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These wonderful films capture the pioneering age of commercial aviation from the early 1920s until the late 1940s. This was the time when TWA, United Airlines, American Airlines and Lufthansa were just starting operations, and all of these then fledgeling carriers would develop over the following decades into the leader airlines of the 21st century.
In June of 1948, the soviets blockaded Berlin, and the United States and Great Britain did not allow Berlin to fall into the hands of the Russians. Through May of 1949, the RAF and USAF maintained an air link whereby everything from coal and trucks, to food and office paper were flown from West Germany into Berlin’s three land airports (of Tegel, Tempelhof and Gatow). This DVD features an amazing film showing the allied air efforts in detail. It starts with a visit to the Sunderland flying boat operation that flew goods off the Elb in Hamburg into waterways of Berlin. But this was just a small component of the Berlin Airlift. The landplane operation was massive and every available aircraft was used.
Propliner fans will love this DVD as there is really amazing footage of Berlin Airlift aircraft including all the great propliner classics like the Avro York, Halifax, Hastings, Dakota, Tudor, the “Grosse Tudor”, Viking, Lancaster and a lot more. To cap it off, the TWA Boeing Stratoliner and DC-3 footage in stunningly glorious kodachrome colour has to be seen to be believed. It is truly amazing that these TWA aircraft were filmed in eyeball-popping technicolor!
The footage on this DVD was shot on film and is not to the same image quality levels as today’s broadcast quality video cameras. Also, as is typical of film footage from this era, the footage has suffered deterioration over the years. These promotional movies are presented for their historical interest value as well as to preserve them in DVD digital format for the enjoyment and education of future generations.
Chapter 1) Men and Wings – United Airlines 1920-1945 (17 min)
Produced in the late 1940s, this black and white film explains how a handful of small US mail carriers merged together in the 1920s to form United Airlines. It then documents the carrier’s growth to the late 1940s with the Boeing 247, DC-3 and DC-4.
Chapter 2) American Airlines Curtis Condor 1933 (22 min)
This depression era black and white film was produced with good old American wit to explain the ease and benefits of air travel. Movie stars and businessmen demonstrate the benefits of flying on American’s brand new Curtis Condor, the star of the show.
Chapter 3) Conquest of the Air – Lufthansa 1920-1940 (13 min)
Between the wars, Germany’s Lufthansa grew into one of the world’s largest international airlines, serving Europe, America, and South America. This black and white film tells the amazing story of the airline’s growth with Ju-52s, Dorniers, and catapult ships.
Chapter 4) US Civil Aeronautics Board c.1947 (12min)
This film explains the role of the US CAA and CAB in the late 1940s as it pertains to civil aviation. Some neat aircraft footage is used to explain the agency’s role in airline pilot training, ATC, accident investigation, and in flight passenger safety.
Chapter 5) Fashion Horizons – TWA Boeing 307 Stratoliner (7 min)
Filmed in glorious colour, this early 1940s short film was sponsored by TWA and tells the story of movie star Esther Fernandez who travels from New York to Arizona and LA for a screen test. Movie stars Mary Martin, Margaret Hayes, Virginia Dale, and Martha O’Driscoll are also in the film. The colour footage of TWA’s shiny new Boeing 307 Stratoliner and DC-3 is amazing.
Chapter 6) Gen. Clay & Thomas Dewey Berlin Bloackade (3 min)
This short newsreel shows General Clay and Thomas Dewey speaking at the United Nations explaining that appeasement is not an option.
Chapter 7) Berlin Airlift “The Story of Great Achievement” (9 min)
This fabulous black and white film produced in the late 1940s explains how the RAF and USAF served Berlin during the blockade between June of 1948, and May of 1949. Sunderlands served from the Elb at Hamburg while Yorks, Vikings, Dakotas, C-54s, Hastings, Tudors, and DC-3s flew into Gatow, Tempelhof and Tegel. Fabulous footage!
Chapter 8) Douglas DC-6 roll-out 1946 newswreel (2 min)
Total running time: 100 minutes
This DVD is available in NTSC region-free format (which will work on all current European DVD players).
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