Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
"I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that."
When anyone asks me how I can best describe my experience in nearly forty years at sea, I merely say, uneventful. Of course there have been winter gales, and storms and fog and the like. But in all my experience, I have never been in any accident... or any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort.
I will go a bit further...I will say that I cannot imagine any condition which could cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.Five years later, Captain Smith was tragically proven wrong when the Titanic went down in the icy North Atlantic - taking him down with her to the depths.
References: "Disaster At Last Befalls Capt. Smith," New York Times, April 16, 1912.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I won't attempt to eulogize Elizabeth Taylor: so many others have done that far more eloquently than I ever could. But I do want to tell of something rather special that did happen aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth during the 1960s.
Debbie Reynolds' husband, Eddie Fisher, had left her to marry Taylor - his best friend's widow - in 1959. This proved to be a tremendous scandal that brought unwanted publicity to all parties involved. Although Fisher and Taylor divorced, there was an understandable coolness between the two friends. But Debbie Reynolds did eventually forgive her:
It was after many years. I'd remarried and she'd remarried. I was going to London on the Queen Elizabeth ship and I looked up and I saw tons of luggage going by me and birdcages and dog cages and nurses and I realized Elizabeth was on the same ship as me. I almost changed my mind about going but my husband said, 'Don't be silly, we won't be on the same floor. Of course we were so I sent a note to her room and she sent a note back to mine saying that we should have dinner and get this over with and have a good time. Because we were very good friends when we were 17 and went to school together on the MGM lot. And we had a wonderful evening with a lot of laughs.The friendship that was renewed aboard the Queen Elizabeth in the 1960s lasted for many years and sadly came to an end yesterday morning. Elizabeth Taylor will be missed by legions of fans to be sure.
References: Nicki Goston, "Debbie Reynolds Forgave Elizabeth Taylor on a Boat," PopEater, March 24, 2011, under Movie News, http://www.popeater.com/2011/03/24/debbie-reynolds-elizabeth-taylor (accessed March 24, 2011).
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Although the film is clearly a piece of anti-German propaganda, it nevertheless gives an interesting interpretation of the sinking. Some of the facts are incorrect, such as when it says that U-39 attacked with two torpedoes (it was U-20 with one). It is important to be mindful of this while watching the film. McCay, however, is able to show what happened with remarkable detail and clarity using nothing more than simple animation.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The following footage comes from the YouTube account of sanderroijk:
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Van Johnson came aboard to sail with us back to the States, and I chatted with him about some of the films he had starred in over the years. 'I really enjoyed your performance in The Caine Mutiny,' I remarked to him at my party the first night out after Honolulu.
'Well, as a master mariner you would,' he said, 'but I guess like many on that set I was a little overwhelmed by Bogey.'
'You mean Humphrey Bogart?'
'I do indeed,' said the tall, greying actor. 'D'ya know he learned his seamanship from Katie Hepburn in The African Queen?' I smiled, and Johnson went on: 'Don't get me wrong, Captain. Bogey was only half your size, but he sure as hell showed us who was Master, and a mad one at that, on the Caine set.'
References: Captain Robert Harry Arnott, Captain of the Queen: The autobiography of the most famous sea captain of the all. (London: Quadrant Books, 1982), 209.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
God save the Queens!