In 1976 the film, production crew and movie stars, including Joan Collins landed in Fort Pierce, Florida to shoot parts of a movie. The motion picture film was based off of The H.G. Wells story, Empire of the Ants a sci-fi horror about a scam artist Joan Collins who tries to sell phony real estate deals in the Florida Everglades. She and her unsuspecting buyers don’t know its been taken over by giant ants. Jack Turley wrote the screen play.

I’m not exactly sure how the Pelican Yacht Club or the South Hutchinson Island was scouted as the area of filming the Marina scene, however, I personally know the son of the Captain of the large vessel that was used in one of the first scenes. Ron Becker, was a local treasure hunter on the Treasure Coast and owned CARLA, the 100 foot salvage vessel. The vessel was used in the movie and Ron’s son Richard, a young lad got to tag along to help. The vessel in the movie captured the barrels of “toxic” waste thrown off the ship. Richard told me that he helped fill the barrels with water before they were thrown off the side of his father’s vessel.Did anyone know that this low budget movie was filmed in Fort Pierce? I’ve never heard anyone ever mention it until one day Richard told me about it with just a snippet of information regarding his father, Ron.

Ron Becker had been doing salvage with Mel Fisher and on his own for a while before this opportunity came up. He was also involved in the salvage of the wreckage of The Lady Elgin in 1989 off Highwood, Illinois and Lake Michigan. Pictures below reference his early salvaging days.

The Pelican Yacht Club in 1976 before Hurricane David hit in 1979

For your convenience the movie is below, although there are commercials. Enjoy!

Plythe Freedman holds a MA in Youth Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary. She is a mother of two. Her passion for small businesses and her community has been displayed through her many hours of volunteering and meeting with city officials to assist in promoting Fort Pierce. She is also a former board member of Grace Way Village, a non profit organization that helps clothe and feed disadvantaged children. She is a former member of the Chamber of Commerce and a former Royal Palms member. She served on the RDC advisory board at Suncoast Mental Health Center. And She was appointed by a City Commissioner to serve on the CRA Advisory Committee as the chair. She worked with Frontline For Kids as their public relations specialist and had her own column in the Lincoln Park Main Street Showcase. Plythe's goal is to promote Fort Pierce as a destination for families to visit, live, work and play.

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