The Groovy Age of Travel #2: The Persuaders

So, I watched what may possibly be the coolest show ever made - The Persuaders, starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis. It may not be particularly well-written or especially entertaining but there is a breathtaking amount of mojo. Both characters are rich playboys who literally do not utter a single line that cannot be identified as ultra-cool. Exotic locales, expensive European cars, lots of brandy, and a plethora of smoking hot sixties babes.

What's got Moore all dishevelled? Why, he's in a fight over whether to put one olive or two in a Creole Scream cocktail. Now, that's cool.

So anyway, there's a scene where Curtis departs a plane surrounded by a bevy of gorgeous stewardesses. Naturally, this got me thinking about the golden age of flight when planes were filled with beautiful stewardesses and not modestly dressed "flight attendants" of either gender.

I've whined about this issue before. Apparently, I haven't got it all out of my system. I think the reason times have changed so drastically is that the airplane is no longer a gentleman's club in the sky. Rather, airports are filled with about an equal measure of males and females along with lots of families.

Another reason may be that no one gives a flying monkey fart about their appearance anymore (particularly in the States). Back in the day, hair was fixed, shoes shined, hats worn, hands gloved, scent applied... now everyone looks like they just rolled out of bed and grabbed a pair of dirty jeans and t-shirt from the bottom of their closet. Quite frankly, fashion conscious flight attendants would look out of place among a bunch of skank customers.

Nonetheless, it's still nice to reminisce on the groovy age of travel. There's an amazing gallery to be found here. Be forewarned that it has enough pictures on a single page to freeze up a Cray XT5 supercomputer. But it's worth it.


  1. Oh, Gilligan, I couldn't agree with your more in regards to a yearning to return to the days of elegance and sophistication! I so long for the days when people used to get dressed to the nines for a night out on the town! My personal feminine ideals for inspiration includes the likes of Ursula Andress, Britt Ekland, Brigitte Bardot, Sharon Tate, Racquel Welch, Anita Pallenberg and Tippi Hedren.

    While it is mighty popular, the appeal of multiple piercings, tattoos and obvious plastic surgery is wasted on me. Now at the risk of sounding like your Grandmother,...I will go one step further and say that good manners and expressing one's self without excessive use of 4 letter words goes hand in hand with good grooming habits.

    Remember the 70's movies? Paul Newman, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty? People aspired to be sophisticated and educated. They used to read books in order to better themselves, to become connsures of cosmopolitan jet-set class and culture.

    Out with the gangsta trash and in with the Eurotrash!

  2. Thanks for the memory jog! I had forgotten about this show. I looked forward to it each week. Guilty pleasure.

    And thinking back on air travel, yes, it once was fun and classy. You did dress-up to take a flight. You behaved yourself and respected your fellow passengers. And then along came PSA in California. It really was the ultimate 70s airline. Smiles painted on the nose of the jets, stewardesses in hot pants and boots. As a female it was always insulting to be on one of the flights, but doggone it they were always on time and had cheap fares. So you kept your mouth shut about the hostile to women environment. I always figured PSA stood for Pinch Stewardess Ass.

  3. Hey Gil. Wow! Just an incredible post. I really enjoyed it.

    I've never had the pleasure of seeing The Persuaders. I'm a big fan of both Moore and Curtis. Those pics look great. Both those men are ultra cool cats. I think any of us guys would learn a thing or two from them.

    I wish I could have flown on a plane back in the heyday. I see all these pics of what it was once like. It makes me almost wanna cry. Why couldn't I have flown back then? I've had a terrible time on the several flights I've taken. I don't care if I every fly again.

    I agree with the way people look. Doing my recent post on pocket squares (thanks for your comments) got me looking around at the men and women I saw. Most were dressed like crap. They definitely looked like they had just rolled out of bed and thrown on whatever they saw. It will get even worse when the weather warms up.

  4. Well I stuck it in my netflix queue. I only have 450 movies so it shouldn't take too long before I see it.

  5. I forgot to mention, I have a shirt like the one Roger Moore is wearing. My wife thinks it's atrocious.

  6. I remember complaining about airplane food. I guess now they don't serve you anything. It's all my fault, i know it..

  7. Anonymous just reminded me of Ginger, when she used to say "oh gilligan" in that breathy voice she had...

  8. We used to have to dress up to go to the movies! The big theaters in our town were "Roadshow Houses." Movies weren't released wide like they are today--so Oscar winning movies would open after they'd won and EVERYONE would dress up and go.

    I can't tell you how angry I get when I go to the theatre (plays, musicals, etc.) and I see people in jeans. I feel embarrassed if I'm not in a jacket and tie... and they look like slobs.

    Of course, my family has always dressed up, particularly over the holidays. My mom always said she was not going to cook for slobs, so we always had to dress up. It was a HUGE deal when we could wear a sweater and not a jacket and tie for Christmas Eve (Christmas was still J&T).

    My parents still dress up to fly.

    I enjoy getting dressed up... I guess it's all how you're brought up.

  9. This whole issue of modern slovenliness deserves a lot more than a brief mention in a post - it, in my humble opinion, says a lot about the self-image of a society.

    Your appearance, like it or not, is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. You don't have to wear a 3 piece suit everywhere you go, but go into any store like a Wal-Mart or Target and God almighty these people look like hell! What does this say about our self-image as a whole?

    At the risk of sounding elitist, I'll just say that a haircut, a shirt without Arby's Sauce stains and a shower shouldn't be too much to ask.


    I've got a lovely bunch o' coconuts to show you!

  11. Flight attendents will always be stewardesses to me.

  12. Hahaha Anonymous (c:

  13. AnonymousJune 14, 2009

    I remember when flying (like driving)used to be fun. Now, you've got trailer trash getting on the plane, loud, obnoxious teenagers being loud and obnoxious and some passengers acting like ill-mannered children when told to buckle up and sit down, or turn the cell phones, or arguing with the flight attendant when told the grand piano they're trying to shove into the overhead bin needs to be checked.

  14. "The Persuaders" is among my all-time favorite TV shows and one of the many reasons it is is because it is a televison snapshot in time of the year I was born, 1971. I always thought of the early-70s as being not the sixties, yet not-quite the seventies with all the steroetypical imagery one associates with that decade (Disco, Aaron Spelling TV shows,etc.) The first half of the 70s has proven to be a fascinating time to me. Patty Hearst kidnapping, anyone?

    Oh, to be a Neo-Edwardian hipster, circa '71...I do love Lord Brett Sinclair's attire and swellegant London flat...