Super 8 Stories: Farewell Voyage of the Queen Mary



Belfast, New York




10 October 2004 (first transmission)


04min 10sec




Super 8





BBC NI, Doubleband Films, Richard Bryson

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Doubleband Films, Richard Bryson

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Travel agent Richard Bryson and his wife Sophy tell us the story of how they came to be on the final transatlantic passenger service of the Queen Mary liner as it sailed to New York and back again for the last time with scenes from their stay in 1960s New York. This clip appeared in Series 2, Programme 2 of Super 8 Stories.


Richard Bryson began making movies as a young man when he was given the opportunity of a trip of a lifetime. “I first started taking cine films in 1954 when I was twenty years old. I purchased my first camera in San Francisco before setting out for Hawaii, Fiji and Auckland, New Zealand. My motivation for taking the films was because I realised that my voyage around the world in 1954/55 with my late great uncle, William Andrews, MBE, was something worth more than just the odd photograph and diary entry. I regret that it was only when we got to San Francisco that I started taking films so I don’t have moving images of our voyage to New York on the MV Brittanic or our rail journey across the USA via the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas or our trip into Canada via Lethbridge, Alberta”. Later, now working as a travel agent, Richard embarked on another memorable trip and again recorded the events for posterity on his cine camera. “I returned to New York in 1967 with my wife, Sophy, on the penultimate voyage of the Queen Mary. We were married the year before on 16th September 1966. We spent one night at the Algonquin Hotel before returning on the Queen Mary the next day. Our trip is the one that features in the Digital Film Archive, which I am, of course, delighted to be a small part of”. Richard still enjoys watching his movies on modern formats today and says, “Although I have quite a number of my films on video I still would like to get more onto video. I have some film of Belfast in the 1950s which should be preserved. I also have somewhere footage of the grass-covered hummock above Hitler’s Bunker taken across the Berlin Wall during the 1960s Cold War period”. Richard still has fond memories of watching his movies at the time they were shot, and also of the various things which could go wrong! “I do have memories of cutting, splicing and showing my films. I remember the frustrations caused by films breaking, precious film jammed and burning, coming off reels, refusing to get onto reels, projector bulbs expiring et al. All such fun for buffs with nerves of steel!” Despite his love for his films and the images they contain Richard is still realistic about their importance in storing memories as he recounts the following story: “I have just returned from a short holiday in Haut Provence with my wife. A member of our small party is shortly to celebrate his 80th birthday. When asked by me if he had a camera he held a finger to his head and said, ‘This is my camera’”. The R.M.S. Queen Mary was an ocean liner that sailed the North Atlantic from 1936 to 1967 for the Cunard Line.

Shot List

Brief shots of couple leaving wedding reception and being showered with confetti. Couple lounging in deck chairs aboard the Queen Mary. Arriving in New York harbour with views of the New York skyline. Street scenes in New York with yellow taxis. Views from the tops of skyscrapers with the Empire State Building visible. Crowds gathered by harbourside to wave off the Queen Mary for the final time.


Narrator - Maire Jones; Camera - Michael Quinn; Sound - David Kilpatrick, Kevin McCarthy; Music Consultants - Jim Meredith, Ralph McLean; Production Accountant - Anne Hegarty; Production Assistant - Tammy Moore; Dubbing - One Zero Zero; Online Editor - Alan Perry; Researcher - Ronan Feely; Archivist - Evan Marshall; Assistant Producer - Jenny Waugh; Executive Producers - Deirdre Devlin, Michael Hewitt; Editor - Greg Darby; Producer - Diarmuid Lavery; Director - Brian Henry Martin



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