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Aviation’s Master Showman
by Carroll V. Glines
- Release date: October 17, 1999
- Format: paperback, 340 pages
- Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press
- Genres: aviation
- Author: Carroll V. Glines
- Language: english
- ISBN: 9781560987987 (1560987987)
About The Book
His name was synonymous with speed, his flamboyant persona as carefully crafted as that of a Hollywood star. Born in Corinth, Mississippi, in 1895, Joe Turner was an aerial showman, an audacious risk taker, and a tireless self-promoter who focused America’s attention well into the 1960s on the potential of aviation for the common good. With complete access to Turner’s personal papers, photographs, and memorabilia, biographer Carroll V. Glines presents the first full account of the life of this American daredevil aviator. Turner determined as a young man to make his way in the world at the forefront of the new, exciting, and risky technologies of speed in the air. After serving as a balloon pilot during World War I, Turner found his future in the 1920s as a stuntman, creator of his own flying circus, and a pilot in Howard Hughes’s World War I feature, Hell’s Angels, Hollywood’s most expensive movie before Gone With the Wind. Turner glided smoothly into movie society, becoming good friends with fellow pilot and actor Wallace Beery and taking movie stars Clark Gable and Fred MacMurray for their first airplane rides. Turner knew how to attract attention. To create a consistent image in the public’s mind — of himself and of aviation — he always dressed in a military-type uniform of blue tunic, cavalry twill riding britches, polished boots, and a pin of diamond-studded wings. He was perhaps best known as the pilot who flew with the lion cub Gilmore as an oil company promotion. His place in flight history rests on his skill as a racing pilot — he is the only person ever to win the Thompson Trophy three times and, along with Jimmy Doolittle, to win both the Thompson and Bendix trophies. In 1934 he and his two-man crew were the only Americans to finish the grueling London-to-Melbourne race.
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