***** Fly Away with this book!


     Aviators in Early Hollywood is instantly energizing the moment you flip open the book. As you “fly away with this book”, you may find yourself wing-walking with Ormer Locklear or thundering through the sky with Dick Grace in one of his precision plane “crack ups”. Next, you may be hanging from a rope-ladder suspended from a speeding plane with the statuesque thriller queen Ruth Roland, and then be transferring from plane-to-plane with glamorous Gladys Ingle of the 13 Black Cats.  Perhaps you’ll plane-to-train transfer for a motion picture scene with the dashing father of the professional motion picture aviators, “Daredevil” DeLay.  To top it off, you could soar into the sunset, or soar with flares through a looping night skywriting sequence with aviator DeLay.


     You’ll see many superstar celebrities who were deeply involved in aviation.  For instance, Charlie Chaplin and great director Cecil B. DeMille operated airfields next to each other in what is now the “Miracle Mile” (next to the Farmer’s Market) in Los Angeles.  DeMille was actually an accomplished aviator who relished the thrill of flying multiple loops over Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Charlie Chaplin’s premiere leading lady, Edna Purviance, had a long-term affection for aviators and spending time on their airfields, such as Chaplin Aerodrome. Oliver Hardy also performed in daring motion picture aerial scenes with DeLay. These explosive scenes fly right up there with today’s master effects, with authentic expertise that reaches even higher.



     The author, Shawna Kelly, is not content to merely describe to you what you’re seeing on the page as is the case in a lot of pictorial books.  She also provides you with a wealth of interesting information behind the aviator actors, aerial filming locations, and motion pictures represented in the photos.  As a result you will come away with a greater respect for these inspiring, brave aviators and aviatrix. 


     You’ll also sense the camaraderie, and deep bonds of loyalty that these “cowboys of the air” had together.  The world could be a much better place if everyone practiced the loyalty code of the aviator.


    Whether you’re a fan of aviation, classic film, or thrive from books with passion provoking unique images, let Aviators in Early Hollywood fly you away to the heights of glory. This uplifting and insightful book should definitely be on your gift giving list.


~Michael Bonham, Film Historian

ESSANAY Niles Film Museum

(Charlie Chaplin Famed Studio/Theatre)

Fremont, CA


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 ***** This book is an amazing view into the Hollywood "hangar"... I am revved up every time I fly through the stunning images of this book!


This book is a striking visual tribute to Hollywood's classic aviator heroes. It is an amazing view into the Hollywood "hangar" of innovative aviators who worked as actors, producers, directors and stunt pilots. They flew through the highest highs and lowest lows in America: through the "Roaring Twenties" and the Great Depression to become heroic icons known as Barnstormers.

The two-page spread photos from epics such as Hell's Angels and the set of photos from the first Academy Award-winning best picture of WINGS are breathtaking! Some of the photos are more racy than I expected... ;)

It is cool to see dashing Charlie Chaplin in flight attire with goggles without his trademark Tramp makeup. I especially like the supercharged action of the Oliver Hardy movie sequence stills. Many of the legendary actors display authentic looks of pure ecstasy of performing with flight, from "America's Sweetheart" Mary Pickford and swashbuckler Douglas Fairbanks, to legendary director Cecil B. DeMille.

The author, Shawna Kelly, meticulously represents these heroes of Hollywood, who were once action superstar heroes. I have great respect for these aviators, of which many spectacularly gave the ultimate gift of their lives for our realistic entertainment. The mystery, drama, comedy and the behind-the-scenes of these thrilling aviators is explored with a great grasp of authenticity which reveals motivations of the daredevil aviators. These motion picture aviators gained such heights of power from codes of loyalty and unity. I am revved up every time I fly through the stunning images of this book!

The aviator's unsolved mystery sabotage related to "Daredevil" DeLay's demise and the "Lost Squadron" film is worth a whole book, movie or documentary in itself!

~J. Chauvin