#tbt Andre The Seal Hits The Big Time In Rockport
Any Mainer who remembers the 80's will know the iconic, and loveable, Andre The Seal!
From 1979 to 1984, Real People was one of the first American reality television shows. It aired here in Bangor, on Channel 2, every Wednesday night, from 8 pm to 9 pm. Real People featured actual "real people" with unique occupations or hobbies. It was so popular that it spawned a bunch of imitators, including That's Incredible! which aired on ABC. Back in those days, there weren't a thousand viewing options, so everyone was glued to the boob tube to watch televison,
During the shows run, they did a segment on Andre the Seal, who was a male harbor seal pup found off the island of Robinson's Rock in Penobscot Bay, Maine. Andre was adopted by Harry Goodridge, who was a tree surgeon and the Harbormaster of Rockport. Harry and Andre became the best of buds, and he raised Andre with the hope that the seal would become his scuba diving companion, and expecting that the seal would eventually return to the wild when given the opportunity. Andre spent his winters at the New England Aquarium in Boston and his summers in Rockport Harbor. Every spring for over 20 years the Seaquarium would release him and Andre would swim the 150 miles to Rockport. Andre The Seal lived a long and happy 25 years until his death in 1986.
A statue of Andre, built by Jane Wasey, was dedicated at the harborside in 1978.
Andre and Harry's story has been well documented in hundreds of news articles, a book "A Seal Called Andre" written by Harry himself, and a 1994 film named "Andre"