Aloha: Introducing 'The Good Life'

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Credit: David Pollack/Corbis via Getty Images

Hawaii has been a destination since at least 400 A.D. , when Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands traveled to the Big Island in canoes. By all accounts, their in-boat Wi-Fi was lousy. Skipping ahead a bit, British explorer James Cook touched down on the Hawaiian Islands in 1778. But, wait, this isn't a Wikipedia entry on the history of Hawaii. This is the first installment of a new back page feature—produced with Getty Images FOTO—called "The Good Life," a close read on a particular ad theme or trope.

First up, travel—to Hawaii specifically—because it's hot outside and we all wish our Endless Summer was more endless and less bummer. Aloha!

Air travel first came to the islands in 1910, just seven years after the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk. Bud Mars took flight in a Curtiss pusher, lifting off in a polo field near Honolulu. It wasn't until 1936 (after at least one fatal false start) that Pan Am began carrying well-heeled passengers from the mainland to Hawaii on its deluxe Martin M-130 Clippers.

World War II and the day that would live in infamy put the breaks on the boom in rides to Hawaii, as civilian air travel to and among the islands was prohibited. But it's funny what winning a war will do for you. In the 1950s and '60s—when the ads on this page first appeared—air travel to Hawaii would enter its golden era, as flights by airlines like United became more routine (and affordable). It was still new, exotic and, in the aftermath of the war, something of a Jet Age victory lap. Perhaps the biggest irony is that Pan Am itself no longer exists.

Credit: David Pollack/Corbis via Getty Images
Credit: David Pollack/Corbis via Getty Images

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