Chapters on Paul Mooney, Moye Stephens, Elly Beinhorn, & Pancho Barnes
Richard Halliburton was a misfit, a rebel, in an America that was coming of age in the world. He couldn't see himself fitting into that America, although he was very much its product with his can-do attitude and his things-will-get-better belief. For all that, he was a round peg faced with nothing but the square holes his country offered him. He just could not see things the way most people saw them. His parents wanted him to play by the rules, to live an even tenor, and he hated the rules, especially the phrase, even tenor. He not only said no, but hell no to their even tenor and in doing so he turned his back on an America that held the same values. Despite having no respect for the rules, he became wildly successful because of his wildly improbable life as a travel-adventure writer. Because he dared, he became the icon of his era with farmers' wives in Topeka, factory workers in Detroit, and newspaper boys in Cleveland buying his books. He became a wealthy man and in each book his adventures allowed readers to break free in their imaginations to escape their plodding days.
In the 1920s and 1930s he was one of the most famous persons in America, even more than Amelia Earhart, and today he is forgotten. While he was alive he was rarely ignored because he was crazy in a way that people admired. Crazy, in that he ignored the rules they lived by, and was abnormal in a way that led him into adventures they could only read about in his books. He flew around the world in an open-cockpit biplane, from Timbuktu to Baghdad to Borneo. He climbed the Himalayas into lonely, remote Ladakh. He sailed the Pacific in a Chinese junk.
That was one side of the man, the side revealed by his Princeton class of 1921, who voted him “most original.”. The other side was modest, fond of children, constant with friends, and loyal to his parents. As he aged, this second side remained a rebel while he built his Hangover House—today a historical landmark—a place where his feet could stop as he sat above its cliff and gazed out on the Pacific horizon. As a young man, he had great trust in his possibilities, and knew his time on Earth was short, so he lived as if he might die tomorrow. He looked back on his life to connect the dots, and found they shaped something he could not have predicted. His belief in his possibilities saw him through, but in his thirties he felt he had compromised them and something had been lost.
November 1930 photo of Moye Stephens & Richard Halliburton about to leave Los Angeles for almost 2-year flight around the world, including Timbuktu, Mecca, Persia, and Singapore.
Paul Mooney holding Hangover Hangover House Hangover House
House sign. Richard had it built as balcony. Zolite
an architectural marvel. Scott standing.
The White Ranee of Sarawak, Borneo Richard Halliburton, Princess Valerie, Her Highness,
Her Highness, Lady Sylvia Brooke Princess Elizabeth, Moye Stephens
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