We live in what most believe is a time of excess. Our biggest problems are obesity, not starvation; we’re disheartened by a fascination with celebrity that desensitizes us to reality. Not to mention that there’s a major lack of morals and values as infidelity is almost as common as loyalty. It’s the culture, it’s the kids, it’s the times – or is it? The ABC television show, PAN AM, is based on the airline of the same name that ruled the skies, especially in the 1960’s, when the show takes place. PAN AM, starring Christina Ricci (“Maggie”), Michael Mosley (“Ted”), and Margot Robbie (“Laura”), among other notables, takes its viewers back to a place in time when glamorous fashions and Camelot ruled, and the only thing more excessive than the leg room on a Pan Am flight was the flow of alcohol and the touching of the stewardess’ derrieres.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the set of PAN AM at Steiner Studios located in Brooklyn, and as we toured the set, I was permitted to not only sit in the plane that is used for the show, but to also see the PAN AM wardrobe and prop room first hand; talk about excessive! The airplane actually had enough room so that when I was standing, I didn’t need to bend my 5’11’’ self to avoid hitting a ceiling or stowage container – – it wasn’t even close! And if airplanes today were as spacious as Pan Am’s back in the day, I’m sure many more of us would travel and wouldn’t fear the ride. The wardrobe room was laden with glorious overcoats and beautiful petti skirts with the slightest waistlines, not to mention the uniforms that have become almost synonymous with both the PAN AM stewardesses themselves and the modern day actresses who play them. The prop room housed bottle upon bottle of replicas of 1960’s era champagne – you know the ones that have just a little too much gold foil over the corks? The prop master, Pete Dancey, informed the group of mom bloggers (and one dad!) that accumulating these props is quite a laborious effort that spans the entire United States and uses multiple people and resources to perfect. The set tour was truly fascinating, as was observing the actors filming an actual scene. It’s amazing how differently what appears in front of you can look on television; in the scene that was filming, a wood box with some decorations in it portrays itself on television as a lovely and bright urban bedroom.
During a break for lunch, we interviewed the extremely gracious Christina Ricci, Michael Mosley, and Margot Robbie, and asked them everything – from their take on feminism to their favorite thing about their character – and all of them impressed. Not even the slightest hint of stuck-up-edness or being annoyed at this part of their job that requires them to talk to mom-bloggers like me. It was actually a witty banter that went back and forth, and when it came time to taking pictures, it wasn’t awkward at all – it was like putting arms around a new acquaintance (who you’ll never speak to again).
PAN AM is at times light-hearted, and at others, solemn. Story lines deal with everything from espionage and love triangles to rescue missions and even the assassination of a beloved President. There’s drama, fashion, romance and a sense of hope given the time period the show takes place in. Not to mention the fact that it is Christina Ricci’s first foray in to the small screen. PAN AM is a perfect series for parents to enjoy on a Sunday night after getting the kids to sleep, but before they themselves will actually go to bed due to Sunday Night Syndrome. You’ll be intrigued and charmed by the characters, and you’ll get that great kind of anxiety that comes with a show that leaves you wanting more with every episode.
The season finale of PAN AM is set for 2/19 at 10PM and promises to deliver a steady dose of love & loss, all while giving us a glimpse into how the nation coped as Camelot came to an end. Don’t miss it!