Lake Geneva Puts On a Show

                              And What a Show It Is!




By Megan McKinney


      Current NORMANDIE owners Larry and Sue Larkin.


When the restored NORMANDIE was being prepared for launch at Lake Geneva on August 14, 2016, it would fulfill a dream stretching back more than a half century.  Therefore, it was essential the ceremony be carried out with flourish, and NORMANDIE owner Larry Larkin did so in spectacular fashion.

The portion of the afternoon presented here was based on the great yacht’s 105 year history, with four previous NORMANDIE owners describing their experiences with the storied vessel.

It was appropriate that these historic figures be portrayed by prominent participants in the affairs of today’s Chicago and Lake Geneva. Thus, the individuals who owned the vessel over the past century are depicted by more recent Lake Geneva luminaries.  Keep watching—you will begin seeing them soon.


Master of Ceremonies Ed Weed is charged with the arduous task of keeping the players on script.


NORMANDIE was built in 1913 for Chicago banker Norman Harris, who is interpreted on these pages by Andy Hays. NORMANDIE then belonged to John Borden, acted by John Simms Jr.


Indiana Jones coaches John Borden aka John Simms Jr. on his quest for the bowhead whale.


Her next owner, Lewis Myers, is represented by Joe Pringle, followed by Nathan Hunt, portrayed here by Bob Youngquist.  Larry Larkin, who is very much with us today, needs no 21st century representative.  Thus, we begin with Norman Harris.


Shirley Ryan, as Norman Harris’s mother, Charity, speaks of her son’s sterling qualities.


Charity/Shirley is joined by Norman (Andy Hays) and his father, Nathan, acted by Pat Ryan. The senior Harrises describe the difficulties in raising their now successful son.


Carol Hays is Norman’s wife, Emma Harris, who arrives to review Norman’s accomplishments, including his ordering of NORMANDIE’s construction.


Walter Larkin, brother of the boat’s current owner, makes a timely appearance in the guise of NORMANDIE builder Charles Seabury.


Ellen Waller Borden joins her husband, John, second owner of NORMANDIE, who recalls his adventures as a “professional explorer.” The Bordens are brought to life by Janelle Powers and John Simms Jr.


NORMANDIE’s third owner Lewis Myer and his wife Caroline (Joe and Tami  Pringle) describe coming to Lake Geneva, building their summer cottage and purchasing NORMANDIE to provide a site for Lewis’ poker playing and cigar smoking activities.


“Look,” Caroline asks, “isn’t that Thomas Edison coming down the aisle?”


It is indeed. Edison (Andy Loughlin) describes his invention, the light bulb, to the Myers/Pringles.


Fourth NORMANDIE owner, Nathan Hunt (Bob Youngquist), appears. He brings with him consorts Kim Novack (Maureen Zimmerman) and Jinx Falkenburg (Ruth Ramsey), with whom he discusses happy times aboard the yacht.


At last, the arrival of Sue Larkin, the real life wife of current NORMANDIE owner Larry Larkin . . .


And the “man of the hour,” Larry Larkin himself.


The four previous owners, Norman Harris, John Borden, Lewis Myers and Nathan Hunt, prepare to recommission NORMANDIE.


Norman Harris accomplishes the deed . . .


And Cully Pillman fires a canon to celebrate the launching.


 NORMANDIE of Lake Geneva. 


The Larkins at the helm.


Author Photo:

Robert F. Carl