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A Tale of Two 'Perfect Storms'

Barnegat Light locals reflect on the 1991 'Perfect Storm,' Hollywood's depiction of that storm, and 'Frankenstorm.'

Some meteorologists have compared "Frankenstorm" to the "Perfect Storm" that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, and was depicted years later in a film starring George Clooney and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. 

What many may not realize is that the film based on the 1991 storm, 'A Perfect Storm,' has a Barnegat Light connection. One of the vessels in the film, captained by Mastrantonio and known in the film as the Hannah Boden, is actually the Lindsay L, a scallop boat docked in Viking Village in Barnegat Light. The Lindsay L was repurposed to resemble a longliner.

The people actually steering the "Hannah Boden" in the film are two Barnegat Light locals, Kirk Larson, Jr. and Larry Walsh, Jr. Barnegat Light Mayor and Lindsay L owner Kirk Larson, Sr. played a part in recommending the two for the part.

Yesterday, Larson, Jr. and his mother Pam, owner of "The Seawife" antique store in Barnegat Light. reflected on the pending storm, and on Hollywood's depiction of the now-famous 1991 storm. 

The storm depicted in the movie "went offshore, it turned East. This one is coming right at us," Larson said."It's kind of like a football game. It is meeting us on our home turf." As some predictions note, that "home turf" is much more densely populated, which could mean far bigger problems than the 1991 storm.

Larson's mother, Pam, who is co-owner of the Lindsay L with Kirk, Sr. said that much has changed with commercial fishing since the 1991 storm, and even since the release of the film 12 years ago.

"Staying in communication is a whole lot easier than it was then," Mrs. Larson said. "Nowadays, you can just log onto a website and see where the boats are." She added, however, that all of the commercial fisherman docked in Viking Village are in this weekend. "You don't take chances being out there on days like these."

Larson noted that the movie filmed from August to October 1999, which also happened to be during another famous storm, Tropical Storm Floyd. He recalled there were several queasy crewman during filming. 

"The [crew] were throwing up all over each other, and then they left it for other people to clean up," Larson Jr. said. "I guess that's Hollywood for you."

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