Vintage L.A: Flight of Fancy

To Angelinos, nothing says “Welcome Home” more than the iconic mosaic tiles at LAX.

by Alison Martino via LA Magazine | November 9, 2015
Alison Martino and the mosaic times at LAX

For six seasons, Matthew Weiner’s Emmy-sweeping Mad Men used the stark chicness of mid-century Manhattan as its backdrop, but things got groovier when they headed for Los Angeles. The promotional campaign for the final installment of the AMC hit featured Megan Draper and other cast members walking through Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 4, framed by Charles D. Kratka’s multicolored tile wall. The designer and graphic artist, who died in 2007, was hired in the late 1950s tp upgrade LAX for the jet age, which included the creation of this geometric eye candy. Kratka’s mosaic can be seen only by arriving passengers, but the 300-foot-long piece is a journey in itself: The blue panels at the entrance represent the Pacific; the subsequent browns, yellows and oranges, the Rockies; the green and gray sections, the Midwest; and some navy, the Atlantic, at the end. In Don Draper’s day it was called “The Astro Walk,” but we know it better as “I’m home”.

Story Continues Below

Med Men promo image featuring Charles Kratka's mosaic tiles
Mad Men Promo image. Photo: FRANK OCKENFELS 3/AMC

During a private tour of LAX, I had the great pleasure of being escorted by experts on the history of the tunnels. I filmed this quick clip of one of their LAX’s employees explaining the significance of the tiles:



Movies such as, “POINT BLANK”, “MIDNIGHT MADNESS”, “AIRPLANE!”, “JACKIE BROWN”, “HIGH ANXIETY” and THE GRADUATE were all shot in this mid century space age tunnel. See below for a gallery of photos, promo shots, video, and archival items all featuring Charles Kratka’s famous mid century masterpiece!

Learn more about the artist, Charles D. Kratka here

A portion of the above article was published in the May, 2014 issue of LA Magazine.



Vintage L.A: Flight of Fancy

To Angelinos, nothing says “Welcome Home” more than the iconic mosaic tiles at LAX

by Alison Martino via LA Magazine | November 9, 2015
Alison Martino and the mosaic times at LAX

For six seasons, Matthew Weiner’s Emmy-sweeping Mad Men used the stark chicness of mid-century Manhattan as its backdrop, but things got groovier when they headed for Los Angeles. The promotional campaign for the final installment of the AMC hit featured Megan Draper and other cast members walking through Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 4, framed by Charles D. Kratka’s multicolored tile wall. The designer and graphic artist, who died in 2007, was hired in the late 1950s tp upgrade LAX for the jet age, which included the creation of this geometric eye candy. Kratka’s mosaic can be seen only by arriving passengers, but the 300-foot-long piece is a journey in itself: The blue panels at the entrance represent the Pacific; the subsequent browns, yellows and oranges, the Rockies; the green and gray sections, the Midwest; and some navy, the Atlantic, at the end. In Don Draper’s day it was called “The Astro Walk,” but we know it better as “I’m home”.

Story Continues Below

Med Men promo image featuring Charles Kratka's mosaic tiles
Mad Men Promo image. Photo: FRANK OCKENFELS 3/AMC

During a private tour of LAX, I had the great pleasure of being escorted by experts on the history of the tunnels. I filmed this quick clip of one of their LAX’s employees explaining the significance of the tiles:



Movies such as, “POINT BLANK”, “MIDNIGHT MADNESS”, “AIRPLANE!”, “JACKIE BROWN”, “HIGH ANXIETY” and THE GRADUATE were all shot in this mid century space age tunnel. See below for a gallery of photos, promo shots, video, and archival items all featuring Charles Kratka’s famous mid century masterpiece!

Learn more about the artist, Charles D. Kratka here

A portion of the above article was published in the May, 2014 issue of LA Magazine.


“Point Blank” 1967

“Rockford Files” 1974

“Airplane!” 1980

The mosaic times at LAX featured in the movie Airplane

“Jackie Brown” 1997

Footage shot in 2014

Mad Men Promo

Don Draper promo for Mad Men and the mosaic times at LAX

Mad Men Cast at LAX
Mosaic Tiles at LAX
Mosaic Tiles at LAX

Original 1963 Press Release

Original 1963 Press Release for the Astro Walk at LAX

Lucy at the 1963 Astro Walk Dedication Ceremony

Lucile Ball at the 1963 Astro Walk Dedication Ceremony

Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) and friends.

LAX mosaic tiles

Lee Marvin in “Point Blank”

LAX mosaic tiles


“Smog”, 1962

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