Intercontinental travel has always been the purview of ocean-going ships, but a growing number of bold adventurers is taking to the air in the greatest travel revolution since the steam ship!
Ever since Alcock and Brown first proved the feasibility of a transatlantic flight back in 1919 [pictured; photo from wikimedia] people have been pushing the limits of transatlantic aviation. They get closer every day, but the ultimate prize, reliable flight between major cities in North America and Europe, remains just out of reach. Alcock and Brown made it from the coast of Newfoundland to the coast of Ireland via the Azores and Cabral and Coutinho made it from Brazil to Portugual via the Azores, though the former suffered instrument failure and the latter had to change planes - twice.
All said, it hardly inspires confidence in Gary and Mary Average that they'll soon be flying to Paris for a vacation.
Perhaps, it has been thought, rather than rickety, shaky little airplane a slow, smooth, giant Airship will do the trick? Well, Mr. Hugo Eckner did just that in 1924 when he delivered the Zeppelin ZR-3, now christened the USS Los Angeles, non stop from Germany to the United States [pictured; image from wikimedia]. With its larger carrying capacity and great flight range and relative safety, certainly the future of long range air travel lies in Lighter than Air, yes? Dr. Eckner thinks so, and is already reportedly working on a new airship which he plans to open up to passenger service by the middle of next year!
But not so fast, folks.
Astute listeners may have heard of the Orteig Prize, $25,000 for the first non-stop New York to Paris (or vice versa) flight. Many daring folks have tried, and failed at this dangerous hop across the frozen North Atlantic, where the ice freezes your instruments and body and, most dangerously, your wings, causing even the most flightworthy craft to plummet. Even Great War flying ace Rene Fonck crashed on takeoff, barely escaping with his life (his two crew were not so lucky). Others have died attampting this dangerous route. US Navy men LCDR Davis and LT Wooster died on takeoff 6 months later, followed shortly by French heroes Capt Nungesser and Coli.
All experienced, veteran pilots, killed in the most dangerous crossing in the world.
Requiem in Pace, my good men...
And yet...here is the amazing news, ladies and gentlemen...a skinny young air mail pilot from Detroit has pulled it off!!
Yes, folks, it is an amazing day in the burgeoning field of aviation. Young, bold, but modest Charles A. Lindbergh has, in a specially modified Ryan NYP christened the "Spirit of St. Louis", made the world's first, solo, transatlantic flight from New York to Paris and claimed the Orteig prize!
Despite storms, freezing wings, failing instruments, and extreme exhaustion this bold young air mail pilot has done what aviation legends failed to do. 33 and a half hours. Not Stop.
Needless to say the young man has become a sensation overnight, both here in his native America and over in Europe too. Greeted as hero in Paris, his beloved "Spirit of St. Louis" was torn to shreds by souvenier hunters in moments like an unfortunate frog on a fire ant hill while the crowd carried him triumphantly aloft!
There are banquets, parades, sociables, and meetings with world leaders. Can one man be a sensation? Well you can bet Lucky Lindy is. His schedule is sure to be full for the forseable future.
There's even a new song from the great Vernon Dalhart, with us today to celebrate the great "Eagle of the USA!"
We at the Cabaret are celebrating too with new songs, celebrations, and revelry of our own. The band is really hoping to meet Mr. Lindbergh and I'm trying my best to arrange the meetup. Lipowicz and Goldfarb in particular are anxious to meet the man, and I'm sure he'll love them just as much as they love him!
Over in Harlem the celebration is influencing a new dance that's sure to catch on like wildfire. An evolution on the old Texas Tommy, the new "Lindy Hop" is hot stuff to say the least. Move over, Charleston!
But for all of Lucky Lindy's fame, already a whole new batch of aviators is itching to take over the spotlight. And it's not just men! A friendly, pretty young lady named Amelia Earhart has her sights set on being the first woman to cross the Atlantic. Others, such as the rakish Wiley Post, are even talking about flying around the world! And don't forget Mr. Eckner and his Zepellins!
Tune in every week, folks, to the Cabaret for the next exciting details of the Race in the Air!
In the mean time here is your public service announcment, here to warn you about the seductive drink coming out of the hills of Tennessee that has the nefarious component of being easily mistaken for an innocent beverage! This "Long Island Iced Tea" is a mix of five - yes five - nefarious illicit alcohols blended to look and taste like an innoctuous iced tea.
Warning: you could drink this in public and no one would be the wiser that you were blatantly breaking the law!
Long Island Iced Tea:
[image from dailyscocktails.com]
Pour spirits and sours into a Collins Glass over ice and stir well. Top with cola. Garnish with lemon wedge. [Modern recipie; drink originally credited to moonshiner Charles Bishop in 1930, original recipie unknown]