The Pan Am story in posters

September 28, 2011 2:40:25 PM PDT
Before television, posters were a way for Pan Am to spread the word about where its fleet of planes was heading next, flying to destinations around the world that most had only dreamed about.

Mickey Ross is an expert in vintage posters. His gallery is packed full of original works, some dating back more than a century when these colorful pieces were first seen as a serious form of advertising.

"They needed the ability to print multi color and that really only became commercially feasible in the 1880's," he explained.

For Pan Am, these pieces read like a book, telling the story of iconic airline.

Pan Am would mail the posters to travel agents and hang them in public places; hoping people would spot the ad and buy airline ticket.

"If they opened a hub say in South America or a different hub in Europe, then they would create a series of posters to promote it," Ross explained.

But that was then. You simply don't see this kind of artistry anymore. Mickey points to the power of television and the internet.

"The airlines find that more effective. You can broadcast a lot to a broader market a lot easier and quicker," Ross said.

A lost art that, for generations, defined what it meant to travel.