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Volume 34 - Page 3 of 37 July 7, 2004
ABANA Conference Edition
Camp Fenby June 2004
The Longship Company on the History Channel
Bruce Blackistone in front of the fallen Pecan. Camp Fenby 2004  is the Longship Company summer viking crafts event. This year was a little different than in the past. Having lost the great Pecan tree in last year's huricane many activities were held under a tent rather than the shade of the great tree.

Activities this year included weaving, building shaving horses, cheese making, silver smithing, building a reproduction viking chest, forging, brass casting and building the Ren-Faire JYH (junk yard hammer).

Continued on page 4 
Longship Company on The Fyrdraca - Longship Company on
the History Channel!

Quest for King Arthur:
Aired June 20th at 9pm Eastern US.

Hosted by Johann Griffin who plays Lancelot in the upcoming Jerry Bruckheimer movie King Arthur. Narated by Patrick Stewart (Capt. Jean Luke Piquard of Star Trek).

Our friends from the Longship Company (Viking reenactors) are featured in the History Channel segment on King Arthur. They played invading Normans, Saxons, Britons and the carrying of King Arthur to Avalon (sunset scene at left).
Pushing a bit beyond both ends of what is usually considered the "Viking age" for filming of a History Channel program on the historical basis of, and the later romantic legends about, King Arthur, this last autumn the Fyrdraca first underwent a temporary makeover to become a 6th century Saxon ship, the Blace Hors (i.e Black Horse). Small inlets in southern Maryland served as the fog-shrouded estuaries of Britain, as Longship Company members portrayed the Saxon invaders and colonizers against whom Arthur is said to have led the British resistance forces. Later, converted back to its more usual appearance, the Fyrdraca became a funerary ship for the Arthur of legends set in late medieval times, in which mourning ladies of his court carried his body off into the sunset of Avalon.

- Longship Company web site.
Atli, crew and ship are shown over and over in very short clips. The same three 2 second clips over and over any time they needed to show a Viking or Norman ship, invaders coming ashore and a bit of them being repelled. There was also the sunset scenes with Arthur going to Avalon. A favorite is oars rowing. . .

The two hour film has interviews with several authors of books about King Arthur and historians about the search for an historical king. Graphics from historical tapestries, illustrated manuscripts and moasics are used as well as historical sites such as Stonehenge and several castles. Reenactors (amature actors) play out the many battles and various scenes.

As Atli (ship's captian) has pointed out it ran a little long. It was repetitive on many points but did present a lot of murky British history as well as show off a lot of renactors on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sadly the film editors used lengthly time compressed shots of beautiful changing skys to symbolize passing of time rather than using the footage of all the great reenactors from both sides of the Atlantic to fill time. Like the Longship Company, I suspect they spents days with film crews only to be reduced to a few seconds used over and over.

This style of editing has become a hallmark of a History Channel production. They have made a low budget formula out of their editing process that makes all their shows the same and tiresome to watch after seeing a few. They have no individuality. I enjoy the great history but television is a VISUAL medium (like the web) and they have cheapend the visuals as far as you can go.

5221K QuickTime Movie Trailer at (a LONG download on a dialup connection).
You can buy the Video or DVD for $29.95 from The A&E Store
Longship Company's Fyrdraca Reproduction Viking Ship FOR SALE!

The Longship Company's Fyrdraca has seen better days. One of its last voyages was for the History Channel movie about King Arthur. Needing extensive repairs and with a larger replacement ship on the way the company has tentatively decided to find the Fyrdraca a new home.

The Fyrdraca is loosly based on the Rügen wreck #2. It would be perfect as-is for a museum dry-land display. Repairs are necessary to be seaworthy.

Expressions of interest may be made to Fred at 301-390-4089 (a Maryland USA number).
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