boat we climbed in the truck and headed North.. Pat Curtin, and Frank Miklos, his brother Bob and Woody Boater Jim Scott, all headed from different parts of the country for a once in a lifetime adventure..
OH -MY- GOD! There she is.. Tucked away in a barn in original condition.. The ladder holders still in place.. Just sitting there.. It’s officially no longer a rumor..

Jim Scott just taking it all in.. We all dream of moments like this.. No, not looking at Jim.. Looking at the boat.. 

We moved it outside and get a look.. Here is Pat Curtin on the left and Frank Miklos on the right. 


There is the odd ball scoop! Originally used to cover a hole from the search light it had.. Who would have thought of such a small thing 30 years later would mean so much. It’s one of the key details that makes this U22 1460 so special. 

The ladder, found at home.

The location of the original ladder holders on the deck

The 3 spoke wheel seen in many of the scenes of the film. It’s not black. That’s mold from sitting for years.  The boat has not been touched.. Just used and enjoyed.. But mostly tucked away.

The Serial number stamped into the wood.  Matches the Bill of sale issued from Pat Curtin to the family. Sold on August 12th 1982. You can click on these and enlarge. According to Pat. “That boat was not going to be sold. Period. I was holding onto the 1460 boat for myself. I met the person that bought 1460 at the Boston Boat Show.. It was not advertised at the time, the boat at the show was 1802… They were going to purchase 1802.. Made the deal a week earlier –  But the buyer showed up on the same day about an hr after I heard that Fonda had died.. The family really wanted 1460 instead – The two boats were sitting side by side in the shop”… Curtin a friend of Fonda’s was upset and said..”Take the God Damn boat I really don’t care” And that was that.. This boat was sold a year before Hendrick’s bought 1802 according to Hendricks affidavit. Note…I have blacked out the names as promised to the owners of 1460.. Also Note that the typo in the typed bill of sale reads O-22 and the hand written one reads U22.. below.


In the scrap book is this newspaper from the date Fonda died.

The scrap book that the owners of 1460 have. There mother saved everything.. Thank god!

A call sheet for the film, you can click on the image and blow it up.. No not that type of blow up… its safe….


Also in the scrap book, shots of when the boat was bought and shown at a local boat show. Note the dash. The light handle and three spoke wheel.

A photo taken in 1998 on a family outing. You can just make out Thayer IV on the transom


The Hull Card Courtesy of the Chris-Craft Archives at the  Mariners Museum from Newport News reports
1460 as a 1949 or could be a 1950 model.

OK back to the Thayer IV today..

This image by Frank Miklos shows all the goodies together. Note again the Iva-light knob on the dash..


Thayer IV’s original motor, which was rebuilt several years back.

Here is a cleaned up detail call out of the U22-1460 boat – you can click  on it and blow it up


So! Thayer you have it.. yes that’s the last time I will use that bad pun…This family could not have been nicer and helpful. They are extremely private and still in love with their boats.. As you can imagine, how to restore such a boat is critical and also can be very expensive, so right now the boats are in storage for the right time to make that choice. Thayer IV, U22-1460 needs a new bottom for sure, a strip and varnish.. The interior was just dirty. It also looked as if much of the chrome could be cleaned up.. The question is, do you restore it at all, considering that U22-1802 has been restored?  A last note. We realize that the finding of U22-1460 will change the history books Wikapedia and other places that have reported that there is only two U-22’s. We are not reporting here to create drama or be sensational.. But as the two years played out.. The true history of these boats needed to be reported on.. And that became our goal.. It ain’t our usual story on a toilet seat in the shape of a Chris Craft hatch on eBay, that’s for sure… And to be honest, maybe more than we should be reporting on.. But we had the story and access so here we are.. We made sure that all the facts were true and followed up on all of them. Tomorrow…U22 1802, then the US Mail Boat Mariah… Did you know there where 2 mail boats….. Just kidding… Only one, and we have her here for you.. Happy commenting.