Flying Down to Rio

Flying Down to Rio : Hollywood, Tourists, and Yankee Clippers

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In this book, author Rosalie Schwartz uses the 1933 RKO-Radio Pictures production Flying Down to Rio to examine the interplay of technology and popular culture that shaped a distinctive twentieth-century sensibility. The musical comedy connected airplanes, movies, and tourism, ending spectacularly with chorus girls dancing on the wings of airplanes high above Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Hollywood fantasy capped three decades during which airplanes and movies engendered new expectations and redefined people's sense of well-being, their personal satisfactions, and their interpersonal relations. Wilbur and Orville Wright flew their airplane in 1903, at the same time that film-makers began to project edited, filmed stories onto large screens. Spectators found entertainment value in both airplane competitions and motion pictures, and movie producers brought the thrill of aviators' antics to a rapidly expanding audience. Meanwhile, air shows and competitions attracted large crowds of tourists. Mass tourism grew as a leisure-time activity, stimulated in part by travelogues and feature films. By 1930, the businessmen who envisioned transporting tourists to their destinations by airplane struggled to overcome the movie-exaggerated association of flight with danger. Schwartz weaves these threads into a story of human daring and persistence, political intrigue, and international competition. From Wilbur and Orville to Fred and Ginger, Schwartz's narrative follows the fortunes of aviation and movie pioneers and the foundations and growth of Pan American Airways and RKO-Radio Pictures, the two companies that came together in Flying Down to Rio. By the end of the twentieth century, aviation, movies, and mass tourism had become powerful global industries, contributing to an internationally connected, entertainment-oriented culture. What was once unthinkable had now become more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.1 x 25.4mm | 567g
  • Texas A & M University Press
  • College Station, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 18 b&w photographs
  • 1585444219
  • 9781585444212
  • 1,883,694

Review quote

This book seems to hit virtually every thing of note in the crucial period of modern entertainment and aviation . . . a wonderful tapestry of technology, war, popular culture and social change. . . . an enjoyable read, while providing insights useful to the scholar as well as the general reader . . . history as it ought to be, but seldom is in reality. She has fused imagination, humor, has an eye for attractive detail, and is a skilled writer and historian. . . . It sets a new standard that places aviation history within a very insightful context and ties together a whole range of elements from tourism, popular culture, social change, evolving appreciation for the potential of aviation, politics, etc.--Colin M. MacLachlan, John Christie Barr Distinguished Professor of History, Tulane Universityshow more

About Rosalie Schwartz

Rosalie Schwartz lives and writes in San Diego, California. Two of her previous books, Pleasure Island: Tourism and Temptation in Cuba and Lawless Liberators: Political Banditry and Cuban Independence, have won the Hubert Herring Award for best publications on Latin American more

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