A site for antique outboards, mopeds, and select automobiles

Home About Me Antique Outboards Mopeds Cars Contact Me Stories Outboards in Media Odds and Ends

OUTBOARDS IN MEDIA - Books, Films, TV...

This page was originally about outboards people noticed in movies or on TV. However it didn't really take off the way I'd hoped, only about a dozen folks ever contacted me with input.

So I thought I'd change things up a little and include the list of books on outboards that I've enjoyed and info on the collection of promotional films I have picked up. This way it's more of a reference and informational page and hopefully will be more of a hit! And, if you were one of the dozen who did like it, the list of outboards in film & TV is at the bottom of the page.

Books
When I can't run or tinker with an antique or vintage outboard, there's nothing I like better than sitting back with a good book. And what could be better than a book that is about... outboards!! The OJM Reference Library has quite a collection, here are a few and my thoughts. In general, I'm not including parts & repair manuals, though one or two "how-to" books are on here.

Many of the older books run from the 1930s through the mid 1960s, after that I don't consider them "old enough" to really be of interest. The comments on each are my opinions, yours may vary. If there is a book not on my list that you think should be, send me an email with the title. There's a chance I haven't had time to include it on the list - or if I don't have it, I'll add it to my Christmas/Birthday wish list!

The rating system is self explanatory, not wasting any bandwidth on the 0 or 1 books!

Title Author
Category
Status Comments
Rating 0-5
American Row Boat Motor Alan Carter
Reference
May be out of print

A spectacular 4-color pictorial history of early outboards. Tons of photos and information within, Alan is to be commended on the dedication and work that went into this book!

If you like antique machinery you gotta' have this book!

5+
Beautiful Outboards Peter Hunn

Photo

Out of print - some may be available
Very nice "coffee table" book on antique and classic motors.
4
Cheep Outboards Max Wawrzyniak
How-To

In Print
This collection of essays on how-to, thoughts and opinion will be helpful to people who are just getting interested in old outboards. It covers primarily OMC motors from about 1955 to 1978. An excellent primer on classic outboard repair.
3
Four Men From Terre Haute John VanVleet
History
Available from the AOMCI Ship's Store
Excellent history of the Johnson brothers and the founding of the Johnson outboard brand. You need to be a member of the AOMCI to order one - though sometimes they turn up on the on-line auctions. (Usually for more than the AOMCI lists them for!) Printed in the 1970s
4
Golden Age of the Racing Outboard Peter Hunn
Reference
In Print
If outboard racing is your bag, then this book's for you! While not really my core interest, it is a very interesting book.
3
Great Boat Race, The Richard Walbrun
History
In Print
Anyone interested in old outboard motors will have heard of the Winnebagoland Outboard Marathons from 1949 to 1961. This book outlines each year and provides lists of the winners and losers. There are some very entertaining stories interspersed with the history - outboard racing isn't really my bag but I did learn a thing or two!
3
Iron Fist Jeffrey L. Rodengen
History
In Print

This book reads like a novel, I've read it twice and each time I can hardly put it down! Without doubt, the best "reading" book on outboard history that has ever been written.

If you hate your boss/job I guarantee that when you're done with this book you'll feel better about them. (And glad you didn't work for Carl!)

5+
Old Outboard Book, The Peter Hunn
Reference

In Print
The "gold standard" of old outboard reference books. Though I have it categorized as a Reference title, it's fun to read as well. Peter has a great narrative style and there's a ton of information in it. Many B&W photos, old advertisements and lists of info are included. This book is a must-have for anyone with even a passing interest in old and antique outboards. Check out the geeky dude running the Flambeau on Page 156 of the 3rd edition....
5+
Ole Evinrude And His Outboard Motor Bob Jacobson
History
In Print
This is a pictorial history book for children, though adults will enjoy it. If you are seriously interested in old outboards there really isn't anything new or groundbreaking here. Published in 2009.
2
One Morning In Maine Robert McCloskey
Kids Picturebook

In Print

This book could be the reason I love old outboards! Read to me by my dad at an early age (My dad was a dead-ringer for the father in the book!) The Waterwich won't run and gets a new AC spark plug! A truly classic picturebook for children - I've still got my original copy and read it to my kids when they were young.

One of my favorite books to have dad read to me as a kid - my first exposure to outboards!

5
Tail Fins and Two-Tones Peter Hunn
Reference

In Print
Great photos and information on outboard boats from the post-war period through the mid 1960s.
3
Vintage Culture of Outboard Racing, The Peter Hunn
Photo
In Print
See above comments on Golden Age of the Racing Outboard
3
   

 

Older Books Author Category
Status
Comments
Rating 0-5
By Waterways To Gotham Lewis R. Freeman
Non-fiction
No Longer In Print

This book from 1926 chronicles Mr. Freeman's 1924 voyage from Milwaukee to New York City via a small boat. Power was provided by an Elto Ruddertwin, sail and sometimes oars.

There are some first-hand conversations with Ole Evinrude and lots of highlighting the Ruddertwin throughout the story. I'll be honest that sometimes the writer's language choice is a bit over-the-top, but the story is a good one and at times Mr. Freeman's exploits are quite thrilling.

What this book really needed is a map to show where the author traveled and where some of the exploits took place.

4
Boat Book (The) Popular Mechanics Press (Edited by Sam Brown)
How-To
No Longer In Print

Here is a great collection of Popular Mechanics articles, first published in 1931, our edition is the 1935 second printing/update.

Build a boat, modify a boat, work on a motor - it's all covered here! Be sure to check out the article on building a Supercharger for Outboard Motor on page 255. Yep, with some shop leftovers and string you can build something that revolves at 20,000+ RPMs!!!!

4
Complete Book of Outboard Crusing Robert Scharff

Reference

No Longer In Print
This book from 1960 is an interesting look at cruising with your outboard boat. I found a few inaccuracies and the subject is a bit drawn out. However it is interesting and something I'd like to try at some point.
3
Complete Outboard Boating Manual Ernest Venk
Reference
No Longer In Print
This vintage book from 1958 has excellent B&W photos and information. I think there were a lot of copies sold at the time since I see them everywhere! Try to get one with the dust-jacket intact since it has a great 1950s look.
4
Handbook of Outboard Motorboating Porter Henry and Bill Allard
Reference
No Longer In Print
Published just after WWII this is one of the first books available on outboard boating. Bill Allard was a long-time Johnson dealer and early member of the AOMCI. B&W photos and diagrams - a good solid book
4
Hank Bowman's Outboard Boating Handbook Hank Wieand Bowman
Reference

1957 & 1960 shown
No Longer In Print
Hank wrote dozens of outboard relate books for Fawcett and Arco Publishers in the 50s and early 60s - ALL of them are good! Tragically he died in the early 1960s.
3 to 5 (depending on the book!)
Legend of OMC Jeffrey L. Rodengen
History

No Longer In Print

A very nice "coffee table" book on the history of Evinrude, Elto, Johnson and Gale. Plenty of photos, many in color. I think this was the first book I owned on the history of outboards, a gift in the 1990s from a friend who worked at a Johnson dealership at the time.

A must have for any OMC fan!

4
Legend of Mercury Jeffrey L. Rodengen
History
No Longer In Print
Pretty much the same format as the above book on OMC and also from the 1990s. I'm not sure if it pre-dated IRON FIST (see above) but it's a great companion to it.
4
Outboard Boating & Cruising Kenneth Norman
Reference
No Longer In Print
This book is from the U.K. and gives a look into the outboard boating scene over there at the time it was published in 1962. Some B&W photos
2
Outboard Motors And other 2-Cycle Engines Ernest Venk
Irving Frazee
Earl Bedell

Reference

No Longer In Print

First published in 1953 with several later printings, this book is an excellent primer in outboard design and layout from the 1920s to 1950s. It's interesting to note that many of the designs discussed were no longer common in the market by '53 - opposed twins, quads, pressure vacuum cooling, etc... There are great illustrations and photos, even quizzes at the end of the chapter to test what you have learned! Quite a few of these were sold - it was so successful it led to the Complete Outboard Boating Manual listed above.

4
Pictorial History of the Outboard Motor by W.J. Webb William J. Webb
History
No Longer In Print

Jim Webb was involved with management of Elto and Evinrude from the 1920s until the 1970s. He was a close friend of the Evinrude family and a first-hand witness to the early days of outboards. When this book came out in the late 1960s I believe it was the first ever published on outboard history. It offers a unique view from a person who was key to that era and has lots of B&W photos. Today this book is hard to find, not sure if there were a lot printed.

One of my favorite books on outboards - a must have!

5
Real Runabouts IV - Outboards Bob Spelz

Reference

No Longer In Print
This book is part of a series that Mr. Spelz wrote, this volume specific to outboards. Published in the early 1980s, it is a nice compendium of early outboard boats and their makers - 1930s through the early 1960s. Hard to find and pricey when the turn up - at one time it was available through the AOMCI Ship's Store but is no longer offered. I think most, if not all, were signed by Bob Spelz.
3
The Outboard Boys (series) Roger Garis
Fiction


No Longer In Print

These are kids books from the 1930s, there are 4 titles in this series: Mystery Island, Shadow Lake, Pirate Beach and Shark River. In the final title Shark River there is a mention of a 5th book Finding The Lost Treasure - as best as I can tell, this book was never published.

I enjoyed reading this series and so did my 12-year-old son.

3
Twice Across North America by Motorboat John Edwin Hogg
Non-fiction
No Longer In Print

In this 1960 book Captain Hogg chronicles both his 1925 voyage from Oregon to New York and 1959 cruise from New York to Oregon - each was made by outboard boat. (he did portage in Montana.) He claims to be the first man to travel across the country and back by outboard!

Very readable and well written - some excellent B&W photos of both the 1925 expedition and the 1959 cruise. This book includes a nice map on the end-papers showing the route taken on each journey.

4.5
Water Wagon Rube Allyn
Non-fiction
No Longer In Print

A really fun tale from the early 1950s of Rube Allyn's voyages throughout Florida aboard his outboard-powered scow/houseboat Best Bet. While the outboards (1950-52 Evinrude Fastwins) are really only background characters, the over-all story is quite engrossing and, by today's standards, unbelievable!

Researching Mr. Allyn turned up some interesting stuff; he came from a colorful family and was a one-man publishing tour-de-force in Florida. Unfortunately he died in 1968, hit by a car while riding his bicycle. However, his company Great Outdoors still exists and several of his books are still in print. I can't help but wonder what ever happened to the Best Bet?

4.5
Waterways of Westward Wandering Lewis R. Freeman

Non-fiction

No Longer In Print

Mr. Freeman's next book from 1927 discusses his 1925-6 voyages down the Ohio, Yellowstone/Missouri and Mississippi rivers. All were in a small boat with an Elto Ruddertwin and (often) oars.

Quite a bit of history and more lively adventures with his boat, Elto and the people on and around the rivers. There can be no doubt that Mr. Freeman holds the undisputed world record for hours at the helm and miles covered with a Ruddertwin!

4
   

 

Misc Books Author
Category
Status
Comments
Rating 0-5
Abos Blue Books Abos Publishing
Reference
No Longer In Print
Abos started publishing their Outboard Trade-In Guides or "Blue Books" in 1949, the oldest I have is 1951. These books have a wealth of information in them and are a terrific resource, the early ones cover models back to the 1930s. By the mid-fifties the books cover a 10-year period and include the retail price, serial #, bore & stroke and a ton of other interesting information.
5
Abos Outboard Motor Service Manual (By HP Class) Abos Publishing
How-To
No Longer In Print
Starting in the early 1960s Abos also published these handy books on repair and service to outboards. They were done in two volumes, #1) Below 30hp and #2) Above 30hp. While in most cases they are not as good or complete as Factory Manuals, they are a decent general resource. (And in the case of Scott/McCulloch, I actually think they are better!) If you are working on an oddball like a Neptune or Eska, it may be as good as you'll get! There were lots published so they are pretty cheep, even your local Library may still have them - mine does!
3 (5 when dealing with a Scott -McCulloch!)


Outboard Promotional Films
A few of years ago we purchased the first of three DVD's put out by Mercury Marine showing a number of their old promotional films - they were great! I took these DVD's and a small TV to a fishing show where several AOMCI members displayed old outboards to the general public. They were a hit, though more with my fellow motor heads than the fisherman! As a Johnson & OMC guy I thought it was a shame not to have some films representing my favorite marques. I soon started looking on the on-line auctions and scouring the web, film collectors and old dealerships for 16mm films as well as motors and parts.

As a geek in the film club back in high school, running a 16mm projector was second nature. I also had been given a nice Bell & Howell Filmosound projector a number of years ago by a friend so I had everything I needed!

16 millimeter film from Evinrude Outboards 1974
Good old Bell & Howell 16 mm projector

So far I have almost 20 films in my collection and they are perfect to share with my friends in the AOMCI on a rainy day or during the long cold winter. There were quite a number of films produced by OMC in the 1960's and 1970's, some are pretty dated but are still fun. Here is a partial list of the films I have, always looking for more.

My film ratings: Excellent --> Very Good --> Interesting --> Fun --> Good --> Okay --> Fair --> Poor --> Weird

Title Made By/For

Approx
Year

Medium
Length
My Rating
1962 Johnson Sea Horse Jamboree Johnson Outboard Motors 1962 16mm - Color 30 min Excellent!
1963 Johnson Sea Horse Jamboree Johnson Outboard Motors 1963 16mm - Color 28 min Excellent!
Bahamas Mixed Bag (Fishing) Evinrude Outboards 1976 16mm - Color 30 min Very Good
Bass Southern Style Evinrude Outboards 197? 16mm - Color    
Bassin' Gals Classic 1979 Johnson Outboard Motors 1979 16mm - Color 25min Fair
Bill Muncie Match Race Evinrude Outboards 1976? 16mm - Color 15min Excellent!
Canada's Great Northern Evinrude Outboards 1975 16mm - Color 15 min Okay
Gone Fishin' Johnson Outboard Motors 1972 16mm - Color 25 min Fun!
Kitemen Evinrude Outboards 1970 16mm - Color 18 min Interesting
Las Vegas & Lake Mead Mercury Outboards 1973? 16mm - Color 10 min Fair
Let's Get Wet Johnson Outboard Motors 1965 16mm - Color 30 min Weird
Making of A Quality Outboard Johnson Outboard Motors 1977 16mm - Color 35 min Excellent!
Me and Sam McGee Johnson Outboard Motors 1975 16mm - Color 30 min Okay
More Miles Per Gallon Johnson Outboard Motors  1974 16mm - Color 10 min Interesting
National Boating Test Johnson Outboard Motors 1970 16mm - Color 28 min Excellent!
Nebraska Striper Johnson Outboard Motors 1976? 16mm - Color 20 min Okay
Portage To Alaska Scott Atwater Outboards 1953 16mm - Color 30 min Excellent!
Rig Fishing the Gulf Evinrude Outboards 1975? 16mm - Color 30 min Good
Ski Fever Evinrude Outboards 1973 16mm - Color 15 min Okay
Striper's Odyssey Evinrude Outboards 1975 16mm - Color 30 min Good
Title Drive Evinrude Outboards 1970 16mm - Color 15 min Excellent!
Tour Of The Plant Evinrude Outboards 1977 16mm - Color 35 min Excellent!
Trout for Tarpon Scott Atwater Outboards 1956 16mm - Color 30 min Excellent!
World's Largest Fishbowl Evinrude Outboards 1970 16mm - Color 30 min Good
           

Titles from the 1956 blockbuster film by Scott Atwater Trout for Tarpon

Scenes from Portage To Alaska by Scott Atwater Outboards in 1953 - a favorite!

Bill Muncie's Match Race - Evinrude 1976


List of Outboards In Film and TV

As I mentioned above, this never took off the way I was hoping - but here are the notations of vintage outboards seen in films and on TV.

Media Type
Title / Year
Type of Outboard / Year
Notes
Reported By
Movie
The Birds - 1963
Martin 60(?)
Run by Tippi Hendren on small skiff to cross the bay
OJM
Movie
Live & Let Die / 1973
Evinrude
Bayou chase scene "my cousin Billy-Bob's got the fastest boat on the bayou!"
OJM
Movie
On Golden Pond
1956 Evinrude 5.5 Fisherman
On Ethel's (Katharine Hepburn) rowboat
RCH
Books
Travis McGee mystery series
British Seagull
On the tender of the Busted Flush; books by John D. MacDonald.
OJM
Movie
Cape Fear/ 1962

Scott Atwater 7.5 or 10
'60 or '61 Johnson 40 hp

Hanging on rail in the background at marina
Seen on boat in background at the marina

OJM
Movie
Flipper / 1996
British Seagull
Yamaha
On back of small boat
On bottom of ocean :-)
OJM
Movie
Flipper’s New Adventure / 1964
Evinrude
2 Evinrude Larks
On beach wall
On boat
OJM
Book
One Morning In Maine
WaterWitch 1cyl/?
Won't run and gets a new AC spark plug! A great book by Robert McCloskey
OJM
Movie
Dr. No/1962
1960 Evinrude 10 or 18
On Quarrel's boat
RCH
Movie
Thunderball/1965
1965 Evinrude 90-S
Bond unplugs fuel line to fake engine problem and meet Domino. Movie also has an Evinrude 14" Playmate outdrive boat in many scenes
RCH
TV
Gilligan's Island
1957 Johnson 10 or 18
Professor tries to repair it, Gilligan manages to start it (without a fuel tank) out of water so it is destroyed.
DT
TV Gilligan's Island Evinrude Lightwin Motor is spray bombed yellow. Dingy is powered by the evinrude and piloted by a famous Hollywood producer. The castaways get stars in their eyes and scare him off.
DT
TV
The Simpsons
70's model Clinton with tractor lower unit
Former President George H.W. Bush retires to Springfield and works on the old motor hoping to rattle some windows in Kennebunkport.
DT

OJM = OddJobb Motors staff

 

Home | About Me | Outboards | Mopeds | Cars | Contact Me | Stories | Outboards in the Media | Odds & Ends

The information on this website is intended for personal use only. The copying and distribution
of this information for any other purpose is strictly forbidden without prior written consent.

Copyright 2005-2016 OddJob Motors All rights reserved