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How moviemakers drove Depoe Bay Cuckoo in 1975

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 17th, 2013

A marine surveyor and retired charter skipper, Fred Robison has witnessed the rise and fall of Taft as a port once jammed with schooners and log barges and watched Depoe Bay grow from an impoverished pioneer settlement into a booming tourist town. But few spectacles compare, he said, to the arrival of a tinsel-town production company and its retinue of stars.

DEPOE BAY — “Lights! Camera! Action!”

It’s been almost 40 years since the director Milos Forman turned “the world’s smallest harbor” into a Hollywood stage while shooting a major segment of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” but the memories of that day in the sun are sharp as a gaff hook for Fred Robison.

“I was just sitting on my boat one day when this fellow came up and wanted to know if it was for hire,” recalled Robison, 91, a marine surveyor and retired charter skipper who owned the 12-boat operation, Jimco Sportfishing. “He was Michael Douglas, the producer. He told me, ‘I’ve got the right cast and the right story. I’ve got a hit and I’m going to make money on this baby.’”

While it was a different skipper and boat that appeared in the iconic movie’s famous fishing scene, Robison pocketed most of the local production budget as operator of the supply ship. Hired to ferry the director, script girl, girlfriends, reporters, wardrobes, cameramen, lights and other movie equipment throughout the shooting, Robison packed his boat, the Jimco II, with cartons of cigarettes, booze, chewing gum, sack lunches and other supplies. For six weeks, the vessel served as a floating platform for “continuity” shots and location scouting.

For the complete article see the 04-17-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-17-2013 paper.

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