'Pearl' wows crowds at AirVenture Oshkosh

Publication Date: 8-6-2010

More than 3,000 people crowded onto the grounds of the Fly-in Theater at AirVenture to see "Pearl," the story of the youngest licensed pilot in U.S. history. Thousands more flocked to the "Pearl" booth and Ford's autograph headquarters to have posters or other memorabilia signed by the cast.

Produced by the Chickasaw Nation, "Pearl" focuses on the tumultuous teen years of the late Pearl Carter Scott, who was befriended by famous aviator Wiley Post in the late 1920s.

Many of the pilots at AirVenture identified with the story of the teen aviatrix, who received her license at age 13 in 1928 and was performing as a barnstormer and commercial pilot by age 14.

Mike Souders said it was an "inspiring movie" which will encourage family members to chase their dreams and "encourage each other in the pursuit."

"Kids and parents will learn from this film," said Mr. Souders. "Chase the dreams. Support each other in their pursuit."

"Not only did I enjoy this movie - and as a Dad I had to hold back a sniffle or two - but my youngest daughter enjoyed the movie as well," said Mr. Souders. "That would be the daughter that doesn't care for "aviation things". The whole family enjoyed this movie. The characters were well developed, the acting was great, and the filming was great."

Pearl was the daughter of a successful businessman in Marlow, Oklahoma who witnessed the world around her change from prosperity in the late 1920s into the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s.

These social and economic changes serve as a backdrop for the passion, celebrity status, romance and internal conflict which marked Pearl's teen years.

Several audience members said the film took them back to the days when they were learning to fly. Others commented that it was a "great family film."

Gary White, of Ada, Oklahoma saw the film for the second time at AirVenture.

"Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said the story of the Chickasaw aviatrix was a natural for the tribe's first feature-length film project.

"Pearl is a legendary figure in the history of Oklahoma, the world of aviation and in the Chickasaw Nation," said Gov. Anoatubby. "She was a dynamic, determined and caring individual who exemplifies many of the finest qualities of Chickasaw people.

"She was a unique individual who had a profoundly positive impact on everyone she met. Bringing her life story to the screen will help preserve that impact for generations to come."

Producer David Rennke said "It is very satisfying to see how people relate to the issues in this film. It contains a universal message about the importance of family and community and the importance of pursuing your dreams.

"Hopefully people will get an inkling of the spirit that pervades the Chickasaw Nation," said Rennke. "The motto of the tribe is unconquered and unconquerable and Pearl really personifies that. If nothing else, I would like them to take away the fact that Chickasaws are resilient and determined."

David Mars, owner and pilot of the Curtiss Robin used in the film, said the plane and "Pearl" hold some things in common. Pearl, the youngest pilot to ever receive a license, refused to live a static life and the plane, which is now 80 years old, is still flying high.

Built in 1929 in St. Louis, the plane was destined to be hung in a lobby in New York City, but owner David Mars changed its fate.

Mars rescued the plane which appears in the film. He also flies the vintage aircraft around the country and appears at a number of air shows.

"I never have gone and picked up stray dogs but I do try to save airplanes from a life of static display, I think they need to be flown."

Rennke said that he expects "Pearl" to be released on DVD this fall.

AirVenture is one of the largest air show in the U.S. This year the event drew more than 535,000 people and 10,000 airplanes.

For more information visit www.pearlthemovie.net.