Madras vintage plane rides onto the red carpet
The sequins and spotlights of the red carpet sparkled on Madras pilots and airplanes at the Hollywood premiere of "Devotion" Tuesday, Nov. 15. Mike Oliver, manager of the Erickson Aircraft Collection in Madras, and another Erickson pilot, Jim Martinelli, both flew the vintage aircraft people see in the movie.
The movie "Devotion" tells the true story of Jesse Brown, the first African American Naval Aviator, and his wingman, Tom Hudner, who, despite risking court martial, won a Medal of Honor for his actions portrayed in this movie.
Long before Brown's story was even a screenplay, Oliver admired his story and painted the collection's vintage Corsair to replicate the plane Brown flew in the Korean War.
Oliver flew that very Corsair in the movie. Martinelli flew the Skyraider, also from the Erickson Aircraft Collection. Producers flew the plane to Hollywood for the premier and the Erickson crew took great pains to safety pull the Corsair to the red carpet for the affair.
"It was a great team that worked together to tow the plane from the airport to the theater on the streets of LA then back to the airport," said Martinelli's wife, Lorraine. "Two late nights but so worth it! The look on bystanders' and drivers' faces was priceless."
The cast, including Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell, used the Jesse Brown Corsair as a backdrop for their pictures. As for the movie itself, Lorraine Martinelli says the screenplay and the actors did a good job of pulling together a complex and powerful story. "Sitting between Jim and Mike during the premiere was an experience in itself," she said. "They were witnessing their months of work and life in scenes on the big screen at the red carpet premiere."
"Devotion" opens Nov. 23 in theaters around the country, but opens a day earlier in Madras.
The first showing of the film in Madras will be Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. at Madras Cinema 5.
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