MONTCLAIR, NJ – NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, will launch its new series, Tales of The Jersey Shore, with a special one-hour episode, hosted by historian and author Emil Salvini, on Thursday, June 21st at 9p.m. (check local listings). Entitled The SS Morro Castle, New Jersey’s Titanic, this intriguing opening episode explores one of the United State’s worst maritime disasters and its effect on the Garden State.
“Till now, Tales of the Jersey Shore has been a popular interstitial series on NJTV, both on-air and online,” said NJTV General Manager John Servidio. “The new, full-length programs offer viewers more in-depth, fascinating stories that take them behind-the-scenes of the beaches and shore communities they frequent in the summer. What they’ll discover in this series is that the Jersey Shore is rich with history, intriguing personalities and stories, some still shrouded in mystery.”
Mystery envelops the story of the SS Morro Castle. On September 8, 1934, just miles off the New Jersey coast, in the midst of a formidable gale, the four year old state-of-the-art passenger ship rushed to her New York City port from Havana, Cuba. A small fire was noticed by a passenger, but the ship was doomed before the first SOS was broadcast. The SS Morro Castle, one of the fastest ships in the Merchant Marine fleet, eventually came ashore off the beach of a popular Jersey Shore resort, as almost one hundred thousand people from Manhattan to the Midwest rushed to see the burning hulk.
What makes this story so intriguing and worthy of investigation is the massive loss of life, the mysterious death of the captain, the cowardly behavior of the majority of the crew, and the launching of near-empty lifeboats.
Questions surrounding the tragedy still swell today. How could this happen on a ship that was designed to be fireproof? How could so many lives be lost when the ship was visible from shore? Who were the unsung heroes that fateful day? What was the US government’s role in the ship and what was the secret of the cargo hold? Was it arson?
And how did a minor accident on board earlier that summer foreshadow a watery grave for over 130 people?
Salvini uses vintage images, rare newsreels, interviews with historians, eyewitnesses and even a surviving crew member to tell a story that has been lost to history. And each month, he will bring another tale of the Jersey Shore back to life for NJTV viewers.
Log on to njtvonline.org to watch other Tales of the Jersey Shore segments, and follow the series on Facebook and Twitter.
Tales of the Jersey Shore was created and is written and produced by Emil Salvini. He employs only NJ based filmmakers and interns. The first show was funded in part by NJ headquartered EisnerAmper; the 14th largest accounting and auditing firm in the United States.
About Emil Salvini
Emil Salvini is a lifelong resident of New Jersey. He is the author of several best-selling books about New Jersey with an emphasis on the New Jersey Shore. The New York Times wrote of him, “ Mr. Salvini is an historian with solid credentials.”
In addition to creating, writing and hosting NJTV’s Tales of the Jersey Shore, he is the administrator of his fan site on FaceBook called Tales of the New Jersey Shore, which has surpassed 28,000 fans. He resides in Wayne and Cape May NJ and is a graduate of William Paterson University and Harvard University.