The China Clipper, Pan American Airways and Popular Culture


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SKU: 2007 Category:


The Pan American Clipper ships of the 1930’s and 1940’s were not only technological marvels; for a time, they were also the only international craft to carry the U.S. flag. Commercially they rivaled the comfort and popularity of passenger trains and luxurious cruise ships. Militarily, they were unmatched by anything other nations could produce. The only long-range aircraft capable of carrying transoceanic payloads, Clippers became instantly valuable with the onset of the war. Marketed as the ultimate in commercial – or military – airfare, these flying boats became an American icon. This illustrated examination of the Clipper ships in popular culture discusses the strategies Pan Am used to represent the Clipper as a paragon of U.S. interests, values and beliefs. The main focus of the work is the variety of ways in which the plane’s iconographic status manifested itself in toys, movies, pulp fiction, comic books, music and other unlikely places. An appendix provides details of the different models of the Clipper Flying Boats.


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