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Third Disaster: 1952

Third Disaster: 1952

"Floyd & Rach -- Feb 11 1952." The latest installment of Minnesota Kodachromes features a cameo by Mr. Boston. Anything else we cannot explain -- it just is. 35mm color slide by Hubert Tuttle. View full size.

Maybe he (or they) missed that flight.

She looks jovial, He looks proudly defiant. And the cigar and drinks seem to hint at celebration. The only thing to celebrate about a plane crash is that you were not on it.

Put the paper down, Ivan!

Based on the pale blue shirtsleeve, the mystery man is Ivan, last seen on the far left here:

Read All About It

The Mankato Free Press was probably their daily newspaper.

If this party were happening today,

the New Jersey air crashes would be filling the big screen TV, dampening the mood. In 1952 it's just a headline on the front page and easily ignored.

The original Spike Jones

Anyone old enough to remember the old Spike Jones from the 1940's and '50's (who was a funny, jazzy bandleader and musician) may see a strong resemblance in Floyd. I sure did.

Concatenated Ambiguities

There's so much impenetrable meaning in this photo that the uninitiated can only be left to ponder: exactly how many coats of high-gloss oil enamel do repose on that door?

It'll be a long wait

Sixty some years until the invention of the selfie.

February 11, 1952

The newspaper in the background has a headline about a third airplane crash in Elizabeth, NJ. There were 3 such crashes in very short time: 12/16/51, 01/22/52 & 02/11/52, so assuming the newspaper was current, this photo has to date to the 11th or 12th of Feb.

[Another clue is where it says "Feb 11 1952" in the caption. Which, to judge by quite a few (unpublished) comments, hardly anyone read! - Dave]


Looks like Spike Jones' long lost cousin!

Celebration of Life

Maybe they were just really, really glad they weren't on that flight?

A tough time for Elizabeth, New Jersey

The headline refers to the crash of National Airlines Flight 101, A Douglas DC-6 which took off from Newark at 00:18 hours on Feb. 11, 1952. Just after taking off, the number 3 propeller reversed in flight, causing the plane to yaw to the right. The crew, thinking that number 4 engine had lost power, feathered the number 4 prop. Now with thrust coming from only the left engines, Flight 101 lost altitude and crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Out of the 63 passengers and crew, 29 were killed, along with four persons on the ground.

Elizabeth had already suffered two recent crashes: American Flight 6780, a Convair CV-240, that crashed on Jan. 22, killing all 23 passengers and crew, along with seven on the ground, and a Miami Airlines Curtiss C-46 Commando, which crashed and burned on the bank of the Elizabeth River on Dec. 16, 1951, with the loss of all 56 passengers and crew.

Left vs Right

The oddest thing about this goofy posed shot is the interloper on the right holding up the daily newspaper for one to see about the third deadly New Jersey plane crash that month, in the vicinity of Newark Airport, and how the airport was temporarily closed because of all the crashes.

Who was holding up the daily paper? Why did he do it?
And why did the photographer include it?

I haven't a clue.

But it sure makes an awful (and probably unintentional) juxtaposition: Dozens of people killed, so let's clown around.

Taking a Guess,

Actually, I think it is really Joe Palooka.

Half empty

The bottle in his hand is clearly not half full.

That cigar

Looks like an El Producto Queen, George Burns' favorite.


OMG, this is the weirdest thing anyone's seen in the history of the planet.

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