WINTER 1966-67

Stories contained herein were published by and for Mooremack Employees Ashore and Afloat.

(Courtesy of John-Paul DeRosa)

 

Flags Fly for Mooremack in Florida

Every time the beautiful Argentina and Brasil steam into Port Everglades, Fla., they are treated like royal visitors.

From the terraces of a large shorefront apartment house, Moore-McCormack house flags hang like banners welcoming a king to a medieval festival.

This enthusiastic display of affection for the ships started very simply, according to the "Miami Herald."

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Gardner returned from a February cruise on the S.S. Argentina and tried to point out their home to the ship captain, Paul Scott.

"But I can't see it," the Commodore complained mildly, "maybe you ought to hang out a flag …."

That did it.

From that simple statement grew a pennant club that is engulfing Everglades House on S. Ocean Blvd.

It started with a request that brought a dozen pennants from the line that owns the Argentina.

The pennants are huge green and white ones bearing the crest of the Moore-McCormack ship lines.  And they hang from a dozen balconies when the Mooremack ships come in.

"They always honor the pennants with three blasts but sometimes it's six, seven or eight," the Gardners laugh.

Mr. Gardner got permission to organize the condominium's 160 homeowners in a club that would write all the ship lines serving Port Everglades to ask for more pennants.

In the meantime they even hang out the ones the Mooremack people sent them to welcome other ships.

"Others honor the pennants too," Mrs. Gardner said.

The passengers on one cruise ship were so excited about the unusual welcome to Port Everglades that the captain wrote to the apartment owner.

"He didn't know the name of the building so he just addressed it to the 'second condominium from the port entrance' and we got it," Mrs. Gardner said.

Enthusiasm for the ship welcomes spread through Everglades House like wildfire, or high tide as it might be.

Now the club members get together when a ship is due at night and flash their balcony lights on and off in an erratic welcome.

"It's just great," the Gardners enthuse.  And Mr. and Mrs. Sam Botsford (he's vice president of the club) are already planning a condominium flag and lapel pins for members.

Now the ships are beginning to look for the familiar welcome.

One morning at 6 a.m. Mrs. Gardner was getting a house guest off for a plane flight and the Argentina came sailing by.  She hastened to lower her great pennant.

"They couldn't blow at 6 a.m., but all of a sudden I saw something pink flying out a porthole.  A little later the chief purser called and asked if I saw him answer my flag.

"I asked what in the world it was … he said he stripped the sheets off his bed."

Nothing like a nice welcome.

         

 

 

Argentina Rescues Dutch Seaman

A ship from the Mooremack fleet recently carried out again her long tradition of helping others at sea. 

 The luxury liner Argentina made an unscheduled stop at sea during the winter of 1966 to take aboard an injured Dutch seaman from the freighter Meerdrecht.  The Argentina changed course some 300 miles southeast of Ambrose to bring the seaman, who had head injuries, on board the liner for medical aid.  The ship was under the command of Commodore Paul Scott.

     

Mormacrigel to the Rescue

Another rescue was added to the credit of the fleet when the cargo ship Mormacrigel rescued crew members of a sinking ship in a storm.

On January 2, 1967, the Mormacrigel, commanded by Captain John Larsen, was en route from Gdynia to Rotterdam, when she received the ever-dreaded "Mayday" signal—an SOS at sea—from a sinking ship.  The Mormacrigel changed course and headed toward the position of the distressed ship, some 120 miles off the German coast in the North Sea.  On arrival no vessel was to be found!

Changing course again, the Mooremack freighter searched with radar and look-outs.  Finally an old vessel, low in the water, was sighted.  It was the Norwegian freighter Raagan.  By now a helicopter joined the rescue and the 14 men were saved from the gale and rough seas, although several received, as Captain Larsen put it, "a total dunking."  The Norwegian ship sank shortly afterwards.

Captain Larsen highly commended his whole crew with special mention of radio Operator Mr. George, Chief Mate Mr. Yven, who was in charge of rescue operations, Second Mate Mr. Hall, Third Mates Messrs. Tkacz and Cox, as well as Captain Vogeley, and Chief Engineer Rehbein.

 

     

A Shipload of Fun is Work

If you mention the name Moore-McCormack Lines, it is immediately connected to the steamship industry, and certainly not to show business.  How, then, do those smooth, shipboard shows get to sea?

On every cruise, the luxury liners Argentina and Brasil "pack the house" with enthusiastic audiences for the professional and high-class entertainment served on board.  Each audience usually witnesses what amounts to a command performance.  Obviously there is a lot of work behind such easy fun.

The magician in charge of juggling the acts with the cruise schedules is Eleanor Britton, Director of Entertainment and Cruise Staff for Mooremack.  Miss Britton and Danny Leone, Cruise Director on the Argentina, held one of Mooremack's unusual evening auditions recently—"unusual" because the auditions are held in a deluxe private apartment uptown.

"Most professional auditions are in drafty old auditoriums," Miss Britton explained, "but we think this makes the performers feel more at ease, and also we get an idea of how they carry off a number with a closely gathered audience, such as they would find aboard ship."

The apartment belongs to Mrs. Sylvia Davis, formerly a pianist for the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts for 14 years, and frequently an intermissionist on the Mooremack liners.

The recent audition, one of the few held every season, was sandwiched in between Danny Leone's arrival and departure.

Some 50 performers turned up for the audition; several had previously performed at sea, others had not.  The unanimous reason for seeking a shipboard spot was travel.  Variations on the travel theme voiced by the performers were that the position would be a challenge, that they would perform to a more sophisticated audience on board ship, and that they like the food and services.  Or, as one described shipboard life, "it gives you a little lift."

The performers who try out for placement with Moore-McCormack Lines meet some pretty stiff competition.  Many of those auditioning have had spots on the Ed Sullivan Show, in the Broadway production of "Hello, Dolly!", on the Johnny Carson Show, and in the House of Vienna, to name a few.

Mooremack standards are very high.  "The performers have to have a lot on the ball," Miss Britton said.  "For example, they can't be just good singers; we are looking for 'stylists' with a lot of material and orchestration, as well as the proper clothes and costumes.  They also have to be 'just nice people.'"

 

 

LIVE APPLAUDOMETER:  Bunny, a well-behaved French poodle, often attends the Mooremack auditions.  "When he doesn't like someone, he screams," Miss Britton said.

 

       

 

     

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