Thursday, November 30, 2023

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)"
03 March 2010

Legend of Pancho Barnes to be Broadcast Nationwide

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The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club will be broadcast by American Public Television (APT) this Spring.  Over 100 participating stations will show the documentary, constituting over 70% of all American households.  APT is a prime source of programming for the nation's public television stations for over four decades.

Prior to distribution on American Public Television, Orange County PBS affiliate KOCE-TV will premiere the documentary on April 15th at 8 p.m., with additional screenings on April 20th at 9 p.m. and April 25th at 11 p.m.  KOCE-TV, the nation's sixth-most-watched public television station, is proud to have supported the creation of this dynamic documentary, about one of the most important women in 20th Century aviation.

For the production team of producer Nick Spark and director Amanda Pope, national broadcast of the documentary fulfills a goal set when the project began over five years ago. 

A list of stations will be posted on this website in weeks to come.  Check your local listings in late April and May for exact time and date information.  Want to make sure your local public television station shows Pancho?  Call your station and tell them you want them to air it.

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