9/27/09

It was a very GOODYEAR


I give you two Goodyear blimps. the Puritan and the Reliance, each named after winners in the America's Cup yacht race. Apparently this naming the blimps after race winners began in 1926, though the company no longer follows this practice.

I have no idea where or when these shots were taken. And unfortunately the Goodyear website is rather pathetic when it comes to the history of these flying ships. They're more than happy to post information about the current ships and a handful of historical shots, but give no real detailed information. Pretty sad really. You'd think they'd be a good source. You'll find far more information at Wikipedia.

Goodyear blimp 1_tatteredandlost
Goodyear blimp 2_tatteredandlost
Click on images to see them larger.

I have two vivid memories of the Goodyear blimp, each going back decades. I've seen Goodyear blimps several times, but what I remember most are the two times I saw them putting on their light shows. The first time was in 1970 on Mercer Island in Washington State. I was visiting a friend and we were standing in their family room overlooking the lake when suddenly the blimp showed up from behind trees lit up like a Christmas tree. Having never seen anything like this before I thought it spectacular. For about an hour it circled Mercer Island flashing messages and pictures all over the side in bright colors. It was like circling fireworks.

The second time I saw one of these light shows was when I was living in Los Angeles. I lived in an apartment complex next door to both Warner Brothers and Universal Studios with an expansive view of the Valley. Anyone from that area knows exactly what complex I'm talking about. I looked out my window close to sunset and saw the blimp go by having just crossed over the backlot of Universal. Suddenly the light show began. As I recall the messages were for a wedding. So someone had gotten married and had hired the blimp to fly over the Toluca Lake area providing quite a fun light show. Must have cost them a pretty penny, but I got to see it for free. I took a comfy chair out onto my balcony and settled in for the show, which must have again lasted for about an hour. As the sun went down the show became even more beautiful. According to Wikipedia these were known as the Super Skytakular.

I haven't seen a blimp in years. They used to show up my way pretty regularly, but not anymore. Hot air balloons quite often float by the house and I can hear the whooshing sound as they apply the gas. They're always wonderful to see, but I'd really like to have a blimp go over at night and put on one of their Skytakulars. That would be pretty spectacular.

6 comments:

  1. Pretty interesting shots. Do you edit them to give them a sepia-ish/high contrast weathered look like that? Or is it all natural?

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  2. I have never seen on in person. I would imagine it is something to see for sure.

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  3. Used to see blimps in New York almost daily, but haven't noticed one in a while. Too many air traffic problems I suppose. Although, having said that, I'll probably see one this afternoon.

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  4. Lee, that's the color of the shots. Nothing changed, nothing cleaned up. I didn't find any at the Goodyear site that looked like these with "Tires" written on the side. You might get a kick out of this site from Nasa that talks about the hanger at Moffett Field.:

    http://historicproperties.arc.nasa.gov/history/index.html

    People if you think a blimp is big, you should see its hanger!

    LoriE, keep your eyes open. You never know where they'll show up. Of course you're in Canada, they might not have permission to fly outside U.S. borders.

    Maureen, there seems to be too much in the skies over NYC already. I would imagine during any football games you'd see them over the stadium. Most likely the MetLife ones which seem to have televised games locked up.

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  5. The Goodyear blimp hovers over the Muirfield Memorial tournament every spring just a mile or two from the manor. Fun.

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  6. Willow, do you get a fairly unobstructed view? Do they do the light show?

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