Saturday, November 13, 2004

It would have been a travelogue to end all travelogues

Earlier this fall, I was at the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition to all you non-Vancouverites). While there, I had a look at a couple of indoor historical exhibits.

I saw a working model of a 1899 Locomobile car. One of the cars of this model was reportedly the first car in Vancouver. The Locomobile, I am led to understand, was the top selling car in North America in the years 1899 and 1900.

I also saw a 1907 two-reel travelogue, Vancouver and Victoria Street Scenes, made by Seattle filmmaker William Harbeck. the film shows a series of point-of-view shots of scenes shot from the front of a boat or streetcar. You can see Victoria's harbour, an unfinished Empress Hotel, and the streets of downtown Vancouver. Although this was shot in 1907, I spotted no Locomobiles, or otrher cars, in the film. Just pedestrians, bicyclists and horse-drawn wagons or carriages.

William H. Harbeck made at least a dozen of the sorts of films for the Canadian Pacific Railway. The CPR was trying to encourage new customers, er immigrants, to come to Canada.

The above link takes you to the fine Enclyclopedia Titanica website, as Mr. Harbeck was one of the Ttanic victims, drowning when the ship sank. The bio at the PNE speculates that Mr. Harbeck had been hired by The White Star line to make a travelogue of the trip.

Now *that* would have been something to see.

Following the various links may also lead you to an enduring Titanic mystery...was Mr. Harbeck having an affair with his unmarried female cabin roommate?