Pandora

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Pandora (#171619) (1892-1896+) [W. T. Co. No. 3], 264 ton wooden barge owned by the Wilmington Transportation Company, which sank at San Miguel Island while under charter for the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty. Cameraman Glenn Strong was drowned in the accident. The stern of the barge had been outfitted to replicate the British naval ship, HMS Pandora.



In the News~

July 26, 1935 [SHNY]: “Movie barge sinks at sea; one missing. MGM cameraman lost when ‘set’ of Clark Gable film goes down. Loss set at $50,000. Accident occurs 50 miles off Santa Barbara at San Miguel Island. Divers and salvage men were rushed today to San Miguel Island… to search for the body of Glenn Strong, assistant cameraman, who was lost when heavy seas late yesterday foundered an 80-foot barge fitted up to represent the British warship, Pandora. Strong was one of a movie company of about 75, including cameramen, technical experts, ship’s crew and studio attaches at work in the picture, Mutiny on the Bounty, in which the warship Pandora figures… After an all night search for Strong, hope that he might have survived was abandoned. Motion picture equipment valued a $50,000 sank with the barge. Artists in the picture, including three male stars, Clark Gable, Charles Laughton and Franchet Tone, were not with the location outfit. The United States Coast Guard cutter Hermes was dispatched from San Pedro early today to aid the crew, and the salvage tug, Retriever, used as a camera boat, was standing by the submerged barge… The location… is among the jagged rocks and treacherous reefs in what is known as Cuyler’s Harbor. The barge is owned by the Wrigley interests, and was chartered by the studio.”


July 27, 1935 [LAT]: “Camera barge Pandora, with one end rebuilt as film set of early-day ship for use in filming Mutiny on the Bounty. Battered by heavy waves, the barge foundered and sank Thursday off San Miguel Island, drowning Robert Glenn Strong, cameraman… A huge wave swept over the prow of the barge, smashing a water tank and hurling debris across the deck… Water filled the barge, the superstructure toppled, and other boats on location pulled alongside to rescue the beleaguered company…”


July 29, 1935 [LAT]: “Crew ends death vigil. Organized search for the body of Robert Glenn Strong, MGM cameraman who was drowned when a barge carrying a replica of the frigate Pandora sank off San Miguel Island last Thursday afternoon, was abandoned officially today… The film company has offered a reward for the recovery of the body, and the few permanent inhabitants of the island will watch for it in case it is later washed ashore.”


September 17, 1935 [HTI]: “With the shadow of a jinx, which has already cost one life sailing with them, a camera crew was on its way to San Miguel Island yesterday to complete background shots for the hoodoo picture, Mutiny on the Bounty. Work was suspended more than six weeks ago when a squall overwhelmed a camera barge and carried Glenn Strong, cameraman, to his death. The accident culminated a series of misfortunes in production of the picture. Except for background material the picture is complete.”