The Volkswagen Group, The Hobbit, Transatlantic Flights, and the Golden Gate Bridge – there are plenty of wonderful things in our world that were born in 1937, and unsurprisingly, a number of them are travel related.
Because no one loves a party more than Travel Weekly, we’re celebrating all the good things to come out of that year.
Did someone say champagne? We’ll break out the party hats.
- The Volkswagen Group
The German automotive company started in Berlin in 1937, with the purpose being to manufacture the Volkswagen car, originally referred to as the Porsche Type 60, then the Volkswagen Type 1, commonly called the Volkswagen Beetle that we all know today.
Walt Disney’s Snow White and Seven Dwarfs
The classic Walt Disney flick first was the first full-length animation feature film, and the earliest Disney animated feature film. It was also first premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre on December 21, 1937.
It was a whopping success, and its global $8 million earnings during its initial release briefly made it the highest-grossing sound film at the time.
The Golden Gate Bridge
A number of iconic international names came to fruition in 1937, and San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge was one of them, officially opening in May of 1937.
Construction on the bridge began in 1933 and cost about $35 million to complete. At the time of its completion, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, a title which it held continuously until 1964.
First commercial flight across Pacific operated by Pan Am
Pan American Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927. And in 1937, the first transpacific flight by a commercial passenger airliner is completed when Pan American Airways’ Martin M-130, China Clipper, arrived at Hong Kong.
The flight departed San Francisco Bay, California, on 21 April with seven paying passengers and then proceeded across the Pacific Ocean by way of Hawaii, Midway Island, Wake Island, Guam, Manila, Macau and finally Hong Kong.
Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline serving more than 200 airports on six continents. It’s also among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2016 served more than 45 million customers.
But it wasn’t always this big. Born in 1937, Air Canada’s predecessor, Trans-Canada Airlines, was born out of the government’s desire to have an airline under their own control. Experienced execs from United and American Airlines were brought in, and two aircraft bought from Canadian Airways, before the first passenger flights took off in September 1937.
Starting with an Electra aircraft, the first flight carried two passengers and mail from Vancouver to Seattle, a $14.20 round trip, and, on 1 July 1938, TCA hired their first flight attendants.
Transcontinental routes from Montreal to Vancouver began on 1 April 1939, and by January 1940, the airline had grown to about 500 employees.
Air Canada today provides scheduled passenger service directly to 64 airports in Canada, 57 in the United States and 92 in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America.
Amelia Earhart vanished
On March 17, 1937, Amelia Earhart took off from Oakland and flew west on an around-the-world attempt. It would not be the first global flight, but it would be the longest–29,000 miles, following an equatorial route.
Aboard her Lockheed were Frederick Noonan, her navigator and a former Pan American pilot, and co-pilot Harry Manning.
On July 2, 1937, the Lockheed aircraft carrying American aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Frederick Noonan was reported missing near Howland Island in the Pacific. Neither Noonan or Earhart’s bodies were ever found.
The year Spam was born
The bizarre brand of canned precooked meat known as Spam was another curious, yet iconic, thing to come out of 1937.
It fast gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II, with many believing the name is an abbreviation of “spiced ham”, “spare meat”, or “shoulders of pork and ham”. The difficulty of delivering fresh meat to the front saw Spam become an essential part of the US soldier’s diet, and by the end of the war, over 150 million pounds of Spam were purchased by the military.
By 2003, Spam was sold in 41 countries on six continents and trademarked in over 100 countries (except in Middle East and North Africa). In 2007, the seven billionth can of Spam was sold.
The Hobbit Book was released
The Hobbit, otherwise known as ‘There and Back Again’, is one of the most widely recognised children’s books in the world. Written by J. R. R. Tolkien, it was published in September 1937, and follows beloved hobbit Bilbo Baggins in his quest to win treasure guarded by by Smaug the dragon.
The book was made into a trilogy film series released between 2012 and 2014. It also is the predecessor to the even more famous Lord of the Rings.