A showing of The Flying Ace on June 28 with live musical accompaniment will be presented as part of the Norman Studios’ presents The Flying Ace exhibit at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention. The film will screen at the Cade, located at 811 South Main Street in Gainesville, on June 28th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Live music will accompany the film screening, enabling viewers to view the silent film in the same way it would have been seen in theaters in 1926. Movie-appropriate snacks will be served. The tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children. To register for the screening visit: bit.ly/acefilm.
The Flying Ace is the only Richard Norman film to survive in its entirety. Filmed on the Arlington property, it is a classic mystery adventure film and, as are all Norman “race films,” featured all black casts with African-Americans in non-stereotypical roles.
African Americans were not allowed to be flyers in the U.S. military in World War I. so the hero of The Flying Ace was aspirational. However, it is important to note that there were African American flyers who could have inspired Richard Norman’s photoplay. Eugene Bullard, who served in the French Air Service during World War I is the most obvious model for Captain Billy Stokes, the “Flying Ace.”
Another model could have been Hubert Fauntleroy Julian who trained in Canada and became an exhibition flyer after World War I. Another model could have been the “King of Stunts” Captain E. C. McVey whom Norman had met in 1924. McVey had formed his own film company and planned to make a motion picture featuring flying, which never came to pass, nor did a proposed film with McVey to be made by Norman. After that plan failed, Norman was introduced by theater manager D. Ireland Thomas to the possibility of making a film with Bessie Coleman. Coleman, the first licensed female African-American flyer, expressed an interest in the project, but tragically was killed in an accident in Jacksonville shortly before the film was to be made.
Norman did make his aviation film, and we are pleased to have it shown at the Cade Museum. We are also happy to announce that Bernie Katzman is the pianist accompanying the film. Bernie was a great hit at the Silent Sunday screening of The Social Secretary in April of 2018. Known as the PianoImproMan, he is a classically trained musician who specializes in improvisational performances. His Twitch TV shown has more than 3 millions views and has gained him media coverage for his popularity among people of all ages.
Please join us on the 28th!