How this documentary got started

The inspiration for this documentary came at a Women’s History Project dinner in Akron about 20 years ago.

I was sitting next to retired Goodyear executive Howard Tolley. He mentioned Goodyear; and I, of course, asked about the blimp because there’s just something about that noisy behemoth in the sky.

I’d seen the blimp a lot since moving into the Akron area. After all, Goodyear‘s corporate headquarters is in Akron and the blimp is moored in Suffield, not far from my home.

So the blimp became the talk of the table.

Tolley explained that back in the 1950s, the company debated whether to discontinue the blimp altogether as an unnecessary expense.

What a great feature story, I thought. And every time I’d see a blimp in the sky, I thought I’ve got to write that story.

Then in 2002, I was walking on campus (I teach in the University of Akron’s School of Communication) and heard that familiar drone of the blimp, looked up and saw four of them hovering. I didn’t have a camera so I couldn’t capture that rare sight. But again I was reminded of the story I was certain to tell.

Finally in 2011, Goodyear announced plans to build three new airships to replace the old blimps. That announcement forced me into action.

I started meandering over to the University of Akron’s archives, which holds the Goodyear collection, and found some incredible blimp photos and films.

Of course, I was delayed a bit by a hip replacement and an automobile accident, but I dragged on doing the research.

Then a tremendously talented team of individuals joined the venture. Elsewhere on this website, you’ll meet the team that made this documentary a reality.

And that’s how it all started….

Kathleen Endres, May 20, 2017

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