Model Airplane News|
Model Airplane News Cover for October, 1957
South Africa Trip
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The cover introduces an interesting article about a "Barnstorming" tour of South Africa that was made by Howard Bonner and Bob Palmer. The two had been invited by a man who owned a chain of hobby stores, and thepurpose was to introduce American technology in control line radio control. Of some note, the tour attracted large crowds (i.e. thousands), the first time that Model Airplanes had been a spectator sport.
The two put undertook a heroic schedule, sometimes doing four shows a day. Their "host" employed a team of attractive girls to pass the hat among spectators, thereby recouping the cost of the trip. In effect, Bonner and Palmer paid their own way for the trip. The pair logged inearly 37,000 miles in the 37 day tour. It was their first trip abroad.
All in all, the story is a nice tale about two fairly ordinary guys who had the experience of a lifetime and made a lot of friends. If you look at the photos, you really can't tell that they are in Africa -- they could have been taken in New York or Los Angeles. A historical reading of the article reveals some trivial and noteworthy text.
On the trivial side, the notorious MAN spelling and grammar gremlins seem to have been at work overtime:
"...gold and diamond mining is the principle industry ..."
On a more serious note (and definitely not "PC") is the following:
"...one reason that modeling is expanding so fast in Africa is that a man never has to mow the lawn, paint the house and perform the other tasks that we have in the U.S. Every household has at least one and sometimes three native servants which are hired full-time for $12 a month. The natives seem content..."
It should be noted that MAN was not a journal of politics or civil rights -- it was just about model airplanes. The times were different as well. It was perfectly acceptable for a "man" (with the connotation average white man) to engage in model airplanes while his "native servant" did the household work. Folks in the 1950s accepted this as a fact of life. In 2010, South Africa is a vastly different place.
You may read the entire article by clicking to enlarge the photos shown below.
South Africa Model Airplane Tour
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