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Flashback Fridays--Strange Reports From Old Magazines

Aviator C

I love looking at old magazines.  One of my prized possessions is a complete set of Trains magazine dating back to the first issue in November 1940.  My Coworkers think my obsessions are a bit odd, especially when I made a special request of my Fellow Teammembers who were with me in advance of AirVenture 2010 in Wisconsin. 

I asked them to take me to 1027 North Seventh Street in Milwaukee.  For years, this was the home of Kalmbach Publishing, the publishers of Trains.  Why would I know that address?  Because the magazine made a huge deal out of their address with “1027” as part of the title for several regular features and readers would send in photos of rail equipment with that number. 

One of my favorite things to do is look through the back issues here in the office of our first inflight magazine, Southwest Airlines Magazine.  Today, our magazine, Spirit, is one of the best, and we feature a monthly preview here at Nuts About Southwest.  However, during the 1970s Southwest Airlines Magazine was put together with the help of the Bloom Agency who used to do our advertising and PR.  The old magazines have ads for long-lost Dallas hot spots like The Royal Coach Inn and European Crossroads.  Each issue also had a news section guaranteed to have photos of our Flight Attendants (their title back then was Hostess) in their hot pants.  It looks like the staff would scour the Dallas area (and later the state) to find ways to show off our Employees.


The photo above from the October 1972 issue ties in my love of planes and trains (and okay, pretty women in hot pants.)  At the time the photo was taken, Dallas was the largest city in the nation without passenger train service, and Union Station was deserted, except for the freight trains passing by on the outer tracks.  However, as a nerd with a double degree (aviation geek and ferroequinologist), I have to confess that Sally is committing a cardinal sin in the photo by walking where she shouldn’t.  Walking on top of rails is extremely dangerous, so don’t try this at home, even if you are wearing boots and hot pants.

In the picture above from the June 1972 issue, Southwest Magazine chronicles one of the strangest events, at least to me, in Southwest’s early history.  Southwest purchased a fleet of American Motors Gremlins, painted them up in our original livery, and gave them to our sales staff to call on Customers.  At least they didn’t choose a Pinto or a Vega, but you have to wonder if valet parking attendants tried to hide these at the back of the parking lot.

And just about the time that the resale value of all those Gremlins had plunged to nothing, the February 1975 issue has a photo of a drivable, scale model Gremlin being given to our President Lamar Muse from the well-known (at the time) San Antonio auto dealer, Al Komray.

And drive it did.  One of our San Antonio Ramp Agents, Larry Dzieranowski, utilized the miniature's three-horsepower engine to drive it in the 1975 San Antonio St. Patrick's Day Parade.  Incidentally, Larry is still an active Employee.