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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
“The only thing I recall is the steward, or whoever it is, took Mother and me up and told my dad to hurry up and get his family up on deck because it was the second-last lifeboat,” she told Midday, when sharing her story with the program in September 1991.”And they put us into the lifeboat and of course, the men were supposed to stand back, but the boat was only half-full and they were lowering it already. So he jumped in.”
“We were able to get incredibly high resolution images of the wreck, which will be part of a documentary, which is going to be made about our trip,” Lahey said. In dark, near-freezing waters, the team said it was struck by the size of the sunken ship. “There was this dark contrast between the wreck and all the corrosion you see, and all the beautiful animals that are all around it,” Lahey said. But the dives revealed parts of the Titanic are being consumed by the ocean, and the deterioration will continue.
Bride died of lung cancer in 1956 aged 66, and a plaque has been displayed in his honour at his childhood home in the London borough of Bromley and the house has become a popular pilgrimage site for Titanic enthusiasts. But Scone and District Historical Society believe that his home in the village should also bare a memorial in Bride’s honour. The group have applied to the council’s planning team to put up a plaque on the C-listed building, which is still a privately owned home. It’s owner is due to celebrate his 100th birthday on December 14 and the plaque would be a fantastic present to mark the occasion, according to the Historical Society.
Part of the Old School House near Belfast — a charming 1833 structure that has been converted into a four-bedroom single-family property — is made of wood from the fated ship. The house’s owner was told by a man who worked in a local salvage yard that the wood for the kitchen’s window seat was used in the building of the Titanic. The timber is said to came from Belfast’s Harland & Wolff shipyard, where the Titanic was constructed between 1909 and 1912. The link has never been confirmed, and it’s unclear when in the house’s 186-year history the bench was added. But it is plausible that the wood could have come from the famous Belfast shipbuilding hub — it’s less than 5 miles away.
Geneva watchmaker Romain Jerome purchased a piece of the hull of the Titanic, the oceanliner that sank in 1912, to make the Titanic-DNA collection. The watch has an alloy using the slab from the wreck that was retrieved in 1991. The black dial face is made of lacquer paint that includes coal recovered from the debris field of the wreck site. Jerome made 2,012 watches — costing between $7,800 and $173,100 — to coincide with the centenary anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in 2012.
One of the underreported aspects of Titanic is that there were Jewish passengers aboard. Only 27 Jews survived and they were welcomed by the Hebrew Sheltering Home and Immigrant Aide in New York. Synagogues all over the country viewed the sinking as a tragedy. And inspired songs as well.
One of the problems encountered by Jewish passengers was staying true to Kashrut (religious dietary laws called kosher). Jews comprised a fair number of 3 rd class passengers on these ships but many ships had no facilities for kosher food preparation. That meant either you brought rations to eat on the voyage or you fasted. And fasting was not easy on a 5 day or more journey across the Atlantic ocean. In fact, some died from starvation.
The Hamburg-Amerika line started in 1905 having kosher food prepared aboard to serve to mainly 3rd class Jewish passengers. Other lines began to do the same because they could market that Jews would get kosher food aboard their ships to America. And since 3rd class was very profitable for the large liners, it was worth the cost to do so.
The Hebrew steerage passengers were looked after by a Hebrew who is employed by the company as a cook, and is at the same time appointed by Rabbi as guardian of such passengers. This particular man told me that he is a pioneer in this work. He was the first to receive such an appointment. It is his duty to see that all the Jewish passengers are assigned to sleeping quarters that are as comfortable and as good as any; to see that kosher food is provided and to prepare it. He has done duty on most of the ships of the White Star line. On each he has instituted this system of caring for the Hebrews and then has left it to be looked after by some successor.(U.S. Immigration Report, 1909)
Titanic had kosher service according to a recent article on jewishpress.com. “All kosher serving dinnerware and utensils for all classes on the Titanic were marked “milk” or “meat,” and mashgichim (supervising rabbis) were authorized by White Star to regularly inspect the ship’s catering departments in both England and New York. Those who ate kosher food used the same tables as everyone else, were served in the same manner, and were fed food of the same quality.” There was also a kosher butcher that supplied meat and rabbinical supervision to make sure the food was prepared according to Kashrut dietary laws.
Sadly no kosher menu has survived from the White Star Line but it is surmised they did exist. References to kosher meat and being served to Jewish passengers suggest that a menu had to exist. It is a fascinating bit of history to read about. And continues to show Titanic still has stories to tell.
The tragic loss of life recently in a Santa Barbara boat fire is going to trigger lawsuits against the boat owner and perhaps other parties as well. It is being reported that the boat owner, Truth Aquatics Inc. has filed a lawsuit to limit its liability. It is suing under the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 which says the owner of a ship can limit damage claims to the value of the ship. They must show that the owners had no knowledge of potentially dangerous flaws. The law was used to protect White Star Line from huge lawsuits back in 1912. And apparently has been used since then as well and survived legal challenges that took it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Legal experts are stating it is not unexpected as they are trying to limit damage claims by the families of those who lost loved ones. Others criticize the decision as heartless. Since this occurred on water and involves maritime law, the legal action will take place in federal court which has jurisdiction on these matters. What is likely to occur will be confidential settlements between the company and the parties that sue for damages. While the lawyers for the parties seeking damages will talk publicly about trying to upend this law, in reality it will be more difficult then it first appears. And it will cost money if the parties seeking damages have to foot the bill for appealing it up if they lose at any stage of the process.
This last week saw a lot of reporting in print and online about a recent dive to Titanic. These were the most up-to-date photos of the wreck. Commentators went agog describing how it was falling apart. Some blamed it on global warming. Some opined it should be brought up. Others had silly things to say as well. But a few pointed out this is exactly what is supposed to be happening so this is not a surprise.
Titanic sank in 1912 and has been resting in two parts on the bottom of the cold North Atlantic ever since. Until 1985, no one had a clue as to what it would look like. And people were stunned by what was revealed. It also confirmed that, as some reported back in 1912, the ship had broken in two. Another thing that was dashed was the concept of a long gash. Instead it was punctures caused by the iceberg that resulted in water entering the ship.
Scientists have noted over the years that Titanic was slowing but surely going to deteriorate. Photos from later expeditions confirmed this was well underway. A recent article in Forbes about this decay noted the following:
During the first visit to the wreck in 1985, scientists observed bacteria and fungi colonizing the rusty remains. One type of bacteria was an unknown species, appropriately named Halomonos titanicae in 2010. Oxidizing the iron parts, the microorganisms produce energy to sustain their metabolism. The waste products of the microbial metabolism is a thick layer of rust, covering the entire wreck, forming stalactites (called rusticles) along the hull.
Every day, the microorganisms consume almost 100 pounds of iron. The peculiar feeding mechanism causes quickly growing holes in the steel plates of the outer hull. The upper ship’s decks are made from thin steel plates, so these quickly decaying this part of the ship may collapse in a few years. The lower parts of the ship’s hull are made of thicker plates. They will likely decay over the next few decades. In the end, the weakened hull will collapse entirely and be buried by sediments, transported by underwater currents.
Other things had an impact. Now there is disagreement as why there are so many microorganisms on Titanic. Some say it is due to over fishing (which means those little microorganisms multiplied and sank to bottom and found Titanic delicious) while others argue it is actually what is supposed to be happening.
The fact that Titanic is decaying is not news but the news media throws it up like this could not or should not be happening. Except of course we know that it could not possibly stay the same. And eventually the wreck will slowly but steadily decrease in mass as the sea claims as much as it can. One day most of it will no longer by visible. Only bits and pieces will remain of the once great liner. Fortunately we have a library of photographs and artifacts along with exhibits that will keep the story alive long after the wreck is gone.
Famed explorer Robert Ballard is now looking for evidence that will determine what finally happened to Amelia Earhart who disappeared in July 1937. She was a famed aviator of her day one of the rare female aviators in a male dominated area. She achieved a lot putting her on par with another famous aviator Charles Lindbergh.
It has been an enduring mystery to find out what happened to her. Many claims over the years have been made–some fanciful and others grounded in logic–but nothing has yet been found to prove what happened to her. Ballard sees this as another challenge to perhaps correct history much like what he did with Titanic. Below is a re-posting of a write up I did on Amelia Earhart. Hopefully he does find something definitive so we can at last know what happened back in 1937.
A few days ago the 80th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance went by without much notice in the press. There was some obligatory mentions in This Day In History write-ups and a mention of a possible finding of her plane. So who was Amelia Earhart and why was she important?
On 20 May 1932, five years after Charles Lindbergh made his famous solo nonstop flight from the U.S. to France, Amelia Earhart set out to be the first female aviator to accomplish the same feat. Unlike Lindbergh, Earhart was already well known before this flight. She gained fame in 1928 as part of a three person crew to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane. On that trip, she kept the plane’s log. Early on 20 May 1932, her Lockheed Vega 5B took off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. She intended to replicate Lindbergh’s flight but encountered strong northerly winds, mechanical problems, and icy conditions. Instead of landing in France, she landed in a pasture at Culmore(north of Derry)in Northern Ireland. When asked by a farmhand how far she had flown, she famously said “From America.”
Her feat received international acclaim. She received the Distinguished Flying Cross in the U.S., Cross of Honor of the Legion of Honor from France, and the Gold Medal from the National Geographic Society. Her fame allowed her develop friendships with many important and influential people such as First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Earhart would continue to make solo flights and set records. Sadly her next most famous mission would forever be shrouded in mystery. In 1937 she attempted–along with copilot Frederick Noonan–to fly around the world. On 2 Jul 1937, her plane disappeared near Howland Island in the South Pacific. Despite extensive searching by the U.S.Navy and Coast Guard, no trace of the plane or its pilots were ever found. The search was called off on 19 July.
Earhart was declared legally dead on 5 Jul 1939 so that her estate could pay bills. Since then numerous theories as to what happened have been put forth. Many believe her plane either crashed and sank or that they landed on an island and perished awaiting rescue. Some intriguing evidence recovered in 2012 off Nikumaroro might be from their plane which supports the crash and sank hypothesis. More speculative theories have her being a spy for FDR or being captured and executed (along with Noonan)by the Japanese on Saipan (the area checked for the pilots bodies revealed nothing). A 1970 book claiming she had survived, moved to New Jersey, and changed her name to Irene Craigmile Bolam. There really was an Irene Bolam who had been a banker in New York in the 1940’s. She sued the publisher and obtained an out-of-court settlement. The book was taken off the market. National Geographic debunked it in 2006 on Undiscovered History.