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The original "Balloon Boy"...in 1933

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by Fletch, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    82yo Bill Crawford grew up in Cleveland as the son of a private pilot and promoter. Now he has come forward - not for the first time! - as the original juvenile balloonist. And there is no hoax involved!

    In 1931, Bill's dad, a dentist by trade, got the idea to put the boy, then 4, aboard a helium-filled captive balloon as an attraction at local events. The youngster had no fear of flying and even attracted the attention of Fox Movietone News. Every ascension cost the Crawfords $30 - think $350 today - but the stunt paid off well enough to make the family a profit.

    Then one day in July, 1933, came the inevitable...the balloon's tether let go. 6yo Bill went into free flight over Cleveland Municipal Stadium - and out! - to the gasps of the crowd.
    [​IMG]
    He reached a height of 200' before a slow leak brought him down. No one remembers where he landed, but he was drifting towards Lake Erie at the time - with no chance of air-sea rescue...

    Crawford went on the old Ripley's Believe It or Not! TV program in 1982 with newsreels of his stunt, but the current generation is now discovering him anew.

    Full item from the Sarasota Herald Tribune
     
  2. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

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    Haha, thanks for that Fletch! Very current in a vintage context. :)
     
  3. Paisley

    Paisley I'll Lock Up

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  4. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues My Mail is Forwarded Here

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  5. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

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    Make sure that book wacks their liar.. I mean lawyer when it is thrown..
     
  6. Dixon Cannon

    Dixon Cannon My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Thank Fletch..

    ...I did not know that!

    I'm always fascinated by these balloon stories. I distinctly remember Larry Walters
    flight over Long Beach, CA back in '82. He became quite a celebrity for fifteen minutes.
    I saw him on Letterman's old show and in fact a wristwatch ad campaign was built around him.
    Sadly, he lost it all in 1993 when he inexplicably took his own life.

    [​IMG]

    Keep watching the sky's; you may see me float by someday! lol

    -dixon cannon
     
  7. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

  8. vintage_jayhawk

    vintage_jayhawk One of the Regulars

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    That little man had the ride of his life, I imagine!
     
  9. Bruce Wayne

    Bruce Wayne My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Here is a short clip of that Ripleys show
     
  10. C-dot

    C-dot Call Me a Cab

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    How fun is that? And it wasn't a premeditated publicity stunt! ;)

    Little Bill doesn't appear frightened in the photos - It's a charming story, although it must have scared everyone out of 10 years growth at the time.
     

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