Monday, December 8, 2014

Burt Reynold Deliverance Canoe Auction

A potentially bit of interesting canoe history is up for auction - a canoe belonging to Burt Reynolds that has a loose link to the film, Deliverance. I had posted about this canoe back in 2012 during the 40th anniversary of the film when it was housed at the Burt Reynolds museum in Florida (original post here).

Deliverance Cast - 40th Anniversary (2012)

Now Julien's Auctions has posted some more pics of this canoe on this listing

"Deliverance Canoe" - Julien's Auctions - Lot 316 of 676

"Deliverance Canoe" - Julien's Auctions - Lot 316 of 676

"Deliverance Canoe" - Julien's Auctions - Lot 316 of 676

Of course a casual glance of this canoe shows major reconstruction efforts that were done quite amateurishly. Also this canoe is much shorter than the tripping canoe feature in the film with no seats or a center thwart.

In the classic "destruction scene" of the canoe, Jon Voight's character goes down a rapid backwards and the canoe breaks in half after slightly getting hung up on a rock. This scene likely cemented the idea in many peoples' minds that these sorts of canoes are fragile eggshells  despite the fact that wood canvas canoes survived many epic canoe expeditions  in history. The truth is that the dramatic scene was accomplished with a bit a of Hollywood special effect - the canoe had been cut in half amidships from gunnel to gunnel so as to break as quickly and cleanly as possible. You can see the scene at the 2:38 mark from the Youtube Trailer below:

Some background research by Benson Gray of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association revealed that six identical, 16' Old Town Guide canoes (in dark green) were shipped to the film location in Clayton, Georgia a year before the film was released. Furthermore, the serial numbers on either stem of Burt Reynold's canoe are still visible and match the build records from Old Town Canoe Co. It appears someone "reconstructed" this canoe with ends from two of the original 16'  Guide models resulting in a shorter 11' 6" boat cobbled together with bits and pieces.

Serial Number 184432

Build record for 184432

Serial Number 184739

Build Record 184739

The auctioneer cannot guarantee any proof that these actual canoe bits appeared in the film but thanks to Benson's research, at least there is some association, even indirect, with this iconic canoe film.

Dec. 12 Update: Benson Gray just posted that the canoe went for a hammer price of $14,000 to an internet bidder.   It was expected to fetch $800-1200.  Wow!

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