The Sand Pebbles Movie Message Board (2010) Archive

(Although individual responses are not usually listed here, I do answer all email I receive)

From: Doug Knox
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 9:47 AM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Sand Pebbles

Love the website. Do you have any idea what might have happened to the scale model Wise used during the construction of San Pablo??

Doug Knox


Response - That's a good question and I've often thought about it while watching the featurette "A Ship Called San Pablo". No one has ever provided details about this scale model, perhaps someday someone will.


From: Guy Maes
Sent: Sunday, September 05, 2010 5:48 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Sand Pebbles

Congrats for your site, very good ideas and working, photos, extras, etc. Im a French guy, 46, and just show Sand Pebbles to my step son, 16, yesterday. He's a no talking kid but I saw in his eyes that he appreciated this film as I did when I was 12 or 13 don't really remember.

I really like this movie, i advise you to glance at in his french version ; the voice of SMQ is very good, sharp, better that the real voice ! I miss him very much, he was a friend of my childhood. We miss you Steve.

Keep up the good work Crispin,



From: Lee Sellars
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:38 AM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: SP in HD

Congratulations and thanks for your superb website Mr. Garcia.

I've always loved The Sand Pebbles since I first saw it on it's initial theatrical release.

It's currently screening on Sky Movies in the UK in HD.

The quality is superb and makes a vast improvement on the old SD version that has been transmitted in the past.

Lee Sellars


From: David Stedman
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2010 10:35 AM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Sand Pebbles

Nice to see other people appreciate this great underrated picture. I have watched this film on a regular basis for well over 30 years and never tire of it. I’d say it was probably my favorite film. Other McQueen films are always talked about, but this one rarely crops up. He gives a really great performance in it I think. I remember when I first saw it being really gutted when he dies at the end, but with maturity I realise this is a really adult film and the lack of a happy ending is brave & realistic. Should have won Oscars, but the Vietnam parallels probably went against it.



From: William A. Stimson
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2010 4:47 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Career Military

I never served in the U.S. Navy, but was a soldier for 12 years, from 1947-1959. Few films have ever captured the unique esprit and culture of professional military man. "Sand Pebbles" does. Steve McQueen played beautifully the role of career people whose love is extremely narrow, embracing only their unit. They are cold to everything else. They are tough, tough men with little regard for most of the ideals imputed to them by politicians and generals (or admirals.)

Bill Stimson


From: Stuart Fernie
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2010 5:23 AM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Sand Pebbles "video discussion" on Youtube

Hi Crispin,

We haven’t spoken for a while – remember I wrote the “Reflections on the Sand Pebbles” page? I thought I’d let you know that I’ve made a “video discussion” of my page – it’s in two parts on Youtube.

You’ll find part one at -

And part two at -

I can’t say it’s exactly as I wanted it, but it’ll do as an introduction to some of the characters and main themes.

I’m delighted to see your site is still going strong – hope all is going well for you.

All the best,
Stuart (in the Highlands of Scotland)


From: Tim
Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2010 5:26 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: BAR

Got a BAR blank adapter that came from Hollywood Arms Supply Company. No documentation but they supplyed the 1918 BAR for the movie. Also for the series "Combat". Works well in reenactments.



From: Robert Markowitz
Sent: Sunday, July 04, 2010 2:13 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: The Sand Pebbles...

Dear Mr. Garcia;

Thank you so very very much for this magnificent website on The Sand Pebbles! I've visited your site several times in the past, but have spent the last two or three hours really checking it out. The Sand Pebbles has been one of my very favorite movies ever since I first saw it as a young lad. Being a Steve McQueen fan, I have always thought this was one of his best performances. I kept going on and on and found myself researching Robert Wise and Richard McKenna more than I did in the past. It's very sad that most of the great characters associated with this magnificent film have passed on but, you sir are helping to keep them alive forever. I have so much admiration for you and what you've done. A tremendous website, please keep up the good work and know that there are those of us out here that are very appreciative for what you've done and the wonderful way it is presented.

ALL my respect and thanks,
Robert Markowitz


From: David Mayhan
Sent: Friday, May 21, 2010 5:11 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Sand Pebbles on the REALLY big screen in L.A. on June 18

The American Cinematheque will show what they are listing as a "digitally restored" showing of The Sand Pebbles on Friday, June 18, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. as part of a Steve McQueen series.

At the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, USA. They have a really large screen that can do justice to any widescreen presentation.

This may simply be a digital showing. I don't know if it is actually "restored". In any event, it is the first showing of the SP in any movie theatre in the Greater L.A. in many, many years, as I have kept an eagle eye out for such things.

David Mayhan
Eagle Rock, CA.

Response - David, thanks for the screening information. I plan to be there and encourage all TSP fans to attend if it's at all feasible. It has been confirmed by a reliable source, in addition to the Egyptian theater listing, that a Sharp digital projector will be used for the presentation. It will not be the new 35mm print struck in 2007. More information on the theater and its restoration can be found here:

The Sand Pebbles was digitally restored (both the picture and audio) during a lengthy period beginning in 2005 and completing in 2007. Richard W. Haines provides a description of the process on the Home Theater Shack website. - CG


From: Trail, John M CIV NAVSTA Everett, N3175
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 4:19 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: USS "San Pablo" engine


In the early 1990's, I worked as a volunteer aboard the SS Lane Victory a restored and functioning Victory ship home ported and displayed in San Pedro, California. I was asked by the Captain of the ship at the time, John Smith, to drive down to San Diego a visit a freight yard to check on a antique marine engine that they had acquired from an estate there.

I cannot recall the name of the yard, but I arrived there and took a look at the triple expansion steam engine which they were ready to ship north to Long Beach. I was told it was originally from a Whaler built in 1926 in Vancouver (Canada or Washington, I do not know) and bought by 20th Century Fox to use in the movie "The Sand Pebbles." After the movie had been filmed and the engine removed from the set that they had built around it, I was told that a collector who liked old marine and railroad engines had purchased it from Fox and had taken it out to his estate and stored it in a barn.

I took some photographs of the engine, which was in pretty bad shape and then headed back to Long Beach. I reported to the Captain and he then told me that it was being shipped up to Long Beach and that they were going to put it in a lay-down yard near the Navy base at Terminal Island. He wanted me to check on it to see if it arrived in one piece. After it had arrived in Long Beach, I went down to the lay-down yard and immediately notice that the shippers had cut the shaft and had taken the thrust box off as the whole thing would not fit onto the short trailer bed that they had used to haul it up Long Beach. I was upset, but I figured that the people in charge knew what they were doing. I took some giant plastic sheets and covered it up as best as I could. But before I left, I had to put my hand on the throttle and say, "Hello engine, my name in John Trail."

I wish I could have stayed around to assist the SS Lane Victory association in restoring the engine, but I was transferred to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in September of 1994.

In 2006, I had a chance to visit my old haunts when my ship stood into San Diego for the weekend. I rented a car and drove north up to San Pedro to visit the SS Lane Victory and see the "Sand Pebbles" engine display. I am very pleased and happy that she has been restored as a visual display and have a lot of respect for the men that put in the long hours to do it. But, again, when no one was looking, I crossed over the tourist barrier and put my hand on the throttle repeating "Hello engine, my name in John Trail."

As a big fan of the movie, I have acquired an original movie poster and have it framed in my den. I also purchased a engine room Engine Order Telegraph exactly like the one used in the movie. I have restored most of it but the guts are missing so the bell will not work. I also bought a Steve McQueen "Great Escape" doll, and dressed in dungarees just like in the movie. It is on a prominent display on top of my TV.

Captain John M. Trail
Pokagon YTB-836
USN (ret.)


From: Peri Lyons
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2010 1:18 AM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Hi: Charles Knox Robinson's niece here

Hi Crispin!

Peri Lyons here. My fiance and I just re-watched "SP" (he's an actor,next film "Wall Street 2:Money Never Sleeps")- and we were blown away by how great it was. I hadn't seen it for's SO worth a re-visit!

Since my much-loved "Uncle Charlie" played the ensign in SP, wanted to say that if you want any background stories about filming, etc, feel free to drop me a line. My 80-year-old mom, CKR's sister, knows a lot of cool tales!

Oh, and to the person who asked about Charles Knox Robinson's info on IMDB, the answer is: IMDB gets a lot of stuff wrong. They had Charles and his father, the B'way playwright and screenwriter Charles Knox Robinson II, completely confused.

Best wishes


From: David Mayhan
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2010 6:23 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: The Sand Pebbles (?) at American Cinematheque

Dear Mr. Garcia,

Came across your wonderful S.P. website.

Thought you'd like to know that in their recent monthly program listings, the American Cinematheque of Los Angeles, CA announces that upcoming they will have a series "The Films of Steve McQueen".

Please, if you have any influence, encourage them to show S.P., especially the roadshow or 70 mm. version, if it exists.

I have waited patiently in Southern California for ANYBODY to show S.P. on the big screen and it seems like it's been 15 or 20 years.

The AMPAS should also strike a new print with the help of 20th Century Fox.

Here's hoping! Thanks, David Mayhan, Los Angeles, CA.


From: JB
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2010 12:29 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Jake's hometown

Just a quick question. Why Grover Utah for Jake's hometown?

What was the connection to Mr. McKenna as he could have picked a gazillion towns across the USA?

Thanks for taking the time,

John Barsevich
Woodbury CT

Response - You ask a good question. In the novel "The Sand Pebbles" Jake Holman came from Nevada. I don't believe the exact town was ever mentioned in the book because he refused to talk about his past, unlike in the movie where he tells Shirley many things about his life in Grover Utah. Reportedly, Richard McKenna spent some time working with screenwriter Robert Anderson while the script was being written. Why the change from Nevada to Utah? Here's my guess. In the movie when Maily is quizzing all the sailors on their hometowns or states she displayed her education by matching each reference with a quickly recognizable geographic or historical landmark. Trenton, NJ (the Delaware), Philadelphia (the Liberty Bell), etc. Utah has a well known landmark (Salt Lake City) whereas Nevada in 1926 probably did not. According to one website "Grover Utah" is a CENSUS CLASS U6 meaning "A populated place that is not a census designated or incorporated place having an official federally recognized name". Interestingly enough a picture of Grover Utah today just shows a wooden building there. - CG


From: Rory
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2010 10:08 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Fox Ranch in TSP

Hi Cris,

I spotted Malibu Creek State Park in a current commercial for "Turbo Tax" and did a screen capture of it. You'll see what this has to do with TSP in the attached photo. I've already brought this to your attention, but here it is again!



From: Moretti Olivier
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 4:29 AM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: The Sand Pebbles...

Happy New Year, I send you two illustrations : a finished one and a work in progress, hope you'll like them...

Illustration #1

Illustration #2


Response - Excellent, thank you! - CG


Past years of the Sand Pebbles Movie Message Board are available below: