Deliverance canoe....

chris pearson

Michigan Canoe Nut
Sort of put back together......


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There are some more pictures of it at: along with and

The information at indicates that the museum has closed and "Burt sold a lot of his stuff in late 2014" so it will probably show up on eBay soon. See for a previous discussion about this.

Interesting that the auction listing states "It is similar to the style of canoe used in Reynolds' film Deliverance". Seems to be a careful and deliberate attempt not to say it IS the canoe from the movie!
I sent a message to the auctioneer last week asking for the serial number but haven't gotten a response yet. Some additional research indicates that the film makers weren't taking any chances and ordered six identical canoes to use as shown below.



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These build records can really tell a story. Looks like there were probably two orders, one shipped in April in four parts (4 canoes), and the other in June (2 canoes):

Order Shipped Built Serial No.

5199 4/21/71 4/70 184739
5199-B 4/22/71 3/70 184380
5199-B 4/26/71 3/70 184432 (probably really order "5199-C")
5199-D 4/28/71 1/70 184310
5839 6/8/71 4/70 183635
5839 6/8/71 1/70 184314

All the canoes were completed a year or more earlier, so it's not construction that delayed shipment of the last two. Wonder if the first four turned out not to be enough after multiple rounds of wrecking them in the Chattooga while trying to get the perfect shot.
This is an interesting analysis.

(probably really order "5199-C")

I went looking for this order and found another canoe shown below that I had missed in the first pass.



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It has been years since I saw the movie "Deliverance" so my memory might be a little flawed. At the time I saw that one canoe was an Old Town wood/canvas but when it broke in half so neatly I thought that the film crew must have sawed the keel and wales partly through to get it to break at the right time.

In other instance I heard of a Canadian canoe builder who provided 4-5 canoes for a film. The script called for the canoe being filmed to have some damage so for continuity the crew purposely damaged all the canoes the same in case they were needed. The scene came off right the first shooting so the builder took back the canoes all brand new with similar custom damage.

The auction house has just delivered the two serial number images shown below for numbers 184432 and 184739. It appears that someone took the broken parts of two different 16 foot long canoes and attached them to make one 11.6 foot long canoe. I can’t prove that either of these parts actually appeared in the movie but the build records for each one clearly show that they both were shipped there for that purpose. They reported "When we catalogued it we couldn’t find proof that it appeared in the film, (although we were told it was), and our policy is to not definitively state that an item is screen-used unless we have proof." They plan to update the listing so it will be interesting to see what it actually sells for.



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Thank you Benson for the research and history on this canoe! Keep us informed to the amount it sells for-- and if a WCHA member purchases it.
Keep us informed to the amount it sells for-- and if a WCHA member purchases it.

I probably won't be able to find out the final selling price or the buyer's name unless someone here buys it and posts that information. This is not something that I will be bidding on. The description has been updated at with this new information and the movie trailer at briefly shows the scene at 2:40 where the canoe is broken cleanly in half.

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A conversation with my brother this weekend revealed some more information about the Deliverance canoes. He said that the movie crew contacted Old Town after they were not successful in getting any of the original wooden canoes to break at the correct time in the way that they wanted. They ended up flying in Jim Cunningham from the factory who showed them how to cut a wooden canoe in half, cover the break with a women's nylon stocking saturated with Ambroid cement, and then paint over it all so nothing would show at a distance. He also thought that they may have also used some small explosive charges with a remote control that could break the temporary supports at just the right time. Fun stuff,

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