Thursday, April 20, 2017
Here's something a little bit different - a real piece of SoCal history! Many of you have visited the grand old ocean liner, the Queen Mary - it's a tourist attraction, for those of you who don't know; today's photos, courtesy of Steve Stuart, were taken as the QM arrived in Long Beach on December 9th, 1967. I think these are really great. Steve has done an awesome job writing up a nice account for us - here it is:
On Saturday, December 9, 1967, the Queen Mary arrived in Long Beach, California to begin another chapter in her storied life – now as a tourist attraction, hotel, etc., and I was there to welcome her to [what has so far been] her final resting place. Here are some quotes from the L.A. Times marking the event:
“The Queen Mary arrives in Long Beach following a 39-day voyage from England. The city of Long Beach purchased the 31-year old vessel, which was slated for the scrap heap, for $3.45 million to serve as its waterfront centerpiece.” The copy went on to describe the event as: the arrival “… at her permanent residence in exile amid a tumultuous welcome that was bigger than any celebration in Southern California since the day World War II ended 22 years ago.” Who knew-?
"Tens of thousands – perhaps a million or more – on land, sea and in the air greeted the Queen as she glided along the coast and past the Long Beach Harbor breakwater at 10 a.m. on the last mile or so of the 39-day voyage from England, the home she will never see again”. Oh, how sad.
About 1,200 passengers… (let’s hope the ship’s manifest contained numbers more accurately representing the actual count, rather than “about”; otherwise I’m thinking someone could have attempted the ‘perfect murder-at-sea’-!) “…paying $8,000.00 each, [$58,428 in today’s dollars-!] took the final voyage. Being too wide for the Panama Canal, the Queen Mary sailed around the tip of South America to reach Long Beach”.
Major Pepperidge here... I just love the masses of boats that came out to greet the Queen Mary as she arrived in Long Beach harbor, ranging from small sailboats to fancy pleasure boats, to what might be a Coast Guard escort!
Wow! What a great shot. It is definitely bittersweet to think that that magnificent ship with the distinctive 3 funnel profile was mere minutes from its final resting place.
Steve continues: You would have thought with all this hoopla and record-breaking numbers I would have stronger memories of the event.
Nope – nothing, nada, zip, bubkas-! I have no doubt I was in attendance, in spite of the fact the only identifiable person seen in these images is that of my mom in the final photo – wearing, appropriately-enough: A babushka-! We did own a sailboat, but we certainly did not sail it down from Marina del Rey for the event. Evidently whoever invited use along on his boat to witness the festivities up close and personal, was also lost to the ages along with other memories from that day. Undoubtedly my mind was elsewhere – such as The Happiest Place On Earth – where any true Disneyland fan would rather be, wanting to take-in the still [almost new] New Tomorrowland, and even Pirates of the Caribbean. (How did the commentary move that direction-? I couldn’t possibly fathom a guess).
If anyone can ID any vessels or other mechanical contrivances seen in these images, please sing-out. Thanks to The Major’s ‘eagle eye’, careful perusal of photo #5 reveals the Goodyear Blimp floating around overhead, capturing many images documenting the glorious day.
MANY THANKS to Steve for sharing these awesome photos. I thought that this was going to be the final post of his images, but he has since sent me a few more, so stay tuned!