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Mid-Century Dancing to ERNIE HECKSCHER Orchestra at San Francisco’s FAIRMONT HOTEL

San Francisco’s Ernie Heckscher retired in 1984 after decades of leading his dance orchestra in San Francisco. He became a fixture of the Fairmont Hotel as much as the big red sofa in the lobby or the clock on the ornate Venetian Room’s archway. New Year’s Eve was an annual ... Read More »

FANTASTIC PHOTO COLLECTION of the GRACE LINE during the 1940s and 1950s

Author Frances Drabick features probably the finest research collection of the Grace Line photos aboard their ships during the heyday of American passenger services following World War II on her excellent website. From the 1890s until the late 1960s, The Grace Line provided passenger services from New York to the ... Read More »

Retro Video: San Francisco’s Fabulous FOX THEATRE

When the Fox Theater was built in 1929, it seemed as if there weren’t enough adjectives to describe the movie theatre’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 ... Read More »

THE AROSA STEAMSHIP LINE – Immigrants and Students – EUROPE TO CANADA & USA – 1952-1958

Arosa Line was the trade name for Compañia Internacional Transportadora. The steamship line bought older ships, sailing Trans-Atlantic and on winter cruises out of New York. Thousands of emigrants came from Europe to Canada and the USA on their four ships. In 1949, the shipowner Rizzi had bought his first ... Read More »

LAST PHOTOS taken on board the RMS TITANIC by FATHER BROWNE

The Titanic didn’t just send hundreds of its passengers to the bottom of the ocean—it also took all the evidence of what life was like on board for the ill-fated travelers. Or at least it would have, were it not for Father Francis Browne. Frank Browne’s mother died whilst he ... Read More »

Dec 7 1941 PEARL HARBOR BOMBED as SS LURLINE passenger liner raced from HAWAII to CALIFORNIA

Matson Lines SS Lurline was half way from Honolulu to San Francisco on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The liner arrived safely in San Francisco with passengers from California and the USA on December 11th. The liner arrived safely in San Francisco with passengers from California ... Read More »

HISTORY of CRUISING and TRAVEL by PASSENGER SHIP!

Cruising as we know and love has changed a great deal over the years, its roots trace back to the 1800s and used to be a much more exclusive affair, with only the wealthiest clientele choosing to cruise. The SS Augusta Victoria, named after the German Empress Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, was ... Read More »

ELVIS PRESLEY takes 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 ... Read More »

AUSTRALIA to NEW ZEALAND on the elegant liner AWATEA crossing the TASMAN SEA!

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 ... Read More »

What Was the TITANIC’S CAPTAIN SMITH Doing While the SHIP SANK?

No one knows exactly where Captain E.J. Smith was at 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, 1912. But witnesses said he appeared on the bridge of the Titanic just moments later, asking what the storied ship, making its maiden voyage across the Atlantic, had struck. “An iceberg, sir,” First Officer ... Read More »