When the Fox Theater was built in 1929, it seemed as if there weren’t enough adjectives to describe the movie theater’s magnificence. The San Francisco Chronicle called the opening “a spectacle of such beauty and magnitude that it seemed rather a fancy of one’s mind rather than the inaugural night of another commercial enterprise.” OPENING NIGHT But the life of ... Read More »
Author Archives: Michael L. Grace
Connecting Israel with Mediterranean ports began after the State of Israel was established in 1948 and for 20 years Zim Lines operated an excellent fleet of passenger ships. Zim provided regular trans-Atlantic, the Caribbean, and Israel/Europe cruise and liner services. The company quickly built a fleet of modern passenger ships. In the early 1950s, Zim became a member of the ... Read More »
In the 1950s SUDDEN FEAR film star Joan Crawford heads to San Francisco on the famed California Zephyr.
The streamliner California Zephyr was featured in Columbia Pictures 1952 thriller SUDDEN FEAR starring Joan Crawford and Jack Palance. Included were exterior and interior scenes aboard the train. Grand Central Station and the Oakland Mole were highlighted where Crawford respectively boards and disembarks to head across the bay to San Francisco by ferry boat. After playwright and wealthy heiress, Myra ... Read More »
Enjoying a long and colorful history, Incres Line’s MS VICTORIA offered Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises with first class service to 600 passengers. The VICTORIA was built by Harland and Wolff of Belfast in 1936 for Union-Castle Line as the DUNNOTTAR CASTLE for the company’s round Africa service from London. She operated as a passenger-cargo liner into the early 1950s, except ... Read More »
Billionaire Clive Palmer’s pitch about Titanic II – the ship he is funding to be built before a maiden 2020 voyage – hardly had the imagined grandeur and prestige of the original ship’s build in the early 1900s. The mining magnate and former federal Australian MP featured in a bizarre promotional video last week for Blue Star Line, the company ... Read More »
While being tops in your field can be exciting, an ambitious or intellectually curious person always looks for new ways to grow. This was particularly true for stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. A national star for years for her creative striptease act, Lee hoped to spread her wings into more respectable and challenging fields. Born January 9, 1911, in Seattle to ... Read More »
By the mid-1960s, when jets had killed off all but the stragglers on the North Atlantic, Home Lines introduced the OCEANIC. Home Lines proudly proclaimed that their 39,000 tonner was “the largest ship built exclusively for cruising.” By the mid-1960s, when jets had killed off all but the stragglers on the North Atlantic, Home Lines introduced the OCEANIC. Once it ... Read More »
The luxurious liner Awatea was the “only way to cross” the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand!
Far away from the Trans-Atlantic services – “Down Under” – Union Steam Ship Company operated a fleet of excellent passenger ships between Australia and New Zealand until 1960. In her day the Awatea was regarded as one of the most luxurious and fastest liners of the period. Her history was brief and she was destroyed in World War2 like so ... Read More »
In Oscar-winning It Happened One Night, Neal Dodd is just being himself as he prepares to officiate at Claudette Colbert’s garden wedding – even though Colbert jilts her fiancée at the altar to run away with Clark Gable. Dodd was acting in the 1934 film, as he did in dozens of movies, and was also an Episcopal priest in charge ... Read More »
Operating passenger service between Chile and New York, the Chilean Line offered First and Tourist Class passenger service from the West Coast of South America and New York during the 1930s. Chilean Line competed with Grace Line with passengers service from New York to Chile and return. In the mid-1930s trade started to recover from the Great Depression, so in ... Read More »
The first of Ritz-Carlton’s Yacht Collection ships hit the water for the first time recently at a shipyard in Vigo, Spain. Cruises don’t begin until February 2020, but reservations are open for one of the newest luxury cruise lines around. They will be newest and finest small cruising vessels afloat. The new ships will be customized, in keeping with the ... Read More »
Albert Ballin created the first pleasure cruise aboard Hamburg-America Line’s S.S. Augustus Victoria in the Gilded Age.
The German shipping magnate was responsible for turning Germany into a world leader in ocean travel prior to World War I. With 25,000 employees, Hapag was the largest shipping line in the world for both freight and people (464,000 passengers in 1913). It was Albert Ballin who also invented the pleasure cruise in 1891. The first Pleasure Cruise The world’s ... Read More »
The North Shore Line’s Electroliners streamline interurban trains operated from the 1940s into the early 1960s. For most street railway and interurban lines the coming of the automobile put an end to an industry that was just a few decades old. The 1920s and the Great Depression later that decade bankrupted and shutdown many intermediate lines while the strongest companies ... Read More »
When Ernie Byfield opened The Pump Room in the Ambassador East Hotel on October 1, 1938, he undoubtedly had little idea that he was beginning an enterprise that would still be thriving to this day. Today, The Pump Room remains highly acclaimed restaurant and Chicago landmark. Located in Chicago’s Gold Coast inside the Ambassador East Hotel, the Pump Room’s traditional ... Read More »
Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr.’s twin interests in baseball and Catalina Island – he bought Catalina in 1919 and gained a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs in 1921 – dovetailed nicely when he made the decision to have the Cubs train on Catalina starting in 1921. In doing so, he became the first baseball owner to bring a ... Read More »