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Old 04-18-2007, 03:30 PM
Keith Norrington Keith Norrington is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On the "Beautiful Ohio" at New Albany, Indiana, opposite Louisville, Kentucky
Posts: 2,078

Dale: I think it was 1968 or '69 when the MAJESTIC got her new steel hull at Tucker Marine. It didn't come any too soon, as that old wooden hull, dating from 1923, was decrepit. Capt. Roddy Hammett said that someone came running over to the DQ one night and asked if they could borrow a bilge pump because the showboat was sinking! Roddy explained that everything on the DQ was steam, but he went over to see what he could do. He saw several actors down in the hold, frantically bailing water. Help came from somewhere and the MAJESTIC was saved, but the new owners knew they were living on borrowed time and the new steel hull was installed soon thereafter.

When the MAJESTIC and ATTABOY (renamed I.U.) spent their last years (1965-66) under the ownership of Indiana University tied up at Jeffersonville, Jeffboat kindly kept watch over the old showboat and her towboat, which already had a steel hull. During periods of very high water when there was a lot of drift in the river, they would move the boats upstream and place barges around them for protection.

Judy Patsch and I were given a memorable "hull to pilothouse" tour of the MAJESTIC about ten years ago by assistant production manager Denny Reed. Since that time, the showboat was taken upriver for extensive hull work. A lot of other restoration work has been done recently as well. A video on the MAJESTIC's history is available for purchase, as is the wonderful book, Cargo of Memories, written by the late Catherine Reynolds King, daughter of Capt. T.J. Reynolds.

Actor Kevin Kline, who has appeared in various recent movies, is an IU graduate and spent time on the MAJESTIC. He especially recalls stoking the boiler to provide steam for the calliope!

For more about life on a traveling showboat, don't forget that the next program in my "River Ramblings" series at the Howard Steamboat Museum will be on Saturday, August 25th at 3:00 PM EDT, featuring our own Pat Carr, who lived on the MAJESTIC as a Hiram College student in 1958. Pat's program, entitled "Footlights Afloat", will feature home movies, photos and LOTS of great stories as only Pat can tell them! Y'all come!

Last edited by Keith Norrington; 04-19-2007 at 10:31 AM.
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