26 August 2008

"Pancho Barnes" Receives Major Challenge Grant

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KOCE-TV, Orange County Calif.'s PBS station, is pleased to announce that "The Legend of Pancho Barnes" is the recipient of a $35,000 challenge grant from The Lincy Foundation. The grant, which will be administered through the KOCE-TV Foundation, is in support of the completion of a documentary film that details the life and times of Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes. One of the most famous female pilots of the 1920's and 30's, Pancho grew up in San Marino, California. She flew in the first women's intercontinental air derby, broke Amelia Earhart's air speed record, and became the first female stunt pilot in Hollywood. In the 40's and 50's, she gained notoriety as the owner of a guest ranch located near Edwards Air Force Base called "The Happy Bottom Riding Club." Before it was destroyed by fire in 1953, Pancho's ranch was the hang-out for some of the greatest pilots in the world, including Charles "Chuck" Yeager, the first man to break the sound barrier.

"The Legend of Pancho Barnes" is directed by U.S.C. professor Amanda Pope, and produced and written by Nick T. Spark. It features interviews with Pancho's biographers Lauren Kessler and Barbara Schultz, and many of her surviving friends including Yeager, test pilots Bob Hoover and Bob Cardenas, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Tax deductible donations in support of the challenge grant can be made to: KOCE-TV Foundation, 17011 Beach Blvd., Suite 1550, Huntington Beach, CA, 92657. Gifts should indicate they are in support of the "Pancho" documentary.

KOCE-TV is the nation's sixth most-watched PBS station with an estimated 5.8 million viewers monthly (according to the Nielsen Station Index). The winner of hundreds of awards including Emmys and Community Service Awards, KOCE continues to be a vital community resource and connector for Southern California.