Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pan Am (or Mad Men at 30,000 ft)

Good Afternoon (or Morning, if you're Stateside)!

Ok I know that's probably the worst title ever but cut me some slack...I can't be creative all the time.  :)

I am back from London and working on a post...I promise!  In the mean time, this morning I discovered something that you American readers, I'm sure, already know about - the new show Pan Am (for ABC) that's coming this fall.  This made me extremely excited!  If you haven't seen it already, check out the trailer:

It's like Mad Men with wings!  I love the idea of this show for a couple of reasons.  1.)  As you know, I love all things vintage.  I love anything that can be called the "Golden Age" of anything, and this, dear friends, was the Golden Age of flying.  And 2.)  I have always loved Pan Am...don't ask me why.  Ok do.  Well, I don't really know why.  Maybe it's because we used to fly Pan Am in the 80s when we lived in London or Ireland and went to Florida for beach holidays every year.  Or maybe it's because it's gone, now, and it was such an iconic airline in it's day.  As wiki says much better than I do: "the airline was a cultural icon of the 20th century and the unofficial flag carrier of the United States".
The loved to advertise using beautiful woman (scroll down for more) and feature their beautiful stewardesses. 
My Dad tells me stories of flying Pan Am (or any airline, in the 60s and 70s, particularly).  He says that flying used to be an enjoyable experience - can you imagine that?!??!  :)  The seats were roomy, the food was delicious (it was something you'd actually look forward to eating, not avoid it if possible as we do now), you were served on china with silver, the stewardesses did whatever they could to make you completely comfortable.  You arrived at the airport, checked in, didn't have to pay for baggage, and just walked right on the plane.  My, have things changed....for the worse.

I am sure you have all heard about Pan Am, but in case you were born in the 1990s <throws head against desk>, managed to live under a rock or perhaps you're not American, here's a few visuals of you to show you just how big a deal they were.  You all know this building in Manhattan, I'm sure:

Well for years it looked like this:

Not only were they one of the most successful and influential airlines that ever existed, they were also classy.  In the 40s and 50s (and possibly later, although I can't figure that quite out), Maxim's de Paris' chefs prepared all of their transatlantic meals, which were flash frozen and served (on china, natch) on flight.  How jealous am i?!
"The President" was their first class service.  via
They even did a line of menu-postcards - the font a menu, the back a postcard (with address lines and all), which they would post for you - free of charge - if you gave them to the stewardesses before leaving the plane!  

Norman Rockwell even did a campaign for them.

Here are some more images from their beautiful (and ad campaigns over the years:
"Only your dreams get you there faster..."
From their "Beautiful Women" campaign of the 1960s:
And we thought advertising was risque these days?!  Pfft.   Via
From their Pan Am's World series in the 1970s:

And finally some images from air travel in the 1960s - a little preview of some of the stuff the show might try to recreate.  Some of the photos are of Pan Am planes and stewardesses, some aren't.  Hopefully you'll enjoy them regardless.

Although the original caption says this is the 60s, it looks like the 70s to me...not that I was there or anything...
Apparently, Southwest has always been a 'fun' airline....
These next few photos are of British Airways planes in the 1960s.  Talk about glam travel...

That's actually a stewardesses uniform.  via

How cool does air travel in the 40s-70s look?  Where did it all go wrong?  As I can't step back in time and hop on a Pan Am flight to Paris, I'll just look forward to September when I can vicariously live the Golden Age of Travel through my TV.


  1. Great post Grace! Great pics too!

  2. OMG, what I would do for those boots! Love it all, though I hate to fly now, I can't even imagine how I would've felt back then! By the way, go see the latest X-Men - it's set in the 60s and I love all of the costumes!