Website of the Antique Airplane Association and the Airpower Museum Last Update: Oct 09 2017

Air Mail Days Movies

At the 2008 Fly-In the evening movies will be themed around Air Mail, and will be shown on Aaron Klugherz's amazing A/V setup. The final schedule of movies will be announced at the fly-in.


Photo by Don Parsons

The Air Mail Story

This documentary charts the history of transporting mail by air, featuring much archival footage and pictures of rare stamps and covers. After early attempts to send mail via balloon, dirigible, and carrier pigeon, the air mail industry boomed after World War I. The early air mail pilots contended with primitive and dangerous equipment. After World War II, modern planes such as the DC-3, and later jets, took over. By the 1970s, "air mail" as such disappeared in the United States, as virtually all first-class mail now goes by air.

Air Mail (1932) - A Roaring Drama of the Skies

Screenplay written by Dale Van Every and pioneer aviator Frank "Spig" Wead.
Paul Mantz, aerial supervisor and chief pilot.
Directed by John Ford
Starring Ralph Bellamy, Pat O'Brien, Frank Albertson, Lilian Bond, and Gloria Stuart

Level headed Mike Miller runs Desert Airport, an air mail base full of daring young pilots risking their lives to get the mail through-regardless of the weather. Following the death of one pilot in a horrific crash, Miller is forced to engage the wild and arrogant, yet skillful, Duke Talbot. When pilot Dizzy Wilkins crashes and dies in a storm, Talbot runs off with the young Mrs.Wilkins, leaving Miller to complete the last leg of Wilkins' mail run. Miller crashes on a mountain. Alive but in an inaccessible location, Miller tries to endure his injuries while futile attempts are made by air mail pilots to rescue him. Hearing of the impossibility of reaching Miller's crash site in time to save him, Talbot can't resist the challenge of trying an airborne rescue himself.

"The mail must go through!" Fearless flyers behind thundering motors brave fog, snow, hurricane and death to carry on! Far below, their sweethearts peer through the night and pray for happy landings! A picture of warm romance that zooms with tingling thrills!

Viewers Note: This movie contains some of the best stunt flying scenes ever filmed! This is the movie that gave Paul Mantz his big break as a movie pilot. After much difficulty finding steady stunt work Mantz accepted a job that the established pilots had turned down - flying a biplane through a hangar with less than five feet of clearance off each wingtip.

For this life threatening feat Mantz earned $100! But Air Mail was a hit and as word spread about his success in getting through the hangar unscathed, Mantz found a lot of work coming his way. He quickly became king of the Hollywood stunt pilots.

On Wings of Courage

Starring Val Kilmer

In 1920's South America a small group of Americans struggle to prove they can offer a reliable airmail service over the Andes. When one of the young pilots crashes on such a flight he has to try and get back to civilization on foot. Back home, his wife and colleagues start to fear the worst.

Blaze of Noon (1947)

Based on the 1946 novel of the same name by Ernest K. Gahn.
Screenplay written by pioneer aviator Frank "Spig" Wead.
Paul Mantz, aerial supervisor and chief pilot.
Directed by John Farrow.
Starring William Holden and Anne Baxter.

In the 1920's, the four McDonald brothers leave the uncertain life of carnival stunt fliers for steady jobs with the U.S. Air Mail. They've agreed that "guys like us don't have a right to get married," but that's before Colin meets nurse Lucille Stewart and, in a whirlwind courtship, weds her. Can this marriage, or indeed any of the brothers, survive the dangers of their new profession?

Watch as four brothers who give their lives to the skies... their love to one glorious woman!

She kept her love for one... by sharing it with all!