Belmont Club

Up, up and away

The controversial 1950s entertainer Arthur Godfrey was hired by Eastern Airlines in 1953 to promote its Lockheed Constellation service. The Constellation was one of the last of the long-distance propeller driven airliners. It flew, according to Wikipedia, on an airfoil scaled up from a P-38. Godfrey’s promotional video is below. It’s a reminder of a bygone era when, among things, pilots smoked Chesterfields in the cockpit. It also captures, to some extent, the public excitement of flying when it was a novel mode of transportation. Today millions travel by air each year. It has been a long time since we’ve looked up into the sky with wonder; long since we wondered what it was like to be a bird — and fly.

Make me feel the wild pulsation that I felt before the strife,
When I heard my days before me, and the tumult of my life;
Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,
Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his father’s field,
And at night along the dusky highway near and nearer drawn,
Sees in heaven the light of London flaring like a dreary dawn;
And his spirit leaps within him to be gone before him then,
Underneath the light he looks at, in among the throngs of men;
Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new:
That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do:
For I dipt into the Future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain’d a ghastly dew
From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue

[youtube 3rgzAnrI6Bw]

Part 2 “Now it’s time for a Chesterfield”


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