Ric Mixter Lecture Topics

You need a speaker that can captivate your audience every time he steps to the microphone. From shipwrecks to lighthouses and aviation, Ric is unparalleled in enthusiasm, archive footage and eyewitness interviews.

 
 
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The edmund fitzgerald investigations

This is easily Ric’s most popular lecture, and it is usually standing room only when its advertised correctly. Featuring exclusive footage of the construction of the Fitz, this lecture includes interviews from the builders, sailors and investigators into the largest shipwreck on the Great Lakes. Ric also features footage from his dive down 550 feet to see the wreck site in a tiny submarine.

 
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november gales

Autumn storms are notorious on the Great Lakes and Ric has studied their devastating effect for over 25 years. This lecture features storms in 1905, 1913, 1940 and the wrecks of the Fitzgerald, Morrell, and Bradley. Rare interviews with survivors as well as footage from each of the ships makes this spellbinding lecture very special.

 
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offshore outposts

Far from the Michigan shoreline, these outposts guard safe passage around treacherous reefs in lakes Huron, Superior and Michigan. Featuring the first interview with the survivor from the explosion at Stannard Rock, this lecture is exclusive to Ric Mixter. Huron Island, DeTour Reef Passage and Spectacle Reef lighthouses are also featured.

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safe ashore: the 1940 armistice day storm

Lake Michigan’s worst storm is spotlighted in this popular lecture. Ric shares the only television interviews with the survivors from the doomed freighter Novadoc as well as the first television footage of the upside down William Davock. Based on the PBS documentary, this is a popular lecture for cities around Lake Michigan!

 
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deep six: titanics of the Great Lakes

Based on the popular PBS documentary, this lecture chronicles the largest shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, including the Edmund Fitzgerald, Carl D. Bradley, Daniel J. Morrell and Cedarville. Survivors from several of the shipwrecks including Lake Erie’s largest shipwreck, the James Reed.

 
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the cedarville collision

Millions of tourists glide over this massive shipwreck on their way to Mackinac Island, yet few remember the ship and 10 men that were lost in a foggy collision. Ric was the first to record documentary interviews with the survivors, which include wheelsman Len Gabrysiak. This lecture also includes commentary from a German sailor that risked his life to save the men from the icy waters.

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bombs away: Great Lakes Bomber bases

Ric flies the final missions of the B-52 bombers in Michigan, including profiles of KI Sawyer AFB, Wurtsmith AFB, and Kincheloe AFB. Selfridge ANG is also featured as the final flights of the Air Force Reserve KC-135 tankers are transferred to Florida. Featuring interviews with Michigan based Tuskegee Airmen, and a Rosie the Riveter that built B-24 Liberators in Willow Run.

 
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Captain’s larsen: shipwrecks on the lakes

James Larsen was a boatbuilder from Denmark who came to Wisconsin just in time to save seven lives from a storm in 1880. In 1921 he and his captain son Louis were shipwrecked in northern Lake Huron. That final voyage was captured in fantastic pictures- which are now shared in this exclusive lecture. Also featured the loss of the Norwegian freighter Viator on Thunder Bay.

 
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search for le griffon

It was the first ship to sail lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan but it never completed its first mission. Explorer Robert LaSalle sent the tiny ship back towards the Straits of Mackinac with a load of furs but it vanished with six sailors. LaSalle believed his crew stole his furs but history would record that they simply vanished. 300 years later, several expeditions have been launched to discover the French ship, all claiming to the media that they had found the elusive craft. Ric searches the clues left by historians and debunks the claims made since 1934 that Le Griffon has been found.

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valley girls: shipwrecks from the saginaw valley

Michigan was once a Mecca for shipbuilding, and Bay City led the world in wooden ship building with massive oak freighters reaching over 300 feet in length. Ric dives the remains of these massive ships and shares the stories behind the most famous hulls constructed on the Saginaw River. Featuring stories of the City of Bangor, Sevona, Pretoria, destroyer escort USS Rich, and the largest ship lost on Lake Huron, the Daniel J. Morrell. Ric also shares footage of the Knorr, the research ship that found Titanic.

 
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the wheelsmen

Ric’s first book is the basis for this fantastic lecture that combines many of the topics in his documentaries. From wheelsman Ed Kanaby- eyewitness to the last moments of four ships in the 1913 Storm, to Lloyd Belcher- who helmed the underpowered Novadoc when 126mph winds raked the lakes. Ric also shares an eyewitness to the collision that sank the Cedarville in the Mackinac Straits as well as helmsman Ray O’Malley, who survived the explosion on the Coast Guard cutter Escanaba in 1943.

 
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nordmeer

Bad navigation put the ship on the rocks and a skeleton crew stayed on board to protect its valuable cargo. A massive storm broke two freighters in 1966, and it panicked the Nordmeer’s caretakers to send a distress call. Ric shares an exclusive interview with the chopper pilot who saved the 8 Germans aboard, and features movie footage taken during what turned out to be one of the biggest lake cleanups in history.

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black friday 1916

Lake Erie is one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world. It’s average depth is only 70 feet, which causes terrifying waves that seem to appear out of nowhere. Ric dives down to share several of the ships lost to the winds in 1916, in a story that wiped out three crews but left two captains as sole survivors. Featuring the wrecks of the Merida, Colgate, Butters and barge Filer.

 
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cement boat

What’s it like to live on a steamship on the Great Lakes? Ric takes the audience behind the scenes, learning jobs from Captain to Cook as the ship loads in its namesake city and sails to Duluth. Featuring footage going through the Soo Locks (Ric rode on the smokestack for a unique time-lapse) to footage of how cement is actually made from fossils that are millions of years old.

 
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locating the carl d. bradley

The largest shipwreck in Lake Michigan was largely forgotten when Ric Mixter joined a team of submariners to search for the lost freighter. Searching through old notes of the journalist who reported on the storm, Ric helped to narrow the search area and the 600 foot wreck was relocated. The team put a sub down to the wreck, the first humans to see the Carl Bradley, and survivor Frank Mays was able to place a memorial plaque on its deck. Ric shares insight to the expedition as well as clues as to what happened to the ship when it was lost with 33 lives in 1958.

 

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A Shipwreck Concert?

Over 16 cities have celebrated their maritime history with “STORM” and “RESCUE”, our two concert performances with musician Dan Hall. Ric narrates a two-hour tour through 300 years of Great Lakes history that is customized to the ‘homeport’ host. From Mackinac Island to Algonac, these concerts have been shared to thousands of fans who love this unique way of sharing the most incredible rescues and survivals on the lakes.