2/24/16

The Groovy Age of Travel #12: Travel Ads 1950


I pulled these travel advertisements from an April 1950 issue of Holiday magazine.  Back then, a cross country vacation could be insanely expensive - a significant expense in a time before credit cards and budget airfare.  But that was part of the appeal, wasn't it?  A trip from Georgia to New Mexico sounds like nothing today; but in 1950, that was an exotic adventure - a singular event that the family would look forward to for months, and remember for years.





I love how the flight schedule is written on a chalkboard in an ad boasting of the wonders of "modern science".


Remember what I said about that trip to New Mexico?  It's not a blah trip to Albuquerque - it's a magical adventure to The Land of Enchantment.


The advertisement lists renting the car for a full 12 hours and driving 50 miles.  I rent cars a lot - 50 miles won't cut it these days.


It's interesting that avocados are a big selling point to get folks to San Diego.  At a time when grocery store produce was still seasonal and largely local, this might've been a big deal.


Mom needs to put her damn seatbelt on.


A mere twenty years later and this advertisement would have been laughable.  Seedy and crime ridden, NYC in a couple decades would be unrecognizable.







A beautiful ad, but I'm not sure I get her expression.  Is she stressed, upset,.. relieved?














13 comments:

  1. Love the old travel ads. A less jaded time

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  2. Someday, traveling into outer space will have the same advertising.

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    1. Your comment reminds me of the episode of Mad Men wherein Conrad Hilton insists that the ad agency include an illustration of a Hilton Hotel on the Moon as part of an upcoming ad campaign.

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  3. Love those vintage ads.

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  4. The idea of vacationing in Maine just makes me shudder because I always assume I'd end up as the subject of a Stephen King offering.
    On the other hand, nothing finer than spending quality time in Italy if you can pull it off.

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  5. It's funny to think of the really crummy motels that we stayed in on vacation when I was a kid, and I thought there were so totally awesome at the time. Now, at age 50, I look for the nearest Hampton Inn wherever I go because I don't want to stay in crummy motels anymore.

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  6. Not to get too philosophic, but travel isn't quite what it used to be, as far as a sense of time and distance. I went on road trips as a kid in the '60s, and really felt I was traveling to different worlds, even if it was within the USA. Now everything is so interconnected and documented. A certain mystery and magic--and uniqueness--of travel has long gone.

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    1. I totally agree. It's interesting to watch the episodes of I Love Lucy where they drove to California. It has an air of the unknown that isn't present in today's car travel. The whole idea of looking at road maps and actually getting lost is completely unknown to today's kids.

      The loss of mystery since the 1960s can be said about a lot of other things, most notably nudity and sex. It will be interesting to see what mystery there is in the lives of kids today that will be lost in 50 years.

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  7. The trip you mentioned, from Georgia to New Mexico certainly would have been an adventure in 1950, if you drove. Imagine a world of long distance driving without interstates.

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    1. Now try imagining you are an African-American family making that same trip in 1950 and most of the public places along your route refuse to accommodate you.

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    2. "The Negro Motorist Green Book (at times styled The Negro Motorist Green-Book or titled The Negro Traveler's Green Book) was an annual guidebook for African-American roadtrippers, commonly referred to simply as the Green Book. It was originated and published by New York City mailman Victor H. Green in the United States from 1936 to 1966, during the Jim Crow era, when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against non-whites was widespread. Although pervasive racial discrimination and black poverty limited ownership of cars among African Americans, the emerging black middle class became car owners. In response, Green expanded the coverage in his book from the New York area to much of North America, also founding a travel agency."

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    3. You bring up a point I hadn't fully considered. In one's hometown, one knows where to go or not go. Arguably, absent of racial overtones, when one travels in the US, the astute traveler can size up a place as to whether it is "friendly" or not. Back in the Jim Crow era, that must have been REALLY hard for blacks while traveling. There was no Internet back then, and the Green Book must have been a godsend.

      Oddly, my kid's elementary school is a third-of-a-mile from the location of the last segregated restaurant in Virginia. The owner would not serve people people until he sold the place in 1987...you read that right...1987. Only 40 miles west of Washington DC, there was a restaurant that wouldn't serve blacks until 1987. I thought it was just a local legend until I researched it and found articles in the New York Times from the mid-1980s about the guy who owned the place.

      I know that racism pops up everywhere, but it still boggles my mind that as recently as the mid-1980s, there was a restaurant within 50 miles of Washington DC that just would not serve black people.

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  8. Great food and great people with awesome styling and interior. Also great venues in Chicago for cheap happy hour drinks. However, the downstairs beer selection is about as standard as it can be while upstairs can be a bit more creative.

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