It was a bleak scene for the 33 men and one dog aboard a Sault Ste. Marie-bound steamer 100 years ago — a crew caught in a weather event that mariners at the time billed as the worst they had seen.

“33 sink with ship,” was the oversized and bold headline on the Nov. 14, 1920, edition of the Duluth News Tribune. “Lake Superior Swept by Disastrous Storm. Crew of Francis J. Widlar believed to have perished,” the subhead continued.

Spoiler alert: They were all saved, including the ship's terrier, Tootsie, but the survivors had harrowing tales of the rolling and pitching of the ship, the bonfires they tried to keep lit on deck, the lack of food and a little lifeboat sent out on the big waves in search of rescue.

A story commemorating the anniversary of the unlikely survival of the crew inspired this week's Quirky Tales animation.

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About Quirky Tales

A digital animation collaboration between Forum Communications Co. and award-winning motion design artist Richard Borge.

Borge grew up in Fargo, N.D., attended college in Moorhead, Minn., and Tucson, Ariz., and now lives and works in New York City, where he works on editorial and corporate advertising projects, covering both illustration and motion design components.

The animations are published on more than 20 Forum Communications' websites. Watch all of the Quirky Tales animations inspired by local journalism.

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