Short-snorters...The Presque Isle Historical Society

Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 1:04 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - We’re actually over here at Presque Isle International Airport at the Presque Isle Air Museum. And Presque Isle Historical Society collaborates with the Air Museum on a regular basis. And we have a really interesting story here that a lot of people really don’t know about. And I’ve asked several just today, before we started filming, if they know what a short-snorter was and no one could answer that question. So, short-snorter is actually an aviation term that predates World War 2, sometimes, pilots going out on dangerous flights needed a little bit of liquid courage. And of course the whole concept of alcohol and flying, not really a good mix. So, they would take what they called a short-snort and that just kind of caught on and the pilots just started calling themselves short-snorters. Well during World War 2, that morphed and it became a tradition to sign paper currency. Everyone on the crew would sign it to document their transatlantic flight. And here, of course, in Presque Isle, we have the Presque Isle Army Airbase, which then became the Presque Isle Air Force Base, and we had a lot of celebrities through here as they were on their way over to Europe to entertain the troops. And if you could get a celebrity to sign your short-snorter, that was a sign of good luck. And one of the gentleman here who was in the supply department, US Supply Officer Colonel Bud Serant. He actually got one of the local celebrities to sign his short-snorter. And that particular celebrity was Clark Gable. Now, Clark was actually in the military during World War 2 and he landed here in Presque Isle. His plane had a mechanical issue, he was forced to stay overnight for several days. And there’s actually some photos of him on Main Street roaming around. And he actually signed this particular short-snorter. Now, the currency that was preferred was a US dollar bill silver certificate. if you look on the back here, right here you will see Clark Gables signature. It’s not the only short-snorter he signed during the course of World War 2. There was actually another short-snorter signed by Clark Gable on Pawn Stars. And the thought was that because this was signed by Clark Gable, it was probably very very valuable and his signature is actually kind of common believe it or not and so this bill isn’t worth a whole ton of money at all. But, it’s the historical value and the sentimental value that make it worth so much to the Presque Isle Air Museum here.