From the Hangars

Delta Stories: Liza Tway Autrey

Sep 07, 2021

Liza #2

Liza Tway Autrey about to board a Delta DC-3 to Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Dawn Kimmich and Charles Tway Autrey.

This story is brought to you by Dawn Kimmich, assistant general counsel at Delta, and her uncle Charles Tway Autrey. In 1947 Liza Tway Autrey, Dawn's grandmother, and her husband were at home listening to a radio show called “People Are Funny” hosted by Art Linkletter with their neighborhood friends. Little did they know that they were about to embark on the beginning of an adventure!


Sam Berman's caricature of Art Linkletter for an NBC 1947 promotional book.

The show, running from 1942 to 1960, challenged everyday listeners and contestants to perform different stunts or games to prove that "People Are Funny." The show announced they were having an Easter egg hunt in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia, and inside each of the plastic Easter eggs was a scavenger list of 10 items. The first person to gather all the items on the list and bring them to the radio station would win $500 and a free flight on Delta to Los Angeles, California, to appear live on the radio program. Adjusted for inflation that $500 would be over $6,000 today!

The park was only a block away from the Autreys' home so they decided to test their luck and walk over to the park and see if they could find one of the eggs. Eureka! They found an egg and the hunt was on for all of the items! A Delta flight to L.A. was all but in hand.

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Liza Tway Autrey with the "People Are Funny" scavenger hunt egg ready to depart Atlanta for Los Angeles. Photo Courtesy of Dawn Kimmich and Charles Tway Autrey.

One of the items that Dawn's uncle recalled from the list was a "Willkie button". For those unfamiliar, Wendell Willkie was the Republican candidate for president in 1940 who ran against the incumbent President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was running for his third term. Learn more about Willkie political campaign buttons here!

Willkie button

Photo courtesy of Indiana Historical Society.

As the story goes, the Autreys asked out loud, “Where in the world are we going to find a Willkie button?” Dawn's great grandmother, Mary Lewis Tway, just happened to be listening to their conversation and did not miss the opportunity to help.  She had a button—and a free Delta trip—in her jewelry box. They now had all 10 items!

Dawn Kimmich Grandmother

Owner of the coveted Willkie button, Mary Lewis Tway. Photo courtesy of Dawn Kimmich and Charles Tway Autrey.

The Autreys were the first ones to arrive at the radio station with all the items on the list and had won the trip but there was a problem, only one person could technically win. Liza won the coin toss to take that trip. She took that Delta flight out of Atlanta in April 1947 and the lucky plastic egg came with her.

Flying Delta in a 21-passenger Douglas DC-3 in 1947, Liza would have traveled from Atlanta to Dallas, stopping along the way at Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Monroe and Shreveport, Louisiana; as well as one stop at either Meridian, Miss. or Tyler, Tx. Liza connected to another airline in Dallas to complete her flight to Los Angeles.

A special thanks to Dawn, her uncle Charles and their entire family for sharing their family's story and photos!

Austin Coleman


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