Cinerama and the Cinerama logo are registered trademarks of Cinerama, Inc. - used with permission

King of the Hollywood Pilots

He had severe vertigo, but would fly an airplane anywhere

Flying through a hanger in 1932 for John Ford. The film was Air Mail and Mantz took on many stunts that sane pilots refused to do. For this little life threatening feat he earned a C-note. Flying through or under ridiculous objects was a specialty.

Paul Mantz grew up in aviation, starting in the days when dare-devil fliers in rickety biplanes entertained yokels at country fairs, and culminating in camera flying for the first Cinerama spectaculars. In between, he won a record number of Bendix Air Trophies. He operated a charter service (christened the Honeymoon Express) for some big names who wanted to get to Nevada in a hurry — and the secret passenger lists read like a Who's Who of the entertainment world. Some of Paul's closest friends were legendary in aviation, among others: Jimmy Doolittle and Amelia Earhart, who enlisted Mantz's technical advice for her round-the-world flight.

Name any spot around the world, including some not usually associated with low-flying aircraft - under the Brooklyn Bridge, over the Matterhorn, right through numerous plane hangars - and barnstorming Paul Mantz was likely to have flown there, either for fun, photographs, or at the request of an eloping Hollywood star.

Mantz with Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan in Hawaii on the first leg of her first around-the-world flight attempt. Mantz had trained Earhart in long range flight and navigation. The flight was aborted after Earhart groundlooped her Lockheed Electra. When it was resumed four months later, she and Noonan disappeared in the Pacific Ocean.


Through some sort of misunderstanding with the crowned heads of Europe, the founding fathers of the United States prevented the establishment of blue blood lines. This was corrected in the 1920s when Hollywood became the entertainment capitol of the world. Paul Mantz was there in the early thirties and made his mark. Above, left, he's seen with Cecil B. DeMille, Henry Wilcoxon, Emily Barrye, Jack Cooper, and Bill Pine as they begin a tour promoting Cleopatra. Above, right, Bob Hope's entourage includes Jerry Colonna, Francis Langford, and Skinnay Ennis.

Below, left, Mantz with hunting buddies Gable and Lombard. Below, right, With James Cagney. Mantz doubled for Cagney as the pilot in The Bride Came C.O.D.


Back to Pioneers

Back to Index

Copyright (c)2000 C.A. Productions, all rights reserved. Created: 3/16/00 Updated: 4/5/2004