Al Marsh

The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen

November 17, 2012 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

Sarah Wilson, a former employee of AOPA and a modern-day barnstormer, has resurrected a kids flying club tied to a radio adventure show called “The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen.” The sponsor was the Richfield Oil Company, sponsor of air races and a beacon airway from California to Canada. The oil company used a now-rare 1929 Model 4E Stearman for publicity tours connected to the radio show. Actors Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple were members. Wilson’s dream is to use the successful 1930s flying club, and that same Model 4E , also known as the Richfield Junior Speedmail (restored at Jim Kimball Enterprises) to attract kids and build support for general aviation. Jimmie was generally in trouble worldwide, with bad guys trying to sabotage his airplane and worse (gasp!). There’s a link to a sample of the old radio show at the top of this link. By 1937 the show was in decline and fewer kids were heading to Skelly gas stations to request their Jimmie Allen wings, so the actors involved moved to another boy hero, Captain Midnight. By the time the show reached television in 1954, Captain Midnight was an adult chugging his sponsor’s Ovaltine chocolate drink inside his Secret Club headquarters.

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5 Responses to “The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen”

  1. steven oxman Says:

    I love what you are doing. Please let us know of any tour schedule.

  2. E Young Says:

    There is a wonderful Jimmie Allen exhibit at the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita. It encouraged me to buy the radio series. The kids mot only received wings, but also ground school tips, a log book and a variety of swag that made them think and learn about aviation. As it turns out, these were important tools for a generation that would fly im WWII. Perhaps, the would be important tools for s generation that will drive the flying car.

  3. Shane S Says:

    “Saaaay, them slant-eyed babies may looked dumb, but…” (quote from the sample Jimmie Allen radio show)

    Hmmm. They’re using re-playing the original radio broadcasts along with all the vocabulary and biases acceptable in the 40’s. How long before someone complains and shuts’em down? I love the concept but that was a different era.

    Good luck, Sarah. I hope it… “flies.”

  4. Johnny D. Says:

    Wow! A real golden oldie. I used to listen to Jimmie Allen and his Flying Aces as a kid growing up in Washington DC. Lots of memories. AM radio was all we had and flying was a dream as we built models of the Fokkers, Spads, SE-5’s Nieuports, etc. Too bad that today’s youngsters don’t use their imaginations instead of fingering their ipads, etc. JD

  5. Sarah Wilson Says:

    There is so much history behind my plane, I have new discoveries daily and have had much help from Kansas Aviation Museum director Walt House. While I hope to create a new Jimmie Allen Flying Club, using elements from the original such as Flight Lessons, wings, membership cards, and even models; they will be unique to this plane’s mission today.

    Some of the radio shows and JA flying club content from the 30s is very dated. But, the clubs mission to promote a love of aviation, and three tenets behind it: pledge-promote-adventure, are really relevant to what I am trying to do. My purpose for restoring NC667K is not for people to relive this portion of aviation history, but for them to use this story and this airplane as a vehicle in which they can make their own. I have a long way to go and I only just test flew August 29th, but I am working on a tour this summer. BTW Jimmie Allen says Al Marsh is “neat-o keen.”

    Pledge to some passion in your life and promote it regardless of the costs, then let that passion take you courageously on a great adventure…just like Jimmie Allen!


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