All posts by Mark Taylor

Cameron’s titanic: FICTIONAL STORY WITH REAL HISTORIC EVENT

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912.

Historical based movies or television series are often matched with the history they depict. Historical fiction is where historical events or people are present but the actual story is fiction. Herman Wouk’s Winds of War is an excellent example. The journey of the Henry family was fictional though set during the events of World War II.

James Cameron’s Titanic is a great movie, won numerous awards, and still gets praise today. The central characters were fictional but took place on the Titanic. Cinema Blend took a look at the movie and compared it to what really happened. They found it was mostly accurate but not completely. Jack and Rose were fictional but most of the supporting characters on the ship resembled their historical counterparts. Cinema Blend notes adding this made the story telling better especially in the case of Ida and Eva Strauss holding hands.

Other things such as the barricades or guns being fired were more conjuncture than real. Yet they provided emotional drama for the movie, which is why they were there. The key to remember is that filmmakers will tinker with historical details for a variety of reasons. In really bad ones they shift a lot of things around for drama rather than historical accuracy.

For instance Scarlet and Black, a 1983 miniseries, was based on the real life exploits of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty. O’Flaherty helped allied prisoners of war (and others) in Rome during World War II. But it strayed quite a bit from the historical source material it was based on for entertainment purposes. So while highly entertaining, much of the telling was altered.

In this case Cameron stayed more or less with history when it mattered. And let Jack and Rose be exactly who they were in the movie about their fictional love story.

Friday Titanic News

J. Bruce Ismay, president of the White Star Line, in 1912
Public Domain(Wikipedia)

Titanic Survivor’s Guilt Over Escape From The Sinking Ship Revealed In Messages Set To Sell For £50,000 (Telegraph, 10 Oct 2019)

Mr Harrison was Mr Ismay’s personal valet and the collection includes a four page letter he wrote home to his wife Ann Harrison about how he was “fed up” with spending hours writing letters to post for Mr Ismay. Days after the tragedy Mr Ismay wrote to Mrs Harrison via telegram: “Words fail to express my sorrow at your terrible loss. “Am overwhelmed by this frightful calamity.”

Once Halloween season kicks in, it is inevitable you get stories with a supernatural tilt to it. The folks who run the Scottsdale, Arizona Titanic Exhibit are no exception. For the Halloween season they are adding a “ghost walk.” According to AzFamily,  on select days “visitors can walk around the haunted galleries and hear the ghost stories from the exhibit’s staff about the artifacts.” Apparently there have been claims of spirits and other things alleged to have occurred at the exhibit. A local psychic is also going to be on hand to add more ambience to the event. About the only thing missing is a ouija board.

Source: Scottsdale Titanic Exhibit Near Scottsdale To Feature The Ghost Walk (AzFamily.com, 10/8/19)

Cross Made from Titanic Oak Up For auction

BBC News is reporting that a cross made from Titanic wood is up for auction. It was made by Samuel Smith who was aboard the recovery ship S.S.Minia. Wood from Titanic was used by Smith to fashion a cross in honor of the victims.

The cross will be auctioned off on Saturday, October 19 at 1 pm along with other Titanic items by Henry Aldridge and Son. It is expected to fetch £18,000 ($22,000).

Source: Wooden cross made from Titanic oak to be auctioned (BBC, 8 Oct 2019)

remembering history:Great chicago Fire of 1871

Currier & Ives lithograph shows people fleeing across the Randolph Street Bridge. Thousands of people literally ran for their lives before the flames, unleashing remarkable scenes of terror and dislocation. “The whole earth, or all we saw of it, was a lurid yellowish red,” wrote one survivor. “Everywhere dust, smoke, flames, heat, thunder of falling walls, crackle of fire, hissing of water, panting of engines, shouts, braying of trumpets, roar of wind, confusion, and uproar.”
Original Source: Chicago Historical Society
Public Domain

On this date in 1871, what became known as the Great Chicago Fire began and would last till 10 October. The fire began around 9 pm on October 6 possibly at a barn owned by the O’leary family or in the nearby area southwest of city center. It consumed a shed on that farm and then spread outward. Due to a period of hot, dry and windy conditions, the fire would spread rapidly. With homes and buildings built mostly of wood, it also provided fuel for the fire as well.

The fire leapt the south branch of the Chicago River destroying central Chicago. It leapt across the main river branch and consumed the north side as well. 300 people were killed and a large swath of the city (about 3.3 square miles) was destroyed. 100,000 people were left homeless because of the fire. After the fire help poured in from all over the country and internationally as well. Money from Great Britain helped build the Chicago Public Library that would be free to everyone.

After the great Chicago fire of 1871, corner of Dearborn and Monroe Streets
Public Domain

The aftermath brought reconsideration of many things particularly in the area of building construction. Fire prevention became a big topic and construction of brick rather than wood buildings would result. With the right infrastructure in place, it would prevent such a catastrophe from happening again. Rebuilding began right away with higher standards and sometimes with buildings that were considered better than the ones that burned down.

Sources
History.com, Great Chicago Fire

rare Father browne photos on display at new bar

Reverend Francis Browne, 1939
Michael Garahy
Retrieved from Wikipedia

Never-Before-Seen Photos of the ‘Titanic’ Set the Scene at This Castle Hotel’s New Bar (Robb Report, 3 Oct 2019)

While post-Titanic, Browne went on to become known as one of the most important Irish photographers of the early 20th-century, documenting everything from the rigors of daily country life to the European trenches of World War I, he didn’t have the means to pay for the high cost of developing all of his film. So when the current owner of Lough Eske Castle (who also owns the Titanic Hotel Belfast) purchased a set of Browne’s old trunks at auction a few years back, he found inside numerous rolls of undeveloped film—which, now processed and remastered, form the basis for the largest private collection of Father Browne images.

Top Destinations For The Titanic Enthusiast (Travel Pulse, 5 Oct 2019)

After over a hundred years of stories and legends of page, stage and film, the ship continues to captivate generations, particularly travelers eager to visit the cities that figure prominently in Titanic’s story. Situated in both Europe and North America, here are some major sites for the Titanic enthusiast to visit during their travels.

Happy Sunday everyone.

Harland & Wolff Workers return to work; Belfast titanic memorial garden

Staff At Titanic Shipyard Harland And Wolff Cheer As They Return To Work After Business Was Sold (This is Money, 3 Oct 2019)

Harland and Wolff employees have gone back to work after the closure-threatened shipyard was sold. There were cheers as the remaining staff walked through the gates in Belfast at 9am. Workers launched a campaign after the shipyard was placed into administration over the summer. 

Belfast Titanic Memorial Garden (Atlas Obscura)

In honor of the 22 local men who died in the Titanic disaster, the sculpture is 22 feet high (including the plinth), and features small water fountains, gargoyle-type creatures, and inscriptions on all sides. The local victims are listed by rank, starting with Thomas Andrews, the ship’s architect and the managing director of Harland and Wolff.

Since it is Friday, time to relax and kick back a little.  And with Halloween approaching, perhaps a nod in that direction with Sorcerer’s  Apprentice. Have a nice Friday everyone.

Harland & Wolff Gets Reprieve;Titanic Walking cane

RMS Titanic ready for launch(1911)
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress, digital id#cph.3a27541)

Titanic Builder Harland And Wolff Thrown Lifeline In £6m Deal (Financial Times, 1 Oct 2019)
Harland and Wolff, the Belfast shipyard that built the Titanic, has been saved from collapse after UK energy infrastructure group InfraStrata agreed a £6m deal to buy the struggling business from administrators. InfraStrata said the agreement would save the jobs of the remaining 79 Harland and Wolff workers who did not opt for voluntary redundancy earlier this year.

Titanic Survivor’s Famous Walking Cane Valued At Over $100,000 (JustCollecting, 1 Oct 2019)
A walking cane which survived the sinking of the Titanic is expected to sell for more more than $100,000 when it goes up for auction this month. The cane, which features an electric light in the tip, was used by passenger Ella Holmes White to signal to other lifeboats after the ship sank on April 15, 1912, killing more than 1,500 people. The historic cane will now be offered on October 19 at Henry Aldridge & Son, a world-renowned auction house which specializes in Titanic artifacts.

Poignant Photograph Of Two Passengers Taken On Board The Titanic As The Doomed Liner Set Off On Maiden Voyage Is Set To Go Under The Hammer (Daily Mail, 1 Oct 2019)
Photograph taken by a passenger on board the Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage is being put up for auction as part of a collection worth an estimated £6,000. The poignant image was taken by a first-class passenger who was stood on the boat deck as Titanic crossed the Solent about an hour after slipping its mooring. Father Francis Browne leant over the railing to capture the pilot boat leaving Titanic for the last time having picked up harbour pilot George Bowyer.

Happy October

Photo:David Wagner(publicdomainpictures.net)

October is the 10th month on both the old Julian and newer Gregorian calendar. It is the first full month of Autumn where harvests are being done and in the old days people began to make ready for the coming of winter. The southern hemisphere though October is the first full month of spring.  Harvest festivals are common at this time of year along with popular ones such as the German Oktoberfest.

Also for sports fans in the US you see the popular sports of basketball, American football, and baseball converge on the calendar. Football is kicking into gear, basketball is starting up and baseball enters its championship phase culminating with the World Series.

Of course the big day is Halloween on October 31st. Sadly it falls on a Thursday meaning kids have to be home early and back to school the next day. Halloween decorations are out there and of course scary movies are in demand again. October has as its flower the Calendula and the birthstone is the opal.