No smoking on this 'Pan Am' flight
August 8th, 2011
04:59 PM ET

No smoking on this 'Pan Am' flight

As we noted in an earlier round of "Everyone's A Critic," it's hard to drum up a lot of enthusiasm for a new show when the basic selling point seems to be that it's just like another critically acclaimed program.

In this case, the '60s era ABC series about the drama and intrigue surrounding a crew of stewardesses and pilots, "Pan Am," has been referred to as the high-flying version of the similarly retro "Mad Men." But executive producer Thomas Schlamme would beg to differ.

"Television is about execution," he said during the Television Critic's Association summer press tour, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "It's not the time period it takes place in, it's not the characters. It has nothing to do with 'Mad Men.'" Plus, there's another obvious difference.

Although the boozehounds of AMC's show have never seen a cigarette they didn't want to light, ABC is stamping out smoking for the likes of the show's key characters, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The network did something similar with the '70s-set cop show "Life On Mars," and downplayed the smoking element that was commonplace in a police station at the time. Since smoking was just as prevalent in airports and planes during the '60s, "Pan Am" extras will be seen holding cigarettes, but the stars themselves won't be taking any puffs.

"It’s understandable,” Schlamme said. “It’s an enormous impressionable element. It’s the one revisionist cheat.”

One other tweak producers are going to work into the time period of "Pan Am's" plot is to add an African-American stewardess to the crew even though the story takes place in 1963 and the first African-American stewardess didn't receive her job until the mid-'60s, Schlamme said.

"Pan Am" premieres on ABC September 25.


Filed under: television

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Ron

    The movie Apollo 13 got it right – every other NASA employee lit a cig during the crisis – ashtrays were full. Flights back in the sixties were full of smokers, as were the resturants, grocery stores, bars, terminals, busses, trains, and taxis.
    Second hand smoke wasn't an issue back then, show the 60s correctly and don't change history or try and cover it up.

    I guess 40 years from now – movies and shows will not show fast food, obesity, or gas powered cars. Hmmm...

    November 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mile High Club Prez C. Moore Butts

    After couple hours with me, the stewardess either needs a smoke, or starts to smoke. They don't make em' like they used to.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. boocat

    More dreck from Hollywood...WHATEVER!

    August 9, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. jujubeans

    As long as they have a recurring "mile high club" theme.

    August 9, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Aquallama

    Love Christina Ricci, but not even she could get me to watch this show. Looks really blah. In addition, I agree with everyone else, be true to the time period or don't do it at all.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. PoleSmoker

    Men are so polite! They alwasy allow me to smoke during the flight.

    August 9, 2011 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. SmarterthanU

    Another show trying to hold on to the 'white era' of rule. Probably followed by another Holocaust movie. Screw the famine and genocide though.

    August 9, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. Venitia

    Don't make the show to mean,my mom traveled a lot in 1966 as a thirteen year old,visiting her then 10O year gret granny.She said her farther always got her tickets for T.W.A. still big at that time.She did have the one black stewardess at times.No 'Mad Men' spat on them that she saw,as a matter my mom said a lot of the guys came to her rescue she weighed all of eighty five pounds and a large pink suitcase wasn't easy to carry those white guys would always help her.What she was telling me is that most folks during that time no matter what their race or politics had something on a lot of people of my generation, manners, that's the difference.If I ever have kids that's how I'm going to raise them.

    August 9, 2011 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Peace

    I remember my 1st flight, in the mid 8O's, everybody & their brother was smoking! I never lit a cigarette, but I smoked for almost 4 hrs! (Cough cough) Ahhhh, the good ol' days! HaHa As for the show, yeah, keep it real. Teens won't watch anyways! :)

    August 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Måd Råp3r

    I can't stand this revisionist nonsense. If they smoked, have them smoke. And I can tell you right now the main demographic for this show is not in any way going to be under 18 impressionable kids(they're probably all watching Jersey Shore). I give the show a year tops anyway.

    August 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MIke Morgan

    PC TV strikes again as not since MASH has a show been so out of sync with is actual time period. They might as well be smoking electronic cigarettes. I've tried them and they work pretty well, so see http://www.ecigwerks.blogspot.com for more.

    August 8, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KEVIN

    iF YOU"RE GONNA DO A "PERIOD" PIECE PROGRAM..DO IT CORRECTLY...
    SHOW THE SMOKING, SHOW THE BLACK STEWARDESS GETTING SPAT ON, AND CALLED THE "N" WORD ON THE PLANE...BE REAL.....OR DON'T SHOW IT...

    August 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Watson

      100 percent correct. These politically correct leftists are dangerous. Show people what was what or don't air it.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Madame Rue

      You make a very good point, Kevin!

      August 9, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. portalpunk

    This is way to FIRSTY!!!!!!

    August 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |

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