“Some people say that with the 100th anniversary, the ship is going to fade away. I disagree. Titanic’s stories are timeless. It’s not going anywhere.”
Charles Haas, President of the Titanic International Society
“There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”
Amazing, but true: the Titanic sank in April of 1912. And with the 100th anniversary now looming, there is a fresh bloom on many of its stories. The 1997 blockbuster movie by James Cameron is being resurrected and given a 3-D twist and Julian Fellowes, the creator of the wildly popular “Downton Abbey” series, is developing a miniseries on the Titanic for ABC. Just a quick scan of some of the dramatic incidents associated with this tragic event provides a glimpse of its powerful grip on both storytellers and audiences:
The ship’s musicians played on and on while the ship shifted and sank — and ultimately the entire band went down with her. The baton belonging to bandleader Wallace Hartley somehow survived the plunge into the sea and was recovered.
J. Bruce Ismay, the head of the White Star Line which commissioned the massive ship, was responsible for the Titanic’s meager set of lifeboats — yet he managed to escape in one and survived the sinking.
Ida Straus, the wife of Isador Straus (the founder of Macy’s department store), turned down a spot on a lifeboat to stay on board with her husband. They both perished. Isador’s wedding ring was recovered.
Margaret “Molly” Brown, the rags-to-riches wife of a mining millionaire, rallied the flagging spirits of her lifeboat mates through a long, cold journey and will forever be known as “Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
Timeless stories: They are as old as the first words scrawled in a cave somewhere and as new as today’s headlines. Does Willa Cather’s assertion that there are only a handful of human stories strike you as true? I would love to know what you think!