The Worst Air Accident In Film History Led To 10 Devastating Deaths

While not as prolific in the modern era as other movie directors, the work of Howard Hawks (pictured above) was a major influence on film legends such as Quentin Tarantino (via The Guardian). On the other hand, the cinematographic career of his younger brother, Kenneth Hawks, was cut short during the production of the latter’s third and final film. Much of the production had already been completed when Kenneth boarded one of three planes. Fred Osborne, a pilot and stuntman, was aboard one aircraft when during the flight he observed the other two collide over the California coastline (via Slate). While only five bodies were recovered, all 10 occupants were declared to have been killed in the crash.

One plane was being filmed. The other two planes had cameras, to capture the action, a parachute jump, from different angles, says the Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register. There are different theories as to why the planes collided; sun glare is one possibility.

In the later 1935 court case Parker v. James Granger, Inc. it was described how Hawks and assistant director James Gold, despite not being pilots, had dual controls installed before they placed themselves in the co-pilot seats of the aircraft (via Stanford Law School). Though no evidence could be produced that tied this decision to the crash, it is certainly possible that the accident could have been prevented by denying them the possibility for such control over the aircraft.

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