Clarence Chamberlin: Fly First & Fight Afterward (2011, 2017)

[81 minutes]

A Film by Billy Tooma

Produced by Karl Petry, William Tooma

Associate Producers - C. Bríd Nicholson, Al M. Rocca

Interviews with John Biondo, Philip Chamberlin, Claire Hodgkins-Finkel,
Mearl T. Luvaas, Shea Oakley, H. V. "Pat" Reilly, Joshua Stoff

Narrated by Michael Vila

Original Score Composed by Will Lewis


On May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh, in The Spirit of St. Louis, completed the first nonstop flight between North America and the European mainland by landing in Paris, France. One day earlier, however, another pilot, Clarence Chamberlin, was all set to take off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York, in his plane, The Columbia. But due to circumstances beyond his control, Chamberlin was barred from his hangar, which made it possible for Lindbergh to fly off into the history books unchallenged.

This recut and retitled version of the original award-nominated documentary covers Chamberlin's extraordinary life, starting with his humble beginnings in Denison, Iowa, to his own historic flight, for it was just two weeks after Lindbergh's when he took off towards Berlin, Germany, with the world's first transatlantic passenger alongside him.

Featuring interviews with various experts and family members, this documentary utilizes a plethora of archival materials to retell the story of the Golden Age of Aviation's forgotten hero.


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