The Casablanca is one of the four patriotic themed streamers created by Mrs. Carrie G. Stevens, of Upper Dam, Maine, during World War II, and the third streamer of the four in this set that I have posted here. The other three streamers in the series are the America, General MacArthur, and Victory.
Hook: Long shank streamer hook, tiers choice
Tag: Flat silver tinsel
Tail: Red hackle Fibers
Body: Flat gold tinsel
Belly: White bucktail
Throat: Red hackle fibers
Wing: Four white hackles flanked on each side by a slightly shorter dark violet hackle
Head: Three bands of red, white and blue
I used claret-dyed hackles for the dark violet called for in the recipe; essentially the same color. Photographs of an original Casablanca tied by Carrie Stevens in the book Forgotten Flies, 2000, show the dark violet hackles appearing almost black. The gold tinsel body on the Casablanca represents the least-used tinsel by far on her flies. The preponderance of silver tinsel in her flies indicates that Carrie Stevens harbored a decided preference for it, although there may have been an economic reason for that, considering she started tying flies in the late 1920′s and continued through the Great Depression.
July 3, 2012: I couldn’t resist adding the following material as an edit. This morning I posted this photo of the Casablanca in my Carrie Stevens Streamers Photo Album on The Streamer List http://www.streamerlist.com/where site administrator and fellow streamer enthusiast, Chris Del Plato, posted this comment:
“Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.” Which immediately made me start laughing. Then I replied to Chris with this follow up comment:
“Chris, thanks for your spontaneously appropriate comment! From the classic movie genera, that’s got to be one of the most iconic lines, in one of the most iconic scenes, spoken by one of America’s most iconic actors, to one of America’s most iconic actresses. (Back when there were actors and actresses).”
“Ah, the good old days…”
And I made that up as I went along, having seen Casablanca only twice, without doing any on-line research beforehand. And as Americans go in general, I’ve seen far fewer rather than more movies in my lifetime. Honest. You can count on that.
All this then, made me decide to add the exchange between Chris and I to this post on the streamer pattern. Then I started to speculate if there could be a connection between the Carrie Stevens streamer fly Casablanca, the patriotic effort of World War II; which we know she was interested in both as an American and as a businesswoman, and the movie of the same name. Casablanca was released in 1942. This possibility is not and will likely never be confirmed, but here is some information I found, quoting the written film material on Casablanca, from Wikipedia:
“Although it was an A-list film, with established stars and first-rate writers—Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch, received credit for the screenplay—no one involved with its production expected Casablanca to be anything out of the ordinary; it was just one of hundreds of pictures produced by Hollywood every year. The film was a solid, if unspectacular, success in its initial run, rushed into release to take advantage of the publicity from the Allied invasion of North Africa, a few weeks earlier. Despite a changing assortment of screenwriters frantically adapting an unstaged play and barely keeping ahead of production, and Bogart attempting his first romantic lead role, Casablanca won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Its characters, dialogue, and music have become iconic, and the film has grown in popularity to the point that it now consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films of all time.”
I conclude with these words: Personally, from the evidence we do know, Carrie Stevens was not only a fly tier, but she was a business woman and a skilled, entrepreneurial self-promoter who possessed an uncanny marketing acumen. Considering her numerous creations of streamer patterns named after her fly tying customers and her husband’s guide business clients, in conjunction with the other three patterns in her patriotic series, the America, General MacArthur, and Victory, I believe the two are related. By more than coincidence. I think it’s a safe assumption that Carrie’s creativity and business-sense merged when she conceived and named the Casablanca streamer fly.
This study of historical information and the individuality and creativity of an iconic fly tier, fly designer, and businesswoman, in this case provides fascinating information to add another chapter to the rest of the story.