austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Our hearts were ringing in the key that our souls were singing

Returning to Henry Ford Museum exhibits: Oh, my, but they had neon. Specifically, one of those great old Holiday Inn signs from back when people actually liked going to Holiday Inn, which were removed because the Holiday Inn corporation decided it didn't need customers who liked being there. One of the six Holiday Inns that Lincoln was shot in, you know. They also had Holiday Inn miscellaneous things, most thrilling to me, an old Play-Skool Holiday Inn toy which I'd had as a kid. The day after this trip I'd spend too much time, really, fishing around Google Images to find better views of the toy. The toy had an imitation of that highway sign, of course, and business card-sized cards with promises like ``Welcome To Toyland''. I remember there were multiple such cards, but I don't remember what, and can't find them on Google Maps or eBay or the like. I did spot that the museum had a picture of a Holiday Inn sign with a typo in the message board, which you certainly didn't see in the Play-Skool toy version. I shouldn't overemphasize how much of the museum was Holiday Inn toy stuffs, but, this brought back something I had delighted in as a child and forgotten and you know how powerful that can be.

Among other neon-based constructs was one of the old 50s style McDonald's logos, with that ``Speedee Service System'' claim; this was conveniently near a nice old-fashioned diner, the kind that Popeye would open up, and that appeared to be an actual in-service restaurant. We didn't eat there, although when we did want a snack later on we attempted to go to the Weinermobile Cafe, which was closed.

There's also a good amount of airplane stuff, including the Ford Tri-motor, of course, and some exhibits of the barnstorming era. One wing-walker demonstration just let you stand on a simulation wing in front of a projection of flying low over a field. I realized that, you know, put projections back and front, and let the wing pivot on the central axis, and you've got a good simulated-motion amusement park ride.

They also had an exhibit about Ralph Byrd and Floyd Bennett's claimed first flight to the North Pole, and about the controversial elements regarding that claim. bunny_hugger and I came away agreed that one piece of evidence makes us think Byrd didn't reach the North Pole and knew it: the intended dropping of a flag at the pole was not done, with no reason given. That hit our ``Gladstone's Ghost'' moment. Discrepancies in recollections of takeoff or landing and fuel consumption and so on can be explained, but not that.

There's also a lot of furniture, including the chair actually owned by Mary Todd Lincoln mentioned earlier. This progressed over the centuries --- including a lot of furniture Mark Twain apparently used --- and what appeared to be the most fantastically uncomfortable plastic chair ever. This was because we were looking at a mold used to make the Eames Uncomfortable Plastic Chair. Both are certainly worthy of exhibition. They also had an Eames Lounge Chair --- it's the thing Batwoman sits in in her little group living room session in The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman --- and, heck, I had one in grad school, though I left it with the ham radio club when I left. Mine was pretty comfortable, although it had a tendency to fall over backwards that I don't think was by design.

Trivia: Edsel Ford bought Byrd's Fokker to help erase the debts left over from the 1926 Arctic expedition. Source: Henry and Edsel: The Creation of the Ford Empire, Ricahrd Bak.

Currently Reading: 9 Algorithms That Changed The Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers, John MacCormick.

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