16 May 1927

“Wings” poster (Paramount Pictures)

16 May, 1927: In a ceremony at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood, California, U.S.A., “Wings,” a Paramount Pictures silent motion picture directed by William A. Wellman, won the first Academy Award for Best Picture.

The silent movie about combat pilots of World War I, was filmed on location at Kelly Field, Texas, at a cost of $2,000.000. More than 300 pilots were involved, and 3,500 extras in the land battle scenes.

The leading actors in the film were Clara Bow, Charles (“Buddy”) Rogers, Richard Arlen and Gary Cooper.

Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen and Garry Cooper in “Wings,” 1927. (Paramount Pictures)

William A. Wellman, the film’s director, was himself a combat pilot during World War I,  credited with three “kills” and five probables (perhaps as many as 9 enemy aircraft destroyed). He was awarded the Croix de Guerre with two palms.

“Wings” (1927) main title. (Paramount Pictures)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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Source: This Day in Aviation