20th Century Limited – Greatest train in the world – When everything old is new again, or could be … on today’s New York Social Diary …

Ready for departure in 1947 from Chicago’s La Salle Street Station the opulent Twentieth Century is 16 hours from Grand Central Station, New York.

My latest contribution to New York Social Diary – is a profile of New York Central’s 20th Century Limited.  Considered the greatest train in the world.  Until the 1950s, this all-Pullman streamliner was the only way to travel between New York and Chicago. Stars, moguls and socialites filled the train’s daily passenger list.  Departure every evening walking down a train length red carpet from Grand Central Station was like sailing on the RMS Queen Mary.

RED CARPET TREATMENT STARTED WITH THE 20TH CENTURY LIMITED –TRAIN OF TYCOONS AND STARS THAT RAN NIGHTLY BETWEEN NEW YORK AND CHICAGO

By Michael L. Grace – New York Social Diary

Have you wondered where the much-overused phrase “the red carpet treatment” originated?

It all started with the 20th Century Limited.

It was a “Magic Carpet” high speed overnight Pullman commute between New York and Chicago as pitched in this Time Magazine advertisement.

The “Century” was an express passenger train operated by the New York Central nightly from New York to Chicago. From 1938 until the last run in 1968, passengers walked down a crimson carpet to their waiting cars. This was only done for the departure from New York. Stretching from the observation car to the engine – the football field length rug was specially designed for the Century – thus, the “red carpet treatment” was born.

Link here to read the full article in today’s NEW YORK SOCIAL DIARY and discover the background of “red carpet treatment.”

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint as seen in Alfred Hitchcock’s “North By Northwest.” They are dining in the Century Club with views of the Hudson River in the background. They soon would head for Saint’s Pullman Drawing Room. Sleep would be easy since the Central’s route to Chicago was “water level” – along the Hudson and Lake Erie.

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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