Sunday, November 16, 2008

Arty Terminal

There are styles in illustration that reward visit after visit, maybe for no other reason than “I like that.” The latest piece from Steve Collier is a case in point. He completed the illustration above and sent it out as a promo piece, echoing the website: The Houston Municipal Airport Terminal is a beautiful and rare example of classic art deco airport architecture from the golden age of flight.

The Terminal served Houston during the years when air travelers dressed in their finest and embarked for exotic destinations aboard roaring propliners like the Douglas DC-3 and the Lockheed Constellation.

The 1940 Terminal is in the hands of The Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society, which has been restoring it for the past five years. The illustrator told me he got interested in doing something with it. “The website will give you more details on the establishment of the airport and its development through the years. Great looking art deco building.”

I was entertained by one early-history snippet from July, 1938: After setting a new speed record flying his Lockheed 14 Super Electra around the world, Howard Hughes visits Houston for a 3-day celebration…The City announces that Houston Municipal Airport will be renamed Howard Hughes Municipal Airport. A few months later, it is learned that the airport will be disqualified for Federal grant money if it is named after a living person and the name is changed back to Houston Municipal Airport.

The Feds changed their tune sometime between ’38 and ’97, if George Bush Intercontinental Airport is any clue.

There was a golden age of commercial flight: Classic airplanes and classy airlines. Airline advertising. Even airport humor. Shelly Berman routined in 1959: I never have the slightest doubt about my safety in a plane until I walk into an airport terminal and realize that there is a thriving industry in this building selling life insurance policies. (I think I still have that album somewhere.)

Air travel is nowhere so freewheeling and enjoyable now. Visit the 1940 Terminal at Hobby Airport and you may see a bit of what it was like in the…old days.

Thanks to Collier for sending the art my way; here is what the Terminal looked like on Opening Day:


S. Reeves said...

Love the illustration and the building.

Steve Collier said...

Richard: My purpose of this email is to thank you for publishing the artwork. Sometimes it just takes a piece like yours to get the herd moving, Texas speak. When you published the illustration/article on the old Houston Municipal Airport/1940 Air Terminal Museum in your blog, I took the liberty to send it to the museum. Well, they responded in an email with great enthusiasm and wanted to discuss using it on everything. I met with what I found out later was the only paid person that was hired by the museum as their administrator. She was very positive about wanting to do something, so I am in the process of coming to terms with the museum to do all of their graphic needs including the store items. I am meeting again with them to meet the President of the Board, whatever that means, I guess to discuss more in depth their needs and what they want to accomplish. We will see. Thanks...