Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy birthday, Richard Halliburton

Clockwise, from top left: Halliburton (left) and pilot aboard The Flying Carpet; On an elephant crossing the Alps.
It is the birthday of famed travel writer Richard Halliburton (1900), who was well known for his travel books, syndicated newspaper columns, lectures, radio appearances, and newsreels. He hired a pilot to fly him around the world in an open biplane. He rode an elephant across the Alps, explored the Mayan Well of Death, and followed Ulysses’ path in ancient Greece as told in Homer’s The Odyssey. He famously swam the length of the Panama Canal and paid the lowest canal toll in history (36 cents).

In March 1939, Halliburton set sail on the Chinese junk Sea Dragon from Hong Kong bound for San Francisco. It was last sighted by an American ocean liner in a typhoon near Midway Island. Wreckage believed to be from the Sea Dragon washed ashore in California in 1945. Halliburton and his crew were never found.

Among his books were The Royal Road to Romance (1925), The Glorious Adventure (1927), New Worlds to Conquer (1929), The Flying Carpet (1932), India Speaks with Richard Halliburton (1933), Seven League Boots (1935), Richard Halliburton’s Book of Marvels: The Occident (1937), and Richard Halliburton’s Second Book of Marvels: The Orient (1938). Other books were published after his death.

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