Vertical Vacations

Back in 1937, TikTok didn’t demand five hours of each day, so folks would actually sit and read a 44 page article about a foreign country in National Geographic. The folks at Nat Geo knew their fascinating photos and clever captions would wet the whistle of those with the traveling bug, so travel ads were placed in portrait style near the end of the magazine.

This first ad designated certain activities for different ages, like remodeling a colonial cottage, an easy task for a 100-year-old to tackle.

images from National Geographic, March 1937

Other ads designated the means of travel, like this one for Oregon highways. Why not drive? Gas was cheap, and you were probably about to be evicted due to the high unemployment during the Depression. Hit the road, Jack!

Other ads just plain scared the tar out of you with images of Irvin Cobb’s unfortunate countenance.

Who wouldn’t want to angle or loaf or tramp in Canada? It’s where they film all the Hallmark movies. And as long as you’re already up north, might as well hop aboard a nine day Alaskan cruise, for just under $100. You might see indigenous peoples wearing blankets and holding indigenous art. They may or may not come in peace.

Alaska not your cup of tea? Well, 1937 is a great time to tour Germany. Hurry, before war breaks out. At that point, they may not offer so much Gemütlichkeit, or good cheer, for which they’re famous.

Need more neutral surroundings? Nothing like a travel ad to seduce you with the devaluation of the franc, and how much more you can buy with your boss US dollars. Think about it: reduced rail fares, no visas, no “money formalities,” no vax card. Don’t overthink it; just go.

Perhaps neither cruise, plane, nor Oregon highway tantalizes. Then all aboard the Milwaukee Road Hiawatha (fun word alert), headed toward the unspoiled Northwest.

Take in the “sea-girt” peninsula. That means surrounded by sea. Feel free to use that word later today. I can think of lots of things that the Northwest is surrounded by, especially in the inner cities. But not in 1937! So there you go, folks. Do you think any of these ads would have enticed you if you had been alive then? Which one beckons most?

Escaping 2020

LIFE 4/12/54

Summer ends next week, and Halloween will follow, and the next day begins the holiday season. We all know it will pass quickly, as it does each year, and soon we will complain of ice and frigid temps. In any event, most of us will be itching to disembark the burning ship of 2020, whether or not we have life vests like the fellow above.

This particular image was taken from a lifeboat by one of the 1500 passengers aboard the British troopship Empire Windrush. On the last leg of her voyage from Japan, steaming past Algiers, an engine room explosion sent flames and smoke throughout the ship. Lifeboats carried away all women and children, and 750 men were left to crawl down (or in some cases, jump) into the water. Rescue ships soon arrived and picked up every single crew man, save the four who were killed by the actual explosion. No other lives were lost, and it became one of the most successful sea rescues of all time.

The ship did sink after all, but here we see her in better days, in June of 1948, arriving at Tilbury Docks from Jamaica, with 482 Jamaicans on board, emigrating to Britain.

https://metro.co.uk/    (Picture: Keystone/Getty Images)

Only Interesting People

1935

Ooh-la-la! Très exclusive. Only for the interesting people! Why, you’ll find novelists, actresses, professors, and big-game hunters on French Line! Only the best and brightest are allowed aboard, where they serve table wine complimentary. Much fancy! The servers even speak the English because that’s civilized.

One wonders how the French ever got pegged with a rep for snobbery.

Creepy Forty-Something Gets Handsy With Grace Kelly

HolidayJan49012

Even the captain can sense it, although his smirk seems to endorse it, rather than condemn it. I doubt Captain Stubing would have approved.

The 1949 ad is for Lurline cruises, part of the Matson Lines. Nope, never heard of them. But isn’t the artwork lovely? Lurline sounds like the name of a girl in a gabardine dress, brewing sweet tea on a window sill, if you ask me. You can bet the narrow-waisted girl in the chartreuse dress here was not named Lurline. Lurlines do not go on cruises with older men. Or do they?

HolidayJan49013

This all sounds inviting: shuffleboard, dancing, listening to a radio because there were no televisions on board, having a gay evening under the Pacific moon. Maybe she does know what she’s doing after all.