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RMS EMPRESS OF IRELAND – THE FORGOTTEN “TITANIC”!

The RMS Empress of Ireland sinking resulted in the deaths of more passengers than the RMS Titanic disaster. In this horrific maritime disaster, over a thousand passengers en route from Quebec to Liverpool were lost in just fifteen minutes—the length of time it took for the ocean liner to sink into Canada’s Saint Lawrence River after being hit by a ... Read More »

THE FIRST GAY CRUISE – 1987 – THIRTY YEARS AGO

The first all-gay cruises were operated by RSVP cruises aboard the SS BERMUDA STAR thirty years ago. This is a retro look at gay life in the 1980s aboard the first gay cruises.  Operated by gay pioneer RSVP, the passengers dubbed the ship Bermuda Star Cruise Line ship the SS BRENDA STARR. In BUT THE SHOW WENT ON, (the prequel to his ... Read More »

COLIN FARRELL ABOARD AMERICA’S LAST GREAT OCEAN-LINER

The SS United States is sending out what may be its final distress call.  Colin Farrell is seen aboard the famous ship.   Left) Colin Farrell heads down rusting First Class promenade of the SS UNITED STATES; (Right) The First Class promenade deck during the heyday of trans-Atlantic travel aboard the SS UNITED STATES… when deluxe passengers enjoyed early morning ... Read More »

Molly Brown, Feminist History and the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic

This year marks the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, the legendary “unsinkable” liner that would, of course, run into an iceberg on its maiden voyage, sink rapidly, and become a metaphor for man’s hubris. There’s a reason it became such a pop culture phenomenon, even before James Cameron got involved: its story seems tailor-made for moral ... Read More »

Marjorie Merriweather Post’s (Mar-a-Lago) Private Railway Car

President Donald Trump’s “Mar-a-Lago” may be the closest proximity you might have to the illustrious society history of Post Cereals Heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post unless you charter her former private railway car. Originally christened Hussar, the car was built in 1922 for Post and her husband E.F. Hutton. The car was used for company business and personal travel. The famous ... Read More »

Lucius Beebe, famous American railway buff & historian, was a self-described hedonist.

From the 1930s until his death in 1966, he was the image of a celebrity. An author, journalist, historian, raconteur, gourmet and bon vivant extraordinary – this amazing personality was one of the first gay men to have a publicly open relationship.   Columnist Walter Winchell called him “Luscious Lucius.” Beebe is perhaps best known for having coined the term ... Read More »

John Ringling North is the Circus King – Part 2

If John Ringling North had not come on the scene to run the family business in 1937, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey might not have ever made it into the 21st Century to have its last performance tonight on Long Island. He seemed the only one to have the business and showman sense to run the show amongst the younger family ... Read More »

John Ringling North a combination of “Diamond Jim” Brady and “Bet a Million Gates”! – Part 3

As president of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey during the heyday of the famed Big-Top and traveling circus which will have its final performance tonight in Long Island, New York, John Ringling North received a rather modest salary.  But what North might have been lacking the substance of a millionaire, the consciously displayed the form. North was a glittering ... Read More »

North’s Showmanship at Madison Square Gardens and the end of the Ringling family business – Part 4

John Ringling North knew that every season was vital to the circus to open its season at New York’s Madison Square Gardens, not only because of the big box office but because of the national media attention. Opening night would always benefit a charity with stars such as Marylyn Monroe, Marlena Dietrich or even Hopalong Cassidy as guest headliners. Critics ... Read More »

ZIM LINE – Israel’s Passenger and Cruise company in the 1950s and 1960s

Zim Lines began passenger service connecting Israel with Mediterranean ports began after the State of  Israel was established in 1948 and for 20 years they operated an excellent sea transportation fleet of ships In the early 1950s, Zim became a member of the North Atlantic Passenger Conference and bought Home Lines Argentina; the former Norwegian liner Bergensfjord; for its first ... Read More »

Throwback Thursday – Elvis Presley on the train from New York to Memphis in 1956.

“Elvis who?”   Photographer Alfred Wertheimer recalls uttering that very question in early 1956. A publicist from RCA Victor Records had contacted him, asking if he was available to photograph a young singer named Elvis Presley. “I’d never heard of the man,” Wertheimer told TIME Magazine in an article 40 years later. “He didn’t have a gold record yet.” (By ... Read More »

Retro Thursday: THE ELECTROLINERS – Chicago to Milwaukee – During WW 2

The chic, streamlined Electroliners operated between Chicago and Milwaukee. The Electroliner, on the Chicago Loop, heading for its express run to Milwaukee. The Electroliner was a four car articulated train that was placed into service on the North Shore line early in 1941, between Chicago and Milwaukee, seen here in January of 1941. Dining on the Electroliners.  It was said to ... Read More »