A long time ago, getting on a plane was considered an adventure — of the pleasant kind — and ABC’s “Pan Am” (Sept. 25) wants you to sit back, relax and remember when flight attendants were gorgeous, passengers were well-dressed, and everyone had manners.
That ’60s world, says star Christina Ricci, was new and exciting, and she tries to maintain that excitement.
“These stewardesses were looked at as really glamorous symbols,” she says. “We have so much pride in welcoming these passengers on the plane, and they have so much pride in traveling.”
The goal, says producer Jack Orman, is to create a show that is “sweeping and epic and wish-fulfilling.” And one of their wishes clearly is to not be compared to its famous contemporary, AMC’s “Mad Men.”
“Television is just execution,” says producer Thomas Schlamme. “It’s not the time period it takes place in … It has nothing to do with ‘Mad Men.’ We just hope our show is executed in a wonderful way.”
Unlike “Men,” “Pan Am” is focused on women, a crew of flight attendants headed by Ricci. And unlike “Men,” the show has a secret-agent component: An attendant becomes a carrier for the CIA.
“We’ve done some research on this,” Orman says. Pan Am “had a very cozy relationship with the State Department … We weave it in, I think, pretty effectively.”
As the pilot shows, the women who worked for Pan Am were very tightly controlled. There were restrictions on weight, dress and their personal lives, all to help Pan Am sell an image of ideal beauty.
Still, says Ricci, former employees she talked to have fond memories of a job that let them see the world when women’s opportunities were limited.
“What this sends is a message that these women were really free and in charge of their lives.”
Photos from the event are coming soon! Promise!