You may remember Anthony Toth. He’s the California man and United Airlines executive who built a replica of a Pan Am 747 inside a Los Angeles-area warehouse.
This is not a joke. He dedicated years of his life to his pursuit because Pan Am was the airline Toth loved to fly as a child.
As of a year ago, when I wrote a long story on him, Toth had hired a contractor and spent more than $100,000 on his life’s dream. At the time, Toth had a first-class section, complete with 18 seats, and a Clipper Class section — sort of like premium economy — with 26 powder blue seats. He had also built an upper deck lounge. And Toth had all the soft goods — the Pan Am branded napkins, the drink stirrers, the headphones, the glassware — to go with it. He even piped in the sounds of aircraft noise.
But Toth wanted more. I caught up with him recently and wrote an update for our main website. Here’s some of what I learned:
- Playboy did a one-week shoot on his plane for an upcoming issue. There were 12 naked women around. “It was a shocking week for me,” Toth said.
Toth bought a cockpit for $6,000 off a retired Air Canada plane and had it installed on the front end of the upper deck. Before, Toth had a cockpit door, but if you opened it, it actually just led to a storage area.
- “Mad Men” rented some props from Toth. It was a top secret mission. Someone from the show called Toth and asked him for stuff from a specific airline and specific time period. He says he is not allowed to say anything about what he rented out because it might give away a plot point. But he said he loves the “Mad Men” gigs. “They want everything to be validated,” Toth said. “They are true to their craft. They re-create vintage aviation in the way I want it to be recreated.”
- Toth is now partnering with a company called Air Hollywood that specializes in aviation sets and props for airplane-related entertainment shoots. The company is based in Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley and Toth is considering moving his replica there. Why? It would give him a lot more room. Perhaps enough for a full 747 mock-up. “If I want to play in this space,” he said, “I’m going to need a bigger airplane.”
- He is in the market for old airline uniforms for his rental business — not just Pan Am, but other airlines as well. The acquisition costs are high . A Pan Am uniform hat? That runs $700 to $800, he says. A Pan Am uniform? Toth says he recently bought two — for $1,000 apiece.