Book Signing in Los Angeles – Los Angeles Steamship Company – Interview with author about a cruise line the LA Times Chandler family helped start.

Cruise Line History – Harry Chandler built the Los Angeles Times into arguably the most powerful and successful newspaper on the West Coast.   He also was instrumental in starting the Los Angeles Steamship Company in the 1920s to rival San Francisco’s Matson Lines. A wonderful new book tells the story.

Los Angeles photographer Martin Cox grew up in the south of England, half a world away from California. But as a teenager he read about an obscure L.A. institution and a bit history that for some reason he was never able to forget: The Los Angeles Steamship Company.

The LASSCO steamships began to ferry passengers between Los Angeles and Honolulu during the roaring 1920 in smaller and less refined vessels than today’s massive cruise ships. But Cox was surprised when, after moving to Los Angeles as an adult, no one seemed to know what he was talking about when he mentioned the steamship company and its fleet of ships, some of which had a habit of getting into trouble as well as into Hollywood films.

The Los Angeles Times or other bios don’t mention Harry Chandler’s strong association with LASSCO and the publisher’s involvement in organizaing the steamship line.

So, Cox, a 40-something commercial photographer, set out to find out more about the shipping line, a years-long adventure that resulted in a book he co-authored with Gordon Ghareeb, “Hollywood to Honolulu – The Story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company.” Cox will be reading about the book during an appearance this Sunday at Skylight Books in Los Angeles.

Cox’s obsession with the defunct steamship company has also lead him to start a shipping website and to collect more than a 1,000 photos and hundreds of pieces of LASSCO memorabilia, from passenger lists to the ship’s china adorned with poppy and hibiscus blooms – the state flowers of California and Hawaii. But for all his interest in nautical history, Cox rarely travels by water. He gets terribly seasick.

Read more about the book signing and interview with Martin Cox in the LA Eastsider by clicking here.

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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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