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ABC To Rerun “Pan Am” Premiere Tonight

Pan Am Tv Show

ABC will rerun the first episode of “Pan Am” at 9 p.m. tonight, seeking even more viewers for the drama set in 1963 about four stewardesses and two pilots working for the airline at a time when air travel was still glamorous.

The series averaged 11.06 million viewers for its premiere, the largest audience for an hourlong ABC program in the Sunday 10-11 p.m. time period since Sept. 28, 2008. It was also Sunday’s most-watched entertainment program.

The idea for the series came from executive producer Nancy Hult Ganis, a Pan Am stewardess from the late-1960s until the mid-1970s.

“It was such an amazing adventure and fun,” Ganis, who produced the 2006 film “Akeelah and the Bee,” said last month during ABC’s portion of the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

“I always thought they would make great stories. It was percolating under the surface for a long time and then the opportunity presented itself about five years ago and we started to develop it.”

The flights were akin to dinner parties with the stewardesses as hostesses, Ganis said.

“The atmosphere in the plane was one of we would become friends with our passengers,” Ganis said. “We would know them by name. We would know about the children.

“We would help them plan their trips, deal with any concerns about currency or language. It was much more like a quasi-diplomatic court. Because the flights were longer and there wasn’t entertainment or iPads, it was much more friendly and interactive.”

“Pan Am” stars Margot Robbie as a beauty queen-turned-runaway-bride who joins her spirited older sister (Kelli Garner) as a stewardess; Christina Ricci as a rebellious bohemian-turned-buttoned-up professional and Karine Vanasse as the empathetic caretaker of the group with a penchant for unavailable men.

Michael Mosley and Mike Vogel, a licensed pilot in real life, portray pilots. Vogel said the opportunity to play a pilot was “one of the huge draws” that attracted him to “Pan Am.”

“Rarely do you get something that sort of encompasses all of your loves in one great little package,” said Vogel, whose credits include “The Help,” “Blue Valentine,” “Cloverfield” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”

To executive producer Jack Orman “Pan Am” is “a completely exterior global show.”

“Part of the fun of the show is we just grab the audience by the hand and say we’re taking you somewhere,” said Orman, who was a producer on “JAG”
and “ER.”

“We land in the Far East in one episode and then Berlin the next episode after that (taking journalists to cover President John F. Kennedy’s famous `Ich Bin Ein Berliner’ speech) and in Paris the next episode after that.”

The glamour of air travel will be a “huge part of the series,” Orman said.

“It almost feels like science fiction right now,” Orman said. “You go through no security. There’s a lounge. They’re having martinis. It’s a lot of fun and it was real.”

The Cold War also figures into the series as Garner’s character is involved in espionage, causing problems in her personal and professional lives, Orman said.

“We actually have done some research on this,” Orman said. “They had a very cozy relationship with the State Department.”

After years of decline, business mistakes and changes to the airline industry, Pan Am ceased operations in 1991. The brand has been resurrected five times. Its current owner hopes to begin flights between Brownsville, Texas and various Mexican cities this year.

Copyright © 2011 City News Service

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