Following some discussion of Menemsha character, town sensibilities, and municipal commerce, Chilmark selectmen Tuesday approved a request by a Florida-based production company to film the U.S. segments of a popular, long running German television movie series known as the Das Traumschiff, or “Dream Boat,” in Menemsha.
Paul Van Wormer, head of Wormerland Productions in Orlando, told the selectmen the series is similar to what American television viewers remember as “The Love Boat.” He said that producer Wolfgang Rademann had filmed the show around the world for 20 years and had heard about Martha’s Vineyard from his German friends.
After making a visit, he fell for the Island, Mr. Wormer said. Now, he wanted permission from the selectmen to film a scene at the Menemsha Texaco gas station.
Mr. Wormer assured the selectmen the show is very family friendly. He said the production would not interfere with ordinary activity and would likely take several hours to complete.
The film crew and cast, approximately 25 Germans and 15 Americans, will film a scene that shows the concierge of the ship in a convertible running into the captain on his motorcycle at the gas station. There was no discussion of whether the denizens of Squid Row would get speaking parts.
J.B. Riggs Parker, chairman of the selectmen, did not favor the proposal and invoked the s-word, which he enhanced with the adjective “very.”
“I think Menemsha is for our townspeople and our visitors and not a place for making movies on a commercial basis. Mr. Parker said. “Menemsha is a very special place.”
Selectman Warren Doty asked for one reason the town should say yes. Mr. Wormer suggested it could inspire an uptick in European tourism. Mr. Doty referenced an earlier film production that resulted in a donation to the Chilmark School travel program. Mr. Wormer said that something similar was a possibility and was not unusual in the industry.
Selectman Frank Fenner noted that the timing of the filming, October 23 or 24, would find Menemsha calm and peaceable. Mr. Fenner said he did not see why the filming would make much difference.
The vote was two to one, Mr. Parker opposed.
The German love boat crew also plans to film in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.