Don't ask me why, but there she was, the African Queen, the steamboat from The African Queen movie, docked next to a Holiday Inn in Key Largo, Florida. Completely unguarded, open to the elements, the African Queen—more precisely the Queen Louisa— floats while fishermen clean their haul a few slips away. Nearby a faded signs offers the Queen for dinner tours by reservations only. Several old publicity photos hang on a fence. "I don't think that boats going anywhere" says a tan old man peering at the tattered Union Jack. He gives the sign a quick glance but doesn't take down the phone number.
The flag no longer looks fresh and clean, it's faded and tattered but my shot doesn't capture that so I found this shot of the boat to show you how it looked when the owners first finished restoring the boat
What do you think? Does the African Queen belong in the Florida keys or in a museum where more of the world might enjoy it? I'd like to see it in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum currently being built. Like the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz that Leonardo DiCaprio bought and donated to the museum, the African Queen needs a true movie-loving benefactor, not a private party using it to take well-heeled tourists on dinner cruises.
You can stream The African Queen, the John Huston film directed film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn on Amazon, VUDU, and Google Play. You can watch the vintage trailer here.
The African Queen trailer