Millions around the world have been captivated by the saga of the doomed ocean liner Titanic. But her story is just one from an extraordinary century of sea travel that is brought vividly to life in the new Discovery Channel documentary, Superliners (first aired on Sunday, October 25, 1998 and Sunday November 1, 1998 on Discovery Channel and is often re-run). Using rarely-seen news reel footage and archive material, along with insight from leading authorities on ocean travel, Superliners tells a remarkable and riveting story, a story of ambition and romance, triumph and tragedy, all in the battle to link Europe and America by ship. The results of this battle were legendary: mighty visions of steel and steam that came to symbolize an age like no other, an age when nations fought for supremacy and when a man with enough money could build a dream and make it float.
Superliners charts the very beginnings of transatlantic travel, in 1840, with the creation of a ship to carry mail and passengers between Europe and America. The ship was the Brittania, brainchild of Samuel Cunard. From those humble beginnings — a crossing took two often-unpleasant weeks at sea — the Brittania would give birth to a new generation of ocean going ships, powered by steam and turbine engines and visionary men like Cunard. But that is just the beginning.
Viewers will also meet the rich and powerful titans of industry and finance who transformed transatlantic travel into a phenomenon that would captivate two continents. The hour brings alive the drama, romance and adventure that brought forth ships with names like Rex, Europa, Normandie and, of course, Titanic. It details the luxuries and innovations that made these ships icons of their time -- brilliantly executed feats of engineering and artistry that attracted Astors and Kennedys, Chevalier and Dietrich. The hour also follows the extraordinary competition for the Blue Ribband, a mythical prize claimed by the fastest ship to cross. Throughout, viewers will see and hear first person accounts of what made these ships so remarkable — how these liners riveted the world in a time of World War and Depression, leaving behind an enduring legacy of both nostalgia and -- in some cases -- tragedy.
Superliners was produced for the Discovery Channel by CBS News Productions, one of television’s leading production units, responsible for such acclaimed series as The 20th Century with Mike Wallace on The History Channel, Biography on A&E, and Legends on The Learning Channel. The documentary was produced by David Tereschuk and Greg Kandra. The executive producer is Terrence L. Martin.
Greg Kandra first got his sea legs on the Norway in 1995. When he's in port, he's a writer and producer for CBS News in New York, currently the Story Producer and Writer for 60 Minutes II, and one of the head writers for "9/11," the CBS documentary which aired on September 10, 2002. Other writing credits include "60 at 30" on the 30th anniversary of the popular news magazine, 60 Minutes, a BIOGRAPHY of Jerry Seinfeld, which aired on May 11, 1998 on the A&E network show of the same name, and SUPERLINERS, a documentary produced for the Discovery Channel which first aired in the Fall of 1998.
Over the last 20 years, Greg has won a Peabody Award, an Emmy and two awards from the Writers Guild of America.
Greg has been kind enough to contribute other articles to the SeaLetter, including his review of Celebrity's Century, and Remembering the Golden Age of Ocean Liners, an essay derived from his Superliners script.
For further information on Superliners, Greg Kandra can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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