The Hindenburg Disaster

Emil Salvini, author and fellow blogger over at Tales of the New Jersey Shore, posted a blog about the anniversary of the Hindenburg crash last week. Even though this disaster is permanently weaved into popular culture, many people may not be aware that it occured on May 6th, 1937 at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey. A slew of theories exist regarding what actually caused the German airship to ignite into flames, but the number of theories pale in comparison to the staggering amount of times the event gets mentioned in our everyday life.

As terrible as it was, the crash of the rigid airship Hindenburg is still a prominent pop culture reference and powerful visual. You can easily find mentions of Chicago announcer Herbert Morrison’s utterance of “Oh, the humanity,” or a picture of the flaming craft itself in commercials, TV shows, and and magazines. 

The Gods of Rock, Led Zeppelin, were brazen enough to use the image of the famous Hindenburg disaster as cover art on their debut album. Don’t go thinking that the mighty Led Zep had no class, it’s quite the opposite actually. According to Wikipedia, Keith Moon was once quoted that the band would “go over like a lead balloon.” What was merely a self-deprecating, off-the-cuff comment by Moon turned into one of the most indelible album covers ever and had a new generation of kids thinking the photo was simply “the cover of a Led Zeppelin album.”

Artist George Hardie’s Rapidograph illustration of the famous photo 
of the Hindenburg crash from United Press International.
Recently, The Hindenburg has also crashed the late night TV circuit. NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon features a sharp sketch called the “Who Cares? Hindenburg” highlighting recent news pieces that Fallon rightfully deems irrelevant and need to die a horrible death. What better way to kill ’em than a send off in a flaming airship plummeting right into New Jersey? Funny shit…