Why has Mrs J Stuart White not been in a Titanic movie

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Catherine S. Ehlers

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The thought has just occurred to me, why have none of the Titanic movies shown Mrs. J. Stuart White and her cane with the electric light? Lightoller mentioned it in his account (didn't like it, apparently), and the account of this stout-hearted elderly lady waving her cane all during the night as a signal for some reason strikes me as kind of humorous. I think Mrs. White's electric cane would be quite memorable if it showed up in a Titanic movie. What do you folks think?
 
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Jul 9, 2000
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An obscure account like that isn't the sort of thing a lot of movie producers are likely to know about. Hell, a lot of producers scarcely seem to trouble themselves to study the better known aspects of the history itself.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Electric cane!

What type of cane that was? Was it completed lighted like a glow-in-the-dark stick or just the end part was lighted?
 

Dave Gittins

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The cane had a light in the end of it. She made a nuisance of herself, waving it about when people needed all the night vision they could get.

There's a character based on her in A Night to Remember. As I recall, she's the snob who complains of the men smoking, which she did in real life. I don't think the cane is shown.
 
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Catherine S. Ehlers

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You guys are probably right. There are several incidents with real people that I think would add to any account of the Titanic. Several come to mind right now, such as:

1. Karl Behr's grateful response to the fellow in the lifeboat who generously offered the use of his gun after he and his wife were through with it. There's just something so surreal about this.

2. Richard Norris Williams and the fellow with the dented derby hat in Collapsible A.

3. Colonel Gracie's jovial comment to the ship's racquetball pro that he'd best cancel his appointment to play racquetball later in the morning--interspersed with shots of the racquetball court filling with water.

4. Somebody setting off an alarm clock in Boat 11.

Those are the real events that come to mind at the moment.

Cathy Ehlers
 

Jeremy Lee

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>>3. Colonel Gracie's jovial comment to the ship's racquetball pro that he'd best cancel his appointment to play racquetball later in the morning--interspersed with shots of the racquetball court filling with water<<

Wasn't it squash?

Racquetball was invented in 1949 by Joe Sobek, 37 years after the sinking!
 
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Catherine S. Ehlers

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Oops, you're right! Mea culpa!

Somebody can hit me with a wet noodle.

Don't know where I got that idea. Are there any similarities between the two? I've never played either.

Cathy
 

Dave Gittins

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Actually, in 1912 there were two games, squash and racquets. Racquets was the older game. I presume racquetball is something different again. Racquets was played with a hard ball and a larger court than we now use for squash. Squash developed from racquets when players found it more interesting to play with a soft ball. That's why it's called squash. Titanic's court was almost exactly the size of a modern squash court. The champion player on board, Charles Williams, played racquets, but kept in practice by playing on the squash sized court.

On comments that could be used in a movie, I like Gracie's plan to start the new day with a swim in the nice warm pool. He got half his wish!
 

Dave Gittins

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Yes. One thing that Titanic had was plenty of heat. It was only a small pool and the water was coming from the freezing cold sea, so it was heated. Some of the rivet counters probably have the details.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Were the heaters in the pool (underwater)?

Titanic and Olympic's swimming pool always looked more like a water storage tank as compared to a swimming pool!
 

Dave Gittins

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Jeremy, I'll leave the details to others but the heating would have been by some kind of heat exchanger, I presume some sort of hot steam pipes in the sides or bottom of the pool.

I agree with your comments on the appearance of the pool. There's a lot of silly hype about the wonders of Titanic and the miserable little pool is one example of a greatly over-rated facility.
 

Sherry Jordan

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Hello folks, I'm new here.

I remember reading about the lady and the electric light cane. That would have made an incredible scene, I believe.


I also would like to have a scene with Margaret Brown speaking to some third class passengers, in their language, (She spoke five languages fluently) so they would also know what was going on. And the part where the Titanic crew wanted her in a lifeboat as soon as possible, because of what she was doing. She was helping spread the panic, for her consideration for clueing in the third class passengers. I read this in a Molly Brown book.
 
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>>1. Karl Behr's grateful response to the fellow in the lifeboat who generously offered the use of his gun after he and his wife were through with it. There's just something so surreal about this.<<

I don't remember this. Could somebody elaborate on this for me, please? If the implication that a man and his wife used it on themselves in a lifeboat, that wouldn't make any sense, as they were in a lifeboat. Why would anyone need a gun in a lifeboat for that reason? I know that if I were in a lifeboat, and I had a gun, it would stay right in its holster, where it belongs.

As for the use of guns that night onboard by passengers for either suicide or the killing of another passenger, such stories have not been proven are are likely to be untrue. As I understand it, passengers were not allowed to carry arms, unless they had a reason (such as a police officer), but it's reasonable to presume that if a passenger did have arms, the those weapons would have been placed in storage for the duration. The only individuals who had guns that night were the officers, and the only confirmed use was for warnings (such as by Lowe when he got into his lifeboat and wanted to stop a stampede of people). It is not been confirmed that anyone had been killed through the use of a pistol. Murdoch's supposed suicide, for example (if it had been Murdoch), is just one of many stories; it has never been confirmed, despite a small host of eyewitness accounts that claimed that an officer shot himself.

As Catherine, states, though, there were many little interesting things that could/should be worthy of dramatization. The truth is, there's just too much, so everything can't be considered. Furthermore, a number of events are based on hearsay and can't be confirmed one way or another, so the tendency is to lean toward those famous, and affirmed, incidents. Still, it depends on the particular filmmaker and her/his preferences.
 
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By the way, I could also ask the same question about other Titanic prominents who haven't appeared in a Titanic movie, such as Olaus Abelseth, the Goodwyns, the 'Three Kates,' Hugh Woolner, Henry Sleeper Harper, Charles Hayes, and R. Norris Williams, for starters, not to mention more of Stead....

--Mark
 

Inger Sheil

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Certainly some passengers seem to have had guns, Mark - here's a description of the body of Michel Navratil (No. 15):
quote:

EFFECTS - Pocket book; 1 gold watch and chain; silver sov. Purse containing £6;receipt from Thos. Cook & Co. for notes exchanged; ticket; pipe in case; revolver (loaded); coins; keys; etc.; bill for Charing Cross Hotel (Room 126, April, 1912).
Given the circumstances under which he was travelling, it seems Mr Navratil anticipated he might encounter trouble.

I believe the suggestion in the original Behr story was that the man who offered him a gun anticipated using it if they were left adrift in the lifeboats without rescue. Faced with the prospect of death by dehydration, starvation and exposure, he evidently thought a quick death might be preferable.​
 
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>>...but it's reasonable to presume that if a passenger did have arms, the those weapons would have been placed in storage for the duration.<<

Oh I wouldn't make that assumption. This was 1912, not 2005, and the attitudes towards personal weapons were very different from that which you see today. I don't think this was something that would have raised a lot of eyebrows back then.
 

Inger Sheil

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Bissett describes having to confiscate firearms for the duration of the voyage from passengers who were carrying back American guns as gifts and souveniers. When Jemma and I were working on the unpublished diaries of Antactic explorer Belgrave Ninnis, we came across an early passage in which he describes smuggling a gun through customs. Without X-ray machines and short of doing an exhaustive search of the passengers, it would be hard to prevent some firearms from coming aboard.
 
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I remember reading here someplace that someone said that, on the real Titanic, LoveJoy wouldn't have gotten away with carrying a gun as he did in the movie.

Inger, so you mean to tell me that a man and wife in the same lifeboat with Behr actually killed themselves? I could have seen that in Collapsible A, considering that it was half filled with water and feared to sink, but only three bodies were found in that boat (Beatie's and two crewmen), unless they were dumped over. Was Behr in Collapsible A? I can't imagine that the others in the boat would have allowed such a reaction to take one's life. I can visualize at least ten people jumping forward and grabbing the gun away from the one thinking suicide. I would have with absolutely no problem.
 
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