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#1
Old 06-22-2008, 01:50 PM
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Why no Wright brothers movie?

As far as I can tell, there's never been a feature film biopic on the Wright brothers. That seems surprising to me. They're well-known people. It's a dramatic story. It would be easy to portray on film. So why hasn't any filmmaker ever done it?
#2
Old 06-22-2008, 01:56 PM
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The Wright Brothers (1997)
Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brothers' Journey of Invention (2003)
The Wright Brothers (1996)

I haven't seen any of them. I agree that a good 'Hollywood' Wright Brothers film would be great. As long as Jerry Bruckheimer didn't have anything to do with it.
#3
Old 06-22-2008, 02:02 PM
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The problem is that Wilbur, the driving force behind the effort, is boring as dirt. Modest, even-tempered, never married, dead at 45. He's a great man, but there's no 'character' there, you know?
#4
Old 06-22-2008, 02:18 PM
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An interesting film could be made about the social context, the skeptics who declared heavier-than-air flight was impossible, and, even after it was proven possible, insisted it would never be important.

Something could also be done with the fact that until after WWII, airplanes were used for hardly anything but carrying mail and dropping bombs.
#5
Old 06-22-2008, 02:28 PM
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Who would play Orville, now that Frank Zappa is no longer with us?
#6
Old 06-22-2008, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
Something could also be done with the fact that until after WWII, airplanes were used for hardly anything but carrying mail and dropping bombs.
It's true that mail was a common use of aircraft, but in 1925 Ford introduced what might be called 'the first airliner' -- the Trimotor. In the '30s Pan Am had routes from L.A. to Shanghai and Boston to London in their famous 'Clipper' flying boats. The '30s also saw the Douglas DC-1 and DC-3, and the Boeing 247 airliners. These were successful businesses, even during The Great Depression.
#7
Old 06-22-2008, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
The Wright Brothers (1997)
Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brothers' Journey of Invention (2003)
The Wright Brothers (1996)

I haven't seen any of them. I agree that a good 'Hollywood' Wright Brothers film would be great. As long as Jerry Bruckheimer didn't have anything to do with it.
I actually did attempt to check this on IMDB. I searched for Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright as character names. The only credits I found were Around the World in 80 Days and an episode of a TV series. No idea why the searchs didn't find the movies you've named.
#8
Old 06-22-2008, 02:37 PM
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The problem is that Wilbur, the driving force behind the effort, is boring as dirt. Modest, even-tempered, never married, dead at 45. He's a great man, but there's no 'character' there, you know?
There's the Apollo 13 type of story - engineers overcoming one problem after another to achieve their goal. There's the defense of their claims to have flown (many people believed they were hoaxers) and the legal battles to protect their ideas. And for a big final scene you have their father, who apparently was a doubter, finally agreeing to fly in one of their planes at the age of 82 and apparently enjoying the experience.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 06-22-2008 at 02:38 PM.
#9
Old 06-22-2008, 02:45 PM
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There was also the Winds of kitty Hawk, with Law and Order's Michael Moriarty as Wilbur and Wilbur and Orville: The First to Fly with James and Stacy Keach as Wilbur and Orville.
#10
Old 06-22-2008, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
It's true that mail was a common use of aircraft, but in 1925 Ford introduced what might be called 'the first airliner' -- the Trimotor. In the '30s Pan Am had routes from L.A. to Shanghai and Boston to London in their famous 'Clipper' flying boats. The '30s also saw the Douglas DC-1 and DC-3, and the Boeing 247 airliners. These were successful businesses, even during The Great Depression.
True, but relatively few people ever flew in them; air travel did not become very commercially important until after WWII.
#11
Old 06-22-2008, 02:53 PM
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Just side note - my great grandfather may have been a relative, or a very close friend of the Wright brothers - there used to be several pictures of them all together, and at Kitty Hawk. However, much to my grandmother's huge dismay, those pictures were put somewhere "safe" and never found again.
#12
Old 06-22-2008, 03:15 PM
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Bit of a hijack, but I always date my grandmother's birth by saying she was born on Dec. 17th, 1904, the first anniversary of the Wright brother's flight at Kitty Hawk.

And Grandma is still with us, at the age of 103!!! God willing, she'll vote this November in her 21st straight presidential election.
#13
Old 06-22-2008, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
There's the Apollo 13 type of story - engineers overcoming one problem after another to achieve their goal.
I hear you, but even Apollo 13 kept to the human element--gruff bosses, worried wives, middle-class family living. There's none of that with the Wrights.

You could center the movie on brotherhood. Historically, Wilbur traveled to Kitty Hawk alone at first. Orville must have thought he was crazy, but he joined his brother and helped him out. Probably not because he believed in flying machines, but to keep Wilbur from killing himself. Their deep fraternal bond overcomes mechanical problems, patent lawsuits, and the legions of naysayers. There's a movie!

Ever see Big Night? It could be like that, but in the air.
#14
Old 05-18-2012, 03:20 AM
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Current Short being edited

There is a short that just finished filming last week in LA, with some up and coming actors. They spent about $1 mil on the short and will be in Clint Eastwood's film festival. I'm sure they'll make a feature of this version, there are a ton of people interested in it, very historical and has many ties to the aeronautical community.
#15
Old 05-18-2012, 07:41 AM
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Its because the REAL inventor of powered, heavier than air flight (Alberto Santos-Dumont) was first!
#16
Old 05-18-2012, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Its because the REAL inventor of powered, heavier than air flight (Alberto Santos-Dumont) was first!
Please, don't talk about this Johnny-come-lately. The real inventor was Clément Ader.
#17
Old 05-18-2012, 10:19 AM
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This has to be done by Michael Bay, with Bruce Willis as one of the brothers.
#18
Old 05-18-2012, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
. . . It's a dramatic story. . . .
Yeah, right up there with the European discovery of porcelain.

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 05-18-2012 at 10:37 AM.
#19
Old 05-18-2012, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by F. U. Shakespeare View Post
Who would play Orville, now that Frank Zappa is no longer with us?
Johnny Depp. Or Matt Damon.
#20
Old 05-18-2012, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
There's the Apollo 13 type of story - engineers overcoming one problem after another to achieve their goal. There's the defense of their claims to have flown (many people believed they were hoaxers) and the legal battles to protect their ideas. And for a big final scene you have their father, who apparently was a doubter, finally agreeing to fly in one of their planes at the age of 82 and apparently enjoying the experience.
The Wright Bros. were two of the greatest inventors in history, and boring as all get out. In order to add drama you'd have to make it one of those silly docu-dramas that get flamed to death. The reality is they were great engineers, and lousy people. Their paranoia about patent protection resulted in the delayed recognition for their accomplishment, along with retarding the development of the aircraft industry. It's better that their brilliance exhibits itself in peoples imagination rather than an accurate depiction of a pair of meticulous douches, or a fanciful story.

Last edited by TriPolar; 05-18-2012 at 12:50 PM. Reason: don't know how i ended up writing incompetence instead of accomplishment
#21
Old 05-18-2012, 12:57 PM
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I want to see a film about Glenn Hammond Curtiss, the real Father of Flight. He was building airplanes that a modern pilot could fly while the Wright were suing him into bankruptcy.

The film could have the scene where Curtiss visits the Wrights, offering his engine; Curtiss's work with Alexander Graham Bell and the Aerial Experiment Association; the various lawsuits by the Wrights; Curtiss flying in competitions where the Wrights refused to compete and the death of his friend Lt. Thomas Selfridge in the crash of a plane piloted by Orville Wright. The climax of the film would be his triumphant flight along the Hudson from Albany to New York City, where he landed in Harlem, borrowed some gas, took off again and flew the length of the island before circling the Statue of Liberty and landing on Battery Park.

Just don't know if the American public is ready for a film where the Wrights are the bad guys.
#22
Old 02-08-2015, 10:56 AM
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The Wright Bros. Never claimed they were the first to fly. They never claimed they were the first with a heavier than air, powered machine that flew. Their claim and documented fact is that they were the first to fly a heavier than air,powered, CONTROLLED, flight in a machine that left the ground under it's own power at an elevation that was equal to an elevation it landed on......the key word is control.....something that appears to elude previous claims of flight, not mentioned by Wright detractors and not understood by people who are not pilots . They used experimentation and documentation in a scientific,step by step approach to the problems of flight which no one else had done.They discovered lift tables that were inaccurate, and with their invention of the wind tunnel (another first) rewrote those tables that would enable them to build their machine....No one would have ever made a machine to fly under control without those tables that are still in use today...
They invented the propeller....not the flat, inefficient, almost useless,canted slabs of wood that others just stuck on their motors....but propellers whose efficiency is barely surpassed by current props of today....another fact never recognized by Wright detractors.......and another vital piece of successful flight that would have not occurred without this discovery by the Wright bros.....
The Wright's were also business men who understood the potential of the airplane before anyone else and had every right to defend their patent against those that would take advantage of their discoveries and try to use them for profit for themselves as Mr Curtiss so blatantly tried to do........funny that the courts eventuality ruled in the Wright's favor,another fact never mentioned by Wright detractors........and the Wright's and Curtiss eventually formed a company together.....
Documentation...that's right. The Wright's understood that without that, they would have no proof. So once again,they proved their intelligence by planning ahead of time for that process.....Don't make a claim that can't be substantiated ( like these others that claim first flight)....whose only defense is to mangle and slur the Wright brother's name......
#23
Old 02-08-2015, 11:02 AM
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And...yes....if I had the money, I know exactly how I'd make this movie.....and who I would hire to do it.....
#24
Old 02-08-2015, 11:04 AM
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My choice for the soundtrack
#25
Old 02-08-2015, 11:05 AM
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And.......no.....they most assuredly DID NOT use a catapult on Dec. 17, 1903......for any of the flights they made that day...
#26
Old 02-09-2015, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santos L Halper View Post
There was also the Winds of kitty Hawk, with Law and Order's Michael Moriarty as Wilbur and Wilbur and Orville: The First to Fly with James and Stacy Keach as Wilbur and Orville.
I knew there was an earlier one I saw! Must have been for the 75th anniversary in '78.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
I want to see a film about Glenn Hammond Curtiss, the real Father of Flight. He was building airplanes that a modern pilot could fly while the Wright were suing him into bankruptcy.

The film could have the scene where Curtiss visits the Wrights, offering his engine; Curtiss's work with Alexander Graham Bell and the Aerial Experiment Association; the various lawsuits by the Wrights; Curtiss flying in competitions where the Wrights refused to compete and the death of his friend Lt. Thomas Selfridge in the crash of a plane piloted by Orville Wright. The climax of the film would be his triumphant flight along the Hudson from Albany to New York City, where he landed in Harlem, borrowed some gas, took off again and flew the length of the island before circling the Statue of Liberty and landing on Battery Park.

Just don't know if the American public is ready for a film where the Wrights are the bad guys.
The above TV movie does include pretty much all of these scenes but, as you'd suspect, it solidly portrays Curtiss & Bell as the ne'er do well villains! And the finale of the movie is Wilbur triumphantly flying a long, controlled flight (though not that down the Hudson) right after a humiliated Curtiss crashes first!

YouTube only has the promo for it...
#27
Old 02-09-2015, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
The Wright Brothers (1997)
Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brothers' Journey of Invention (2003)
The Wright Brothers (1996)

I haven't seen any of them. I agree that a good 'Hollywood' Wright Brothers film would be great. As long as Jerry Bruckheimer didn't have anything to do with it.
Agreed. Or Michael Bay.
#28
Old 02-09-2015, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
The above TV movie does include pretty much all of these scenes but, as you'd suspect, it solidly portrays Curtiss & Bell as the ne'er do well villains! And the finale of the movie is Wilbur triumphantly flying a long, controlled flight (though not that down the Hudson) right after a humiliated Curtiss crashes first!

YouTube only has the promo for it...
I just watched that trailer, and the crash looks like the one where the Wrights killed Selfridge.
#29
Old 02-09-2015, 08:01 PM
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The Brits and Canucks should make the movie.

It should be set in Surrey, the Wrights should be staid, respectable English Edwardians who learned everything they know from the playing fields of Eton and who were threatened with ruin by Samuel Cunard if they didn't stop trying, but with British pluck won the day.

It would get even for at least two movies.
#30
Old 02-09-2015, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
I knew there was an earlier one I saw! Must have been for the 75th anniversary in '78.

The above TV movie does include pretty much all of these scenes but, as you'd suspect, it solidly portrays Curtiss & Bell as the ne'er do well villains! [/URL]
I grant you that I have not seen much of anything bad about Glenn Curtiss.

Alexander Graham Bell? Possibly one of the biggest bastards in history:

http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...021902596.html
#31
Old 02-09-2015, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
I just watched that trailer, and the crash looks like the one where the Wrights killed Selfridge.
Since this thread has deviated from the original intent.....I'll play

So the Wright's forced Selfridge to fly, made him climb aboard, and, in some miracle fashion, in front of hundreds of witnesses, secretly caused the propeller to fail, and, in another secret fashion, enabled Selfridge to die while a Wright of course purposefully escaped death
I thought this site was called straight dope......so every pilot that has had a major mechanical failure throughout history is responsible for ... as you say... killing their passengers........indeed...
#32
Old 02-09-2015, 08:49 PM
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They just haven't found actors with the Wright Stuff.
#33
Old 02-09-2015, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlh3rd View Post
So the Wright's forced Selfridge to fly, made him climb aboard, and, in some miracle fashion, in front of hundreds of witnesses, secretly caused the propeller to fail, and, in another secret fashion, enabled Selfridge to die while a Wright of course purposefully escaped death
Call it The Wrong Brothers and you've got a deal.
#34
Old 02-09-2015, 09:20 PM
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I liked the P-40......so......there
#35
Old 02-10-2015, 09:45 AM
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Someone upthread suggested Johnny Depp for Orville.

Would that be the Donne Brasco Depp, or the Tonto Depp? Having the latter would make for an...interesting...movie.
#36
Old 02-10-2015, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by detop View Post
Please, don't talk about this Johnny-come-lately. The real inventor was Clément Ader.
Pshaw! Johnny-come-latelies by 50 years.

John Stringfellow's your man. Undeniably built a heavier-than-air propeller-driven monople (!) ages before anyone else. Buuilt his own miniature steam engine to power it (NOT rubber bands, no matter what Flight of the Phoenix said)

http://teemings.net/series_1/iss...almeacham.html

http://flyingmachines.org/strng.html
#37
Old 02-10-2015, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
I just watched that trailer, and the crash looks like the one where the Wrights killed Selfridge.
Yes, it was. The crash they show Curtiss having is at the end of the film (and undoubtedly apocryphal). Curtiss and Wilbur are finally going to have a 'fly-off' if you will and Curtiss goes first and crashes on take-off (its a minor crash and he's not shown as being injured). Wilbur then flies triumphantly for over an hour as the final narration sums up the story. I also remember an earlier scene where Curtiss & Bell, who have been trying to steal the Wright's technology, approach a damaged Wright Flyer at an airshow that's concealed by a tent and guarded by a soldier (may have been the Selfridge crash). Bell introduces himself to the guard who is awestruck be his celebrity while Curtiss sneaks inside and gets a look at the Wright's 'wing-warping' mechanism. Again, total bullshit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlh3rd View Post
Since this thread has deviated from the original intent.....I'll play

So the Wright's forced Selfridge to fly, made him climb aboard, and, in some miracle fashion, in front of hundreds of witnesses, secretly caused the propeller to fail, and, in another secret fashion, enabled Selfridge to die while a Wright of course purposefully escaped death
I thought this site was called straight dope......so every pilot that has had a major mechanical failure throughout history is responsible for ... as you say... killing their passengers........indeed...
Don't wanna speak for him, but I don't think gaffa was implying any deliberate action or conspiracy by saying, "...were the Wrights killed Selfridge". He's merely stating that he was killed by a crash in their plane.
#38
Old 02-10-2015, 10:44 AM
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I missed the five minute window to rewrite that. If that movie implied that Curtiss had any interest in the Wrights wing warping nonsense, that is tantamount to slander.
#39
Old 02-10-2015, 11:05 AM
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Lol.....well then.....SAY that........I understand the English language...and sentence construction........
#40
Old 02-10-2015, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jlh3rd View Post
Lol.....well then.....SAY that........I understand the English language...and sentence construction........
May I used this as a signature quote?
#41
Old 02-10-2015, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by
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May I used this as a signature quote?

Yes, you may (used) this as a signature quote.....lol
#42
Old 02-10-2015, 11:44 AM
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Why no proper Revolutionary War pic?

And by proper I mean something that isn't "The Patriot" or "Revolution" or that ridiculous looking mini-series I recently saw trailers for.
#43
Old 02-10-2015, 12:00 PM
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The problem I have with a Wright Brothers movie is that the big finish is that first successful flight, and we've all seen it... they fire it up, the guy runs alongside it until it takes off, it flies for a bit, and then it lands. AAAAAND scene. Roll credits.

*chirp chirp chirp*

There may be other things in their story that are interesting, or that involve gunfire, explosions or horses, but ask any movie-going 14-year-old what a Wright Brother movie is going to be about, and he'll say it's that clip they always show in the movies they run in Science class on the history of flight when the teacher can't be arsed to come up with a plan.
#44
Old 02-10-2015, 12:18 PM
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Someone brought up the movie Apollo 13, and in a lot of ways it has similar problems. It has a known outcome, no one dies, all of the problems encountered by the crew were well known, and documentaries existed about the entire mission. I watched the original mission as it happened, had seen many of the documentaries and thought,"why would I want to see that movie. I know everything that happened.".......Every time it comes on I watch it..............good director, good actors,....great story.........bottom line,however, is money....as in, would the movie make any..........I think it would ....
#45
Old 02-10-2015, 12:21 PM
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Yeh...I think there needs to be a good revolutionary war pic..........it would be a long movie.
#46
Old 02-10-2015, 12:42 PM
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I think for 'History heroes who actually were the bad guy' the best we can do is Drunk History. Maybe Epic Rap Battles.
#47
Old 02-10-2015, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
The problem I have with a Wright Brothers movie is that the big finish is that first successful flight, and we've all seen it... they fire it up, the guy runs alongside it until it takes off, it flies for a bit, and then it lands. AAAAAND scene. Roll credits.

*chirp chirp chirp*

There may be other things in their story that are interesting, or that involve gunfire, explosions or horses, but ask any movie-going 14-year-old what a Wright Brother movie is going to be about, and he'll say it's that clip they always show in the movies they run in Science class on the history of flight when the teacher can't be arsed to come up with a plan.
It would lack the drama of Apollo 13. Worst case is Orville falls 10 feet into a field. At about 7 mph. Maybe thrilling in 1903, but we've all gone much faster than that.
#48
Old 02-10-2015, 01:56 PM
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Now, how to make it a comedy ... excuse me while I make a call to Rob Reiner ...
#49
Old 02-10-2015, 02:42 PM
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I didn't read the entire thread and so pls excuse me if I'm repeating someone else's idea here.

But, as someone upthread said, "one of the bros was boring as dirt". Well, never mind that. Their entire story is years of "boring as dirt" followed by one spectacular moment of 12 seconds (as best as I can recall).

It would be extremely difficult to create a screenplay for a 2 hour movie that consisted of a few years of boring stuff followed by 12 seconds of excitement followed by another few years of boring stuff.

I have read the story of the Wright bros and it was hugely disappointing because one of the bros was a real pain in the ass personality and he tried to convince the US Gov to buy his patent or his idea for a huge amount of money. But then something went wrong in that they learned they couldn't patent that idea or something like that. So, that bro got all bent out of shape and refused to sell his idea or patent and then ...

the US Gov went ahead without the Bros, just as every other govt in the world did and the Bros were left holding an empty bag.

That is the summary of the screenplay. Pretty hard to envision a good movie from that. Isn't it?

It's almost the opposite of Bill Gates. Gate's father was a lawyer and they figured out a way to buy patents or ideas from a bunch of people so they could have the exclusive rights to sell Windows. Gates never did any of the genius work himself. He just bought (almost) all of it from others and then sold it. They made billions. Now that is an exciting story.

The Wright Bros were brilliant and figured out how to do things themselves. But one of the bros refused to allow them to succeed cause someone offered him some money that he thought was insufficient. Maybe not exactly the opposite of Bill Gates but pretty close.

Last edited by Charlie Wayne; 02-10-2015 at 02:44 PM.
#50
Old 02-10-2015, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BobLibDem View Post
It would lack the drama of Apollo 13. Worst case is Orville falls 10 feet into a field. At about 7 mph. Maybe thrilling in 1903, but we've all gone much faster than that.
Yep, your right.......that's a big hurdle...how do you dramatize, "hey Orv, look, I've discovered wing warping by twisting this box"............it'd take good directing, acting, etc..........money.....
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