Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Once Upon a Time, Mohawk Airlines

After seeing Mad Men's "Flight One" episode, I poked around a little on the internet to find out how much of the background history was true. Well, turns out the producers and writers did their homework for authenticity's sake. We can pinpoint the exact date of one scene in the show --when office workers listen to a radio discussing the crash of American Airlines Flight 1 in Jamaica Bay, N.Y., with 95 people on board: March 1, 1962. (Astronaut John Glenn was having a ticker tape parade thrown for him in Manhattan at the same time, also mentioned in the show).

Another detail featured in this episode is Mohawk Airlines, which also really existed. Since my father worked in Manhattan and the surrounding region in the early 1960s for Dynacolor (and then 3M), I called up my parents to find out if he'd ever flown on Mohawk. Sure enough -- he did. Much of Mohawk's regional fleet were prop planes (such as the one pictured above courtesy of Wiki Commons). But then they introduced jet service, and my father booked a seat on its first flight.

It probably looked something like this one. After my parents check out Mad Men, I'll do a followup about some of the other details in the series. Love it when historically-set art intersects with real life --somehow makes it all the more immediate and vital.

Mohawk stewardesses, early 1970s. Somewhere in the transition to "flight attendants," a certain sense of style has been lost. These days, passengers are made to feel like cattle. Alas. Maybe trains will pick up the slack again.

Today's Rune: Fertility.


Charles Gramlich said...

Glad to see the writers did their homework here.

Johnny Yen said...

Kim was watching it tonight and I finally decided to watch an episode. Enjoyed it thoroughly-- the attention to period detail is amazing-- reminded me of "Dazed and Confused" in that regard.

Two brilliant things-- the reference to the place reminding the guy of Pearl Harbor in more ways than one-- he totally saw what was coming. And the other was the playing, at the end, of Kyu Sakamoto's 1963 hit "Sukiyahki." Sakamoto died in 1985 when the jetliner he was on flew into a mountain.

the walking man said...

What channel or where are you seeing this? It sounds interesting.

Erik Donald France said...

Yeahdawgs, thanks for the comments!

Johhny, amazing details embedded throughout, eh?

Mark -- AMC.

Bubs said...

I just saw my first full episode of Mad Men the other night and really liked it. Lots of good little details.

You mention railroads picking up the slack--I keep waiting, waiting, for some drive to expand and improve national rail service. With oil costing what it does it seems like a no brainer.

Lana Gramlich said...

OMG...those stewardesses are SO dated! It's funny to look back on things like that & to wonder how some things were EVER cool! I speak, of course, from the big-hair era of the 80s. *L*

t said...

Yeah, girls wanted to be "an air hostess" when I was a kid. It'll be interesting if train attendants became the new sexy