Newport, 1929. Charlie Travers is the state’s leading prohibition rumrunner, bringing more than $500,000 of hooch, booze and liquor on each trip; $5 million in today’s money. A Robin Hood-type hero to the locals, Travers and his crew defied the odds and ran a pulsing enterprise across southern New England in the early part of the prohibition-era.
Fast-forward 90 years and in Middletown, married couple John Taft and Pat Cahill Taft are bringing the story to the silver screen. The couple fell in love with the Travers story when they purchased a derelict rumrunner in Albany, NY, and brought it to Newport to run tours. Older locals, recognizing a similar vessel to the one used by Travers, approached the Tafts to inquire if it was indeed, the Black Duck used by Travers, reminiscing about wild and passionate times in the era of prohibition. Digging deeper, the Tafts learned all about the Travers tale, and uncovered how John’s history with the US Coast Guard had its own sinister part to play in the story. Partnering with venerable Hollywood director Paul Madden, who wrote the screenplay for Paramount film A Show of Force starring Robert Duvall and Andy Garcia, among other projects, the Tafts are breathing life to one of the most exciting tales to come out of the state in the 20th century. Filming is ongoing in Middletown, Jamestown and Newport, with the production set to wrap mid-December.