Friday, March 3, 2017

Reaching the Stars by Aeroplane -- March 3, 2017

Aerial Age Weekly, 24-April-1922

ONE of the dreams of the average movie fan is to gain an interview with his or her favorite star; to sit down in a quiet little corner and ask all the intimate questions he or she has wanted to for a long time. But, to the layman, most of the screen lights are harder to reach than a bank president during a Bolshevik riot. Only in exceptional cases does the admirer of the silver sheet get a chance to get in personal contact with the luminaries of the silent drama.

One of the surest ways, figuratively speaking, of getting the ear of a star, is to mention aeroplanes. Almost the entire movie colony in Hollywood is aeroplane struck. Directors, stars, scenario writers, authors and even cameramen are aviation enthusiasts, many of them being licensed pilots.

What may come as somewhat of a surprise to many movie fans is that Mary Miles Minter, one of the youngest and best known of the ingenues on the screen today, has qualified for a license as pilot. Miss Minter successfully passed the test over a year ago but parental objection has prevented her from taking advantage of her pilot's card. She is not permitted to ascend with the controls in her own hands.

Cecil B. DeMille, director-general of the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, is one of the pioneers of aviation in the motion picture center of the world. Mr. DeMille, for a long time, was part owner of a passenger aeroplane company which made regular trips from Hollywood to nearby cities. He is also one of the most prominent figures in aviation on the coast and often takes his "bus" out for a few dips and tail spins in order to forget the cares of his office. Mr. DeMille asserts that there is. no better tonic in the world for "that tired feeling."

Dorothy Dalton, star in Paramount Pictures, is another ardent advocate of the "travel by aeroplane" slogan. Miss Dalton's specialty is hydroplaning, for she much prefers the water route than the solid earth below.

A more recent addition to the ranks of the flying stars is Betty Compson, the girl of "The Miracle Man" fame. Although kept extremely busy out on the coast Miss Compson manages to find an occasional hour or so every few days to devote to the thrills of flying. Miss Compson has yet to win her pilot's license but hopes to secure the coveted card before she is many months older.

But perhaps the most enthusiastic, for aviation, of the movie people on the coast is Jeanie Macpherson, scenario writer for Paramount Pictures. Miss Macpherson has been flying for at least three years and is one of the most prominent aviatrices in California. She numbers among her acquaintances many of America's leading aviators, and she has participated in more "stunt" and "circus" flying than any other person connected with the motion pictures who is not paid for risking his or her neck. She has made a number of trips with Ormi Locklear, world famous "stunt" man, from whom she learned many of the finer points of the art of flying. The news of Locklear's tragic death some time ago came as a genuine shock to her. Speaking of Locklear, Miss Macpherson said, "Ormi Locklear was, to my mind, a natural flyer. His judgment in the matter of height, and in that of keeping the plane level, was uncanny. I remember one trip I took with him out on the coast in which he took me out to sea. We unexpectedly ran into a dense fog. I was frightened to death, as we could hardly see each other, but Locklear, without even bothering to consult his instruments, kept right on going, and when he thought we had gone far enough he turned his machine and headed back again.

"If I had had the machine there is no doubt that I would have been flying for Canada, Mexico or the open sea, but in a short time we were out of the mist and to my great surprise, and greater relief, found that we were headed straight for our own landing place. I believe Locklear, with that sixth sense of his, could fly his 'boat' in the dead of night, without a light to guide him, and get through safely. That's why I can't understand some of the reports which were circulated about Locklear losing control of his machine on a difficult loop."

Eddie Rickenbackcr, America's famous ace, is another close friend of Miss Macpherson's. In fact, Rickenbacker was Miss Macpherson's tutor at one time.

The writer knows of a little incident that shows Miss Macpherson's love for flying. Some time ago Miss Macpherson came East preparatory to sailing for Europe for a well deserved vacation. As is the case with all motion picture celebrities of the motion picture world, a great deal of Miss Macpherson's time during her short stay in New York City was taken up by interviewers from newspapers and magazines. One interviewer, who had been in the flying corps overseas, had been pumping Miss Macpherson on the cut and dried subject of scenario writing. The conversation was lagging when the gentleman in question suddenly looked at his watch and mentioned the fact that he would have to leave as he had an appointment with some one at the Aero Club. That proved to be the opening wedge for a conversation that lasted far beyond Miss Macpherson's dinner hour and incidentally, long past the time set for the appointment at the Aero Club. Needless to say, the subject discussed was aeroplanes and, much to the surprise of the ex-service man, Miss Macpherson spoke fluently upon the respective merits of aeroplane motors of foreign and domestic make. The writer can testify to the above fact, for he had to sit through many weary—-to him—-minutes of technical descriptions of the Hipsano Suiza, Liberty, etc. Than which, to the layman, there is nothing more complex.

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