The Poseidon Adventure Was Playing Aboard The Titanic?

July 5, 2010

Several years ago, I was told by a coworker that the original silent version of The Poseidon Adventure was playing in the Titanic’s movie theatre when the great liner went down. I did not believe this story, so I checked imdb.com … and sure enough, there it was. “What a coincidence,” I said, marvelling that a movie about a sinking ship would play on a sinking ship, and also that I knew not to call it ironic.

I love silent films, and I love stories of lost movies, and I love weird coincidences. So I repeated the story. And I’ve been repeating it for years, until it came up in conversation a while ago and someone said “Smells like bullshit to me.”

“But it has an imdb page,” I said, realizing what I was about to hear before I had even finished the sentence.

“So what? That’s user-edited,” I was told.

This caused me to step back and look at the facts:

  1. The Poseidon Adventure came out in 1972 and starred Gene Hackman.
  2. It was based on a 1969 novel by Paul Gallico.
  3. It was remade in 2006 with Kurt Russell, and also before that in 2005 as a TV movie with Steve Guttenberg. Also, Steve Guttenberg is still acting.
  4. There was a movie cinema on the Titanic. And a swimming pool, too. But the cinema was really just a projector in the dining room after dinner. The pool, meanwhile, got bigger as the voyage went on.
  5. The Internet Movie Database used to list The Poseidon Adventure as having been released in 1911. That page is now gone. You’ll have to trust me on that one, because I always tell the truth.

So what’s going on? Is my memory faulty? I don’t think it is. I remember finding all kinds of online information about this forgotten early version of the story. The imdb page even stated that Gallico based his novel on the earlier story.

I fired up my internet sniffer-outery and soon learned the source of the confusion: Snopes.

Read this page at the debunking site snopes.com. Read it closely. In particular, click on the More Information box at the bottom of the article.

All of this has been a years-long online exercise in explaining the importance of critical thinking and the scientific method. I love it. I was fooled, and I’m really, really hard to fool, except for that time I thought Robert Trugabe was a real guy. And the time I thought the Palin kid really did give the finger. And my first two marriages.

There. You learned something today. You’re welcome.

One comment

  1. Turns out the Snopes page you are referencing is one of their ‘false authority’ examples. I had originally believed it as well.


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