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Aviator C

Blackie Sherrod, one of the best sportswriters ever to have pounded a typewriter (remember them) in this area, used to devote some of his columns to odds and ends (that weren’t necessarily sports related), and he would start off the column with this line:  “Scattershooting while wondering what happened to ZaSu Pitts” or some other forgotten celebrity.  Sportswriters don’t come with names like Blackie anymore, and it’s a shame they don’t write like Blackie anymore too.  Looking back, one of Blackie’s contemporaries wrote that Blackie blogged without the Internet.  Anyway, in honor of Blackie:  Scatter shooting while wondering what became of Ding! Boy and External Blog Boy.

Actually, both are still around, and they are now official Southwest Employees.  Ding! Boy, a.k.a. Joe Friedmann, is an Aircraft Appearance Technician at Chicago Midway, and External Blog Boy, or Kim Seale on his birth certificate, is a new Writing Representative in our Customer Relations Department.  Welcome to the SWA Family, guys!  (Don’t worry, each of them still maintain their twisted sense of humor.)

Speaking of new titles, we have some new titles on the blog.  The Blog Team is now officially part of our new Emerging Media Team, under our Senior Manager, Sherie Blanton.  Both Paula Berg and I are permanent parts of this new Team, and Paula’s new title is Manager Emerging Media.  Mine is Manager Online Relationships & Special Projects, and no, the relationships aren’t of the type mentioned in this previous post.  We will also be expanding our use of videos as soon as we can.  This new Emerging Media Team signifies that Southwest Airlines intends to be a longtime resident of the blogosphere.

Here’s another:  Scattershooting while wondering what became of airport observation decks.  Here at Southwest Headquarters, we have a third-floor deck which provides great view of the runways and Love Field Terminal—and most importantly, the airplanes.  For those of you old enough to remember them, it reminds me of airport observation decks.  The Love Field Terminal had a great one, with inside theater seating overlooking the ramp, and if you wanted to brave the elements, it had walkways on top of the three concourses.  Some other great observation decks were at both Chicago airports, Atlanta’s old terminal, London Heathrow, and Paris Orly Sud.  When I was a kid, my Dad, who worked at Love, would bring me to work with him in the summer, and I would spend all day on the observation deck.  I know security has sealed off the last of these amenities, but we have lost venues that would let you stand and wonder, and dream of far-off places.

And finally, I have to mention an embarrassment of riches.  This year, the Dallas/Fort Worth area hosted both the national convention of the National Railway Historical Society and Airliners International.  Of course, I attended both.  Probably of the most interest to those reading this post is the Airliners International memento show.  It was one of the biggest I have ever attended, and I purchased a February 1946 Official Airline Guide.  For those of you who don’t know, “the” Guide contains the schedules of all airlines, and in the days before computerized schedules, it was the only way to plan connecting flights.  One of the many things that make this Guide so special is that it still contains schedules of Pan American’s Boeing 314 flying boats between San Francisco and Honolulu. 

I hope you didn't mind me borrowing your catch phrase, Blackie!  We miss you in the paper.

Explorer C
Hey Brian, Great blog entry I've never heard of Blackie Sherrod before and found the information very interesting. (I'm glad it turned out not to be about a real shooting, now a days when you see a headline like that it makes the mind wonder). Anyway congrats on the incorporation and new titles I love the website and read it daily. Also wanted to let you know that BWI still has a great enclosed area for plane viewing. Probably not like the old observation decks that you mentioned but I still really enjoyed visiting it. Have a great weekend!
Explorer A
My favorite part about going to the deck parties is to watch the airplanes. That and the door prize drawings. : )
New Arrival
I saw Kim in the hall the other day and officially welcomed him to Southwest. Congrats to Joe, too. And congrats to Paula and you on your new titles. And, by the way, I wouldn't call ZaSu Pitts a forgotten star. I often think about how great she was as Gale Storm's wacky side-kick on the early TV show, Oh Suzanna! (later the Gale Storm Show). A lot of people don't realize that Love Boat wasn't the first TV show set on a cruise ship!
Aviator C
Rachel, thanks for the heads up on the BWI Deck. Anytime you get a good view of the ramp area is great, especially these days! sorry to give you a startle too. Bob, I knew about the Oh Susannah show and watched it as a young kid. I wasn't aware that Miss Pitts was part of the cast though. Brian
I, too saw the Employee formerly known as External Blog Boy earlier in the week and welcomed him to the Family. And don't forget the observation deck at Denver's Stapleton Airport--and perhaps the best one of all, the one on top of the Theme Building at LAX. Ah, what memories, what airplane geeky memories.....
Adventurer C
In addition to the BWI Marshall observation deck that Rachel mentioned (and I remember the old outdoor deck when it was still Friendship), there's a great viewing area just off Rt 176 where folks can watch planes land on Runway 33L just on the other side of the road. That's also the terminus for the BWI Bike Trail which encircles the airport and ties into the popular Bantimore and Annapolis Bike Trail.
Explorer C
Holy crap, you scared me -- I saw you starting to talk about Blackie, and then I immediately thought that he had passed away. :S
Explorer C
Brian, Your comments about observation decks sure brought back memories. Growing up in the 50's in a town about 40 miles NE of Indianapolis, it was quite an event to go to the airport. Being this was before interstate hightways, you either drove through or around Indianapolis to get to the airport, so you were talking about at least a couple hours drive. But when you got there, wow, you could go on the observation deck and see the constellations with the funny tail. Quite an event for a 12 year old. The new mid field terminal in Indianapolis is scheduled to open on October 28. As I waited to fly back to Orlando in June, I knew that it was probably my last time in the terminal, I lot of things crossed my mind, and one of the first was the observation deck. Such great memories!
Aviator C
Mark, The Constellation was always a favorite of mine growing up. When I was younger, we lived in Amarillo, and the old terminal there didn't have an observation deck, but it had outdoor gate areas, and I loved being outside and watching TWA's Connies fire up. Sorry for the scare Spamboy! Brian
Frequent Flyer C
I liked the "observation deck" on the fifth floor of headquarters myself. Of course, I was also eating lunch while watching planes. Password required for passenger checkin. Use all available avenues for departure. Ding! boy Joe!