Cruise Line History – PANAMA PACIFIC LINES finished – From 1938 TIME MAGAZINE

Many American flag steamship lines — APL, Matson, Moore-McCormick, Grace, etc. — faced a similar fate as Panama Pacific Lines did when the US withdrew their mail and operating subsidies to carry military personnel in the 1960s. The same fate happened to the American railway system in the late 1960s when the US withdrew railway post offices. The result was that the USA has no real American passengers ships, is stuck with a struggling rail service called Amtrak and the mail continues to decline in service.   So much for progress.

This is the Time Magazine announcing the end of the Panama Pacific Lines…

From the May 9, 1938 issue of TIME MAGAZINE

PANAMA PACIFIC LINES OUT

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SS California – Transiting the Panama Canal – 1930s…

When the S.S. California was built for the Panama Pacific Line in 1928, she was the largest (17,833 tons) commercial ship ever constructed on U. S. ways, the largest in the world with electric propulsion. Last week, when the California tied up at Pier 61, Manhattan, near her idle sisters, Pennsylvania and Virginia, it was the first time the three vessels had ever been in port together, the last time any one of them would slip a hawser for Panama Pacific.

Panama Pacific’s coffin had three big nails in it: Last June, after Congress withdrew all ocean mail subsidies, empowering the Maritime Commission to make a new deal, Panama Pacific lost its annual $450,000 mail subsidy and got nothing in its place. Beginning nine weeks ago, the Panama Canal changed toll charges in such a way that Panama Pacific’s annual expenses would have been increased about $37,000. Third coffin nail was a rusty West Coast labor problem.

As the line prepared last week to dismiss 1,200 men for good & all, Panama Pacific expressed the hope that the Maritime Commission would buy the three idle ships, charter them for operation by other companies between New York and the east coast of South America.

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From a 1937 magazine advertisement. A year before Panama Pacific Line ended service.

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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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