Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Not Earhart, It's Haizlip!

You've just got to laugh at the Reno ... something (The website says RGJ...but doesn't explain what it is. THe name of some newspaper, no dout.)

Reno Man Has Rare Footage of 1933 film that may show Earhart
In any event, on the front page of the site is a headline saying "1933 film may show Amelia Earhart" accompanied by a photo, which I reproduce, of a woman who is clearly not Earhart. Since when did Earheart every wear plus fours, or a skirt, or whatever this woman is wearing, let alone look so bulky.

But more than the actual text of the article it is also clearly stated that the woman is definitely not Earhart and is probably Mary Haizlip. Yet the website newspaper nevertheless uses that headline..just a ploy to get people to read the article, I guess. After all, people would want to look at photos of Earhart...but of obscure (to the unitiated) Mary Haizlip...not so much.

It's still a silly headline and a silly ploy. I'd like to see the film however, to see all these aviation pioneers walking around - that would be something.

A Reno man has come into possession of a film of the 1933 National Air Races in Los Angeles that shows aviation pioneers, possibly including Amelia Earhart.

The 12-minute, 16-mm film has been in the family of Fred Holabird for many years, and it was digitized and delivered to Holabird just days before it was announced that bone fragments found on a South Pacific island are being checked to see if they match Earhart's DNA.

The story passed along to Holabird is that film includes footage of Earhart. The canister has "Erhardt" written on it.

If Earhart, who was declared missing in 1937 in a flight around the world, is in the film, it's not clear. A few seconds of the film show an unidentified woman dressed in goggles and a flying helmet pilot walking and talking with others.

The Reno Gazette-Journal had Dorothy S. Cochrane, curator of general aviation at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, review that video posted at

Cochrane said she is almost certain that clip does not depict Earhart, saying it does not look like the famed pilot.

It most looks like Mary "Mae" Haizlip, who won the 1933 female Aerol Trophy Race at the National Air Races flying a Wedell-Williams Model 92 aircraft, Cochrane said.

The video posted at also shows Jimmy Wedell, an early pilot and airplane builder who would die in a crash in Lousiana the following year. Wedell made national news when he flew a child from Houston to Baltimore for a life-saving operation.

"Jimmy was a well-known racer and designer of the early 1930s," Cochrane wrote in an e-mail. "In 1933 he won the Thompson Trophy race (a closed-course unlimited speed race) and placed second in the transcontinental Bendix Trophy race in his own Wedell-Williams Model 44 aircraft."

The other 12 minutes of the film shows aircraft flying around the race course, which Holabird said looks like Signal Hill, a community south of Los Angeles now surrounded by Long Beach. One of those aircraft could be piloted by Earhart.

Holabird is part of Holabird-Kagin Americana, which deals in coins, certificates, bottles and other items of historical significance from the American West.


Ruth Brown said...

I'm looking for the birth and death dates for Mary "Mae" Haizlip. I work with the Ferguson Historical Society. As she lived here, I'd like to know. Have searched the web, but not found.
Thanks, Ruth Brown

Unknown said...

May Haizlip was born in the District of Columbia May 13, 1904. Her father was Charles W. Hays (b. ca. 1850; d. 1927) and her mother was Anna B. Jackson (b. ca. 1865; d. 1927). She passed away January 30, 1997 at age 92 in Pacific Palisades, CA. She was cremated and the location of her ashes is unknown (some indication she was buried at sea).

Note: Some sources spell her name as Mary or Mae Haizlip. I'll say May is correct, because it appears on her U.S. Census documentation and her U.S. Social Security and death records with or without her middle initial. But it wasn't unusual to find reference made to her by her husband in correspondence as "Mary." Take your pick.

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