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Forty Fathom Fish

Forty Fathom Trawlers

Untitled episode

Jul 24 1929

[page 1]

NOTE TO ANNOUNCER: There will now be a brief pause in the Forty 

                   Fathom Fish program for station announcements. 

                   This is WJZ, New York City. 

TIME: ( ) 


( )( ) 

9:30 - 10:00 P. M.        JULY 24, 1929         WEDNESDAY 




          Ladies and gentlemen, at this time we invite you on 

behalf of the Bay State Fishing Company, to tune on the program 

of the Forty Fathom Trawlers and share their sea adventures in 

song and story. 


          Ahoy there, ladies and gentlemen! This is Graham 

McNamee speaking for the Forty Fathom Trawlers - from the deck 

of the trawler "Spray", flagship of the Forty Fathom fleet. 

          We're homeward bound - coming up to Boston Harbor with 

Old Forty Fathom himself - sometimes known as Captain Bill Haft - 

in command. Captain Haft is a veteran skipper in the Forty Fathom 

service - one of the oldest and best. 

          Most of the boys in the crew are up here on deck now as 

the "Spray" slips on her way through the long, even swell of the 

sea. There's a peculiar feeling of anticipation in the air and it 

occurs to me that the explanation may easily be found down in the 

hold of the "Spray." That's where Captain Haft and his men have got 

a record catch of Forty Fathom Fish stored away on beds of ice. 


          At least we estimate this catch at somewhere mighty near 

a record and we know this landing of the "Spray" will be a special 



Homeward bound! I don't suppose it is possible to feel the 

romance of that phrase anywhere but on a ship. It means a great 

deal to these deep-sea fisherman, I can tell you. And here's Mr. 

Sam Spriggs, the radio operator, with his hands full of messages. 

What's up, Sam? 

SPRIGGS: Here's a message for you, Mr. McNamee. 

McNAMEE: Say, I'll bet that's from the office - I was afraid 

         they'd have something to say about my running away on 

         this trip. Let's have it, Sam. 

SPRIGGS: Here you are, Mr. McNamee. 

McNAMEE: Thank you, Hmm. Say, this is great! Just wait till we 

         get in, Sam, and I'll tell you all about it. 

SPRIGGS: Well, you see I know what it is already, Mr. McNamee - 

         I took it down. 

McNAMEE: Oh, of course. What do you think of it? 

SPRIGGS: We'll have a great celebration. 

McNAMEE: Then let's start it right now! How about a song from 

         the boys? 

SPRIGGS: Good! Let's have a song, boys!


McNAMEE: Good work, fellows! Say! Where's young Peter Pillbeam? 

PETER:   (off) Right here, Mr. McNamee! 

McNAMEE: I wondered what had become of you, Peter. 

PETER:   I was down in the galley talking to Alfred the cook. 

McNAMEE: Down in the galley, eh? That's the most popular place 

         on this ship! 

PETER:   It is with me, all right. But say - what do you think? 

         Alfred's got a great big - - 

SPRIGGS: Never mind about that, Peter! There's a time for 

         everything, you know. 


PETER:   All right, Cousin Sam. 

McNAMEE: Wait a minute, boys - the fellows are going to sing 

         again. And after that I've got an important announcement 

         to make to you all. Let's go, boys!


McNAMEE: One good song deserves another, doesn't it? 

SPRIGGS: But what's your announcement, Mr. McNamee? 

McNAMEE: It's a brief one - but I know you'll all be interested. 

         Fellows, I've just had a radiogram from the office - they 

         tell me that special arrangements have been made to send 

         out a radio description of the scene as we land with the 

         "Spray" and her cargo at the Bay State Fishing Company's 

         pier in Boston Harbor. (Applause) And here's the reason - 

         this trip marks the 20th year of service by Captain Bill 

         Haft as a Forty Fathom skipper! (Applause) And thanks to 

         your efforts, it looks like he'll bring a record catch 

         to make the day a really memorable one! (Applause) Here's 

         my suggestion - oh, Clate!

VOICE:   Hello!

McNAMEE: Is the ship's band ready? 

VOICE:   Ay, ay sir! 

McNAMEE: Well then, when Old Forty Fathom comes on deck strike up 

         a march!

VOICE:   Right! We'll do it! 

McNAMEE: And here he comes! Old Forty Fathom!



CAPT. HAFT: What's the meaning o' this demonstration, lads? 


McNAMEE: That's the first part of a birthday celebration, Captain. 

CAPT. HAFT: Birthday? Whose birthday? 

McNAMEE: Well Captain it's yours, if you must know. 

CAPT. HAFT: I don't think I understand ye, Mr. McNamee. 

McNAMEE: Captain Haft, this trip rounds out your 20th year as a 

         Forty Fathom skipper. You didn't think we'd let that 

         go by without taking some notice of it, did you? 

CAPT. HAFT: That's kind of you, but I see no reason for makin' 

            a fuss over me - - I've worked hard, and tried to do 

            my duty, that's all. (APPLAUSE) 

McNAMEE: Well, you wait a bit, Captain Haft, and see what 

         happens. Oh, Jim!

VOICE:   Here I am! 

McNAMEE: Suppose we have a song for Captain Haft. 

VOICE:   All right! You know the one, boys. 


CAPT. HAFT: Thank you, men. I appreciate your singing. 

McNAMEE: I'm sure you're welcome, Captain. I'm sure of that. 

         And if you'll come up to your cabin with me, I'd like 

         to have a little talk with you before we get in. 

CAPT. HAFT: Why, certainly, Mr. McNamee. 

McNAMEE: All right, let's go up. So long, boys. 

ALL: So long, Mr. McNamee, etc.

SPRIGGS: Well, Peter, how do you like the excitement? 

PETER:   It's great, Cousin Spriggs. Say - what's that ship over 

         there - she's flying the same house-flag that we've got. 

SPRIGGS: Let's see - oh, yes (WHISTLE OFF) Hear her whistling to 

         us? That's another Forty Fathom Trawler - the "Breeze" 

         (WHISTLE ON MIKE) Now we answer her - that's the way 

         ships say "hello." 


PETER:   There's another one on the other side Cousin Spriggs. 

         What might she be? 

SPRIGGS: That's the trawler "White Cap." She's another of the 

         Forty Fathom Fleet. (WHISTLE OFF) There goes her whistle - 

         and we answer - (WHISTLE ON MIKE) I've been talking to 

         them both this morning with my radio. 

PETER:   They ought to get in about when we do, won't they, 

         cousin Spriggs? 

SPRIGGS: I suppose they will - just about. What do you think, 


ALFRED:  I don't know, Mr. Spriggs. 

PETER:   Alfred! You came up so quietly I didn't hear you. Say, 

         Alfred, I was down in your galley just a little while ago, 

         and I saw a great big - - 

ALFRED:  Be quiet, Peter - it's not time to 'ave that spoken 


PETER:   All right, but I think you and Cousin Spriggs are acting 

         awful mysterious around this trawler. 

SPRIGGS: Well, we've reason to, Peter. And I'll let you in on the 

         secret - it's about our first mate, Mr. Joseph Billings. 

PETER:   About Mr. Billings! Well, I thought so, whatever it is. 

ALFRED:  Yes, you've 'ad a message about 'im on your wireless, 

         'aven't you, Sam? 

SPRIGGS: I sure have, and I'll tell you right now what was in it! 

         Billings is not what he claims to be!

PETER:   Oh, how's that, Cousin Spriggs? 

SPRIGGS: His name isn't Billings, that's what. 

ALFRED:  Then what is he, really? 

SPRIGGS: We'll find that out, soon enough. I've a friend on shore 

         who's been making a few investigations, and I expect a 

         report from him before long. 


PETER:    Gee! This is exciting, Alfred.

ALFRED:   Per'aps it may be, my boy. You keep a close tongue in 

          you 'ead and you'll come to no 'arm. 

PETER:    All right, Alfred. Look! There he comes - say, he's 

          looking pleased!

BILLINGS: Hello, men.


ALFRED:   'Ow d'you do, Mr. Billings.


BILLINGS: Quite well, thanks. Oh, say, Spriggs! 


BILLINGS: Get any radio messages for me this morning? 

SPRIGGS:  No - not a one. 

BILLINGS: Hmm. Sure about that? 

SPRIGGS:  Why, certainly. Come up to my room and look over the 

          duplicates, if you like. 

BILLINGS: Oh, I already have. 

SPRIGGS:  What? See here, Billings, you've no right to go prying 

          about the wireless room without my permission. 

BILLINGS: No? Well, it's done now, and no help for it. (GOING 

          AWAY) Let me know if anything comes for me, will you? 

ALFRED:   Good 'eavens, Sam! Do you think 'e saw the message 

          about 'im? 

SPRIGGS:  It didn't do him much good if it did. Except - oh hang 

          it all! 

PETER:    What's the matter? 

SPRIGGS:  Now he's on guard! We'll have to be careful. 

ALFRED:   We will, no fear. 'Ello - we're well down the 'arbor, 

          lads - the pier's in sight! 

SPRIGGS:  So we are - we'll be in any minute now - and here's 

          Captain Haft with Mr. McNamee!


CAPT. HAFT: Get ready to make landing, men! 

VOICES:   Ay, ay! 

BILLINGS: Jim! Tom! Ready with the bow lines!


McNAMEE:  What's all that over on the pier, Sam? 

SPRIGGS:  Looks like they've got it all decorated, Mr. McNamee. 

McNAMEE:  (laughs) You know they have, Sam. For Old Forty Fathom's 

          twentieth birthday on the "Spray" and a record catch in 

          her hold! (APPLAUSE) I wish the members of our audience 

          could see these boys on the "Spray". Every one of 'em 

          has a grin a yard wide! (LAUGHTER) We're up close on 

          the pier now, and we ought to land in just a second. 


McNAMEE:  Now we're coming up alongside. (CHEERS OFF) Can you 

          hear the cheers of the men from the other trawlers who 

          are gathered on the pier. Let's see - I recognize a few 

          of these other ships here - (WHISTLES OFF) _ and I guess 

          you can hear them saluting the old "Spray." (WHISTLE ON 

          MIKE) Here's her answering hail! A long blast of the 


CAPT. HAFT: Easy there! Bring her along easy! Hard astern! 



BILLINGS: Get those lines out, there! 

VOICES:   Ay, ay - easy, Bill! (CHEERS OFF) 

CAPT. HAFT: There she lands - make ready with the conveyors, men! 

McNAMEE:  Just a minute, Captain - ready, boys! Let's have it! 



McNAMEE: That was the ship's band of the "Spray" serenading old 

         Forty Fathom and the men of the Forty Fathom Trawlers 

         "White Cap," "Breeze", "Ocean," "Foam" and "Billow." 

         We're moored to the Bay State Fishing Company Pier in 

         Boston Harbor and engaged in putting ashore what is esti- 

         mated as a record catch of Forty Fathom Fish. (CHEERS) By 

         the way, Sam, how much would that be? 

SPRIGGS: Can't tell you exactly, but it would have to be over 

         450,000 pounds, Mr. McNamee. 

McNAMEE: Did you hear that? Four hundred and fifty thousand 

         pounds of Forty Fish out of the cold depths of the 

         ocean! You can hear the conveyors working as the great 

         baskets of fish are swung on to the pier - the scales 

         are near at hand there and the weight of the catch is 

         being recorded. Say, I'm glad I'm on deck this time 

         instead of on the pier - because down there the air seems 

         to be full of baskets of fish and you have to have 

         eyes in the back of your head to keep from being knocked 

         over. At least that is the way I found it. (LAUGHTER) 

         Captain Haft has brought this ship home safely and in 

         so doing has concluded his 20th year as a trawler master 

         for Forty Fathom Fish. That's why the pier is decorated 

         and crowded with friends and well-wishers who are at 

         present waiting for the weight of the catch to be 

         announced. What's that? 

SPRIGGS: The man says they've tallied 400,000 pounds - already. 

McNAMEE: What'd I tell you - 400,000 pounds - come on, Forty 

         Fathom - - got any more down in the hold? 


SPRIGGS: They're not unloaded yet! Say, Mr. McNamee, here are some 

         messages from a few of the other trawlers in the fleet. 

         Maybe you'd like to read them. 

McNAMEE: Yes, let's have 'em. This one says - "Heartiest congra- 

         tulations to Captain Bill Haft on his 20th birthday with 

         the company" - from the Trawler "Crest". (CHEERS) Here's 

         another: "Congratulations - the fish send regards" from 

         the Trawler "SURF". (APPLAUSE) Here's one from the Cap- 

         tain and Crew of the trawler "Gale" - "Here's to Captain 

         Bill Haft and the boys on the "Spray". (APPLAUSE) Say, 

         how do you like this - "Come on Bill - give us a record 

         to shoot at!" - from the trawler "Wave." (CHEERS) 

SPRIGGS: Look, Mr. McNamee! 

McNAMEE: Say, what's that! Have they made it? What did he say, 


SPRIGGS: I'll run down and see. 

McNAMEE: It's a tough job even equaling these fishing records - 

         say, I hope the boys pulled it off for Captain Haft's 

         sake, though. What'd he say, Sam? What? Fine! They've 

         broken the record! (CHEERS) More than 450,000 pounds 

         and not all unloaded yet! I knew they wouldn't let the 

         old Captain down! And here he is! (CHEERS) Oh, Forty 

         Fathom! Forty Fathom! 


McNAMEE: Just say a few words over the microphone, will you, 


CAPT. HAFT: Why, surely, if it'll help ye any, Mr. McNamee. 

McNAMEE: It certainly will - ladies and gentlemen, the skipper of 

         this record-breaking trawler is going to speak to you, 

         I don't think there's any further introduction necessary - 


         CAPTAIN BILL HAFT - - -

CAPT. HAFT: My friends, I wish to thank ye all for your kind inte- 

            rest. As to records, I wish to say this; the men in 

            the crew of the "Spray" should receive the credit for 

            that. I also wish to say that the masters and crews of 

            the seventeen other Forty Fathom Trawlers in our fleet 

            are quite able to equal or break the record we've been 

            fortunate enough to establish. I take this opportunity 

            of wishing them good luck. I thank you. 


McNAMEE: You're very modest, Captain. 

CAPTAIN HAFT: Well, Mr. McNamee, I've followed the sea for a good 

         many years, if that's what you mean. 

McNAMEE: All right, Forty Fathom - just look around, an you'll 

         see what we think of you. All right, Alfred! 

ALFRED:  And 'ere's the birthday cake with 20 candles as I've 

         made myself and kept 'idden in my galley (CHEERS) 

McNAMEE: Oh Jim! See if you and Clate can coax another song out 

         of the boys. 

VOICE:   That's easy - start it up, Jim. 


McNAMEE: And now I have another suggestion - a good rousing sea 

         yarn from Captain Haft himself. 

(ALL:    Give us a yarn, Captain! Let's have a story, Forty 

         Fathom, etc.) 

McNAMEE: You see all these young fellows here from the other 

         trawlers - and our own Peter Pillbeam right here beside 

         me - come on, Forty Fathom, give 'em an old time yarn! 


CAPT.HAFT: Well, men if you want to hear from me, I'll be glad to 


ALL:       Sure! Go ahead, etc. 

CAPT.HAFT: Then I'll tell ye an adventure of my own. It happened 

           when I was only a little older than Peter here. 

PETER:     And where did it happen, Captain? 

CAPT.HAFT: In the great icy wastes of the Arctic, my boy - far, far 

           to the North. 

PETER:     I'd like to be hearing more o' that, Captain. 

CAPT.HAFT: Then you shall. You shall hear how a tribe of Esqui- 

           maux rescued a party of white men. 

PETER:     Esquimaux! 

CAPT:      Yes, lad, and strange people they are, living in their 

           ice-block houses and eating seal blubber and walrus meat. 

           Well, this is my story: we were far north on a trading 

           trip and the ice was getting thicker every day when one 

           morning we ran into a blanket of fog ice and the wind 

           started to blow half a gale. 

PETER:     Fog ice? 

CAPT:      Well, Peter, you've seen regular fog, but this was the 

           frozen kind, millions of sharp particles as sharp as 

           needles and thick as a closely knit veil. Facing that 

           icy blast was like having thousands of tiny knives 

           driven into your skin - (WIND EFFECT) - the men could 

           hardly take in sail aloft, they suffered such agony. 

           The ship began to roll and grind in the ice, and things 

           looked bad for us all. I had been stationed for'rd 

           and was trying my best to protect my eyes when suddenly 

           a vague dark mass loomed up ahead. (CONT. ON NEXT PAGE) 


           Then a terrible crash (CRASH) sounded above the noise 

           of the storm and our good vessel shivered from stem to 

           stern. I knew what had happened when our captain rushed 

           on his bridge and shouted. 

CAPTAIN:   Iceberg! We've hit a 'berg! Every man on deck! Helm 

           hard down! (CRASH) 

MATE:      There she carries away the foremast, Captain! 

CAPTAIN:   She's looming above us - it's a mountain of ice, men! 

           (RUNNING FEET) 

MATE:      We're stove in, Captain! The fo'c'sle's flooding! 

CAPTAIN:   Man the boats! Swing them out! 

MATE:      There's no water, Captain! I can see ice all round us 

           under the fog! 

CAPTAIN:   We're jammed in a pack! (CREAKING NOISE) 

MATE:      She's settling in spite of it! 

CAPTAIN:   So she is! Stand by to abandon ship! 

(VOICES:   Ay, ay, sir! (CONFUSION) 

CAPTAIN:   Load that sledge with grub, men! Over the side with it!

           We'll take to the ice!

MATE:      Easy with the sled, there! 

1stSEAMAN: Easy she goes! 

CAPTAIN:   Get your fur boots and heavy clothes, men! We'll have 

           to tramp for it.


2ndSEAMAN: I think there's land to leeward, sir. 

CAPTAIN:   I believe you're right! We'll try it! 

MATE:      Hoist away! Over she goes! (CREAKING OF TACKLE) 

CAPTAIN:   Over you go, men! We couldn't last one night here on 


MATE:      She's half full of water, anyway, Captain - There's no 

           saving her now. 


CAPTAIN:   All right, Mate - get to the ice. 

MATE:      (Going off) You're coming too, Captain? 

CAPTAIN:   Yes, in a minute - here, take this compass and strap it 

           to the sledge. 

MATE:      (off) Ay, sir. 

CAPTAIN:   Good-bye old ship - I hate to leave you in this grinding 

           stuff, but there's no help for it. (CRASH) 

MATE:      (shouting off) The mainmast's away! Come on, Captain!

CAPTAIN:   (going off) Ay. Here I come down, Mate. Give me your 


MATE:      (at mike) You're just in time, Captain - Where away? 

(Grunting and squeaking of pig) 

CAPTAIN:   By heaven! That's Neb the pig - we've forgotten him! 

           Catch him, some one! We may need his carcass! 

1stSEAMAN: I'll eat my boots first, Captain. He's near human, that 

           pig! (GRUNTING) 

MATE:      There Harvey gets him down! 

CAPTAIN:   Forward, men! He'll follow us!


2ndSEAMAN: Captain! I can't see! This frozen fog has blinded 


CAPTAIN:   Push on - hold to the back of the sled. 

MATE:      There the fog lifts, Captain! It's coming off wicked 

           cold, men. Push ahead, there!

1stSEAMAN: Land, land!

2ndSEAMAN: It's mirage, men - we'll never make it! (HUSKILY) My 

           lungs is frosted - I'm for turning back! 

1stSEAMAN: I'd rather die out here than on the ship - push on! 


MATE:      It's zero or worse, Captain! We'd better turn back 

           before our hands drop off!

CAPTAIN:   Push along there, men. (GRUNTING) The pig's sticking 

           to it! Hear him grunt! (GRUNTING) 

2ndSEAMAN: I'm for giving up - no use.

CAPTAIN:   Make your own choice, men. As for me, I'll go on. 

           There's land ahead. There the ice piles up in front 

           of us. 

MATE:      But there's open water beyond it - we're doomed men! 

1stSEAMAN: I'm choking!

2ndSEAMAN: My face is freezing! God help us! 

CAPTAIN:   There's something moving out there. Bears on the ice, 

           most likely. 

2ndSEAMAN: I can't go on, Captain. Leave me here, I'm sleepy. 

           Save yourselves. 

CAPTAIN:   That man's freezing to death! Don't let him go to sleep, 

           He'll never wake up if he does!

MATE:      What'll we do? 

CAPTAIN:   Slap him in the face. (SLAP) That's right! 

1stSEAMAN: Harvey! Wake up! Wake up!

2ndSEAMAN: Le' me sleep, mates. (SLAP) Hey! Don' do that! 

CAPTAIN:   Load him on the sled, men. Keep shaking him. 

1stSEAMAN: Here you go, Harvey. We won't leave you. 

MATE:      What's that coming toward us? 

1stSEAMAN: Esquimaux!

MATE:      Your bears are two-legged, Captain. But look at their 

           long spears! What are they going to do to us? 

CAPTAIN:   Get round the sled, men. I've got my pistol. If they 

           attack, we'll sell our lives dearly. 


           (MUTTERING OF MEN GRUNTS FROM PIG) They may be a friendly 

           tribe - and they may not be. (CALLS) Hello! Hello!

           We want to get to land!

ESQUIMAU CHIEF: (CALLING) Nuteskin! Nuteskin! 

MATE:      There he points back - they must mean "land!" 

CHIEF:     Woneoose! Woneoose! Woneoose! 

CAPTAIN:   (CALLING) Come over! Come over! Courage Harvey, these 

           natives are friends - look at them running over that ice 

           jam! Here they are and smiling! Thank Heaven you were 

           in time, Chief! (SQUEALING AND GRUNTING) Do not hurt that 

           pig - he's going to live if we do. 

CHIEF:     Relinute! Relinute! 

MATH:      See, he points at the ice! 

CHIEF:     Nuteskin! Nuteskin!

MATE:      See where he points! He means land!

CAPTAIN:   I understand him, men - - they're going to take us over 

           the ice to the land! We are saved! (WEAK CHEER) 


PETER:     Gee, Captain - I think the pig deserved a lot of credit, 

           too! (LAUGHTER) 

CAPT.HAFT: Yes, Peter, he was a courageous animal and became a 

           great favorite with our rescuers. Those children of the 

           North took us in, shared their food and shelter with us, 

           and their medicine man frightened poor Harvey into getting 

           well. And in the Spring we were able to make our way 

           overland to a seaport. But we never forgot that day on 

           the ice, or our good Esquimaux friends. 




          You have been listening to another sea-goin' adventure 

of the 40-Fathom Trawlers, broadcast in the interests of 40-Fathom 

Fish each Wednesday at this hour. 

          Day and night the great fleet of 40-Fathom Trawlers bring

these delicious fish from the cold depths of the ocean. Cleaned 

and stowed in ice on the trawlers, the catch speeds to the 40-Fathom 

plant in Boston, where the fish is freed from bones and waste, 

leaving only the snowy sides of tender, white fish meat. These 40-

Fathom Fish are wrapped in pure parchment paper, packed in ice and 

hurried off to your dealer by fast express. 

          You buy 40-Fathom Fish in the same fresh, native cold 

condition in which it came from the depths of the sea. Always fresh - 

never frozen - as easy to cook as bacon and without a shred of 

waste. Just drop it out of the wrapper into the pan, and in eight 

or ten minutes your family can enjoy a genuine shore dinner at 


          40-Fathom Fish is a cool nourishing summer food, ideal 

for those who wish to reduce. 

          East, West, North, South - from the Atlantic seaboard to 

the Western plains, - ten thousand good meat and fish dealers sell 

40-Fathom Fish. If your dealer hasn't it, ask him to write direct 

to 40-Fathom Fish, Boston. 

          The 40-Fathom recipe booklet prepared by the chef of the 

Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York gives the private recipes which that 

famous hostelry uses in serving 40-Fathom Fish. For your copy, just 

send a card to Old 40-Fathom, care of this station. 

          Remember not all fish in wrappers is 40-Fathom Fish. For 

your protection, look for Old 40-Fathom and the Big Blue Forty on 

the wrapper.                              FFjr/MEH - 7/24/29