Director James Cameron has sometimes been called to task for historical inaccuracies in his film Titanic. For instance, Jack tells Rose he went ice fishing on Lake Wissota, a man-made lake in Wisconsin near Chippewa Falls. But the lake didn’t exist until 1918. And Rose mentions Sigmund Freud’s ideas on the male preoccupation with size, but that work wasn’t published until 1920. There are many instances like that, but they’re pretty minor…
…except for the glaring error of omission that has recently come to light.
Late in the movie, as the Titanic’s survivors are pulled from the sea by crew members of the SS Carpathia, we never see the daring rescue of a cracker.
I’m not talking about a Southerner here; I’m talking about an actual cracker. Specifically, a Spillers and Bakers Pilot Biscuit, which was really pulled from a Titanic lifeboat and survives to this day.
This is one hardy biscuit indeed.
Not only did it avoid the fate of many of its compatriots–being crumbled into the cockie leekie soup served for lunch on April 14–it managed to survive the frigid hours spent on the lifeboats alongside terrified, not to mention hungry, passengers. I’m guessing Spillers and Bakers Pilot Biscuits weren’t all that popular if even starving, shivering people adrift in the Atlantic refused to eat them.
Their slogan was probably “Spillers and Bakers. Not even if your life depends on it.”
Anyway, this particular biscuit was kept as a souvenir by James Fenwick, a passenger onboard the Carpathia, when he couldn’t get ahold of one of the “At least we didn’t get the norovirus” t-shirts which had been given to the Titanic passengers as they scrambled for the lifeboats. Fenwick stored the cracker in a Kodak photographic envelope with an original note, which read: “Pilot biscuit from Titanic lifeboat 1912.”
Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Aldridge & Son’s Auction House in Wiltshire, England believes it is the only Titanic cracker still in existence (he is not including some soggy biscotti brought up from the wreck by an unmanned sub), and estimated its value at $15,000. He was wrong. It went for $23,000, which makes it the most expensive cracker ever, surpassing even the fabled “Ritz of the Ocean,” famously nibbled by Kate Winslet as Leonardo Di Caprio sketched her in the nude.
See you soon.
BONUS–FT. LAUDERDALE EXTRA
In totally unrelated news (except that I feel like I’m sinking whenever I’m there), I was recently in Ft. Lauderdale yet again and found two more reasons to hate the place.
Inappropriate multi-tasking (for those who want root canals with happy endings).