Anthony Toth built a 747 replica inside a warehouse. Here, he stands in front of the first class cabin. Photo: Stephen Carr.
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.
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.
The cockpit, with help from some special effects. Photo: Anthony Toth.
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.
I recently came across N747NA, a 747SP operated by the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) — part of NASA — since 1997. According to the website touting the plane: ”NASA and the German space agency, DLR, are working together to create and operate SOFIA – a Boeing 747-SP aircraft modified to accommodate a 2.5 meter gyro-stabilized telescope.”
Remember Anthony Toth? He’s the guy who created a replica of the interior of a Pan Am Boeing 747 inside a Los Angeles-area warehouse. From the outside, it’s completely fake. But the interior? It looks almost exactly like the real thing.
It’ll be Sept. 28 at Anthony’s 3,000 square foot City of Industry warehouse. And you’ll be served “real” airline food by former Pan Am flight attendants in uniform. (Anthony has contacts in aircraft catering).
Tickets go on sale Friday at 9 a.m. (Pacific) on Brett’s website — crankyflier.com/cranky747. There will be 28 of them, ranging from $100 to $150, depending on your class of service. (First class is pricier.) If I had to guess, I’d say the event will be sold out by 9:01 a.m., if not earlier. Brett’s going to be accepting money via PayPal.
The tickets are expensive, but I suspect it’ll be worth it. I’ve dined with Anthony before — in first class, no less — and it was one of the highlights of my journalism career.
Tickets for the “Clipper Class” cabin will be $100 — or $50 less than first class. Photo by Stephen Carr.
You may remember him from my story in February. He loved Pan Am so much that he built a replica of a 747-200 inside a warehouse in the City of Industry, near Los Angeles. For now, he has first class in the nose, as well as a small section called Clipper Class, which looks like a current coach cabin, but, at the time, was considered more like business class. He also has a dining area, which he has built on the upper deck. I believe he also just completed a cockpit. It’s all just about perfect.
You intrepid blogger might be visiting the plane again this weekend. If that’s the case, he’ll be sure to update you on Anthony’s progress, with pictures. I know he eventually wants to complete an entire 747.
CrankyFlier, who is perhaps the best aviation blogger in the country, is organizing a trip to Anthony’s plane on Sept. 28. Competition for the slots should be fierce, but you can check out the plans on Cranky’s blog. For the event, dinner will be served by ex Pan Am flight attendants. (I spoke with a couple on the phone for my story and let me tell you, these women take serving seriously.)
Can’t make it to Cranky’s event? Or simply want to learn more? Check out this video made by Anthony in which he explains how he built his replica.