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)"
25 March 2009

Fundraiser: A. Scott Crossfield Signed Photos

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A. Scott Crossfield Panoramic Photo

 One of the wonderful aspects of making a film like this one, is that I've gotten to speak with some legendary figures in aviation.  Case in point, is A. Scott Crossfield.  The first man to fly at twice the speed of sound, and the first man to pilot the X-15, Scott was the very definition of the words test pilot.   He was also of course, a good friend of Pancho's.  We hoped to interview Scott on camera, and in 2005 we exchanged letters and discussed the possibility of meeting up.  Sadly, Scott's life ended before we could arrange it when the Cessna he was flying home -- after giving a lecture to Air Force officers -- came apart in severe weather.

In August of '05, just a few months prior to his untimely death, Scott offered to sign a limited edition photographic collage as a fundraiser for the film.  He did just that, but we only sold a couple of prints before discontinuing doing so out of respect for his family.  Just recently however, our friend Ron Kaplan at the National Aviation Hall of Fame contacted us with news.  Scott's daughter Sally Crossfield Farley had heard about the prints, and urged us to start selling them again in support of "Pancho".

We're pleased to offer them for $250 each, with checks being made payable to the KOCE-TV Foundation.  Each glossy print measures 30x6", and is numbered and signed.  Scott Crossfield's hand-written signature appears in silver ink just below the NACA logo.  

 If you're interested, please use the Contact Us Form under the Contact link above to find out about availability.   Supplies are limited.

 Special thanks to the Crossfield family for their assistance and understanding.


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