Treasures of New York – Ocean Keeper

Air date: 11/01/2012

Treasures of New York presents Ocean Keeper November 1st on THIRTEEN and November 10th on WLIW21

Originally featured at the Hamptons International Film Festival, the film portrays the living legacy of Amagansett Life-Saving Service Station.


Treasures of New York showcases the series’ first Long Island “treasure” about the historic Amagansett Life-Saving Service Station in Ocean Keeper. After premiering at the 2012 Hamptons International Film Festival, the film receives its public television primetime premiere on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 8:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN and Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 9:30 p.m. on WLIW21.

A blend of archival and contemporary footage, this documentary contains a wealth of historical detail. The Amagansett Life-Saving Station has been a unique centerpiece of Long Island history since it was built in 1902. The film journeys through the station’s extraordinary 100-year-plus history and arrives at its present day incarnation on Atlantic Avenue. Over a period of 44 years, the dedicated men who worked at the station saved thousands of lives. In 1942, four Nazi saboteurs were found by coastguardsman John Cullen during a nightly beach patrol in front of the station. And in 1966, the building was rescued from demolition and purchased for a dollar by Joel Carmichael whose family lived there for the rest of the 20th century.

Told through interviews with Carmichael’s children and Hampton historians Richard Barons and Robert Hefner, the film brings to life the heroic house and its inadvertent role in the ill-fated Nazi plot to blow up power stations.

Designed by architect George Russell Tolman in the style of the Quonochontaug station at Rhode Island, the Amagansett station was the last of 30 life-saving stations built along the South Shore of Long Island.  The South Shore was a major shipping route of commerce at the beginning of the 20th century.  The heavily trafficked waterway had many shipwrecks.  By 1915, the Life-Saving Service Stations collectively saved 186, 000 lives along the U.S. shores and were heralded as one of the greatest institutions of its kind.

From 1915-1944, the U.S. Coast Guard took over the Life-Saving Service Stations.  The Amagansett station was decommissioned in 1944 and left abandoned for 22 years until writer Joel Carmichael bought the property for a dollar in 1966 and moved it to Bluff Road, just blocks away from the beach.  As a family summer residence, the Amagansett house took on a new role as a salon for local artists and intellectuals including writer Dwight Macdonald; artist Costantino “Tino” Nivola; cartoonist Saul Steinberg; art critic Harold Rosenberg; and artist Willem de Kooning.  After Carmichael’s death in 2006, the house was donated back to Amagansett for historical preservation.

Along with Montauk Lighthouse, the Amagansett Life-Saving Service Station is considered one of East Hampton’s most cherished and important maritime buildings.

Ocean Keeper is a Pure Newt Production for WLIW21 in association with WNET, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations and the operator of NJTV.  The film is directed by Eileen Olivieri Torpey.  The film is produced by Deborah Carmichael, Isabel Carmichael and Eileen Olivieri Torpey. Deborah Carmichael is the Executive Producer.

Rebecca Fasanello is the associate producer for Treasures of New York.  Diane Masciale is executive producer of the Treasures of New York series and local programming . Executive-in-Charge of Production is John Servidio.

Treasures of New York explores New York’s cultural heritage by spotlighting its points of interest, distinguished establishments and notable figures.  The series is generously funded by Metropolitan Media Fund.

For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.



About WNET
In 2012, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and the operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah!  and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and, MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region.



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