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TRAVEL HISTORY

San Francisco’s fabulous Fox Theatre was a lesson in the city’s tenuous loyalty and devotion.

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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 »

ZIM LINES – Israel’s premiere liner and cruise ship company in the 1950s and 1960s

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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.

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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 »

The elegant MS VICTORIA cruised out of New York.

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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 »

Clive Palmer’s Titanic II pitch fails to wet the sails…

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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 »

Chicago’s streamlines ELECTROLINER – 90 MPH north to Milwaukee

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 »

Retro Thursday: The CHICAGO CUBS cruise to Catalina

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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 »

RED CARPET treatment started with the 20TH CENTURY LIMITED

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Have you wondered where the much-overused phrase “the red carpet treatment” originated? It all started with the 20th Century Limited. The train of tycoons and movie stars. The “Century” was an express all-Pullman passenger train operated by the New York Central nightly from New York to Chicago. From 1938 until the last run in 1968, passengers walked down a crimson carpet ... Read More »

The Italian Line’s S.S. REX and Cary Grant’s S.S. REX…

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Besides the fabulous Italian ocean liner S.S. REX launched in 1931, there was another S.S. REX. The gambling ship off the coast of California in the 1930s and 1940s. The far lesser (but profitable)REX was operated as a gambling ship off Los Angeles by Anthony Cornero. Gary Grant made a movie in the early 1930s based on the gambling boats. ... Read More »

The Panama Limited – All-Pullman Chicago and New Orleans

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The Panama Limited was a first class passenger train operated by the Illinois Central Railroad between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. It operated from 1911 to 1971. Offering the best in American railway deluxe services. The Panama Limited took its name from the Panama Canal, then under construction and three years from completion. For most of its career the ... Read More »

FRANK SINATRA starring in PAL JOEY heads to San Francisco on a Southern Pacific train and ferry boat…

In the 1957 musical film Pal Joey, Frank Sinatra gets off a Southern Pacific train and then heads across the bay to San Francisco aboard one of the SP Ferry Boats. Oakland Long Wharf was the western terminus of the Southern Pacific Railroad. From there, ferries carried both commuters and long-distance passengers between the Long Wharf and San Francisco. FRANK ... Read More »