On January 15, 1967, the NFL champion Green Bay Packers played the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs in what would later be known as Super Bowl I. Sixty years earlier, American football looked much different. Helmets resembled aviator caps. Forward passes had been legal for less than a year.
The relationship between film, history, and mass culture is especially intriguing when we examine the correspondences between the representation of pilot-heroes in film and public perceptions of aviation. These connections are applicable during the heyday of the aviation genre film—the interwar years and WWII.
At the National Air and Space Museum, we tell stories in a number of ways — through objects, artwork, lectures, videos, planetarium shows — even puppets. Storytelling through puppetry can be a powerful educational tool for our youngest audiences in particular.
During the recently completed centennial of naval aviation (2011), there were many and varied tributes to the factual history of naval aviation. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that public perception of the armed forces is also a strong historical consideration.
In 1925, Mr. S. Claus was looking for a modern alternative to his old-fashioned reindeer-powered sleigh. Having once shown an interest in lighter-than-air flight in the form of hot-air balloons, Santa was favorably inclined when Goodyear came up with a solution — toy delivery via airship, in this case, Pilgrim I, renamed the Santa Claus Express for the occasion.
If you're still stumped over what your costume will be for next Saturday's big Air & Scare at the Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center (October 29 from 2 - 8 pm), the photograph shown above, from the July 1918 issue of Die Luftflotte, might provide some inspiration.