Benno and I have been on a bit of a Titanic kick lately. We gave him a book on the Titanic and he is fascinated by the subject. I think my current interest started with the 100th anniversary of the sinking on April 15, 2012.
However, my love affair with that doomed vessel began a long time ago. It definitely predates James Cameron’s blockbuster. (My evaluation of the movie – AMAZING beautiful sets that totally capture the majesty of the ship and a horrible, awful, anachronistic script. Who in 1912 said “I’m involved now”? No one. That phrase wasn’t invented yet.) When I was in my early teens (maybe even before that), I discovered my Dad’s copy of Walker Lord’s A Night To Remember, and I was fascinated. Then I found that we also had Lord’s The Night Lives On and another paperback whose name I forget.
Another interesting tidbit is that I tended to take those paperbacks with me when we went on family vacations. To Victoria. On a ferry. Emily usually ended up gleefully singing “It Was Sad When the Great Ship Went Down.” I tried to ignore her and took careful note of the location of the lifejackets and lifeboats.
Over the years I have done a lot of reading on the Titanic. And now that we have the joys of YouTube, I spend my kitchen clean up time watching (or listening to) Titanic documentaries. Here are some of my favorites.
A Night to Remember, 1958. Classic documentary drama, a family favorite when I was young.
A wonderful A&E Special (2 parts) narrated by David McCallum who played wireless operator Harold McBride in the 1958 A Night to Remember.
Ghosts of the Abyss. This is an interesting documentary of James Cameron’s last dive down to the Titanic. It features Titanic star Bill Paxton. Look for an awkward urination scene and some very cool Titanic footage.
Tony Robinson’s Titanic Adventure. I’m pretty sure this documentary was created on the same trip, except this one is with Baldrick!
Return to Titanic. Titanic discoverer Dr Robert Ballard returns to the Titanic 20 years after his discovery. This documentary also includes a very interesting discussion on the relative merits of salvaging artifacts from the Titanic. I’m not sure that Ballard and Cameron would see eye to eye, especially on the topic of whether or not you should land your submersible on the deck of the Titanic.
Here’s a really interesting one Titanic: Case Closed. Unfortunately it was pulled off of YouTube by someone late last week. Basically, researcher Tim Maltin proposes that the Titanic hit the iceberg because of a cold water mirage. The mirage distorted the water and air to the extent that the lookouts were unable to see it until it was too late. He corroborates this with historical records as well as the experience of contemporary sailors. It is fascinating and I recommend that you check out the website.
I hope you enjoy all of these, we sure did!