My First Trip Abroad by Vincent Price | The 1928 journal begins here…

Vincent Price in 1929On the 5th of September 1928, a young 17-year-old Vincent Price arrived back in St Louis, Missouri following a two-month tour of Europe, where he got to lay his eyes of the classic masterpieces of the artists he so admired for the very first time, and explored the sights and the amazing nightlife of places like Monte Carlo and Paris with his fellow travelling companions. You can read all his adventures now from the start, by following the link below (or clicking on the photo).

My First Trip Abroad by Vincent Price | The adventure starts here…
My Trip Abroad by Vincent Price

Goodbye Europe | 25 & 26 August

Le_Havre_1928_postcardDATE August 25th
PLACE Paris
I waited until this last day to buy me a present from mothers money & boy I go what I wanted. At 4:15 we left Paris for Harve arriving there at 8:30 we got on the boat [1] at 11:30 gee what a day. I want to go home but I love Europe. Lord may I come again. Good bye Europe.

Le_Havre_TSS_Tuscania_1920sDATE August 26th-Sept 3rd
PLACE At Sea RMS Tuscania
The boat rocks everybody seasick with the exception of those like me with cast iron stomachs.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 25_August

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

EDITOR’S NOTES
TSS TUSCANIA[1] According to theshipslist.com, TSS Tuscania was built for Anchor Lines by Fairfield Shipping in 1921, weighed 16,991 tons and featured six turbine engines capable of 16 knots. Cunard chartered the ship between 1926 and 1931. It was then sold to Greek Line in 1939 and was rechristened Nea Hellas, becoming a troop ship during World War Two, and ferrying post-war immigrants to New York. In 1955, it served as the TSS New York until 1961 when she was sent to Japan to be scrapped. For more information on the ship, check out this tribute page.

A WORD FROM VICTORIA PRICE
One of the most significant events of my father’s youth was his 1928 trip to Europe alone, when he was just 17 years old. It had been his dream to see the Continent and the works of the Old Masters, and he had saved his money for years (and gone to summer school to improve his grades) in order to be allowed to go by his parents. That trip changed his life, and gave him the goal of creating a life in the visual arts for himself and for others. I am so grateful that Peter has created this website to share this momentous experience in my father’s life with his fans and with art lovers who may not know the true passion Vincent had for the arts from a very young age! I think you will find reading this journal a wonderful journey yourself.’ Victoria Price

Vincent Price Last Entry

‘I would that this map would determine only a small part of my voyages, that I might explore into unknown places’. Vincent Price’s final entry in his 1928 journal.

Vincent’s diary entries end here. I do hope you enjoyed this journey back in time to 1928.

Plymouth to London | 13-14 July 1928

DATE July 13th
PLACE RMS Caronia
Today is Friday and there is the usual nothing to do except play deck tennis and bet on the horseraces. I have made acquaintences with alot of awfully nice people. Staid up until 4pm watching for the sun and it was gorgous. Met a swell girl who I like alot and I had a good time with her. I am going to have a date in London too.

RMS CaroniaDATE July 14th
PLACE Plymouth & London
This is the real start of my trip abroad. We stopped at Plymouth at about 11:30 and a tender came out and took us off. We went through customs and then on a train where I met a very pretty girl, Peggy Voorhees. We arrived at London at 6:30 and went to the Royal Stuart Hotel on 162 Cromwell Road S Kensington [1]. It is a very nice hotel and their meals are a relief from boat meals. Went to a show  Picadille Sq & Charing Cross & generally wandered around. Tired & How.

piccadilly_circus_1928DID YOU KNOW?
• London’s Piccadilly Theatre was only three months old when Vincent set foot in the Capital for the first time, where Jerome Kern‘s musical Blue Eyes was running (for 276 performances), starring Evelyn Lane.
• London’s Piccadilly tube station station was being reconstructed in 1928 and would be officially opened on 10 December..

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

EDITOR’S NOTES
[1] The Cromwell Hospital now occupied the site of the Royal Stuart Hotel. But did you know that Alfred and Alma Hitchcock lived in the top two floors of 153 Cromwell Road from 1926 to 1939, and it was here where their daughter Patricia was born on July 7, 1928? A blue plaque was installed in August 1999.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

The Atlantic | 11-12 July 1928

DATE July 11th
PLACE RMS Caronia
Same time as usual but had a good dance and met more people. Lots of atractive people on board. Miss Dudley is very nice and she’s on our tour.

RMS Caronia

DATE July 12th
PLACE RMS Caronia
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Vincent uses his own personal code on this page]
…Ditto…
…Not up to it…
…because I can’t think of anything to say…

ON THIS DAY IN 1928
Mexican aviator Emilio Carranza dies in a solo plane crash in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, while returning from a goodwill flight to New York City.

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

The Atlantic | 9-10 July 1928

DATE July 9th
PLACE RMS Caronia
Today is fair and warm as was yesterday. I got an awful sunburn and am in misery with it. We left the Gulf Stream some time and its much cooler this afternoon. Went to the dance and had a lot of fun trying to dance up hill. Met three nice girls who are sisters Barbara Marjorie and Tishy. Met two nice boys Jack & Ralph and have had lots of fun with them. Had a good time after the dance with a Mr Flick who is conducting a tour that is peachy.


This song would have been a real favourite on board ship.

DATE July 10th
PLACE RMS Caronia
Today is dull and dreary and so far theirs nothing to do (Last night there was a carnival supper). I met alot of nice people and at last found something to do in betting on the horse races. Fred Choppel and I speak German to each other & to Louis! — A wonderful singer aboard a Russian who sings for us quite a lot. Met 3 women Mrs Lucus, Miss Ives & Miss Street. All very nice but much older. I am awfully young in comparison.

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

DID YOU KNOW?
• The top five song artists of 1928 were Louis Armstrong (West End Blues, Weather Bird, Struttin With Some Barbecue), Paul Whiteman (Ramona, Together, Among My Souvenirs), Al Jolson (Sonny Boy, My Mammy, There’s A Rainbow Round My Shoulder), Jimmie Rodgers (T for Texas) and Gene Austin (Jeannine – I Dream of Lilac Time).
• Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five’s landmark 1928 record West End Blues was released on June 28. Armstrong’s 15-second trumpet intro and his eight-bar solo near the end made it one of the most influential pieces of recorded music in history. Here it is below.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

Vincent Price on Tour 22 and the Atlantic crossing

I Like What I Know (1959)In 1959, Vincent Price recounted his life-long passion for the art world in I Like What I Know. Here now are some extracts from Price’s visual autobiography, in which a 48-year-old Price reflects back on heading to Europe in July 1928.

ON TOUR 22
‘Europe at seventeen! How or why my parents ever got up the courage to let me go to Europe alone at seventeen, I’ll never know. One reason might have been that the sight of another travel folder could well have snapped their minds. Secondly, I was six feet one and growing fast. A third possibility was s that my four years of constant curiosity and questions about the rest of the world ha run them out of answers. But the most likely reason was my grandmother. As the youngest of her four grandchildren, I had become delightfully and enrichingly close to her. This frosted beauty lived with us more and more, as the limitations of age gradually prohibited her wandering to warmth in Florida and California – or just taking off for the then more economical countries across the sea, as she had always adored to do on her limited income. In addition to my basic love for her, we had a rapport regarding said countries across the sea, little lopsided, to be sure, since it was comprised of endless queries from me and patiently understanding answers from her. That’s why I say she was a likely reason for my departure.

‘For reasons, which escape me, Father decided to sell our summer home, and from the sale, he put a modest sum aside for each of us to use as we would use it. He might as well have bought the boat passage for me, then and there, and saved a transfer of this generous gift. Mine went, with their immediate permission, toward Tour 22… Seven Capitals of Europe, Tour 22. I studied all the twenty-four in the folder, but it was 22, which covered most. Whoever wrote the propaganda for Tour 22 had written it just for me. The sights, which would be covered where my dreams come true. Where other tours included famous battlefields and natural phenomenon, like rocks which look like ladies fast asleep, Tour 22 was heavy on the churches and museums, with just enough enticing treats to mysteries like the Catacombs outside Rome and castles like Chillon.’

ON THE CROSSING
‘I sailed in mid-June at midnight on an old Cunarder. My cabin mate, also on Tour 22, was a youngish man, with the air of a fugitive from the future. I later discovered this was true. Perhaps Pat Frank knew what life wherever he came from was to be, so he left it to se what he could of the world before the ax of incarcerating responsibility cut him down. I’ve often wondered if this trip turned him into the successful novelist he is today. It was great that night, sailing from New York, and while I knew Tour 22 had other members, I would meet next day, that night I was Columbus, vice versa, Marco Polo, young Leonardo – going to see the wonders of the world. I stood on the upper deck like the seagoing hero in the last scene of a movie, with hair awing, watching the magic city disappear as the long gray valleys of the open ocean took us in. The world was not yet “too much with me, late and soon, getting or spending” to lay waste my powers of imagination. I was fully aware of the opportunities of this adventure – half equipped to meet them perhaps – but certain I would stand on this same deck ten weeks later, better than half equipped to meet the world and introduce myself to it, to live and love it. I slept that night like some enchanted creature, waiting to be awakened by a magic word.’

‘The morning came, a morning made to celebrate the creation of the world, the thrill of a ship, the ecstasy of the sea, along with breakfast and the assemblage of Tour 22, a lovely group… ladies of all ages, accents, costumes, and, with all the world of ladies, one thing in common – that ugliest of headgear, the suffocating cloche; that hat which, in the twenties, turned females into warriors of old, cut the chance of conversation right in half, and leveled noble brows to idiocy. The men were standard, in plus fours, slacks, and caps, if not in age. The ranged from my sixteen to eighty-four. But, male and female, boy and girl, we had a purpose and a goal… Europe.’

‘Our keepers were two divergent characters, a professional tour master and ‘Mademoiselle’, a French schoolteacher with barracuda teeth and the most foreign accent real or otherwise, I’d ever heard. We reviewed the tour, made friends, and settled down to enjoy the balmy crossing.’

‘I loved the ocean, loved the ship, and enjoyed the sense of being on my own. But the moment when my foot touched England’s shore… that, I was positive, was the ultimate – the Moment of Truth!… I had arrived in Europe… and in life!’

DID YOU KNOW?
In 1956, Vincent’s one-time cabin mate Pat Frank had his 1956 Cold War thriller novel Forbidden Area, adapted for the debut episode of the anthology series, Playhouse 90, and Vincent starred in it alongside Charlton Heston and Tab Hunter.

 

The Atlantic | 7-8 July 1928

DATE July 7th
PLACE Aboard the SS Caronia on the Atlantic
This is a swell boat, an easy one to get lost on. We had a little storm today and the boat is rocking quite a little Wonderful wind, that saves me from being sick. Met a Miss Josephy and a friend who are Jews, but very nice. I am enjoying my self a lot in my own company I met a very nice man from Philadelphia and we had a long visit, discovered that our chaperone teaches at Mary [1], Mlle Gabriele Bataille.

ON THIS DAY
Sliced bread was sold for the first time by a bakery in Chillicothe, Missouri, using Otto Frederick Rohwedder‘s technology.

RMS CaroniaDATE July 8th
PLACE On SS Caronia
Today the weather is great and we are going along the Gulf Stream. Went swimming all morning and had lots of fun. Met 4 Cornell Boys one Mr Henry [2]. All very nice. Met two others whose names I know not as yet. Went swimming in the afternoon and had lots of fun again. I received a Wireless from Mother and Dad.

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

DID YOU KNOW?
In 1926, the passenger accommodation on the SS Caronia underwent a complete refit to accommodate 452 cabin class, 365 tourist class and 650 3rd class passengers.

EDITOR’S NOTES
[1] Mary Institute and St Louis Country Day, St Louis, Missouri. Vincent attended the Independent School between 1922 and 1929. You can read all about his school days in a specially-written article by MICDS archivist, Cliff Saxton. [Click here to read].
[2] Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Watch a film about Cornell University in 1928 here.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.