20,000 Men a Year (1939)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  27 October 1939 (USA)
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Pilot disobeys unsafe orders and loses his job. He then starts a flying school which receives a boost when the government launches a program which it hopes will produce 20,000 pilots a year.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Marshall
Tommy Howell
George Ernest ...
Skip Rogers
Mrs. Allen
Al Williams
Maxie Rosenbloom ...
Walt Dorgan (as Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom)
Douglas Wood ...
Victor Sen Yung ...
Harold Chong
Paul Stanton ...
Gerald Grant
Tom Seidel ...
Wally Richards
Edward Gargan ...
Harry Tyler ...
Joe Hungerford


Jim Howell, a Civil Aeronautics Authorty official, has grounded Brand Reynolds for reckless flying. Reynolds starts a flying school but has little success until Howell has the CAA make Brad's school a center in its civilian pilots' training program. Howell does this anonymously as Brad still bears a grudge against him. Among the college students taking flying lessons are "Skip" Rogers, whose sister, Ann Rogers, opposes his flying until she meets and falls in love with Brad. Jim Howell's brother, Tommy, is also a student. Tommy confesses to Brad that he is afraid to fly, and Brad takes him up on a special training flight which ends in disaster. The engine stalls, Tommy faints and Brad opens his parachute and throws him out of the plane in order to save his life. Brad lands the plane safely in a tree. (Actually, Paul Mantz lands the airplane safely in a tree.) Brad then takes another plane to search for Tommy, and "Skip" goes along as a stowaway. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Release Date:

27 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

20,000 hombres al año  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Filming location
18 December 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Although I have never seen this movie I can confirm that the flying sequences were shot at Monrovia Airport near Pasadena. This airport closed in 1953, according to the website "Abandonned and little known airports", which details many airports in California and elsewhere which were used as movie locations. Interestingly very close to the airport was the site of the very first Macdonalds restaurant. There is now no sign whatsoever that there ever was an airport there, like many old airports in the LA area the unstoppable tide of housing and commercial development has erased all memory. Laurel and Hardy also filmed at the airport on occasion, and I have seen amateur colour footage of a Boeing 247 being used during the filming of a scene at Monrovia from an unknown "gangster" movie.

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