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ralph124c 12-27-2004 12:48 PM

THE AVIATOR: Were Senator brewster and juan Trippe In Cahoots?
I just saw the Howard Hughes movie, and I really enjoyed it! The movie makes a lot about Hughe's battles with Juan Trippe (CEO of PANAM Airlines). The implication was that he (Trippe) had bribed Senator Brewster of Maine, in order that Brewster could put Hughes out of business.
Is there any evidence that this is so? Was Juan Trippe that corrupt a businessman? And, did Hughes actually threaten Senator Brewster in the Senate Hearings in 1947?
Odd that Trippe's airline itself bit the dust in the 1980's..also, was Hughes made a billionaire by the ordered sale of TWA? :smack:

ElvisL1ves 12-27-2004 07:53 PM

I haven't had a chance to see the movie yet so I can't comment upon how the situation was portrayed. Alda says the script of the Senate hearings is almost verbatim, FWIW. I've read most of it in books about Hughes, and Hughes made a very convincing case that Brewster was in Trippe's back pocket. What "threat" does the movie show Hughes making?

Juan Trippe himself was a larger-than-life character himself, who built Pan Am largely on the basis of his political skills both in Washington and in Latin America (he wasn't Hispanic; his mother just liked the name, but he used it to great effect when schmoozing with government leaders down there). Since you mention it, Pan Am did die before TWA, although they'd both been deathly ill for a couple of decades - Pan Am's death is attributable in most part to its never having developed much of a domestic route system, which was Trippe's legacy, while TWA's death was less due to the effects of Hughes' management.

Hughes was already filthy rich as a teenager, when his father died and he inherited the oil-drilling tool business.

Tuckerfan 12-27-2004 08:13 PM

Brewster also wasn't the only Senator that Hughes had a beef with, either. The scene in Tucker: The Man and His Dream where Tucker met with Hughes is based on Tucker's account of his meeting with Howard Hughes. Supposedly, Senator Ferguson, who spearheaded the Feds investigation against Tucker, was more corrupt than he was portrayed in the film. (No idea how accurate that info is, so take it with a grain of salt.)

The History Channel was showing clips of Hughes, in promos for a show on him (missed it, so I can't say what was in the show) where he lashes out at Congress, so it's certainly possible that the film's accurate in that respect.

ralph124c 01-05-2005 08:40 AM

The film showed Hughes being grilled by brewster in the Senate hearings, which were televised .Brewster kept hounding Hughes about the money awarded to Hughes aircraft, for planes that were never built. Before the hearings, brewster told Hughes that the hearings would be halted, if Hughes would sell TWA to Pan Am. Hughes told brewster to go to hell, and told th audience about Brewster's offer. This ended the proceedings. my guess is that Hughe's lawyers could have blown this up into a bribery/solicitation scandal, had they chosen to do so. Too bad such a corrupt, rotten crook like Brewster didn't get a dose of their own medecine. wr

ElvisL1ves 01-05-2005 09:00 AM

Other sources (Howard Hughes and His Flying Boat by Charles Barton is excellent) go into much more depth on the topic. Having now seen the flick, I'll confirm that the script really was taken almost exactly from the hearing transcript, and the back story was shown accurately if in condensed form. Hughes really did destroy Brewster, whom he called the "slickest trick shot artist in Washington", on national live radio and TV, just as the movie showed, and that was certainly more effective than a court suit would have been. The evidence for Brewster's being in Trippe's pocket was provided by Brewster himself during the cross-examination he foolishly allowed Hughes to conduct. Brewster was defeated for renomination in his next election, ftr.

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