Were Normandie alive today


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Tom Lear

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The vibration problem was already solved by the second season, I believe. Perhaps the female correspondent was sickened by the preponderance of Art Deco and all the mirrored surfaces. There was also the famous missive by a British gentleman whose name escapes me, traveling with his son, complaining of the excessive gilt and the Zigfield-follies-like atmosphere, making it "impossible to enjoy a good book or get any meaningful work done," I think he said. I know after three days confined in such a frilly environment, the first thing I'd want to do as soon as I hit land again would be to buy a couple of six packs, stop bathing and settle down with a couple of Playboys - I know that's not exactly funny, but neither is chorus after chorus of pre-pubescent bellboys dolled up and powder-puffed to the nines in crimson-colored velour monkey suits.

Still, that would have been enough to over-awe the legions of 1950s midwesterners leaving the corn-fields for the first time. For all the Ward and June Cleavers, Ethel and Fred Mertzes, and Ozzies and Harriets wanting to get a good gawk at "gay Paree," the Normandie would have been the perfect intro.
 
Of course, Normandie may have ended her days as USS Lafayette, in service to the US Navy. Interesting spin on things, if you think about it. Still, I'd like to have her out in Long Beach next to Queen Mary...
 
>The vibration problem was already solved by the second season, I believe.

A year late...BUT.....

CGT fitted the Normandie with new propellers at either the beginning of the 1936 or 1937 season, and during her trials the vibration was minimal and the company made- what proved to be- the mistake of announcing that the vibration problem had been conquered. Then, on the eve of her retuirn to service she dropped- and lost-a screw,and its corresponding mate had to be removed and two of the old style propellers refitted. End result was same old vibration for another entire season and some bad publicity generated by the pre-voyage publicity about solving the vibration problem. 1938, her final complete year of service, was her first in which the phrase 'smooth sailing' could accurately be applied.

>Still, I'd like to have her out in Long Beach next to Queen Mary...

In a way it would be nice to see her intact, but on the other hand the Normandie that exists in the mind's eye could never be matched by the actual ship. I recall the first time I saw a color photo of the First Class Lounge and was surprised by how strident- perhaps garish is almost appropriate- the colors were. I had always 'pictured' the room in sedate tones, and seeing the preponderance of bordello red and gilt was a bit of a letdown. In much the same way, when I finally got to see the Dupas panel fragment at the French Art Deco exhibit at the Met, I thought that the colors were appalling (particularly the pink sections that were executed in the same lurid shade that Med School diagrams use) another Normandie let-down! So, I keep my 'memories' of the ship I never actually saw in B&W
 

Tom Lear

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Putting the web site together two years back, I confess I spent a lot of time in Photoshop re-tinting or toning down the color photographs. I still wonder if maybe it wasn't the color film of the time, that tended to over-saturate hues, kind of like the color photos you see from Nazi Germany in the same time frame.

A peculiar phenomenon with many things French ever since Napoleon III, IMHO. Throw up something fantastically over-decorated and screaming for attention, and let everyone "ooh" and "aah" for six months before common sense and good taste finally restore themselves. This is what happens when art tries too hard to be "art."
 
i know this is an old thread now...
If the Normandie were still in service in the late 1960s I wonder if Long Beach would have purched her over the Queen Mary? As the French Line were planning a sistership to Normandie, to be named Bretagne, its likely the France in some format would have been constructed - just imagine, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, Normandie, France, what a photo-op that would have made on Luxury Liner Row!
 
There is a photo of the Bretagne model, and diagrams of her profile, in the new Normandie book available through Amazon.fr. She was an ugly ship, resembling the offspring of two first cousins who mated ~ like the deformed spawn of the Normandie and the Champlain ~ and her non-construction represents no loss.
 
Yes, she was. The Bretagne, as Yourkevitch envisioned her had a single funnel like the Champlain's only it was pushed so far forward that it appeared to be rising off of the bridge
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The aft terraces that worked so well on Normandie were retained, but shortened and stacked very tightly atop one another giving the ship a long superstructure that appeared to end very abruptly. To judge from the model, and profile drawings, the Bretagne would not have been a good idea.
 
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