PT 109 (1963)
Where: New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
212-873-3400 Price: Free
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President John F. Kennedy kept a unique inauguration gift on his White House desk: a coconut encased in plastic. The tale of that coconut is the heroic story of PT 109. Cliff Robertson stars in this stirring saga of Kennedy’s wartime exploits as skipper of a PT boat in the Solomon Islands. The assignment: harass the enemy and buy time for a U.S. Navy still on the drawing boards. In August 1943, PT 109 was sliced in half by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy led his surviving crew through a sea aflame from gasoline, towing a badly burned sailor miles to the nearest island. There seemed little hope of rescue from the Japanese-dominated area – until a strategy involving a coconut emerged. The triumphant outcome was unbelievable – and all true!