Flying with Arthur Godfrey (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #526 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

Arthur Godfrey hosts this film, sponsored by Eastern Airlines, where he tells us that although broadcasting is his bread and butter, his real passion is flying airplanes. He tells us all about his flying history, and shows us some early planes, but the real meat of the film is an extended section of him piloting a routine Eastern Airlines domestic flight in a Lockheed Super-Constellation. This is actually quite interesting, as he goes into detail about how a commercial airline is piloted, how to navigate over water, and how pilots use instruments to guide them when the weather prevents a visual approach. Then he shows us one of the Air Force’s latest jets, and an air force pilot does some stunts for us, as well as showing us what it’s like to be in a plane when the sound barrier is broken. The film ends with an Eastern Airlines bigwig accurately predicting that jets would soon take over commercial airline flights, and inaccurately predicting that the airlines would run helicopter shuttle services between downtown areas and airports. This is an engaging film that typifies the genre of the company feel-good film. Godfrey sweeps the viewer along on various flight adventures, while soft-selling the real message of the film, which is that commercial airline fight, at least as it’s done by Eastern, is completely safe, because nothing is left to chance. Godfrey is the perfect pitchman for this sort of thing, with all of his TV experience. In fact, his pitching goes into overdrive after awhile, causing him to plug Chesterfield cigarettes during the cruising stage (watching him and the other pilots smoke in the cockpit is a real hoot from today’s perspective), and to plug Air Force recruitment after the jet sequence. Overall, this is a classic example of the industrial film genre.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

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