Tag Archives: Queen Mary

Nearly 6 Foot Long QUEEN MARY Model

This waterline model of Queen Mary is built in the tradition of what were called “Studio Models” in the middle decades of the 20th century.  They were designed to attract potential North Atlantic travelers and displayed in the windows of upscale travel agencies.  In the late 50s, air travel had advanced to the ability to fly from New York to Europe in 11 hours or so.  Before this time, ocean liners were literally “The Only Way to Go.”  The Queen Mary was made a dinosaur nearly overnight by advances in technology gained during World War II and only dreamed of at the time of her maiden voyage in 1936.  Not only was it cheaper to fly, but reaching the opposite ends of the Atlantic in hours rather than days was very much embraced by the traveling public.  The jets spelled the end for great liners like Queen Mary.  Cunard White Star tried to utilize her majesty as a cruise ship but she was so large, she couldn’t fit into the smaller ports. She was built for the North Atlantic to transport huge numbers of passengers at magnificent speed in unparalleled luxury.  She was retired in 1967 and sailed on her last voyage to Long Beach, CA to be turned into a museum and hotel.

Nearly 6 feet long, one can see in the photographs that the studio models were quite impressive.  Mine was built by Ered Mathews and it is quite detailed and built using original building plans.  The specially-built table it rests upon is 32 inches tall, 18 inches wide, and 72 inches long.  My collection is taking up more and more room in my house and I hope to one day live in a large house with a room specifically built for Queen Mary memorabilia with this table and model in the center with ceiling floodlights shedding light upon it.  I have a 10 year-old nephew who informed me upon seeing it that all he wants from my estate when I die is this model!

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QUEEN MARY Butterfly Wing Souvenirs

The photographs above capture a few unusual items of memorabilia from Queen Mary.  From her maiden voyage to the early 60s, souvenirs with exotic, incandescent butterfly wings were used in photos, ashtrays, and jewelry.  As can be seen, these souvenirs have withstood the decades and remained primarily blue but many have faded to brown or, worse, turned to dust and simply discarded.  My collection includes a framed example, a ring still in its case, a brooch, an ashtray, a tieback, and cufflinks. In today’s politically correct society, Cunard White Star would have outraged many by killing butterflies to display their wings as a background for hand-painted vignettes of the ship.  But these souvenirs were quite popular in the middle of the last century and, fortunately, many have remained incredibly preserved, serving as a herald to a bygone era of ocean travel aboard the most successful, popular liner of all time.

 

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QUEEN MARY Caps

Officer caps 001Officer caps 002Officer caps 003Officer caps 004The above-pictured caps from Queen Mary are, from left to right, a steward’s cap, a captain’s cap, and a sailor’s cap. I am not as knowledgeable about the caps from her majesty as other pieces of memorabilia but recognize them from the black and white footage of her at sea. The steward’s cap has the double house flags of Cunard and White Star emblazoned above the bill. The captain’s cap is identical to the one worn by Commodore Edgar Britten on the maiden voyage and seen in the interviews he gave upon arrival in New York. There is also an identical one displayed in the captain’s suite in Long Beach today. The sailor’s cap is not only captured in the black and white films but also in advertisements of sailors climbing the rigging or working on deck. The captain’s cap is in the best shape of the three and is heavily embroidered. The attention to detail is remarkable on the caps as was everything on the liner. Craftsmanship was Cunard White Star’s hallmark on Queen Mary. If anyone has more information on these spectacular pieces, please contact me.

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QUEEN MARY Robe from First-Class Pool

QM Pool Robe 001 QM Pool Robe 002 QM Pool Robe 003 QM Pool Robe 004This recently acquired navy/burgundy robe came from a Queen Mary passenger in 1939 according to its owner’s grandson.  I have never seen another but the fragile nature of the collar and shoulders indicate decades of age.  The man I bought it from related that his grandparents had enjoyed the pool on a Southampton to New York voyage but his grandfather had forgotten a robe.  While towels were certainly plentiful, I simply do not have photos of passengers using this Cunard White Star garment.   A pool attendant produced this robe and the grandfather was delighted with its embroidered detail and the attendant supposedly told him to pack it along with his other clothing as there were plenty more and one missing would not be noticed.  With the obvious age and attention to detail in the embroidery, I tend to believe the story.  At any rate, it is a marvelous piece of memorabilia with expert detail which was a penchant of Cunard White Star.

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Model of QUEEN MARY Liquor Bottle

Garnier Liquor Bottle 001 Garnier Liquor Bottle 002 Garnier Liquor Bottle 003 Garnier Liquor Bottle 004This commemorative liquor bottle from the Queen Mary has never been opened.  The contents of Creme de Menthe can be heard splashing when handling the exquisite piece.  It was made by Garnier of France.  The sticker and cork have never been removed from her first smokestack as can be seen by the photos.  An internet search reveals that occasionally the Creme de Menthe stains the white superstructure but so far, this example is pristine.  One of my favorite, unique pieces!

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QUEEN MARY Travel Posters

QM Posters 004 QM Posters 003 QM Posters 002 QM Posters 001Except for the poster depicting the swimming pool aboard Queen Mary, these impressive reproductions are a treat for the eye.  The 2 largest are over 20 years old and the smaller, gold-trimmed one is about 5 years old.  The poster advertising the First-Class Swimming Pool and stating “Getting There is Half the Fun” is an actual advertisement from the 1950s.  The reproductions of the older posters indicating “Cunard White Star” illuminate the change of ocean travel during the Queen‘s career.  Through the 1930s and 1940s, Cunard White Star attempted to sway travelers to their liners with the magical illustrations when crossing the Atlantic was only possible by ship.  The posters exuded class, style, and sophistication.  But the increase in technology gained from World War II enabled jets to cross the pond in hours rather than days during the 1950s and ship passengers began to dwindle.  Cunard dropped White Star from their name, changed their advertising efforts to holiday, and attempted to entice travelers with the public relations catch phrase “Getting There Is Half The Fun”.  Queen Mary began losing money for Cunard as a result and although she sailed until 1967, she and other giant liners became dinosaurs.  Aside from the liner United States which awaits redemption from her rusty exterior and stripped interiors on the East coast, the Queen Mary is the only liner in the world to showcase the golden era of ocean travel.  An engineer friend from California stated recently that the Queen could potentially last 300 years given proper protection from corrosion and rust.  We can only be bold by exclaiming to future generations, “Long live the Queen!”

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QUEEN MARY Hand-carved Musical Motif Clock

Long Gallery Hands Long Gallery Decor 004 Long Gallery Decor 003 Long Gallery Decor 002The above black and white photo (courtesy of the Craig and Shara Anderson collection) shows what the Long Gallery’s original clock looked like during her career.  It was nearly 4 foot wide and completely hand-carved.  Once Queen Mary arrived in Long Beach, though, the renovators tore out this beautiful clock and the wreath of musical instruments and hands were divided into several separate pieces and sold at auction.  While I would certainly love to own the complete wreath, I have 2 segments on display in my bedroom as seen in the color photos.  The attention to detail and the sheer enterprise of creating such a masterpiece is remarkable.  In fact, most of the wood aboard her majesty were treated with human hands, not machines.  It is an inescapable fact that no present liner can even approach Queen Mary’ s grandeur.  Mankind will never build such a hands-on liner again and although it is shameful that so much was thoughtlessly dismantled by Long Beach, at least her corridors and public rooms are essentially the same as when she sailed.

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YouTube Video of “The Travelers”

100_3706 (1)A marketing friend suggested that I commission a video for distribution on YouTube.  Videographer Keith Kingery did a splendid job – his first YouTube video!  You will see a very few items from my extensive Queen Mary collection.  I was a Communications minor in college and have been involved in many civic organization events by voice-overs, narration for videos, emceeing events, acting in community and college theatre, and voicing church programs.  But I had never really heard myself.  That Midwestern twang is embarrassing and awful.  I had no idea I sounded like that!  And snobby to boot!

Please view the link below.  The background music played during the excerpt reading is from the soundtrack of the ABC TV series DARK SHADOWS entitled “The Secret Room”.  I very much welcome your observations and comments!

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QUEEN MARY Boiler Gauge

032 Boiler

The gauge pictured above measured the temperature pressure of 1 of 24 boilers on Queen Mary.  An engineer can be seen in the other photo with a gauge like this one on the right side.   The boilers were each 3 storeys high and weighed 100 tons.  The “B. P.” indicates “Blowoff Pressure” which was maintained at approximately 425 degrees as can be seen on the gauge between the red indicators. The boilers used a crude oil called “Bunker C” which supplied the main turbine engines with 240,000 horse power.  At full speed, Queen Mary thundered across the Atlantic at a normal speed of 32 knots.  Queen Mary burned a gallon of Bunker C oil for every 8 feet she moved.  She was the fastest ship in the world and held the Blue Riband until the liner United States broke her record in 1952.  Sadly, the city of Long Beach, California which purchased Queen Mary in 1967 stripped all 24 of the boilers from their beds as well as the massive turbines which turned the propellers.  Today, only the aft engine room remains.

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The Supernatural Predominates: PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Talks with Keith Wayne McCoy

On the High SeasIn Keith Wayne McCoy’s debut novel, “The Travelers”, aliens tangle the past with the present aboard the luxury liner Queen Mary.  The book won the admiration of our reviewer, who called it a “philosophically rich hybrid of genres…strengthened by complex plotting and rich dialogue.”  We caught up with McCoy and talked about his journey as a writer and his genre fiction.

You recently signed a three-year contract with a publisher, and your book has been optioned for film treatment.  Can you tell us a little more about how that came about?

Champagne Book Group (www.champagnebooks.com) is almost exclusively electronic with a mass paperback release upon the sale of 100 ebooks.  After I finished “The Travelers”, my college writing mentor encouraged me to query publishing houses rather than agents as years could pass before acquiring an agent.  My favorite author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, plastered the walls of his room with rejection letters and similar horror stories exist for J. K. Rowling and John Grisham.  The acquisitions editor at CBG immediately requested a full MS in late March of 2013 and I was offered a contract in May.  Ironically, I found out about the PUBLISHERS WEEKLY review by a film scout who called on the very day the review was published, September 15, 2014.  When I asked her how she came across my book, she referred me to the review which I promptly googled and howled with delight and tears.  PW/Booklife gave a glowing review!  I must admit:  absolute ecstasy that I, Keith Wayne McCoy, received a positive PW review!  I have since been contacted by 3 film scouts yet they are somewhat stymied that I don’t have an agent.  How this will affect the possibility of a motion picture or even best-selling status, I have no idea and is, admittedly, a concern.

What type of influence did the workshops and conferences you won scholarships to as a university student have on your writing? 

I encourage any writer to attend writer’s workshops and conferences.  I emphatically believe that the assignments, lectures, and reviews of one’s own work are essential to adequately write with precision and purpose.  Prose is studied, plot is explored, character conflict is crafted, and a myriad of other techniques are extensively dissected to teach the student that the art of writing is just that:  an art, which is not a hobby or pastime but a genuine struggle of work and devotion with the ultimate reward of a sense of achievement that hopefully uplifts the human experience.  Ironically, John Hawkes told me that although I definitely had the talent to be a successful writer, I should wait a decade or more before I diligently began a “serious” excursion into writing as I was too young to adequately master the many complexities of the human condition.  I was not even legal age at the time and although I was somewhat insulted, he was right:  time brings a certain knowledge and recognition of how humans react to situations and each other.  A writer must be a voyeur in many senses and simply study their fellow mankind in quiet meditation and judgement.

What is your connection to the luxury liner Queen Mary, and how did you become interested in it?

I became obsessed with the luxury liner Queen Mary in the third grade while watching a 1930s  movietone piece of her maiden voyage.  I still remember the thrill and awe of that giant black bow slicing the waves in a frantic fury of speed.  While Titanic is inarguably the most famous liner in history, Queen Mary is the greatest superliner ever built.  She was not a mere cruise ship but a giant passenger liner built exclusively for mass transportation at magnificent speed in unparalleled luxury at a time when liners were the only means of crossing the Atlantic. The fact that she still existed in retirement in Long Beach, California held me spellbound and I have visited many times although I do wish she were less commercialized and more pertinent as a museum and monument to human achievement.

Have you always written genre fiction?

I was taught to write exclusively literary fiction at university and, once, after reading Henry James’ “Turn of the Screw”, I wrote a supernatural-themed assignment.  My mentor was infuriated.  He berated me in front of the entire class, even shouting.  I was near tears.  He apologized later and explained that he didn’t want to see my talent “wasted” on mainstream nonsense.  But the dynamics of a character-driven tale forcing an exploration of ordinary people in extraordinary, supernatural situations remained with me.  I personally find that pieces in which the characters are well-defined and face circumstances outside the “real” world appealing.  After the PW review came out, that same professor emailed me with congratulations and admiration and actually encouraged me to pursue pieces in which the world of the supernatural predominates or at least plays a significant role.

What are you working on now?

CBG just published a short story called “Castles Burning” on October 6 which is a psychological thriller.  It is an indictment on narcissism and the relentless climb to the top of society our world faces, in this case a dysfunctional, elite family.  The premise is not explicitly supernatural but rather an excursion into the realities of materialism which manifests itself to the point of mental illness.  Since genre works well for me, I have embarked on a novel which I call a “Modern Gothic”.  It is titled “The Governor” and takes place in present-day New York.  Again, the characters are well-defined and relatable but placed in circumstances reminiscent of Henry James and Shirley Jackson.

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