Titanic: The Anniversary of the Sinking of the World's Most Famous Ship
The world's most famous ship sunk on April 15, 1912
by Beth Rowen
The Ship vs. The Film• Titanic, the ship, was one of the largest movable objects ever built, measuring in at 883 feet long (1/6 of a mile), 92 feet wide, 46,328 tons, and 104 feet high, from keel to bridge. The model in James Cameron's film was built 90 percent to scale.
• The ship cost an unprecedented $7.5 million to build—that translates to about $172 million today. The film cost an unprecedented $250 million and has grossed more than $600 million domestically and more than $1.8 billion worldwide.
• The ship took three years to build, approximately the same amount of time it took to make the film.
• It took the ship approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes to sink. Titanic, the film, runs 3 hours, 14 minutes.
In 1912, the Titanic, a steamship in England's White Star Line, set out on its doomed maiden voyage, with 2,227 enthusiastic passengers and crew members on board for the history-making trip from Southampton, England, to New York City. Only 705 would survive the ship's collision with a massive iceberg. The "unsinkable" ocean liner hit an iceberg late in the evening on April 14 and sunk in the early hours of April 15.
100th Anniversary of the Sinking
Retailers, marketers, and promoters took full advantage of the centennial of the sinking of the ship, from selling commemorative knick-knacks, to the construction of a new museum, to the re-release of the blockbuster movie in 3D. Even MTV got involved, sponsoring a concert in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the ship was built. The concert, Titanic Sounds, was held outside the gleaming new, $160 million, nine-gallery exhibit, Titanic Belfast, which opened in March 2012. The exhibit includes a roller-coaster-like ride used to transport visitors through a multimedia re-creation of the construction process, a replica of the ship, and a walk back in time to industrial Belfast. The exterior of the building features four ship hulls that jut into the River Lagan. Here are some other notable events surrounding the anniversary:
- Titanic memorial cruises departed from both Southampton, England, and New York City.
- Robin Gibb wrote The Titanic Requiem, which was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on April 10 in London.
- Julian Fellowes, creator of the wildly successful Downton Abbey, wrote a four-part mini-series, Titanic, which was broadcast in England in March and April 2012.
Here are some of the most interesting facts about the ship and its fateful journey:
- The Titanic was designed to hold 32 lifeboats, though only 20 were on board; White Star management was concerned that too many boats would sully the aesthetic beauty of the ship.
- Survivors were rescued by the Carpathia, which was 58 miles southeast of Titanic when it received the distress call.
- Titanic boasted electric elevators, a swimming pool, a squash court, a Turkish Bath, and a gymnasium with a mechanical horse and mechanical camel.
- The wreckage of Titanic was located in 1985, 12,500 feet down, about 350 miles (531 km) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.
- A first class (parlor suite) ticket on Titanic cost $4,350, which translates into $100,034 in 2012 USD.
- Lillian Gertrud Asplund, the last American survivor of the Titanic tragedy, died in Massachusetts on May 6, 2006, at age 99. Her mother and a brother also survived, but her father and three other brothers perished. The last survivor, Millvina Dean, died on May 31, 2009, at age 97.
- Eleanor Shuman, who was the inspiration for Kate Winslet's Rose, died on March 7, 1998, at age 87.
Millions of Dollars, Millions of Fans
Even though the film is nearly 20 years old, the word Titanic still conjures up images of the starry-eyed Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet passionately embracing as they lean precariously over the bow of the ship, with the wind in their sprightly young faces and the world at their feet. The film Titanic has become itself a cultural phenomenon—nearly as monumental as the event on which it was based.
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