Pan Am

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Pan Am

Postby Paul Kile » Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:36 pm

Anyone else catch the new ABC series last night?
As an inveterate aviation curmudgeon, I must give my grudging approval for the overall effort. Interior aircraft sets and the Pan Am terminal at Idlewild (later JFK) looked fantastic. The CGI of the 707 in flight was well done also, as was the color of the sky out the cockpit windows during the flight. And Pan Am actually used DC-7s to ferry refugees out of Cuba after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, so they got that right!

My approval is grudging due to two egregious errors, which someone surely should have caught during production. First, the flight in the pilot episode was supposed to be the first Pan Am Jet Clipper flight from NY to London. That actually occurred in late 1958, not 1963 as depicted. Second, they had two snot-nosed grinning twenty-somethings playing the Captain and First Officer. In reality, if this really was the maiden transatlantic passenger flight of a 707, the flight would have been commanded by the most senior Captain on the airline, and the First Officer would have probably been another Captain sitting in the right seat. But two grizzled old codgers in the cockpit wouldn't have made for exciting TV. now would it? A third minor error cropped up, as the 707 taxied away from the terminal, blue flame could be seen emerging from the sound suppressors at the back of the engines. Sorry, doesn't happen at low power settings.

But...the series could turn out to be really FUN to watch. They captured the era in the same way Mad Men has. And I will be tuning in next week for the second episode.
Cheers,
Paul Kile
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Re: Pan Am

Postby Dunnyman » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:59 pm

I thought that pilots seemed a bit young for such a big to-do as well. You might have missed it on one of my other posts about the new season but I seem to remember they had a height requirement for stewardesses back then, didn't they? And so the incredibly petite Christina Ricci wouldn't have made the grade. While there's bound to be errors, I thought they gave a reasonable impression of the era. I don't know about the State Department hiring stewardesses as spies though, seems kinda gimmicky and lame. Oh well, it's glitzy and glamorous and all the ladies are nice eye candy, it beats any reality TV by a factor of 10...
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Re: Pan Am

Postby Paul Kile » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:33 am

Dunny,
I agree, this series sure beats the continuing river of reality TV sludge. Interesting thing about stewardess height requirements - in the early days, there was only a maximum height limit (usually 5'4"), since airplane cabins were small and cramped. Christina Ricci would have easily been hired. Check out the first group of stewardesses ever, hired by Boeing Air Transport (later to become United Air Lines):
Image

The minimum height limits came when the big propliners like the Boeing Stratocruiser were put in service after WWII. Stews had to be able to reach up into the overhead hat racks to stow passenger items and retrieve emergency oxygen bottles if needed, as well as access life rafts stored in compartments near the cabin ceiling in the event of a "water landing" (which happened with disturbing regularity with the Stratocruiser, which had a habit of shedding its propeller blades in flight). Pan Am would have indeed had a minimum height limit, which would have persisted until the 1970s and Women's Lib. Here's a cool shot of a group of happy passengers aboard a United Stratocruiser, no doubt winging their way to Hawaii. You can see the height of the hat racks:
Image
Cheers,
Paul Kile
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Re: Pan Am

Postby hoytereden » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:11 pm

I like the show so far but the secret agent plotline seems out of place. I'm a sucker for this retro stuff and the one actress (don't know her name; the sister who bailed on her wedding) is absolutely gorgeous.
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Moe-"Were you scared?" Larry-"No, just apprehensive." Moe-"Apprehensive, that's a pretty big word.What's it mean?" Larry-"That's scared with a college education!"
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Re: Pan Am

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:19 pm

This thread reminds me of "Flying Stewardesses", one of the shorts done by Rifftrax.

Highlights are found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi2_uaImlj4.
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Re: Pan Am

Postby hoytereden » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:55 pm

Kenneth Morgan wrote:This thread reminds me of "Flying Stewardesses", one of the shorts done by Rifftrax.

Highlights are found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi2_uaImlj4.

The series also brought to mind the film Come Fly With Me.
"You can lead a horse to water but a pencil must be lead"-Stan Laurel
Moe-"Were you scared?" Larry-"No, just apprehensive." Moe-"Apprehensive, that's a pretty big word.What's it mean?" Larry-"That's scared with a college education!"
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