Friday, February 22, 2013

Dude Recreates '70's Pan-Am 747 in City of Industry Warehouse

You gotta love this story. I still daydream about the old 747s. As a kid, I was fascinated by the idea of a cocktail lounge in the sky. And now it turns out that a Southland man has recreated the Jumbo Jet '70's experience for guests to "fly" back in time.

At the Long Beach Press Telegram, "California man's lifelike model recreates Pan Am 747 in warehouse":
On an unusually warm December night, more than 25 years after her final flight with Pan American World Airways - 11 hours from Frankfurt to Los Angeles - Anna Gunther once again put on her pantyhose and blue uniform with white trim, so she could serve dinner on the upper deck of a Boeing 747.

But this airplane wasn't going anywhere. It was a model, like a child's playhouse, built by a man who had dreamed of re-creating the plane he loved as a boy.

This was a chance for Anthony Toth to unveil, for the first time, what he had created inside a 3,000-square-foot warehouse in the City of Industry. Here was his opportunity to show why he hired a contractor, spent more than $100,000 and used almost every vacation day he ever earned to reconstruct a major chunk of the interior of a Pan Am 747.
Sure, he had shown off airplane models before. He once even had a smaller replica inside the garage of his Redondo Beach condo. But at home there was no upper deck. And what's a 747, even a replica, without a second level?

There was another problem with his garage. Other than running to the kitchen, Toth had no way to prepare meals for his faux travelers. But the warehouse was different, and that's where Gunther came in.

She had never met Toth, a sales executive at United Airlines based in Los Angeles, but, almost on a lark, she agreed to help him. Toth wanted to pretend as if he were flying some of his co-workers and friends to another continent, and he wanted former Pan Am flight attendants to serve drinks and dinner, just as they might have three or four decades ago.

On the big day, Gunther arrived at 3 p.m., wearing high heels, a bowler hat and a uniform (white blouse, blue they walked into his warehouse and past the ticket counter with the bright blue Pan Am logo. They saw a sign indicating Flight 21 to Tokyo would leave soon. Then they walked onto a short jet bridge, through a real aircraft door and turned left into first class.

On board, they took amenity kits tucked in plastic and filled with goodies like slippers and a damp "refresher towel." They picked up a real set of Pan Am headphones, ones they could plug into a jack on their seats to listen to music or watch the movie projected overhead. They grabbed vintage magazines protected by a Pan Am branded sleeve.

They took their plush seats - the cabin has 18 of them arranged in an alternating blue and red pattern - raised their leg rests and reclined. They looked around. Everything was accurate, from the distance between seats to the overhead bins to the aircraft's shell to the galley Gunther and her three colleagues used to ready drinks. Using his iPad and hidden speakers, Toth had even piped in the humming of jet engines.

It was so true to the real thing, it blurred the line between reality and fiction.

It was as if Pan Am was flying again.
Continue reading.