Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Aviator Frank Clark flies his plane off the roof of the 10 story Railway Building at 11th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Watson / Watson Family Archive

Frank Clark's aircraft is prepared for flight off the Railway Building in Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Geoerge Watson / Watson Family Archive

Portrait of Frank Clark before his flight off the roof of the 10 story Railway Building.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Watson / Watson Family Archive

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Aviator 'jumps' off building

Son of Revolutionary War veteran interviewed in Downey

July 1922: Retired Judge Lewis Patrick Phillips, left, is interviewed by Los Angeles Times writer Burton L. Smith. Phillips was believed to be the last living son of...   View Post»

   

Aviator 'jumps' off building

Pictures in the News | Jan. 29, 2015

Thursday's Pictures in the News begins in Mexico, where rescuers work amid the wreckage caused by an explosion that ripped through a children's hospital in Mexico City on...   View Post»

   

Aviator 'jumps' off building

Pictures in the News | July 18, 2014

Friday's Pictures in the News begins in the Middle East, where thousands of Israeli troops, backed by tanks, warplanes and gunboats, pressed deeper into the Gaza Strip as...   View Post»

   

Aviator 'jumps' off building

Pictures in the News | January 29, 2014

Wednesday's Pictures in the News begins in New York, where patrons of the New York City Ballet peer at a massive photograph on linoleum flooring featuring over 80 dancers...   View Post»

   

Aviator 'jumps' off building

Moving space shuttles [updated]

Starting with the Enterprise in 1977, space shuttles have been trucked, flown and even barged around the United...   View Post»

   

Aviator 'jumps' off building

Pictures in the News | March 16, 2012

Friday's Pictures in the News begins in Israel, where a marathon runner carries Palestinian and Israeli flags as well as  a white flag with a peace symbol as he enters the...   View Post»

   

Aviator 'jumps' off building

Pictures in the News | August 24, 2011

Wednesday's Pictures in the News begins in Washington, where the Washington Monument will remain closed indefinitely after Tuesday's magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia left...   View Post»

   

fa_215_ReaganWinOne970

Ronald Reagan

Feb. 6  is the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth. To mark the occasion, here's a selection of Ronald Reagan images from the Los Angeles Times archive. Enjoy.  View Post»

   

Aviator 'jumps' off building

Pictures in the News | Oct. 20, 2010

Protests take center stage in Wednesday's Pictures in the News feature, in which Indonesian riot police officers take cover as protesters throw rocks at an anti-government...   View Post»

   

Aviator 'jumps' off building

Pictures in the News | Oct. 6, 2010

Wednesday's Pictures in the News begin in New York at the Indoor Carnival, which will open Friday; we're in Philadelphia, where Phillies starter Roy Halladay tosses the first...   View Post»

Aviator ‘jumps’ off building

Dec. 14, 1920: Stunt pilot Frank Clarke flies an aircraft off the 10-story Railway Building in downtown Los Angeles during filming for the movie “Stranger Than Fiction.”

Under the headline “Aviator Jumps Off Building,” the Los Angeles Times reported the next day:

Frank Clark (later Clarke), 22-year-old stunt aviator, yesterday ‘jumped’ off the 10-story Los Angeles Railway Building at 11th Street and Broadway and thereby pioneered the airway for the tired businessmen who would get home early.

Clark’s plane a J.N. 4 Curtiss, equipped with a L-4 Liberty motor developing 150 horsepower, with a wingspan of 43 feet, is said to be much larger than any biplane that ever hopped off a battleship’s deck.

The intrepid aviator had his plane clear of the building before it had gone 90 feet….

…At the time the plane left the edge of the roof it was going  about 90 miles an hour.

The stunt was filmed for the Katherine MacDonald Pictures Corp. movie titled “It Could Happen.” The movie, with Clarke’s aviation stunt, was released in 1921 as “Stranger Than Fiction.”

Clarke went on to a career as a stunt pilot and actor in several Hollywood movies. Clarke was the chief pilot for the 1930 film “Hell’s Angels” by director Howard Hughes. He died in a non-job-related plane accident in 1948.

Los Angeles Times staff photographer George Watson took these three images of Clarke’s take-off. The portrait of Clarke, cropped to a headshot, and the lift-off image accompanied the next day’s Los Angeles Times story.

Thumbnail view of all From the Archive posts.

1 Comment

  1. December 14, 2010, 3:27 pm

    Very cool.

    By: kmjdu@aol.com

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published