Amelia Earhart lands in Stevensville
STEVENSVILLE — The Kent Island Heritage Society hosted award-winning actress Mary Ann Jung of Arnold in her living history role as famed female aviator Amelia Earhart on Wednesday evening, March 16, at historic Christ Church in downtown Stevensville.
Jung had done previous living history performances for the Heritage Society, including Rosie the Riveter, Clara Barton (for which she won an award) and Margaret Brent.
In her Earhart performance, she traced Amelia’s life and accomplishments, particularly little known facts, including the time-period lingo with words such as “swell” and “peachy.” Born in 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, Amelia was known at early age as “Milly” in her family and with close friends. Amelia’s mother was not the typical woman if her era either, setting an example for Amelia to be adventurous.
Unlike most women of her time, Amelia attended college, majoring in engineering and chemistry. Amelia took her first airplane ride in 1920 over the Pacific Coast of California, and after that initial experience, she was smitten — there was no turning back. She wanted to learn to fly, which her parents were against at first. Flying lessons cost $1,000 — an excessively high in cost for the early 1920s.
Her parents finally gave in. They even helped her buy her first airplane, an “open cockpit model,” in 1921 for $2,000. She eventually set one of her first female pilot records flying the plane across the entire U.S. and back.
In 1927, Amelia was approached to become the first women to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, following in famed Charles Lindbergh’s “footsteps.” Once she did it, she was quickly nicknamed “Lady Lindy.” Amelia Earhart was one of the first to prove that women were just as capable as men in whatever areas of life they chose.
In 1932, she became the first woman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. By 1935, a new goal of flying over the Pacific Ocean was set. She wanted become the first person to accomplish the feat. She was teaching aviation at Purdue University during this time. Her husband bought her the latest, most efficient plane made, an Lockhead Electra Airship, for $30,000. The goal was now to fly it around the world, following the path of the equator, 27,000 miles.
She had to plan the trip carefully, as some countries who disagreed with women flying, like Pakistan, threatened to shoot her plane down.
“We weren’t going to go that way,” Jung, as Amelia, said.
She and her navigator, Fred Noonan, took off from California, initially flying west toward Hawaii, on March 17, 1937. The Electra crashed in Hawaii, stalling her efforts to fly around the world. However, the plane was returned to the mainland U.S. and quickly repaired. Amelia tried again, this time flying east.
The trip received national and international coverage with school children putting pins in world maps as the flight continued. It ap- peared she would accomplish the goal as she and Noonan started the final leg of the journey across the Pacific from East Asia, however, it was not to be. Flying lost near tiny Howland Island, radio pleas to ships for help with bearings went unanswered. The plane, Amelia and Noonan were never found. A true unsolved mystery.
It’s been nearly 80 years since Earhart disappeared. After the performance, Jung discussed the most popular theories as to what happened to her. But the mystery continues.
Jung researches and writes all of her own performances, each lasting on average 45 minutes. She has appeared on CNN, the “Today Show,” “Good Morning America.”
She enhances her performances with authentic costumes, accents, and attitudes for her characters’ eras. Besides the famous women already mentioned, Jung does Queen Elizabeth I, Rosalie Calvert (from the War of 1812), Irish Grace O’Malley (from the “PeeWee Pirate Show”), Julia Child, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and her newest character, astronaut Sally Ride.
For more information about Jung, go online at www. Histor yAliveShows. com, or call 410-647-8699.
During the Amelia Earhart performance, from the left, President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Carl Gerg) made an impromptu appearance with Amelia Earhart (actress Mary Ann Jung, center, pointing), and friend Eleanor Roosevelt (Lynn Riley-Coleman). The Roosevelts knew Earhart well. Their brief association was shared in the performance about Earhart’s famed life as a female aviator, Wednesday evening, March 16, inside historic Christ Church.
Waving to the audience, famed female aviator Amelia Earhart (actress Mary Ann Jung of Arnold) appeared Wednesday evening, March 16, at historic Christ Church in downtown Stevensville.