Will people eventually forget about Titanic?


Dan Kappes

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Since Avengers: Endgame has recently bumped down James Cameron's 1997 movie to the third position on the list of highest-grossing films, I'm worried that future generations will no longer remember the story of the Titanic.

And there is a copy of the script for the 1939 movie Gone with the Wind (which is the highest-grossing film when adjusted for inflation) sealed in the Crypt of Civilization, but I don't know if the script for the Cameron film or any other artifact or book referencing the Titanic is included in any other time capsules.

I think future generations should remember events like the Titanic's sinking, 9/11, the two World Wars and other historical events so that people can learn from history and don't make the same mistakes again.
 
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This is probably a little off topic but a lot of those old movies are time capsules of history.
Many are and probably will continue to be available in many forms.
One of my favorite favorites is the Gene Autry movie "The Big Show ".
It's a time capsule of Life in 1936.....How movies were made, how people dressed in 1936, the cars , trucks and trailers of 1936, and scenes from one of the fairs of that era including a historic presentation of that era, "The Cavalcade Of Texas" and the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas,Texas.
Probably a little known bit of history, bit nevertheless a part of history.
 

Kyle Naber

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Events from thousands of years ago are in textbooks today, so I’d say Titanic has a few thousand more years to live.
 

Brad Rousse

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In the grand scheme of human history, an ocean liner running into an iceberg and sinking is, well, nothing. It certainly doesn't merit being spoken in the same breath as 9/11 and the world wars, events whose aftershocks are still shaping the world we live in today. Sometimes, I think fascination with the disaster borders on fetishization.

If a movie that was heavily dramatized and basically papered over the real event in public consciousness going down a peg in box office records means the Titanic is being forgotten, the Titanic is probably already lost.
 
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The first "Titanic' movie I saw was the 1953 Stanwyck - Webb version.
I might have heard about the disaster before then, but I don't recall knowing about it at the time.
 

Seumas

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I apologise for sounding a wee bit arrogant here but I think "the story" needs fresh approaches if we are to keep interest alive. And it certainly is one that deserves to be kept alive.

Let's try and find a way to gain the public's attention again and make a sustained effort to destroy numerous myths about the Titanic that are accepted as fact such as - "the third class passengers were all kept locked below", "the steel was brittle", "it was all Murdoch's fault, he should have hit the berg head on", "the postal clerks died early on trying to save the mail", "they didn't have any red distress rockets", "Captain Smith walked around in a daze" and so on and so on and so on.

Try and tell the rather neglected stories (at least I think they are) of her passengers and crew more widely. For example why not look at - early cinematographer William Harbeck, the tortured life of Robert Hitchens, the terrible treatment of Masabumi Hosono, the shame and ultimate redemption of William Mintram.

The story of the immigrants aboard Titanic is one that always has the potential to capture the public's imagination but it is almost always focused on the Irish immigrants. Why not now focus on the Lebanese, Bulgarian, Croatian and Finnish men, women and children who were aboard in significant numbers ?

Anyway that's my suggestions for keeping one of the most truly fascinating stories of the 20th Century alive.
 
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Bob_Read

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Hi Seumas: For every myth you hope to destroy, a new one pops up. Brittle steel, coal fire as the cause of the sinking, etc. There are those authors out there who make their living by inventing new theories or recycling old ones. It is what it is. You can’t change it.
 

Brad Rousse

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I would agree with Bob Read, Seumas; there will always be a new conspiracy theory because that's what people like. Tormenting yourself over it will do neither you nor the story you wish to promote any good.

A much more constructive route would be contributing to the narrative, possibly in the ways you outlined. A podcast or a series of articles would be a good place to start.
 
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One author wrote '' Conspiracy theories are invented because some people just can't believe that something just happened . ''
 

Seumas

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Bob and Brad - thanks for your comments.

Bob, I know what you mean, some people will just keep on believing what they want to no matter how hard the evidence is against their belief. I do salute all those Titanic historians and researchers who are trying hard to smash the myths about Titanic. Twenty years ago it was the "brittle" steel and "defective" rivets theory that was "in vogue" - whilst today it is that utterly ridiculous coal bunker fire theory. (bangs head on table)

Only last week I finished reading an otherwise rather good book on the people involved in the disaster (rather than focusing on the ship) called "Titanic Lives" by Richard Davenport-Hines but even so, the author repeated that daft myth that everything would have been just fine if they had only hit the iceberg head on and Murdoch must shoulder the blame for not ramming it. (bangs head on table again)

It's the same too with the Lusitania - "the hold was packed with explosives" and "those Limey's deliberately sent her into the danger zone to bring the USA into the war". (bangs head on table still further)

I do like Brad's idea for a Titanic related podcast very much ! I would quite enjoy listening to listening to some of our most respected Titanic historians from across the world discuss various subjects and controversies that still fascinate us.... oh and shoot down a few myths too !

What can one do ?

Anyway, excuse me chaps whilst I get a bandage for my head !
 

Brad Rousse

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I do like Brad's idea for a Titanic related podcast very much ! I would quite enjoy listening to listening to some of our most respected Titanic historians from across the world discuss various subjects and controversies that still fascinate us.... oh and shoot down a few myths too !
I've thought of doing it, but the target audience would be so exacting that it doesn't appeal to me.
 

Bob_Read

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The Titanic Channel webcasts tried to do just that. They sold subscriptions to the channel. Most of the biggest names in the Titanic community participated. The project went belly-up some time within the last year. The problem I had with it was that along with solid historians they used conspiracy theorists who peddled their bilge. I was afraid that might happen so I never participated even though I was recruited.
 

Seumas

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"The Titanic Channel" completely escaped my mind. I had watched a few of their free to view videos and found them really good though I admittedly did not subscribe for the further content.

On his website Dr Paul Lee certainly had a very strong objection to one certain gentleman's heavy involvement with "The Titanic Channel" and their description of this man as an "expert".
 

Dan Kappes

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In the grand scheme of human history, an ocean liner running into an iceberg and sinking is, well, nothing. It certainly doesn't merit being spoken in the same breath as 9/11 and the world wars, events whose aftershocks are still shaping the world we live in today. Sometimes, I think fascination with the disaster borders on fetishization.

If a movie that was heavily dramatized and basically papered over the real event in public consciousness going down a peg in box office records means the Titanic is being forgotten, the Titanic is probably already lost.
The sinking did change the world like 9/11 did. After Titanic, ships have lifeboats for every passenger. After 9/11, better security at airports.

The Titanic disaster was the 9/11 of its time, with massive news coverage worldwide.

And even though the movie is mostly about a fictional couple, it still inspires people to research the real story of the Titanic. Not to mention that it was filmed on a near-exact accurate replica of the ship.

This video also mentions it's preposterous that a movie about an ocean liner hitting an iceberg and sinking grosses $1 billion. The 1958 film A Night to Remember didn't even come close to that.
 
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Brad Rousse

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The sinking did change the world like 9/11 did. After Titanic, ships have lifeboats for every passenger. After 9/11, better security at airports.
You're confusing "changed the world less" with "changed the world not at all."

Yes, the Titanic led to some changes with lifeboats. But 9/11 led not only to better security at airports, but two giant wars, a dramatic shift in US culture and politics, uprisings in the Middle East, and the current political situation in America and Europe. It also killed more people than were on the Titanic that night. The Titanic did change things... but nowhere near as much as 9/11 has.

The Titanic disaster was the 9/11 of its time, with massive news coverage worldwide.
I've used this comparison before as well, but that's about as far as it goes (the media circus). Titanic buffs like to put this dramatic emphasis on the disaster as "the end of an era." The problem is that the First World War is far, far, FAR more impacting. In fact, except for sporadic movies the Titanic was on her way to joining the Wilhelm Gustloff in historic oblivion until Walter Lord's book stopped that.

And even though the movie is mostly about a fictional couple, it still inspires people to research the real story of the Titanic. Not to mention that it was filmed on a near-exact accurate replica of the ship.
I'm not sure what your point here is.

This video also mentions it's preposterous that a movie about an ocean liner hitting an iceberg and sinking grosses $1 billion
This video is also a comedy sketch opening the MTV movie awards. When making an argument or statement, it's better to use a proper source like a news article.
 

Seumas

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Just a couple of thoughts more about keeping up interest in RMS Titanic.....

There may still be some more (i) photographs of the ship (aren't there supposed to be a few "missing" photos from Fr Browne's album ?), (ii) letters posted from the ship at Cobh and (iii) unpublished survivor accounts that are still unknown to the world and gathering dust in someone's attic or mislabelled in an archive somewhere.

Yesterday, BBC News showed the remarkably clear film footage of Queen Victoria that has recently been re-discovered in a New York film archive and that got me thinking about the two legendary "lost" films of the Titanic and Olympic.

What would certainly get the Titanic (and Olympic) right back into the media spotlight is if one or both of the two 1911 films (which we know were definitely taken and exhibited) are ever re-discovered.

The first film is of the Titanic's actual launch and the second is a "Kinemacolour" film taken of the Olympic - although I'm not sure if this latter film is supposed to be of Olympic's launch or Olympic's maiden voyage. These would be staggering finds of they are ever discovered and would generate significant world wide interest.

However, I am a realist and accept that a huge amount of films made from those days no longer exist, having deteriorated, caught fire or were melted down for their silver nitrate. That's probably what happened to these two films in all honesty. Damn.
 

Dan Kappes

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Brad, I was saying that even though the 1997 film is somewhat fictional, it still has fine points and inspires everyone who views it to learn more about the Titanic and the fact it was filmed on a near-accurate replica makes it very attractive to the eyes.

And I was just adding a bit of humor by adding that MTV skit video.
 

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