Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rant #853: Skywriting On the Wall

Today is the 90th anniversary of something so innocuous that I figured I would write about it here.

I am sure that this is probably the only place that you are going to be reading about this, so here goes.

In 1922, 90 years ago, the first skywriting demonstration was held.

Capt. Cyril Turner of the Royal Air Force spelled out "Hello USA. Call Vanderbilt 7200" over New York's Times Square.

The result: about 47,000 calls in less than three hours were made to that number, and so was born an advertising vehicle that exists to this day.

This was the first public exhibition of skywriting, so I assume that it had been tested and used prior to this, probably by the military.

We have all seen skywriting in the air, usually over very public events, or when we are at the beach.

The skywriting lasts a few minutes, and then goes away literally in a puff of smoke.

All different messages have been put in the air this way.

I have seen ads for suntan lotion, and I have seen marriage proposals.

It is a very unique advertising vehicle, because it's only readable for a few minutes, and then, it's gone.

Sometimes, these things are easy to read, while other times, you really have to stare at them for awhile to make them out.

Not being a pilot, I could never figure out how these things are done, anyway.

How does the pilot know what he is writing? How does he know to cross his t's and dot his i's?

I am sure there is some type of planogram that he uses so that he knows exactly what he is doing, but it's something I never figured out.

Maybe that's why I find skywriting so fascinating, in a subtle type of way.

It's something I simply don't get, and I wonder how someone one day decided that you could actually write messages in the sky.

No, it's not a morbid fascination, it's just one of those things that make life interesting.

You know, it falls into the "head scratching" category for me.

And to me, that's not a mere puff of smoke.

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