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Tribute to a Titanic Musician The Man with the Top Hat and Carnation - By Crew Member Cheri Winger

January 17th, 2014

William Theodore Ronald Brailey is from London England, known by his friends as “Ted”.

The year 1887 was a time when Spiritualism and talking to the dead was the “in thing”, Theodore the oldest of the Brailey children, was born into the world.  While Ted’s dad is busy being a clairvoyant, his sister and him are encouraged to learn music.

Ted was gifted

William Theodore Ronald Brailey

William Theodore Ronald Brailey

At the age of 14, He was a professional piano player playing music for the Kensington Palace Hotel, but soon he would adventure out and before he turned 15 he had enlisted in the army with plans to be a bandsman.

As a boy soldier with the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers, he got to go on ships to lands he had never seen before.  It was an adventure with lots of down time to entertain and soon his talent was noticed.  He was a bandsman and to progress he had to study two years at the Royal Military School of Music in London, where he was known to also play flute and cello.  His talent had earned him some tips and soon he paid his way out of the army with  18 pounds.

At 20 years old he got a popular job at a resort in Southport England playing at the Seashore Pavilion.  Known for the entertainment and scenic site, it was the “in thing” of its day.

This is where you could meet anyone and everyone.  Ted’s motto in the army was “Daring in all things!”  So it’s no wonder that he got interested in aviation when he made acquaintance with the famous Cecil Compton Paterson, who was setting up one of England’s first aerodromes just 4 miles from where Ted played music.

Cecil was self taught, and had his own biplane and he often allowed a guest to fly with him.  Ted was known as an associate with the Freshfield Aeradome. There was an article in the Southport Visitor Newspaper reported that Ted even designed a plane of his own and got it to fly several hundred yards.

Whether this is true or not, Ted was adventurous.  Of course, these flying machines were the latest “in thing”, so it’s no telling what heights Ted could have soared, but it takes money.

Money is what led Ted to work on the sea going liners. The money for musicians on these liners was not great, but tips would be good and was enough to make a prospect financial start. Ted was thinking to settle down and start a family.  He had been dating a well- known Southport girl of Irish and German parents Miss Teresa Steinhiber, whom he called “Terry”.   They had been known as a couple for two years or more and Terry was on his mind.  He may have been thinking of her when he composed, “The Ballet of the Roses and “A Little Scherzo” in 1911.

Titanic crew member Cheri Winger

Titanic crew member Cheri Winger

C.W Black and F.N. Black of Liverpool supplied musicians for these ships, and Ted was hired to work first on Saxonia and then the Carpathia.

It was on the Carpathia he made friends with fellow musician Roger Bricoux that played one of his favorite instruments, the cello.   Maybe Ted could get a few pointers on how to play his cello better.

Engaged to Teresa, he had promised to bring his seagoing days to an end, but he needed one more impressive trip on the famous Titanic.  After all it was the latest “in thing.”

He was warned by his Clairvoyant Father, who felt that the Titanic would come to no good.  But the excitement was too great, and the adventure too grand to miss.  There was a rush to get off of the Carpathia and make hast for the Titanic Voyage.  No time to be talked out of it.  Got to chase an adventure.

How little did he know that his motto from the military would be his final motto; he’d stand on the deck playing music to the end,  daring in all things!   William Theodore Ronald Brailey, the man with the Top Hat and Carnation, body was never found and only 24 years old.

Old Friends Care About You!

December 18th, 2013

Hello there! My name is Polar “the Titanic Bear.”  I’m a real stuffed Steiff bear that was lucky enough to be in first class on the real Titanic. Many of you might know me from the children’s book written for my master, Robert Spedden..

Polar the Titanic Bear with his book

Polar the Titanic Bear with his book

A lot has changed since Mrs. Spedden wrote that book about me. Now, you can find me in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee or in Branson, Missouri at the Titanic Museums. I spend time in each museum meeting our wonderful guests and asking about their voyage with us. I love to meet all the wonderful children and to hear about how long they can leave their hands in the cold water. That’s my favorite part of the tour; I love cold water!

I have a wonderful job! At my request, I am paid in sardines- a most delicious treat. I get to sleep whenever I like, and when I am awake I meet the latest passengers to join us.

Passengers are often surprised to meet a talking Polar Bear. Their reactions vary quite a bit. Sometimes, I’ll get weird looks. Some people will run away screaming. But most love chatting with me.

I asked if I might have the honor of writing the latest blog because I am a stuff bear after all, and this is the time of year humans will think of toys the most. It is Christmas- the magical time of year! If ever your stuffed animal could come to life and speak as I can, the time would be now. Unfortunately, it takes some stuffed animals eighty or ninety years before they feel comfortable with conversation. For those toys out there who cannot speak for themselves, I would like to let you know that we love our owners very much. There is no one that can replace you in your toy’s world. Also, it is okay if you want to play with your newest toys more. We were the newest toy once; so, we understand. Even the oldest friend on your shelf can feel how much you care.

I hope everyone who reads this will see their Christmas wishes come true this year. If ever you should find yourself in need of a polar bear friend, I will be at the museum waiting just to meet you. Then, perhaps you could take home one of my cousins from the gift shop. Finally, if any of you see good ole’ Santa coming down your chimney, tell him that Polar wishes him a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Titanic Guest Blog - Titanic Fantasy Princess

November 26th, 2013

Hello My Darlings!

Titanic Fantasy Princess

Titanic Fantasy Princess

I’m making all of the preparations for my visit to The Titanic! I will be there Thanksgiving! I am so very excited to see all of my friends & make new ones as well!

So many things to be thankful for every single second! I just love this time of year! The Titanic is decorated so beautifully with all of the Edwardian Christmas decorations, just like it would have been on Titanic.

This year at The Pigeon Forge Titanic, I have lots of things planned for you!

Make sure you’re there at 7:30 Thanksgiving night at Pigeon Forge Titanic, Free in the parking lot tons of things to see!

First you’ll see Titanic all aglow in twinkling lights, then a very special friend of mine who sings like an angel will share & sing some of our favorite Christmas music! Then you’ll have to wait & see how I will be arriving! A beautiful white carriage will bring me to Titanic, there I will greet all of my friends & hopefully you can come too!

Oh I really hope you will wear your Princess dresses too, or even your Tiaras! If enough of you  come, I pinkie princess promise to make it SNOW just for you!

Hugs & Kisses… Hopes & Wishes,

The Titanic Fantasy Princess

Titanic Guest Blog - Crew Member Rod

November 14th, 2013

I’d like to share a story about a little girl and her dad at the Titanic Princess display  in the Branson gift shop.

Princess Snow Globe available in the Titanic Gift Shop

Princess Snow Globe available in the Titanic Gift Shop

A little girl, probably 5 or 6 years old, and her dad were standing in the Titanic gift shop and she was politely asking for something from the Princess display.  He was trying to dissuade her, saying she had tons of Princess stuff at home, why not get a souvenir that shows the Titanic, like the snow globe?  He picked up a Titanic snow globe and shook it, showing her what it does.  The little girl looked at her dad and then the snow globe.   And without looking away from her dad, she reached behind her and picked up a Princess snow globe from the display and held it up and shook it, looked at him, with a patient expression on her face and pointed at it, and said, “snow globe.”  I couldn’t help it, a chuckle escaped my lips and he looked at me and smiled, knowing he was beat.  I smiled back and said, “You’re doomed.”  He chuckled and said, “I know.”  I don’t know for sure, but I bet she got her Princess snow globe.

As a crew member I enjoy meeting and sharing the stories of Titanic with our guests.

Plus I invite you to come and visit us during the Christmas Season and you can meet our Titanic ‘Fantasy’ Princess.

Crew Member Rod

Christmas at Titanic - Crew Member, Cheri Winger

November 6th, 2013

Christmas at the Titanic

Christmas at the Titanic

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and the Crew has out done themselves this year making our Museum, a Grand Victorian Christmas for the Ship of Dreams!

Titanic sank on April 15th, 1912, but let us dream about  what she would have looked like at Christmas!   Since they could not decorate we have for them, honoring their memories and retailing their stories.

Let’s all use our imaginations and think on happier times with family and friends.  Look at Christmas through the eyes of a child.

I must say that when our guest comes around the corner and sees the Grand Stairs the look of amazement and delight is pure joy to watch.   It is an enchanting time with fantasy princess and Christmas gifts.

Even if you have been naughty there is a lump of Titanic Coal in the gift shop for you, straight from the bottom of the ocean in a coin keepsake just for you or for that someone that you think is naughty!

I know you haven’t even eaten your Thanksgiving Turkey yet, but there is so much to be thankful for and Christmas is such a special time.   Why not celebrates more than just one month!  So come soak in the beauty and excitement at the Titanic Museum in Branson and Pigeon Forge.

Heroes come when you least expect it! Titanic First Class Maid – Erin Scheibe

October 31st, 2013

It is amazing the forms a hero can come in. For some, a hero can be the man who bravely rushes into danger to save an animal from a burning building. To others however, a hero is one that brings comfort and relief in times of strife. On the Titanic this was no different. In September we paid tribute to the men and women known around the world as first responders, those firefighters, paramedics and police officers who serve our communities by aiding those in distress and protecting our homes from danger. These men and women are obvious heroes to the community, representing bravery and strength throughout our country. There are however other individuals that can be considered heroes and this month at the Titanic we pay tribute to them.

On September 11, 2001 a man by the name of Father Mychal Judge rushed into the Twin Towers, determined to bring comfort to those in strife. Judge was a Catholic Priest who believed it his calling to bring comfort and absolution to those suffering in their final moments on that fateful day. Judge gave his life that day, as he traveled from person to person sharing faith and comfort with those that were hurting, he was hit in the head by debris and killed. It was never disputed that Friar Judge was a hero that day in the towers. Likewise, on the night the Titanic sank there was a group of gentlemen that sacrificed in a similar manner. Pastors, priests and seminary graduates who refused to take a seat in the lifeboat because they needed to comfort the stranded and trapped who were aboard.

Rev. John Harper - Baptist Minister Last Hero Aboard Titanic. Credit: Cedar Bay Entertainment

Rev. John Harper - Baptist Minister Last Hero Aboard Titanic. Credit: Cedar Bay Entertainment

Reverend John Harper, in his final moments, swam from person to person in the 28 degree water, encouraging them to turn their lives over to Christ. Our own Captain Smith in Pigeon Forge recounts the story for guests that are often met with emotional responses. Father Thomas Byles stayed aboard the ship and led passengers in scripture and absolution as the ship sank ever further into the water. All of these men on board were heroes, perhaps not in the traditional sense but by bravely choosing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of comforting others, they deserve honor.

October is pastor appreciation month, and here at the Titanic museum we wish to honor the pastors, priests and chaplains that serve in our communities. We invite you to join us and travel through the museum as our guest. Come and learn the stories of our many heroes and help us by furthering the many stories of the passengers that made the Titanic the legend that it is today.

A Community is like a Ship! By - Titanic Officer, Sean Myers

October 16th, 2013

Over the last four years, I have watched as our crew has been involved with the local community. I’ve watched from afar and have never really been involved in anything outside of the ship. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to dive in (so to speak) to the communities of Branson and Hollister. And recently, I received an opportunity to do so, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson.

Titanic crew at the Hollister Grape and Fall Festival

Titanic crew at the Hollister Grape and Fall Festival

On Saturday, October 12th, 2013, my fellow officers Rod, Eric, Christopher, and I signed up to do the annual grape stomp at the Hollister Grape and Fall Festival. Never having competed in this event before, we were unsure of exactly how to prepare. We knew that we had to put together a routine to music and dance, all while stomping grapes to mush. The idea sounds exhilarating, and let me tell you: it was!

A couple of days before, we decided our music selections, thinking that we would tell Titanic’s story in two minutes to some modern music. The day before, we had a rough hour and a half rehearsal, considering what space we would have, and even how we would thrill the crowd. Upon discovering that we couldn’t wear any trousers, we decided upon some shorts we could wear.  (They were quite short. Black boxer shorts!)

Anyway, finally, the day of the competition arrived and we were transported to Downing Street in Hollister, where the event would take place. We paced around, looking at the various shops and displays, all while in our uniforms. We had decided to keep our “shorts” a secret. People knew we were from the Titanic Museum Attraction, and were surprised to hear we were competing and even more surprised when we told them we were wearing our uniforms.

A record number of twelve teams were competing this year! I was thrilled to hear that, as I had heard that only five teams had competed last year. We were slated to go ninth.

As the teams went, I realized that no one really took it too seriously. Everyone was up there to have fun! Teams had even journeyed to Hollister from Colorado, and we cheered them on like we had known them our entire lives. Finally, it was our turn.

As we took the “stage”, everyone was anticipating our stomp. We turned our backs to the crowd, and removed our pants…

The roar of the crowd was staggering. I knew the reaction would go one of two ways, and this was definitely the better of the two. Stepping into the barrel of grapes was interesting. A cold mixture of half squished grape and vine greeted my bare feet. When the music began, the officers and I performed to the best of our ability, and when we saluted at the very end, the crowd cheered full on, laughing and clapping and whistling.

Youtube Video - Titanic Officers WIN Grape Stomp Hollister, MO

After having our feet hosed down, we put our slacks back on and waited for them to announce the winners of the competition, taking this time to watch the rest of the teams compete and cheer them on with the crowd. Finally, it was time to announce the winner.

After announcing second and third place winners, our name hadn’t been announced yet, and I felt anxious. Yes, it was a small competition, but we were proud of what we had done, and it had been a blast!

When they announced the first place team after a brief pause, it turned out that we, Team Titanic, were victorious! We had won the grape stomp competition for 2013. As the four of us wandered over to claim the “ugly monkey trophy”, a barrage of smart phones and cameras greeted us. It was a wonderful feeling.

But even as we were greeted by people who didn’t compete, other teams began to congratulate us as well.

Now, coming from a background of competitive sports, especially football, I know that other teams can say congratulations, but they don’t mean it.

However, these people were sincere about every word that they said, and I realized that this competition was never about winning at all. This was about coming together as a community and to have some fun along the way. Every person that competed didn’t really care about winning. We just wanted to come together and celebrate life for awhile.

It’s so important to be part of something. It’s important to come together as a community and to just show support of our friends and neighbors. No matter what, we can depend on each other. If we show support for the little things, we can support each other through the big things.

As Henrik Ibsen would say, “A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.”

I think he was right.

Red Cross At the Helm in Time of Need - By Crew Member Cheri

October 9th, 2013

When I watch the leaves turn and fall, I think of how the leaf was green one day and the next changed.  The weather is nice one day and the next cold especially here in Missouri.   We just never know what tomorrow will hold for us.  Within seconds our lives can change.   Like the people on a ship of dreams, enjoying life one moment, then suddenly their lives are forever changed.  Thank goodness for those with compassion to step in and help bring hope to a hopeless moment.

Thank goodness for Clara Barton!  Who is Clara Barton?

Red Cross at the Helm

Red Cross at the Helm

Clara was born on Christmas Day, 1821. Her life a wonderful gift to us! From a young age was caring for others.   She wrote a book called, “The Story of My Childhood” in 1907. At a time when few women worked outside the home Clara Barton was a wonderful example of how women’s role in the career world was changing.    She had jobs as a Teacher, Patent Clerk and Nurse.  But it was her compassion to help others that was her greatest accomplishment. Clara saw a need and purpose in life and found American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 1881. She gained support from others who believed in her cause.

Her humanitarian aid is a legendary hero thru our history. Clara Barton died on April 12, 1912 just a few days before Titanic Sank on April 15, 1912.  But it was the organization that she started that helped those on Titanic.

In the New York Times Newspaper Published: June 3, 1912 stated that more than $130,000 dollars was raised for the relief of Titanic Survivors and the survivors of victims, in trusted to the Red Cross Emergency Relief Committee.

Families lost their breadwinner when the ship went down. Many families traveled with all of their belongings to a new life in the United States. For those families that lost everything they owned, The Red Cross gave the family $250 right away to help.  But The Red Cross went a step further by helping the mothers complete nurse training so that they could get jobs when jobs for women was scarce, and set up a $5,000 trust fund for the children.  Many of them would not made it without the help of The Red Cross. In times of need the Red Cross was there.   The volunteers and the generous people that gave money, and time is still going on today.

From all of us here at the Titanic Museum in Branson, I just want to say thank you to all that have in the past, present, or future that has or will reach out to those that have suffered with compassion, time, money, and love. There is always a need and it is up to us to help!

– Crew Member Cheri

Titanic Guest Blogger

October 3rd, 2013

Titanic Crew Member - Christopher James

“In my eyes, our world is a lot like the Titanic. Here we are in different classes -some more well off than others. We live in a wealthy part of the world, and we have so much to be thankful for in the United States. While our life can be very cozy and joyous, we can easily distract ourselves from reality.  The truth is that whatever we have on the ship with us doesn’t matter a bit when it’s all taking the plunge. What many of us don’t think about is that our ship is sinking! We are all going down, and we need to live life like we are on the Titanic.

I am fortunate enough to work inside my own reminder. Everyday at the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri, we hear the stories of passengers and crew members who showed the true nature of their hearts. Some took off with lifeboats without thinking of others. Some gave up their place on a lifeboat to save someone else. Some clung to the ones they loved so they would leave this life with the ones they cared for the most.

Everyday our personal ship is sinking a little further. I try to live my life so that those I love will know that they are important. I try to give hope to those who need it. Aware of the circumstances, I am willing to leave the luxury of my suite for the uncomfortably cold seats of the lifeboat. I trust that -unlike the White Star Line- the maker of this vessel has given us enough lifeboats for everyone.

In the knowledge that your world is dragging you down with it, what can you do today to ensure you will make it to safety with no regrets? How will you be remembered by those on board with you? I think it’s never too late to say “I love you” and never to early to find your lifeboat.”


Titanic Crew Member - Christopher James

Celebrate Freedom Month

August 17th, 2013

Titanic Honors Active Military, Veterans, First Responders, Police & Fire Fighters

Titanic Honors Active Military, Veterans, First Responders, Police & Fire Fighters

During the month of August, Pigeon Forge and the surrounding area will be “Celebrating Freedom”. Honoring Active Military, Veterans, First Responders, Police, Fire Fighters by offering special discounts and heart felt thank yous to these brave men and women that keep us safe.  The Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee will offer a special discount to these amazing individuals. Pigeon Forge will be offering a discount book to identify those of us that are participating in this event, which considering the grateful spirit of all in the Smoky’s the lucky heroes are sure to have a wonderful time.  We at Titanic will be giving a $5.00 discount to these great people, THANK YOU!

Once more Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee was host to the loving nuptials, marriage ceremony, to Patrick and Christina McClelland and on August 3, 2013.  Captain Ron officiated at the Grande Staircase and the wedding reception was held on the Third Floor of the Attraction.  So much fun, so much love.  By the way there were 12 Honeymoon couples on board the R.M.S. Titanic, 8 were in First Class, come to the museum to discover their fate.  We have a feeling that our Honeymoon Couple will have a long and successful life and union.

Our sympathies to First Class Maid Lenora, who tirelessly but cheerfully toils in the Titanic Museum Attraction gift shop in Pigeon Forge.  She lost her home due to a fire not too long ago.  Her and her human family were not hurt, but unfortunately one of her two dear turtles succumbed to the effects of the smoke.  Destruction by fire is so devestaating and we offer up all of our positive thoughts to Lenora at this time.

Finally, Goodbye to a friend, a dear friend to both museums in Branson, Missouri and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee has left us for a new life in Australia!  That’s right, you know who it is, First Class Maid Virginia, some of you internet friends know her as “Rebelene”.  After many months of struggle, First Class Maid Virginia and her two children are pioneering to a new country very much like the immigrants that were aboard Titanic, only they winged their way to the “land down under”.  Excellent choice!  Good luck my friend, you are so lucky to be finally home.

First Class Maid, Jaynee