TV: Pan Am, Episode One

I really expected to hate this.

The TV promos were uniformly awful, setting it up as a cynical — if not campy — send-up of a wonderful era when America was still open, fear-free, and prosperous.

And when Pan Am was the Apple of airlines and its stewardesses really were special women.

So I was very surprised to find myself liking this a lot.

Especially when this was dropped in:

My fears that this would be a bubbleheaded Love Boat type series were totally unfounded.

This is actually interesting!

They don’t capture the era by a long shot, though. The faces are wrong, the hairstyles are wrong (especially on all of the men!), the dialogue is all wrong. And the 1960s were never as No Smoking as portrayed here (you really have to look hard to find a cigarette!).

What they lack in capturing the spirit in those ways, they make up for with some stunning CGI. This must have a Star Wars-like budget for CGI! I didn’t expect as much as they had here.

So, yeah. Although I’m not hooked yet, I’m going to keep watching and actually look forward to the second episode. That will begin to show if the series is worth it.

Give it a shot.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “TV: Pan Am, Episode One

  1. Z1

    The pilots on Pan Am are much too young. They also are too goofy-acting, and appear about half-gay. Nothing wrong with being gay…but if they are gay, they would not display it in 1963. Most of the airline pilots of that era were old fighter pilots from WW2 or Korea. So their correct ages would be late 30′s to about 50.

  2. My buddy wrote up a good critique of the first Pan Am episode. He wrote:

    Most realistic:

    The shots with the HFF/Carlos Gomez DC-7 (misidentified as a DC-6). Bridget even got oil spatters on her blouse (erk, squerk, jerk) from being behind the running engines.

    The Pan Am Terminal, interior and exterior. And yes, they had gangways more or less like that for pax and crew to board the airplanes, under the umbrella structure.

    Uniforms, printed materials, decor in the airplane cabin, configuration of cabin. (Researched at aviation museum at SFO airport)

    Medium realistic:

    Sikorsky S-58 helicopter liftoff from Pan Am Building. Except Pan Am (actually New York Airways) didn’t have S-58s, they had Vertols…
    http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lll2zz4VFu1qhzitko1_500.jpg

    They departed from what looks to be old Gate 8 (now Gate 18), the one against the roadway fence on the north side. But an inaugural flight going to primo destination London would have much more likely gone from Gates 4 or 5, the two gates on the end that had separate boarding lounge and nose-dock loading bridges.

    Not so realistic:

    There was no “Clipper Majestic” in real life.

    The 707 depicted (digital creation) was a 707-321 with straight JT4A turbojets. But in 1963, new Pan Am 707s were 707-321B models with JT3D turbofans. Mind you, Pan Am was operating 707-321s, but those were built 1959-61.

    A young guy like that would *not* have made Captain in 1963. And any new Captain with Pan Am would have first been left seat on the Convairliner or maybe DC-6, not the 707.

    Pilots would not look at each other and grin on critical takeoff roll.

    Engine gauges did not register as thrust levers were advanced.

    Flight crew had direct HF contact with PanOp, did not nead to realy through Boston Center or Gander Oceanic, but thanks for having the correct ATC facilities.

    The cabin lighting was not nearly so bright and airy in 1963 jets.. Forgive them for the tremendous headroom and space in the 707, that’s standard and necessary to shoot watchable film.

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