Snowbow Newsletter June 2022
The bearer of Happy News for
Classic Ship Lovers Everywhere
The bearer of Happy News, that’s a laugh, especially when you consider that nearly all the news we get thrown at us these days is full of doom and gloom… I try not to turn TV on these days as I find it so depressing, but the other day I did and guess what… It was a celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and instead of reaching for the off button, which I would normally do, my attention was caught by the sight of thousands of troops all marching in impeccable lines, both on foot and mounted, summoning the start of four days of amazing pageantry created and executed in a way that only this country could do… The streets of London were crammed full of people with happy, smiling faces the like of which I haven’t seen for so many years… The skies above roared with the sounds of aircraft as a fantastic flypast by the Royal Air Force flew low over London as the Queen and her family stood and waved from the Palace to the huge crowds that cheered for as far as the eye could see…
As a myriad of red, white and blue of Union Jacks waved with pride so the celebrations went on and on just as they had back in 1945, when our great country celebrated the end of World War Two… I was just a kid back then but I will never forget the happy crowds that filled those same streets even though after six years of brutal war hardly a building was left fully standing anywhere; shops were empty and bare and their streets so dark and dim,, whereas now there was so much for these celebrations to feast on including live open air street performances from many of the world’s biggest musical stars… It was as if I’d been parachuted back in time to an age when Great Britain was truly Great and as it did so the celebrations continued for four whole days, when the whole nation partied as spectacular parades filled our world with a blaze of colour as street artists displayed their skills, all of which played their part in bringing the old streets of London alive, and when dusk began to fall so special lighting effects lit the Palace and all around in ways never seen before.
I could write a book just about this extraordinary experience and as I watched, so from my eyes an emotional tear or two found their way down the sides of my stilled face, as I’m sure was the case with the Queen herself as she stood surrounded by a sea of joy and love as the whole nation demonstrated to the world that, despite the ridiculous efforts of a tiny handful of loudmouthed, naive moaners and groaners Britain is still great, and always will be.
Oh well that’s all gone now and already our so often gloom ridden media, no doubt angrily sick to death of all the happiness they had been subjected to, had turned and bolted back into the darkest shadows of their hopelessness, where to try to regroup and resuscitate the pessimism, doom and gloom that is their oxygen of life, so they can do all within their fallaciousness to try to make sure that the doors to such freedom are sealed forever and that our people will never ever be able to enjoy such happiness ever again… Who are these hateful people… I think we all know… So sad…
So I wondered if there was anything we here at Snowbow could possibly do to help the joy and happiness the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations had given us to linger on, but nothing could compete with that… however there had to be something we could do surely… Perhaps we could arrange one of our special Maritime Memory cruises for us all to enjoy together… Then a much less expensive and far more lasting and obvious idea came to me, when I recalled how not so many years ago we received a personal letter from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, thanking us for all the work we had done in creating our Award winning video series, The Great Liners and for all the wonderful memories it had helped to bring back to her, which in turn reminded me that so many of you have over the years asked if we could possibly let you have an up to date Snowbow catalogue detailing all 50 of the 70 minute programmes on shipping that we have managed to produce since we first started production of them over thirty years ago…
Yes, we have those amazing video programmes that also show the pride we had in ourselves and our country; so I picked up pen and paper and set to work and am proud to say that the end result is a stunning new catalogue in all its glory, showing you all the hundreds of rare films we have managed to find and restore, each one showing shipping through the ages,(The Golden Age of Shipping) 97% of which have never been made public before and were thought to have been lost forever.
I have always been a lover of ships right from being a youngster when in the late 1940s my father took me down into one of Southampton’s then giant drydocks, where the great ocean liner Aquitania was being overhauled, and I can tell you, standing at the bottom of that great dock and seeing the ship’s giant propellors and its massive superstructure towering high above me was just absolutely mind blowing. How he ever got me down there I haven’t a clue, but one thing’s for sure, he wouldn’t be able to have done that today.. Can you imagine… No Hi-Viz jacket, helmet goggles, boots or anything other than my then just total amazement.
I also sometimes found myself on a train passing through Southampton and as we steamed by I could see all the great and famous ocean liners towering above all as they lined up along its many quaysides… I used to get so excited I would stick my head right out of the carriage window and look as though I was trying to get to them… Ships such as the Queen Mary, Elizabeth, Caronia, Orient Line, The Castle boats, P&O, French Line, Royal Mail, United States Lines… there were just so many there that my old train suddenly took on a magical feel as it seemed to become my train to heaven.
It would hardly surprise you if I told you that as soon as I was 16 and old enough to join the Merchant Navy, I was off, sailing all over the world for what were without doubt the happiest years of my life, and when I finally left the sea I went into show business where I became a singer/comedian releasing records for EMI and then on to learning and working on making feature films and TV programmes.
Sadly this was at a time when the once great British Merchant Navy and Shipping Industries were on the verge of collapse and ports all around our nation emptied as all those once great ocean liners, tankers, ferries, cargo ships, coasters, tugs, disappeared from quaysides such as in Southampton, leaving behind their memories and just empty cranes to swing their sadness in the rusting breeze. This had a great effect on me, especially as it all happened so quickly that there was next to nothing left behind to remind us of the heyday of shipping, days when it was possible for a young boy to go down into the mighty Aquitania’s drydock.
That was when I decided to try to use my TV/film experience to see if I couldn’t somehow make at least one video programme about the heyday of shipping, thereby hopefully keeping their stories alive forever and so that’s what I did… I must have been mad but I was so proud of our great maritime history and I knew that there were probably hundreds of thousands of likeminded people all over the world that would give anything to be able to see real moving film showing all those wonderful ships and the ports they sailed to and from, and so that’s what I did.
In the 2nd part of my book ‘Jumping For Balloons’, which I am trying desperately to finish now, it will tell the whole story of our once great maritime age, so keep an eye open for it. But back to the challenge of making such a film, well I can say it was one of the biggest challenges I have ever taken on and so many times I really felt that without any funding and the difficulties I had to face in all the searching I had to do to try and find the rare old archive films, and then when found, the endless hours of work spent restoring and putting it all back together again was totally exhausting, but I felt strongly that it was a task that had to be done… In the end it wasn’t just one programme I made but a staggering 50 of them, creating what can now be claimed to be the biggest historical film and sound archive in the world, an archive that almost unbelievably covers almost every ship that was ever built and sailed, so even if you have no interest in ships at all, it is still amazing to see all the hundreds of magnificent ocean liners that once sailed the world, together with all the other hundreds and hundreds of fascinating ships of every shape and size ranging from ferries, tankers, bulk carriers, passenger cargo ships, conventional cargo ships, tramp ships, coasters, tugs… you name it and they’ll be there in this unique collection, plus film of nearly all the ports in the world in their heyday as well and for all of you fighting ship fanatics there’s previously unseen film secretly shot during WW2, showing unbelievable sea battles for real…
Oh, and for you very difficult to please people who have asked us if we have any great film of really, really stormy weather, well I’m pleased to let you know that we do, the latest being… wait for it… the great Queen Elizabeth (1) at sea in a hurricane, and keeping to our style you will actually be aboard her, and boy did she roll…
Being aboard the ships is something we have strived hard to achieve and the end result is that you are actually there as if for real, sailing on every type of ship all over the world, seeing life at sea as it was back then from their bridge all the way down to their engine rooms… Oh, and as all this started re a few words about the Queen’s wonderful Jubilee, you can also see super rare film of the Queen and Prince Phillip aboard Shaw Savill’s Gothic, taking them on their Commonwealth Tour in 1953… Yes, our Queen and Prince Phillip diving in and out of the ship’s swimming pool, a pool not of marble or even tiled but as things often used to be back then, a pool constructed by the crew out of timber and canvas, but they were young and you can see how much they enjoyed it as they had the time of their lives, so don’t miss it!
Whether the rare films take you sailing on tugs, coasters, with the Queen and Prince Phillip or famous liners you also hear the natural sounds of each ship featured including their very own special whistles… The lengths gone to reach perfection are boundless, and in all honesty you would really struggle to find anyone else who would dedicate so many years to make such a fantastic series possible… So if you or anyone you know e.g. family, like ships then you really have to look at these programmes and who knows, perhaps you might even end up as happy as the two men featured in the special cartoon I have drawn below just for you… I wonder how those two characters managed to end up shipwrecked on the smallest and most remote desert island in the world, and who are they? Oh well, perhaps the good old Gothic with the Queen and Prince Phillip aboard will come to their rescue!
To get your special copy of our free catalogue just email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 00 44 (0) 1273 585391/584470. and we’ll send it to you… If you want to order DVD copies now then either call us on the numbers above or go to our website at: www.snowbow.co.uk and click on DVDs… and if you need further help then again, just email or call. You can go on to our film archive if you like, where you will find every ship/port/shipyard etc., listed. Just put in to the archive’s search engine the name of the ship or port etc and when your request comes up it will also tell you which of the 50 DVDs they are featured in… We appreciate that if you’re not a computer whiz kid, then for some of us the internet can be difficult to work with, so again, when in doubt or difficulties, then just call us.
Each of these 70 min + Award Winning DVDs, takes approximately a whole year to produce, such is the level of work that goes in to making them, which are to the highest broadcast standards, by top film makers and maritime historians, hence we are the only people in the world to make such a series, so may we please ask you for a really great favour… Could you please be so kind to forward a copy of this email to all your friends and associates that have an interest in shipping of any kind, which would hopefully help us to generate important money through extra sales that in turn will allow us to cover the costs of future productions, for we have a whole lot of rare film still to look at and restore for your enjoyment.. including more cargo ships, warships, ocean liners and everything else.
Because many people have restrictions on the amount your email system will accept, it is likely that our catalogue (12 full colour A4 pages) is far too big to send, but so you can get a good idea of what the catalogue is like we have below a smaller size of the front page plus the 1st page, so you can see how attractive and informative the real catalogue will be to enjoy… Oh, and to cheer you all up, we are still running our very special offer whereby for every two DVDs you order you get a third one of your choice free of charge, all of which is a massive saving… a saving so big in fact, that many of you have taken advantage of this offer to order the whole collection of 50 DVDs at the same time, thereby saving them a mini fortune.
We hope the DVDs you order will bring you endless hours of really happy viewing because if you’re anything like 97%
of our customers, you’ll watch them over and over again.
We seldom use any still photographs in these productions, for our aim is to make watching them give you the feeling that you have really travelled back in time and are there for real; perhaps walking along the busy quaysides, boarding the ships and actually sailing with them on their voyages all over the world… The rare old archive films have all been carefully restored to their former glory both image wise and in sound, and to ensure nothing spoils them we produce the final programmes to TV Broadcast standards and everything you see and hear is totally our copyright and unique to us… To ensure the end product (DVDs) are of the highest quality all physical duplication is done by one of the world’s top duplicators and checked thoroughly before being sent to you… The end result is so good that even young children are watching them now, fascinated to see the wonderful old ships of yesteryear and the wonderful life and freedoms we enjoyed back then.
For further information go to our website at www.snowbow.co.uk To help you feel even happier, we still have the special offer of a free extra DVD for every two you order. For a free DVD catalogue, information, or to order by phone, call us on 00 44 (0) 1273 585391/584470. Each DVD costs £18.95 including UK P&P. Add two pounds extra for Europe and three pounds extra for the rest of the world. So, if you’re an ex-seafarer, or just love ships and the sea, or want some great memorable nostalgic, we guarantee these DVDs will take you back in time to those wonderful days often referred to as: The Golden Age of Ocean Travel.
Des and all at Snowbow