SCI FI MOVIE 'CURSE' MAY HAVE KILLED OFF AMERICAN AIRLINES' FUTURE
By David Todd
As American Airlines files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, it may well be suffering from the "sci-fi movie curse of the airlines". As science fiction film makers have found, predicting the future is fraught with hazard as those companies that are strong now may not be so in the future. This curse usually results in such airlines which do appear usually not having any future at all. For example, American Airlines appeared in the well regarded eco-science fiction drama Silent Running (1972) which starred Bruce Dern, some very sweet robots, and a lot of trees. Of the airline, robots and trees....now it looks as if only the trees will survive.
American Airlines is not the only victim of this curse. In Stanley Kubrick's 2001 - A Space Odyssey (1968) the Orion shuttle which carried space passengers to the rotating Earth station was seen in the livery colours of the then great, but now defunct, Pan American World Airways (PanAm). Perhaps PanAm was asking for it when it even actually took bookings for flights to the Moon.
It was not just this film that got it wrong about PanAm. The dystopian vision of what future cities will be like in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) had massive illuminated advertising hoardings with PanAm featuring prominently. It was not just Pan Am that was apparently cursed, some of the other companies that featured in the film such as Atari and Cuisinart also suffered financial difficulties.So which airline/spaceline will actually be around to fly you to the moon? Obviously, given its plans for suborbital spaceflight Virgin Galactic has to be a contender. But whichever airline does make it into this brave new future, we do hope it is not one of the low cost airlines. Let's face it, none of us want to have to pay for our oxygen as a surcharge.
PanAm will now never be an orbital spaceline despite this colour scheme on the Orion III Space Clipper.