Showing posts with label graphics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label graphics. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Romance of the Skies - TWA Circa 1944

What was your last commercial aviation experience like? Was it in an Airtran plane that looked like it came out of a desert storage yard? That's what replaced the Midwest Express Kansas City to Washington National run. You know, the one that used to have hot chocolate chip cookies.

The one good thing I can say about air travel is that it has been democratized. Many people can afford a quick trip from Point A to Point B. Sure, the planes are cramped cattle cars; this is especially true for tall and large travelers. Can you believe that air travel used to be romantic?

Once upon a time, taking an airplane was an exotic experience and the DC-3 was the best thing in in the air. I came across a wonderful bit of ephemera that helps drive this home: a 1944 TWA promotional calendar.

Back in the glory days of unlimited, virgin pulpwood, promotional calendars were serious business for TWA. This is over two feet high.

1944 would have been a strange time for recreational and business aviation. World War II was still in full swing and the geopolitical map was being drawn and redrawn at a terrible and deadly pace. In the context of the war, TWA's World Air Map is interesting, indeed.

The workhorse for TWA in 1944 was the relatively new Douglas DC-3. With a quiet and pressurized cabin and flight attendants that catered to passenger's whims, it represented the best in travel experiences.


Oh, and the interesting locales you could fly to! Back in the day, these were still exotic and foreign places. There was no Twitter delivering instant news of what was happening on the ground or massive data cloud of photos and blogs about every statue and back alley. Heck, I remember back in the '80s a trip to Chicago was pretty special. Now it is a skip and a jump on a Southwest plane - that is provided they don't combine two flights to optimize profits. You didn't really need to make it to your destination in time for a meeting, did you? Mooo!!!!

And China? That was the place with the big wall and temples featured in the dead tree version of the National Geographic. By the way, reading an issue from the 1940s is a real treat. If kept from light and moisture, old National Geographic magazines are remarkably well preserved and full of graphic goodness.

Malaysia? You might as well have been flying to Shagri-La!

Of course, TWA could whisk you across the United States in style.

With so many routes to choose from...

And lest you forget there is a war going on, they will remind you of the other way DC-3s are used to move people.

Here is a little bit of a history lesson on cross-country travel in the prewar era:

"TWA was the third airline to put the new DST in service. They accepted the first eight in April, 1937. On June 1, 1937, they put their "Super Sky liner Sleeper" DSTs outfitted with eight berths up front and nine divan chairs in the rear, in service between New York and Los Angeles. TWA called this flight the "Sun Racer," although it never quite won the race. It chased the sun across the country, leaving New York at 8:30 a.m., and arriving in Los Angeles at 11:30 p.m. the same day."  Source:

I saved the best part for last.  Geopolitics is a delicate subject with many alliances shifting over time.  My favorite pages from this calendar represent countries we were once friendly with.  Iran, of course, is our sworn enemy today, but it was a tourist destination in 1944.

And then there is our on again, off again friend/frenemy and rival/mortal enemy, the Soviet Union.  It would seem to be a stressful place to visit in the midst of WWII.  But it is a large country and the fighting was most likely far away.  Just a few years later, the Cold War began in earnest.

I have been coveting a framed page advertising travel to the Soviet Union from a 1948 TWA calendar for over a year.  It appears this antique mall seller is resistant to discounts.  I was overjoyed to find an entire calendar elsewhere for next to nothing.  I hate to break it up, but I very much want these last pages framed and up on my office walls.

Decisions, decisions...

Thanks for joining me on this little voyage. Rest assured, this blog has not been abandoned. This article is proof that I can create multiple drafts and let them marinate for months on end before I decide to grab one and complete it. 

More random copyright things: All of the words and images, other than those sourced elsewhere, are mine. Use with attribution, but not for commercial purposes, you must. Please share the Blogger love. Use the handy Google+ sharing feature at the top of the frame. You can find me and a whole bunch of really awesome photo communities over in that ghost town of a Facebook competitor.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Typed with Keylime.  I am no calligrapher, but I also had to try out the nifty brush pen found in a clearance bin at a craft store.  the paper is yet another thrift store find.  The ribbon detail is embossed metallic.
 We were very pleased to see a big turnout on a very hot and sweaty July 3rd evening.  I overheard one of the security volunteers mentioning the count was over 1,000 with twenty minutes yet until showtime.  Last year, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival brought in over 20,000 guests.
Hannah and Claire chillin' in the 90 degree heat in the reserved blanket zone.
 As noted in the typecast, I won a fabulous door prize.  Everyone got to fill out a slip of paper on the way in and my name was pulled out of the basket!  So lucky: I should have bought a lottery ticket on the way home.  I'm not a wine fan, but MEK is and the etched and hand-painted bottle is amazing!

The actor who plays Bottom also helps teach the Festival's youth performance classes.  The girls have worked with Matt and found his portrayal to be quite satisfying.

The background for the wine bottle photo might look familiar if you happen to have read the Shakespeare birthday post.  Here is a bonus image of Puck for good measure.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Call Sign

In addition to being vintagetechobsessions, I now have an HAM Technician's license with the call sign


The gingercat will catch up soon enough.  We'll be considering radio options and will most likely start with a relatively low powered mobile.  I have to admit total Nerd excitement over the potential of using a 1 watt transmitter to control a quadrotor at long distances.  This radio thing may turn out to be fun!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Remembering Ralph McQuarrie

In marking the March 3rd passing of Ralph McQuarrie, I did not have to look far for an example of his conceptual art.  The above image came by way of a generous gift of Star Wars memorabilia from a fellow Typospherian.  You know who you are - thanks again!

The cast above includes one of the intermediate renditions of Darth Vader as well as the young Dirk/Luke Starkiller/Skywalker.  At one point, Han Solo was even more of a major character as you will see below.

In the words of Threepio, "I'm backwards!"  I can't bring myself to try this iron on transfer, but I have been happy to see many fine Star Wars t-shirts at Target and through the Thinkgeek catalog.  However, I will never look as good as this crew.

It would be impossible to overstate the influence and creative vision of Ralph McQuarrie.  Envisioning the Lucas Star Wars universe could not have been an easy task.  Even the lowliest, or in this case amazing, bit of Star Wars kitsch would not have been possible without him.

In rummaging through my Star Wars collection, I came across another image that carries on the T-shirt theme.  This comes from Stephen Sansweet's "Star Wars Scrapbook' The Essential Collection".  Interestingly enough, the guy in the logo below is not Dirk Starkiller or Luke Skywaler, it's Han Solo as envisioned by Ralph McQuarrie.

I'll never look this good, either.
And here is the story behind the first logo for The Star Wars; also from Sansweet's book.
 We also own signed lithographs of the conceptual art from the run down the Death Star trench and the Millenium Falcon in Docking Bay 94. These were impractical for scanning, but images abound on the web.  Not surprisingly, everything Ralph McQuarrie has gone up in price on ebay.  While these are not particularly rare, they have been reserved wall space in our family room for years.

This last image seems appropriate.  Ralph McQuarrie created special announcements and a beloved series of Christmas cards for the Star Wars empire.   He has moved on, but will always be revered among the Star Wars faithful.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas Was So Two Weeks Ago

It's interesting to me just how short the American post-Christmas attention span is.  We have this huge build up starting before Halloween (our local CVS had nutcrackers and zombie masks out at the same time), and by December 27th Christmas is just a dim memory made foggier by leftover cookies and family feast remains.

Christmas was so two weeks ago, but I am still enjoying gifts including a little something that Claire lovingly modified for my amusement.

We'll just say that no board book or mini bit of kitsch artwork is safe from her and her pens.  These particular books had moved from her closet to a donation pile over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Each page has an added hidden Nerd symbol.  The rocket was really hard to find.

Yep, every letter of the alphabet is now a monster.  At first I thought the "Q" was smoking a cigar - that is until the girls pointed out the fingernail.  Very much my kid in so many ways...
Claire received multiple sketch pads and pens for Christmas.
Thus ends Christmas 2011.  As long as the Mayans were wrong, we look forward to another season of lights and nerdy fun at the end of 2012.

Really, I mean it.  Christmas is over.  We take down the decorations this weekend.  Some people have a hard time letting go, but the the next post will be something entirely different - promise!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Aviation Graphics - 1942 Style

What a great cover.  It is a bit darker in person and roughly the same color as the Olympia SM3.
I found this copy Jordanoff's Illustration Aviation Dictionary in a local antique mall.  It is fabulous condition for a 70 year old book (copyright 1942).

I am kind of weird about vintage books.  I would not have hesitated to buy this book new through Amazon for $22.  Since I run into so many vintage books at garage sales and thrift stores for next to nothing, it felt strange paying real money for this one.

The owner of our favorite used book store is gearing up for a flood of unloved and unwanted books once everyone receives their Christmas iPads and readers.  He sees the coming year as an inventory building opportunity.

And now for some great graphics...

What typecast blog would be complete without Teletype?
The world used to be dependent on vacuum tubes.

Huh?  Paper mail?

Paper mail, explained.

Imagine, radios were as prominent in homes as LCD TVs are today.  Kind of makes me wonder what 2081 will look like.

Interference, or the wrath of vengeful gods?
As promised, here is a bonus graphic from the Slanguage appendix at the end.  Gingercat (Claire) spotted this one first.
Another word comes to mind.