It Was 20 Years Ago

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This Thursday, September 1st, will be the 20th Anniversary of Robert Ballard’s Group iscovering the Titanic. That became a noteworthy event, for many reasons, especially as it dealt with the science of undersea explorations.

For us, one can only wonder how our lives might have turned out, otherwise, as we noted the discovery, subsequent explorations, artifact recoveries and exhibitions, and Cameron’s film. It also gave us the chance to get to know each other, including the many times some of us got to meet, face-to-face.

No matter what one might, personally, think about Doctor Ballard, if it wasn’t for his fforts, none of this would have likely happened.

It is true that someone else might have found Titanic (can anyone imagine “Jack Grimm, Salvor in Possession”?). What would have been the outcome, one can only speculate.

Sometime this coming weekend (Labor Day Weekend for those of us in the US) we should all take time to remember the discovery, in whatever form we choose.

BTW, to the US Listmembers living in Louisiana, Southern Mississippi or Alabama, my thoughts are with you, regarding the approach of Hurricane Katrina. I have friends in Hattiesburg (MS); they have made all the necessary preparations.

Jason D. Tiller

Hi John,


(Labor Day Weekend for those of us in the US)

Don't forget about us as well.
Anybody else feeling very old?
Yes, especially when I consider that I was 22 years old in 1985, and was entering my last year in College.

However, as I stated on another thread, right now I prefer being 42 today, instead of the alternative.

Besides, we now have to start planning our activities for 2012.
I still have on tape all of the initial news reports of the Titanic's discovery. CBS Morning News (co-hosted by Maria Shriver) was the place to turn to to get more information than the other networks at the time, with the first actual wreck photos aired on CBS Evening News on the 2nd or 3rd I believe. The first photo released was of a boiler and then the first wreck image was a shot of the bow that in the murky B/W image was described melodramatically and erroneously as showing the "ice damage" on the bow underneath the visible railing.

Looking back at this coverage, I'm always struck by how exciting it was to find this ship at last, and also at the same time I chuckle at how so many of our first impressions were erroneous. We still thought wrongly that the second and third funnels were intact. We thought in the illusion of the overhead bow shots that only showed the caulking that the teak decks were perfectly preserved. What the tapes of these interviews done via phone hook-up from the wrecksite reveal about Robert Ballard is a subject best left for another thread.

I know I'll never forget what I was doing that week. The tapes help me recall specific moments of what I was doing when I changed channels to get Walter Lord moving over from CBS to David Hartman on ABC to do another interview and keep my general impressions of how I felt that exciting week fresh forever..
I was going into the third grade at the time. So yes Phil, at 28 years old, I am feeling old!
Although I vaguely remember there was some big thing in the paper the summer before it was found. They were showing diagrams in my local paper of how the Titanic could be raised.

Paul Lee

>What the tapes of these interviews done via >phone hook-up from the wrecksite reveal about >Robert Ballard is a subject best left for >another thread.

Please, do tell!
Well, I've touched on it before in the past, but might as well again. What these phone interviews do is destroy any claim that's been made in the years since that Ballard only developed his "hands-off, no-salvage" position after he looked at the ANGUS photos after his Congressional testimony. In every one of these phone interviews, and then in a studio-interview with Maria Shriver the day after his return from the site (with Louise Pope next to him) he is consistent from the beginning in pushing a "Don't bring up one artifact ever, period" approach. And he is pushing the "gravesite" argument as the basis for doing this almost constantly, as well as "people would rather see photos than bringing things up" line of thinking.

This is what's so baffling about Ballard. He makes all of these comments on television pushing one view, then suddenly away from TV cameras before Congress, he says something entirely different about salvage and takes another position, and then months later while diving on the wreck in 86 he's back to taking the position he took before the TV cameras the year before.
I miss the good ol' days.
I did not hear of the discovery until later in the day, IIRC, for I had my first day of school on September 2nd, 1985...just a few blocks down from Walter and Malhala Douglas' house!
I was fated to study the Titanic from day one!

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