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The Boy Scouts of America has published Boys'
Life since January 1, 1911. I received it for a couple years in the late 1960s while in the
Scouts. I have begun buying copies on eBay to look for useful articles. As time permits, I will be glad
to scan articles for you. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged. Here are the
Boys' Life issues I have so far.
Barely three decades after Wilbur and Orville Wright
made the first flight where their eponymous
took off and landed under its own power, aeroplanes were still a mystery to most of the public. Some
probably still thought it was witchcraft or some other evil influence holding man and craft aloft. Movies
of the era were filled with airplanes and the daring young men who piloted them for war, for recreation,
and for profit. This report from a 1938 edition of Boys' Life is evidence of just how ubiquitous flying machines were in films.
Big-name actors like Lionel Barrymore, Basil Rathbone, Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rogers added to the
Movies of the Month
Edited by Franklin K. Mathiews, Chief Scout Librarian
The early efforts of man to develop wings were crude and
in them there was little suggestion (1) of the possibilities that in so brief a time were to be achieved.
But the way was not easy for man learned to develop wings to fly the hard way, which is the way of experience.
Again and again he met disaster (2) and often death,
The latest air thriller, Men With Wings (Paramount) in every way justifies its use of so daring a
title. Here is something far more than terrific sound of roaring engines and sight of dazzling flying
stunts. For here, on the screen, the epic history of the airplane unfolds. It is like a magnificent
panorama, scene upon scene, save that what you see is not a vast canvas displayed, seemingly endless,
but a picture moving, ever moving, ever more marvelous as men flying ever faster, ever farther, ever
higher, make conquest of the skyways of the air.
Nor is this all! Across these vivid scenes, like a shuttle moving on a loom, a colorful drama is
being woven. To the art of the motion picture camera, portraying so completely the marvelous development
of aviation, is added the art of the story teller, of the dramatist and actor. Slowly developing, following
carefully a pattern, a story emerges making fascinatingly clear not only what a man can do with an airplane,
spreading his wings, but also what an airplane does to a man - the man who gets flying in his blood
- the man who becomes so inflamed by the spirit of adventure that he is really only happy when somewhere,
near or far, he is daring death to do its worst. This character, so reckless yet so likable, is splendidly
portrayed by Fred MacMurray, supported by others who with like ability contribute to the dramatic action
that is as alluringly interesting as the breathless story of men risking their lives to conquer the
boundless ocean of the air.
Here, once again, it is well to pause and emphasize that this amazing drama of the skyways is not all
thrills. For, like a minor melody in music, supporting the main theme, finally emerges significantly
in the grand climax, so in Men With Wings does another colorful character, vastly different than the
reckless adventurer gradually appear, at the end, making unmistakably clear that the type of aviator
possessed by the inner urge for action is being replaced by the more deliberate type - the careful planner,
the man who goes ahead only when he is sure that he is right - right so far as the last word in aviation
no matter how great the disaster or how often death took its terrible toll, ever the word was onward
until at last there emerged a familiar figure (3) by the whole world acclaimed. Not the least part of
this development was the use of the airplane in the World War.
It is this idea of the right way that climaxes the thrilling story of the daring pioneers in aviation;
this idea become the ideal that the true meaning of man's conquest of the air is that men and nations
the whole earth over may be brought ever closer together until, at last, passing through limitless time
to his highest destiny, man comes to the dawn of another day of. even greater conquest, a day when there
will be no more East or West but one great world brotherhood.
There are other movies well worth listing, all of them good entertainment because the featured players
sustain their reputation for the kind of characterization that has made them famous: Lionel Barrymore
and Jean Arthur in You Can't Take it With You (Columbia); Ronald Coleman and Basil Rathbone in If I
Were King (Paramount); Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Carefree (RKO); Bobby Breen and Charles Ruggles
in Breaking the Ice (RKO); Jane Withers in Keep Smiling (20th Century Fox) .
The below pictures are not listed in order of excellence but presented as a group from which our
readers may make selection according to their various tastes. Keep this list to check with your local
theater as to when the pictures will appear. However, in the way of a movie made-to-order for boys,
our recommendation is, if there must be a one and only choice, make it Men With Wings.
In savage combat (4) men in great numbers as never before learned how to use their wings. At the
close of the awful fratricidal strife, returned to civil life, some of them became airmail pilots, others,
as great adventurers in the air set the pace for daring flights (5) over land and sea; still others
became pilots of passenger airlines. At last there emerged a giant plane with widespread wings (6) to
transport passengers over sea as well as land. The film is the first of its kind in color.
Posted January 12, 2014