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Old 07-22-2008, 07:51 PM   #1
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Review and Comments Regarding the History Detectives Program

All History Detective programs are well crafted.

Letís trace the issues addressed, who addressed them and why the finished product came out the way it did.

Letís address the beginning and the end of the program. The owners want to confirm that their Airstream went on the 1959 Caravan.

The Petersen Auto Museum is a heavy hitter for this program. They have clout and credibility. The comments made establish who Wally Byam was, the importance of Airstream, and Wallyís leadership in beginning foreign Caravans. The highlight was the comment that out of 300, 1930ís trailers, Airstream is the sole survivor. Just think about that.

Now that we know about Wally Byam, Airstream and foreign Caravans it is time to learn about the markings on the trailer.

Shari, Vintage Airstream Club President is asked to discuss the markings on the trailer. We are now a step further in learning the history of the trailer. The number is Caravan and Club identification and the decal represented membership in the WBCCI.

The last question did the Airstream really go on the Wally Byam African Caravan in 1959.

This is where Tony Ruiz, and Dale Schwamborn supply the final information. As member of the Caravan, they were asked a few questions about the trip. Using an African Caravan roster, and an older WBCCI directory the information was provided to prove that the questionable trailer did not go to Africa.

What you see are remarkable building blocks for a fun presentation.

Tukufu Zuberi is a fantastic person. His contribution to History Detectives and our program is top shelf. He is a Professor and Chair in the Sociology Department at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. (If you wish you can bring him up on the web.) He is known worldwide. Tukufu has traveled to Africa many times and is very aware of the transitional changes in politics and the welfare of citizens.

It is interesting that in his opening and closing dialogues he was excellent in his knowledge of Airstream and Wally. Some of that information came from his questions that Toni and I answered.

The visual part was of interest to me. They wove still pictures with motion pictures. The movie part came from the available abbreviated film from the African Caravan taken by Pete Turner.

Most of the still pictures came from the Estate of Helen Byam Schwamborn. There were family pictures of Wally, pictures of pre-war Airstreams and actual pictures from the African Caravan. Toni Ruiz contributed several pictures and the really great one was the meeting of Haile Selassie with she and her husband Art.

In perspective the History Detectives reviewed hours of HD movies, still photographs, verbiage, documents and put together an A+ program. Anything left on the cutting floor was not needed to tell the story.

In looking back this was a tribute to Wally Byam and his gift to the RV Industry, and RV travel. No one person ever did more for the Industry. Yes, a tribute to Airstream. Airstream outlasted 299 other companies. Last, but not least, a Caravan that traveled from Cape Town to Cairo. The 1959 African Caravan is trip that will never be duplicated.

Pee Wee
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:51 PM   #2
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I, myself, really enjoyed the airing of History Detectives last night. It was well thought out, well organized and followed the correct line of thinking and deciphering. Having watched the Capetown to Cairo 16mm movie the day before really whet my appetite for the History Detectives show. I can appreciate all of the footage that didn't make the show but would expect that the footage would be digital in nature and not actual film and could be acquired from PBS if that sort of thing happens in the industry. Thanks for allowing the film crew to photograph part of Helen's collection as it really added to the content of the show.


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Old 07-22-2008, 11:54 PM   #3
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I think the only question that remained unasked and unanswered was what happened to the trailers that did go on the caravan?
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:01 AM   #4
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I am a big fan of the History Detectives! I only wish it was on year round!

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Old 07-23-2008, 06:19 AM   #5
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I thought the show was excellent. I almost felt like I was sitting in the chair of the owners of the trailer in question....waiting for the verdict.

A hearty "pat on the back" to all who were involved!!
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:34 AM   #6
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PEE WEE, On your roster from Capetown to Cairo, do you have a listing for #1301, Leo Frank from Illinois? I have that trailer and according to the owner's son, it went on quite a few caravans. Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:40 AM   #7
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Here are a couple

Originally Posted by Silverhobby View Post
PEE WEE, On your roster from Capetown to Cairo, do you have a listing for #1301, Leo Frank from Illinois? I have that trailer and according to the owner's son, it went on quite a few caravans. Thanks for your help.
While you await PeeWee's response,in my 1970 Directory it lists Leo Frank taking the WBCCI Caravan#16 to Mexico in 1958 and WBCCI Caravan#24 to Europe in the Summer of 1968.

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Old 07-23-2008, 07:19 AM   #8
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Mike the Detective is Correct!

Originally Posted by Silverhobby View Post
PEE WEE, On your roster from Capetown to Cairo, do you have a listing for #1301, Leo Frank from Illinois? I have that trailer and according to the owner's son, it went on quite a few caravans. Thanks for your help.
The entire roster is posted at this website. Sierra Neveda has a wealth of Club, Caravan, Wally, Helen and Airstream information.

Trailer #1301 was not in Africa. Mike's comment is correct.

Pee Wee
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:02 AM   #9
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I've got my DVR set to record anything Airstream related so I captured this program. Those of you not seeing this will get a chance next year at Moraine View for our year 7 rally.


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Old 07-23-2008, 11:22 AM   #10
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Arrow musings

I forgot to watch it. I saw the thread again about 3o min after it ended.
But it shows again here tomorrow, and truthfully I will prob forget again.
Anyway I am curious if the show paid the airfares of each of the participants from other areas?
What did Fred do in or on the show?

How long is the segment? Seems someone will capture it and put it on You Tube etc.?

Would be nice to see a "showography" of all the shows about Airstream over the years.
Also the commercials and movies where one was shown but not the feature would be a nice archive item I guess.
I for one am not actually very interested in the pedigree of any particular trailer that I don't own. Nor is the minute history of the company and its founder as important to me as it was when I first signed on. However I never miss one of PeeWee's posts, for he, like Inland Andy is a one-of-a-kind asset.
But I am most interested in the maintaining and preserving the actual trailer. Sometimes tho the history helps with some repair mystery. That's good.
The most interest to me would be to interview some of the old upper management buyers and designer/engineers and some of the line assemblers etc.
Also I would love to find more about the vendors that made the ABS items and the Extrusion vendors etc.
The biggest history mystery (IMHO) is the one that involves the Henschen Rubbers and EXACTLY when they changed to the improved formula.

Would also like to have access to all the past service-bulletins and see the working drawings (blueprints) for various models.
I do hope all that is being archived and someone is trying to round it all up. But in all honesty none of it is absolutely necessary to maintain and repair the vintage trailers.
____ d'drummer ____

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Old 07-23-2008, 11:54 AM   #11
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My wife made sure I saw it. I really enjoyed it. And Doug and Suzie Carr are hotrodders building many woodies so any time a fellow vintage hotrod stationwagon owner also gets involved in Airstreams I'm on board.

It looked in the pictures like they actually live in that trailer. Is that a correct assumption?

Peewee, as always, thanks for your info. It keeps things real in a world full of hype.


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