A Twin Cities man says he owns one of the boats featured in the Oscar-winning movie "On Golden Pond," and it's sitting in the dock of eBay watching the bids roll its way.
"This is THE movie boat from On Golden Pond!!!!" says the online auction listing, which describes the 1950 Chris-Craft Sportsman and includes numerous photos. "There were a couple of boats used on the set," Jamison Kohout's ad continues. "One was destroyed for the 'crash' scene where Henry Fonda's character was ejected from the front of the boat. This is the remaining boat regarded as the collector from the movie" that also starred screen legend Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda's daughter, Jane.
As of this evening, there have been 18 bids for the "Thayer IV," with the highest at $35,910. Bidding closes Thursday.
Kohout, of Maple Grove, said this morning that his intention all along has been to use the boat strictly as an investment. He has not put it in the water in the year that he has owned it. Currently, the 22-foot wooden boat and its original trailer are stored in a climate-controlled garage in Princeton.
The 33-year-old, who works in mortgage financing, acknowledges feeling some reluctance about selling it "because my dad particularly loves Chris-Craft boats and it is a movie boat. That's really neat. But in the line of work I'm in, I wish I had the luxury."
He said he and his parents watched a DVD of the movie over the holidays, "and they got a kick out of the fact that I have the boat."
Kohout says he has all of the documentation to verify its lineage back to the movie, including the title from the prior owner and the transfer information from marine coordinator Pat Curtain, who was hired to supply boats for the movie. Curtain, in an interview from his home in New Hampshire, said there were four "Thayer IV" vessels that he bought for the movie, and three of them captured screen time.
He said he sold all of them, two going to one buyer in Key Largo, Fla., including the one that was wrecked. It's the other one, Kohout says, that he now owns and is trying to sell.
"Each boat was marked, telltale things that I could see even today," Curtain said, declining to say what marks might be.
Curtain said he'd like to talk with Kohout and is even willing to come to Minnesota and see the boat to verify its authenticity, if someone is willing to pay his transportation.
"If I see the boat, I can tell you," Curtain said, adding that if the boat is from the movie, Curtain said, "it's worth a hell of a lot more money" than where the top bid sits so far.
Answering questions from potential eBay bidders, Kohout says the boat has been in storage for most of the past five years, but the motor "checked out fine on the inspection report."
In filming the crash scene, Norman Thayer (Henry Fonda) and his grand-stepson run the "Thayer IV" into the rocks repeatedly.
But the vintage wooden boats were so rugged that they kept bouncing off the rocks with little damage, Redmon said. The crew had to modify one of the boats so it would break up in the wreck.
Along with money, Kohout says on eBay that he's willing to part with the "Thayer IV" for "exciting automobiles (luxury, exotic, muscle, vintage), but please no watercraft or aircraft. I just don't have room for something that requires a trailer or a hanger."
Among the bidders is Matt Smith, a wood boat enthusiast from northern Virginia, who waxes nostalgic on his website woodyboater.com. "I've been all over this one," Smith said of the eBay listing. "I'm hoping it doesn't reach $45,000." Smith has questions about the condition of the boat, particularly its wood hull. Even so, "the fact that it's a movie boat gives the boat a story.
It's not like you're going to go fishing in it." Filmed in 1981, "On Golden Pond" explores the relationship of aging couple Ethel and Norman Thayer (Hepburn and Fonda) who spend each summer at their home on Golden Pond. They are visited by daughter Chelsea (Jane Fonda) with her fiancé, where they drop off his rebellious son. Henry Fonda (best actor) and Katharine Hepburn (best actress) won Oscars for their roles.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482