When explorer Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the wreckage of the cruise ship Titanic in 1985 it generated a massive response from children world wide. Why kids, myself included, were so fascinated by this giant debris field of one of the world's most celebrated boats remains a mystery itself.
It is with great anticipation that the "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" opens this weekend at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Click here for more details. It opens Oct. 13 and will remain to March 13.
A few months ago, I had the great pleasure of talking to Dr. Ballard, and asked him these few questions about his discovery:
The Big Mac Blog: When did you recognize that your discovery of Titanic had changed your life to allow you do things that previously you may not have considered?
Dr. Robert Ballard: Well, after Titanic I came home and there were 16,000 letters from children that buried my desk. When my TV show got the No. 1 rating in the history of cable TV which it still holds. When my book was No. 1 on the NY Times best seller list and London Times. I was not anticipating any of that.
The Big Mac Blog: Why did Titanic resonate with so many of us, kids especially?
Dr. Robert Ballard: It depends upon which button it pushed. It pushed all the buttons people have. Start with kids, who are brought up if they are lucky in a garden of eden of innocence. The Titanic was this giant parental screwup. Kids it was sticking their finger in a flame; kids couldn't quite process doing something like sinking a ship. For women, it was the grandeur and celebirty of it. The stars of society back then were not news anchors or athletes they were the super wealthy - the Astors, the Strausses, the Guggenheims. And they died.
For men, it was the largest moving object on the planet. It was the highest tech thing we had.
And it didn't just sink it took a while. It was theater played out on a deck. The whole thing was straight out of central casting. You could not have written a better book than Walter Lord's book.
The Big Mac Blog: Do you ever tire of talking about?
Dr. Robert Ballard: A little. I accept that I am wedded to it. And that it's allowing me to talk about other things. People come to hear me, and I do mention it, but it's embedded in a larger story and they won't feel cheated and they walk away knowing more than just Titanic.
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