The Sinking of the SS Robin Moor – A Story of Courage and Human Resilience in 1941 – A Fascinating Voiceover Project by Lynne Darlington

Lynne Darlington - How to Abandon Ship Exhibit - USMMA Museum

The How to Abandon Ship exhibit is currently running at our United States Merchant Marine Academy Museum in Kings Point, NY on the north shore of Long Island through March 2017.  It tells the story of the American freighter Robin Moor which was steaming from New York City to Cape Town, South Africa on May 21, 1941.  Before dawn, a Nazi German U-boat stopped the American ship (the US had not yet entered World War II) and gave the crew and passengers a few minutes to launch the ship’s lifeboats.  They then torpedoed and shelled the hapless freighter, leaving four lifeboats with some eight passengers and thirty-eight merchant seamen to fend for themselves in the middle of the ocean.  After fourteen grueling days, the survivors of three lifeboats were taken to Cape Town, South Africa. The fourth lifeboat was picked up after eighteen days and taken to Recife, Brazil.  Remarkably, nobody died in the incident, although one young mariner tragically committed suicide while on his way home.


The Exhibit gets its name from the book, How to Abandon Ship, co-authored by John Banigan, the Robin Moor’s third officer who skillfully navigated his lifeboat almost to the coast of Brazil. The exhibit endeavors to tell this story, both in its historical and human dimensions.  It uses a specially-commissioned ship model, painting and a small book entitled Outrageous and Indefensible to explore these dimensions.  It also uses photographs taken by survivors in the lifeboats, recreated radio broadcasts from 1941, a detailed journal by Berta Cohn of New York City who relates both the good and the bad in her empathetic but honest account of survival at sea.

My Contribution.  I was hired to oversee and voice two audio projects for this exhibit.  Working from the transcription of the 1941 South African radio broadcast of 5 of the survivors, I cast the 5 survivors and a South African radio broadcaster.  Casting VO actor Adam Behr as the South African (his home country) broadcaster, along with myself, I cast VO actors Alan Sklar, Michael Schoen, Tom Dheere and Andy Danish to play the survivors interviewed in the 1941 South African radio broadcast.

Additionally, I had the honor of narrating the often heart wrenching diary of New York City resident and survivor Berta Cohn.  Recounting her thoughts during her experience for this exhibit was powerful. What must it have been like to be adrift at sea in an open boat, with your husband, 18 strangers, no GPS, and meager provisions?  As Berta’s fate remains unknown, she tries to remain positive, keeping hope at arm’s length, and tempers in check.

The USMMA museum is pleased with the projects, thanks to my talented and seasoned cast! I would like to also extend a special thank you to USMMA’s Dr. Joshua Smith and Clayton Harper for their vision, oversight and execution of this captivating exhibit.

Please visit the exhibit before it closes the end of March 2017.

American Merchant Marine Museum
300 Steamboat Road
Kings Point, NY 11024
(516) 726-6047
Free admission and open to the public:
10:00 am - 3:00 pm, Tuesday through Friday and by appointment.

Lynne Darlington


My Visit with WCBS News Anchor Michael Schoen

Michael Schoen

My friend Michael Schoen recently invited me into his WCBS 880 newsroom/studio to see firsthand how he anchors WCBS 880 Newsradio. WCBS 880 is a leading news station that we here in the NY metro area rely on to hear weather and traffic ‘on the 8s’ as well as sports and late breaking news. After spending time with Michael on the job, I can certainly tell you how he does it – effortlessly and seamlessly!

He gets to work a couple of hours early and meets with his producer to find out the leading stories of the moment. He then researches the top stories and writes news pieces about them to share LIVE in 2 – 2.5 minute segments. Sometimes these stories have to be abbreviated on the fly because of time constraints. He also reviews his program log sheet to see what ads will be running.

Once on air, Michael commandeers 4 computer screens, 3 mice and a digital audio control console, which many would find most intimidating. News is on one computer screen, commercials are on a separate system and there is a touch screen that controls the news sound. He smoothly transitions to the weather guy (accu-weather at Penn State University), cutting live to the traffic and sports reporter (out of Rutherford, NJ) to his own news and time updates. His updates on the day of my visit went from terrorism, to the weekend movie box office numbers to the financial market and beyond.

On Sundays (a day I visited), he and fellow news anchor Tanya Hansen alternate hourly news coverage from 1 – 9 pm. These two are so relaxed that they enter the studio and assume their anchor chairs sometimes a mere 1.5 minutes before they are on air.

As I drove home that evening, I found myself listening to the remainder of Michael and Tanya’s 880 broadcasts. Thankfully, the traffic piece was not important to me. I pictured how they were conducting their broadcasting symphony with the beautiful view of the Hudson River as their backdrop.

Thank you Michael for your generosity of time and spirit.  As a voiceover actor, I was interested in learning how a live program is managed and executed. You made it look so easy, but then again, isn’t that what a professional is supposed to do?

About Michael Schoen
Michael, a college communications major, has been in the news business for over 30 years. He is an experienced broadcast journalist and voiceover actor who has covered some of the most exciting and even dangerous stories of our time. You can learn more about him here: and here: