This year, great ocean liner celebrates the 80th anniversary of her maiden voyage, and thanks to STV Productions, the Smithsonian Institution and Showtime Networks, Inc., viewers can learn about the R.M.S. Queen Mary’s turbulent and glamorous past.
Mighty Ship at War: The Queen Mary will premiere on Sunday, August 21 at 8:00PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel. Another showing will be aired at 11:00PM, as well as 11:00AM on Monday.
"There’s a good reason the Queen Mary has drawn more than 50 million visitors since her retirement to Long Beach in 1970," said Charles Poe, senior vice president of production for Smithsonian Channel. "She's far more than a floating hotel and museum. In fact for an inanimate object she has a distinctive personality that we tried really hard to convey in our film – a glamorous dame with an indestructible spirit."
The hour-long special commemorates the anniversary, with exclusive access to the ocean liner’s archival footage and photographs and an exploration of the ship’s adventures through the 20th century, according to the announcement released today.
The luxury-liner-turned-troopship “built by master craftsmen in Scotland shipyards[...] helped drag a nation from the depths of the Great Depression and set sail as a symbol of new hope and a better future,” stated the release.
The Queen Mary filled a critical role during World War II, shipping troops and Winston Churchill across the Atlantic, setting a new standard for transatlantic travel, and even spurring Adolf Hitler to offer a $250,000 reward for any U-boat captain that could sink the mighty vessel, according to the release.
"She evokes so many stories, from the golden age of luxury ocean cruises to the darkest days of World War II, when Winston Churchill needed the Queen Mary's speed to outrun German submarines," Poe stated. "D-Day might not have been possible without her. And you can tell that for the people who worked and sailed her, they'll never forget that experience."
The documentary also dives into the darker depths of the ship’s history, when in 1942 the Queen Mary accidentally collided with the HMS Curacoa, her escort vessel, and left 338 men to be swallowed by the sea. The captain had been ordered not to stop under any circumstances.
Viewers of Mighty Ship at War: The Queen Mary will also get to hear from U.S. Army troops, as well as two brides who boarded the ship post-war to join their American spouses in the states.
To learn more about the special, visit the Smithsonian Channel’s website here.