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Titanic (Gaumont)

June 6, 2012

As soon as the Titanic sank on April 15th 1912, the moving picture industry began dreaming up ways to exploit the disaster to their benefit.

Enterprising cameramen began passing off footage of the Titanic’s sister ship, as that of the ill-fated vessel herself, and at least one city, Philadelphia, decided to ban the screening of all Titanic films.*

Today, there is some footage from British Pathe circulating that claims to be authentic material — not of the wreck, but of the ship leaving the harbor. This, or something like it is likely what viewers saw when they attended the moving picture show at the Princess Theatre in Logan, Utah 100 years ago today.

Logan Utah Republican (6 June 1912): 5 Courtesy of the LOC’s Chronicling America

* According to the Moving Picture World‘s Philadelphia correspondent, “Orders were issued by the police officials that pictures of the Titanic could not be shown in Philadelphia, as all of them were fakes, and were pictures taken of the Olympic.”

– MPW vol 12, (15 June 1912): 1046

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