Nightly News | May 07, 2012
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: It was as much the star of the movie " The African Queen " as Hepburn and Bogart themselves, the boat itself. We have news tonight about the old vessel from Florida . Here's NBC's Mark Potter .
MARK POTTER reporting: In 1951 , the John Huston film " The African Queen " dazzled American audiences and carried them a world away on an exciting journey through Africa .
POTTER: Starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn , it became a film classic...
POTTER: ...and featured a trusty old work boat with a temperamental boiler and a clattering steam engine. Today, 61 years later, that famous boat, the African Queen , has found new life with a more reliable boiler. In Key Largo , Florida , it has been put back into service by Lance and Suzanne Holmquist . He an expert in boat restoration, she a student and fan of old movies.
Ms. SUZANNE HOLMQUIST (African Queen Operator): I feel that we've been given something special to take care of and that we really need to do a good job.
POTTER: The boat was built 100 years ago in England but didn't stay there.
Mr. LANCE HOLMQUIST (African Queen Operator): Worked in Africa for 60 years hauling mercenaries and missionaries and big game hunters, and sometimes I'd imagine they'd be on the same voyage.
POTTER: After its movie role, the African Queen traveled America as a tourist boat, but was then left to rust in a Florida pasture. In 1982 , it was bought by retired attorney Jim Hendricks , who sailed her at events in England , Australia , Ireland and New York . His son Jimmy is now the current owner, leasing it to the Holmquists .
Mr. JIMMY HENDRICKS Jr. (African Queen Owner): She's a piece of history. It's a piece of history that needs to move forward.
POTTER: Once again, the African Queen carries tourists, many of them film buffs.
Unidentified Woman: The queen lives!
Unidentified Man: I feel like I'm a part of the movie almost.
POTTER: Many of the people who ride this boat say they can feel some of the ghosts here, for example, of Katharine Hepburn sitting right here with a tiller in hand, telling Humphrey Bogart , up there, exactly what to do.
POTTER: A tough old boat, with many lives, again in a starring role. Mark Potter , NBC News, Key Largo , Florida .