From the Hangars

Playing Dress Up in the Archives!

Mar 22, 2018

Everybody knows the Delta widget. It's the symbol that makes Delta recognizable around the globe. Did you know that Delta used other creative ways to market the airline? Not so long ago, Delta Marketing developed multiple mascot concepts and costumes to represent different promotions the company offered, and show the Delta spirit in general. And now for a bit of a fashion show...

 1995.364.3 Delta Captain Widget Mascot Costume (1)       19953643

Started by Delta employees in 1972, Captain Widget was created in response to a campaign by Eastern Airlines to 'Divert Delta Traffic.' Captain Widget's duty was to call Delta employees to action in selling Delta more than ever and to remind folks of standard practices around the company. The highlight of the costume is the helmet with pieces of a Boeing 727 model airplane attached.

1995.364.1 Early Bird (4)  1995.364.1 Owly Bird (1)

In the 1970s Delta offered discounted "early bird" and "owly bird" fares on the first flights of the day and last flights of the night at selected airports. These two costumes were used to promote those discounted rates. The red Rooster costume represents "Early Bird," and the gray Owl costume represents, you guessed it, "Owly Bird."

2008.30.3 Delta Fantastic Flyer Dusty Lion Costume (1)  2008.30.3 Delta Fantastic Flyer Dusty Lion Costume (5)

In 1988 the Delta Fantastic Flyer program for children launched with the Dusty the “Delta Air Lion” mascot, kid-friendly meals and a quarterly activity magazine. Dusty Lion remained the principal mascot of the Fantastic Flyer program until 1999. The name "Dusty" and his pilot gear represents Delta's early roots as the world's first crop-dusting company, Huff Daland Dusters, which became Delta Air Service in 1928.

These costumes really are a tribute to Delta's creativity and spirit! I have been lucky enough to catalog many objects for the museum but playing dress up with the costumes was one of the funnest! 

Austin Coleman (AKA Owly Bird)

Archives Assistant

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