Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Emmy™Award-Winning Documentary Film

"Broadcast" version now airing on most public television stations.

"Uncensored" version now on DVD and in film festivals.

Synopsis: A charismatic figure featured in Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff, Florence "Pancho" Barnes was one of the most important women in 20th Century aviation. A tough and fearless aviatrix, Pancho was a rival of Amelia Earhart's who made a name for herself as Hollywood's first female stunt pilot. Just before WWII she opened a ranch near Edwards Air Force Base that became a famous -- some would say notorious -- hangout for test pilots and movie stars. Known as the "Happy Bottom Riding Club", it became the epicenter of the aviation world during the early jet age. Chuck Yeager celebrated breaking the sound barrier there in 1947, and Howard Hughes and Jimmy Doolittle caroused in the bar. The Club's destruction by fire in 1953 is seen by many to mark the end of a Golden Era in post-WWII aviation. In the same fashion Pancho herself has become something of a legend, a fascinating yet enigmatic icon whose swagger is often celebrated, but whose story has been largely unknown. Until now.

A documentary film produced and written by Nick Spark and directed by Amanda Pope. Featuring interviews with test pilots Bob Cardenas, Bob Hoover and Chuck Yeager, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and biographers Barbara Schultz and Lauren Kessler. Narrated by Tom Skerritt with Kathy Bates as the voice of Pancho Barnes.

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Women in Aviation
"Read Nick Spark's article about Pancho
from Women in Aviation magazine (.pdf)"
28 July 2008

Pancho Hits the Road

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In recent weeks, we've been traveling around Southern California, showing a portion of the unfinished film, and raising awareness and money for the project. We're pleased to say that it's been an unqualified success. After a recent screening with the Antelope Valley Ninety-Nines in Rosamond (pictured), a segment about the film aired on Socal News 3. It subsequently was put on the CNN regional feed, which means a lot of people learned about "Pancho"!

As far as fund raising goes, we are in the home stretch. There is very, very big news in "Pancho land" but we cannot announce it just yet! Suffice to say, we are now about $10,000 in donations away from our budget target. Once we hit that target, we are home free, and the film will be

finished in 6-8 weeks. We're that close!

So, please consider making a tax deductible gift, via the KOCE-TV Foundation. It's easy to do...just click on the Donate link...and keep your fingers crossed for us. Today CNN, tomorrow PBS, and we get to share Pancho's amazing story with the world!

By the way, interested in attending one of our presentations...see the details of our August 7th presentation at Flight Path, below.

Photo: writer/producer Nick Spark with the members of the Antelope Valley Ninety-Nines. Nick is the only person in the photo who doesn't have a pilot's license! That's WASP FloraBelle Reece, fourth from the left.

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The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club ©2008-2010 Nick Spark Productions, LLC.