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Zeppelins, Dirigibles, and Blimps


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Caught some of the films on this themed night.


Would have chosen "The Assassination Bureau" (1969) - a zeppelin features prominently in this movie:


- and the 1971 Michael York flick "Zeppelin" :



But I understand TCM does what it can to get films...


Anyway, there are still zeppelins flying in the world today...

There was one in San Francisco (built in Germany by the modern Zeppelin company and about 1/3 the size of the Hindenburg) up until about a year and a half ago:



The Airship Ventures zeppelin used the old US Navy airship base and hangars at Moffett Field as its home. Unfortunately, the economics just weren't there and the business couldn't make a go of it.

The zeppelin, named Eureka, was returned to Germany and is now flying over Paris under new ownership:



The US Navy operated the airships USS Macon from Moffett Field:



and USS Akron:


(both a little bit shorter than the Hindenburg) in

the late 1920s/early 1930s.


There was a zeppelin flying over Tokyo but that enterprise had economic problems too and company went kaput.

That zeppelin was returned to Germany and is now one of two providing cruises around Germany.


Goodyear is replacing their fleet of blimps with three zeppelins and one has been built so far:



Goodyear is currently having a naming contest for the zeppelin (had its first flight March 18):



The contest just began March 14, so have at it with suggested names...


Note that a zeppelin (new ones have a semi-rigid frame) is different than a blimp (no frame), but Goodyear is going to call its zeppelins "blimps." And the modern zeppelins use helium:



Anyway, the TCM theme night was a good mixture of films about the German zeppelin that crashed and the US Navy airships...

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Have you ever seen the 1932 movie "Manhattan Tower" ? Its a low budget film but surprising good with soap opera type storylines. Its easily viewed on Youtube or downloadable from several sources. Anyway the beginning of the film shows the recently completed Empire State building (the Tower from the title) and scenes of a airship mooring at the top of the building ( an idea that quickly proved too unworkable and was abandoned).

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The bad luck of the Hindenburg was shared by American airships...


The USS Macon met disaster too, crashing with the loss of two lives:



The USS Akron crashed as well, with 73 dying in the disaster, including Rear Admiral Moffett:



President Roosevelt remarked:

"The loss of the Akron with its crew of gallant officers and men is a national disaster. I grieve with the Nation and especially with the wives and families of the men who were lost. Ships can be replaced, but the Nation can ill afford to lose such men as Rear Admiral William A. Moffett and his shipmates who died with him upholding to the end the finest traditions of the United States Navy."


The US Navy had considered using both the USS Macon and USS Akron as flying aircraft carriers launching fighter planes.


Don't think there have been any movies about the loss of either the USS Macon or the USS Akron???

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No, I haven't seen that flick...


Also haven't seen "Charlie Chan at the Olympics" (1937).

In that flick Chan travels to Europe on the Hindenburg to arrive ahead of the bad guys travelling there by ship:



YouTube clip from film showing Hindenburg here:


Apparently, while that film was made in 1936, it was released in theatres just a short time after the Hindenburg disaster.

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Funny, Finance... );-)


But Goodyear appears to underestimate the intelligence of Americans by choosing to continue to call the new airships "blimps":



At least TCM, rightly or wrongly, seems to have a higher estimate of the knowledge of viewers by using the term "Zeppelins, Dirigibles, and Blimps" for the theme night:



Anyway, the Goodyear naming contest is only open to Americans:




Grand prize is the new "blimp" coming to you to take you and 5 friends for a 6 hour cruise. If airship can't come to you, you and a friend go to it.


9 other prizes of sets (4) of Goodyear tires for runner-ups...


Criteria for name include:


Name acknowledges Goodyear's ongoing track record of delivering superior performance and innovation (40%)

Name reflects the storied history and tradition of the Goodyear Airship (20%)

Name resonates with the Goodyear airships' long history of public service and community engagement (20%)

Name reflects the grace and majesty of lighter-than-air flight (20%)

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>But Goodyear appears to underestimate the intelligence of Americans by choosing to continue to call the new airships "blimps":


Yep! And so in THAT case I think I now have THE perfect name for it:


"The Airship H.L. Mencken"!


(...and thanks for the assist here, RM...I'll see to it that you get partial credit for this after I receive that call from the folks at Goodyear!) ;)

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You probably just gave "The Toronto Sun" an idea for its next front page:




Anyway, this is not the place for Rob Ford news, but his brother Doug Ford recently insulted Kevin Spacey, calling Spacey an "arrogant S.O.B." And Mr. Spacey replied:



Guess it was in retaliation for Spacey cracking wise about Rob Ford on "Jimmy Kimmel":



How attacking Kevin Spacey is supposed to help Rob Ford in his mayoral re-election campaign, I don't know:


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Well, ya gotta admit both Spacey AND Ford are very talented in their own way.


(...with Spacey able to do a great Johnny Carson impression at will, and with Ford being able to do a great Chris Farley impression without even trying!!!)

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Sorry again, Dargo...


Yes, Goodyear is certainly not broke (money-wise and Mencken-wise)...


Anyway, have no idea how long ago TCM chose the theme, but it's certainly newsworthy recently with the new Goodyear "blimp" having its maiden flight March 18:





If nothing else good comes of this thread, at least somebody on the message board might win a set of tires by entering the naming contest:



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