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.



About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…