History

The first "adventure trailer" and "earth cruiser?"

If you know anything about T.E. Lawrence you are aware of Lowell Thomas (and vice versa, I suppose). Thomas, the indefatigable journalist and travelogue producer, was nearly single-handedly responsible for making "Lawrence of Arabia" a worldwide legend through his sensational traveling multimedia show, With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia, seen by over four million people in the years following World War I. 

Lawrence and Thomas in Arabia

(Ironically, it almost never happened. Thomas was originally scheduled to cover the Great War in Europe to drum up support for the potential entry of the U.S. into the conflict. When it became obvious that trying to romanticize the gruesome quagmire that was the Western Front would be futile, he looked for a more promising theater, and thus landed in the Middle East.)

After the success of the Lawrence show, Thomas went on to star in and narrate innumerable other travelogues, of which one is this nine-minute 1940 production, Royal Araby. My friend Bruce sent me the link after he spotted one of the spectacular armored Rolls Royces employed with great effectiveness by Lawrence during the war, this one still in service years later. Indeed at about 2:38 you'll spot the turreted vehicle front and center. (See here for an account of one of Lawrence's unarmored Rolls Royce cars, and the impressive bodge repair he managed under enemy fire.) 

But something else caught my attention: two of the vehicles used by the Thomas expedition. One, an American sedan, is towing what could easily be taken for any number of the modern "adventure trailers" so popular with overlanders. Behind that is a behemoth of some sort of articulated truck with what would seem to be spacious living quarters in the back section.

I must try to find out more.

Check it out on YouTube, here.