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Conoco files on films To Fly and Flyers
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Conoco files on films To Fly and Flyers

Accession 2527

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807

Finding aid prepared by Rainer Naus and Christopher T. Baer in 2013., October 9, 2013

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-10-10T15:19-0400

Finding aid prepared using best local practices and Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Cite items for this collection in the following format:
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, Conoco files on films To Fly and Flyers (Accession 2527), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807


Descriptive Summary

Title: Conoco files on films To Fly and Flyers
Dates: 1974-1996, bulk 1978-1985
Accession Number: 2527
Creator: Conoco, Inc.
Extent: 0.7 linear foot
Language of Material: English
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: The records consists of contract and production documents for two celebrated IMAX films sponsored by Conoco, Inc., and made for the National Air and Space Museum, with an accompanying juvenile storybook.

Administrative Information


The records passed into the possession of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company during the period in which they were the owners of Conoco, Inc., and were given by DuPont to the Hagley Library in 2012.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use but requires 48 hours notice to retrieve from remote storage.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply.


Historical Note

On July 1, 1974, Francis Thompson, Inc., a noted New York based producer of promotional and exhibit films, drafted a proposal the the Smithsonian Institution to produce a documentary on the history of flight as a bicentennial event for the new National Air and Space Museum. Financial support was provided by the Continental Oil Company, later Conoco, Inc., and the commission was given to MacGillivray-Freeman Films of Laguna Beach, Calif.

The result was To Fly, a spectacular, award-winning documentary in the new IMAX format that had its premier at the Museum on July 1, 1976, and has been shown there ever since, as well as in other IMAX-equipped venues. The film combines a look at manned flight from hot air balloons to space exploration with the patriotic story of America's westward and then upward expansion. It astounded audiences with its then-uprecedented level of definition and stereo sound and spectacular point-of-view shots of motion and flight.

In 1981, the company, now Conoco, Inc., again collaborated with MacGillivray-Freeman Films and Dennis Earl Moore Productions to produce a second IMAX film for the Air and Space Museum. Flyers, released in 1982, tells the story of Kyle Murphy, a fictional World War II pilot who becomes a plane restorer and movie stunt pilot and over the course of the film inspires his young cameraman to become a stunt pilot himself. The film features even more spectacular footage of recreated World War I and World War II aerial combat, including dogfights, a crippled landing on an aircraft carrier, and a wing-walking stunt over the Grand Canyon.

Following the success of Flyers, Conoco, Inc., contracted with Random House, Inc., on March 4, 1982, to create a companion picture storybook of the same title for young readers.


Scope and Content

The records cover the production and exhibition of the films To Fly and Flyers and the companion Flyers storybook. The files cover production and distribution agreements, budgets and costs estimates, scripts and drafts, press releases, video rights and arrangements and accounting with the theatrical distributor, Lawrence Associates.


Separated Material

Videos of the two films To Fly and Flyers are located in Accession 2011.320 in the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department.


Access Points

Flight in motion pictures

Series Descriptions and Inventory

I. To Fly film
Box Folder
1 1 Awards, 1979-1982
Box Folder
1 2 Budget - Cost estimates, 1974-1978
Box Folder
1 3 Contract agreements, 1978-1985
Box Folder
1 4 Film scripts, 1974-1975
Box Folder
1 5 Press releases, 1976
Box Folder
1 6 Production credits, 1980-1987
II. Flyers film
Box Folder
1 7 Film scripts, 1981-1984
Box Folder
1 8 Production agreement - Dennis Earl Moore Productions, 1983-1984
Box Folder
1 9 Press releases, 1982
Box Folder
1 10 Video distribution license with AeroCo Inc., 1987
III. Flyers and To Fly films
Box Folder
1 11-12 Commissions due Lawrence Associates, 1991-1996
Box Folder
1 13 Distribution - Lawrence Associates, 1988-1995
Box Folder
1 14 Distribution proposal - Dennis Earl Moore Productions, 1994
Box Folder
1 15 Promotion - Lawrence Associates, 1984
Box Folder
1 16 Proposal for new film using outtakes - MacGillivray-Freeman, 1984
IV. Flyers storybook
Box Folder
1 17 Random House agreement, 1981-1982
Box Folder
1 18 Drafts of book, 1982
Box Folder
1 19 Copies of book Flyers, 1983