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Flying High In A DC-6

May 22, 2019

1967 was a notable year in history. The Vietnam war and protests against it, riots and civil unrest, the Cold War heating up, the race to space and the loss of life in the Apollo 1 accident.  But it was also arguably one of the most creative times in musical history. The Beatles released Sgt Pepper, Rolling Stone magazine had its first issue, and The Monkees embarked upon a whirlwind tour in a Douglas DC-6. Let’s read more about this plane N90739 and the role she played in the history of rock and roll. Get your own aviation collectible .

 

DC 6 Plane

  American Airlines DC-6

" Douglas DC-6 AA  N90739 " flickr photo by Bill Larkins shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

 

The Douglas DC-6 is an airliner and transport plane that was built from 1946 through 1958. It was commissioned by the USAAF during WW2 but was not used until post-war, mainly for long-range commercial transport. The first airline these planes were delivered to were United Airlines and American Airlines, beginning November 1946. Although most of the DC-6s built are inactive or in a museum, some continue to fly today, mostly by small operators in different countries.

 

History of N90739

 

Douglas DC6 Airplane

 

Timeline:

  • October 10, 1947 - delivered to American Airlines as c/n 43044.
  • December 1953 - renamed “Flagship Akron”
  • 1966 - Sold to Frederick B. Ayer & Associates
  • April 4, 1967 - Sold to Miami Aviation Corp - Used by The Monkees for 1967 Tour
  • October 1968 - Sold to Dallas Aero Service, stored at Greater Southwest Airport, Ft. Worth
  • January 1973 - Sold to TBM, Inc of Tulare, CA, used as Air Tanker #68 until 2007
  • Scrapped at the Redmond, Oregon. airport (RDM) in May 2007

 

The Monkees

Photo by NBC Television, Public Domain

 

The Monkees Tour Plane

 

The Summer of Love was in full swing when The Monkees kicked off their US-UK tour in July 1967. Monkeemania was also in full swing. The Monkees television show had just been awarded Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy. In June, they performed at the Hollywood Bowl for 17,000 fans. Their tour included 28 cities across the United States and several shows in the UK. It was no wonder they needed their own plane.

 

The Monkees tour plane

From an article by Henry Diltz in the November 1967 issue of Tiger Beat

 

The Monkees lived on the DC-6 plane during the tour. For six tour dates, Jimi Hendrix also joined them on stage and aboard the plane.

 

The tour entourage flew first class, as the Monkees had their own private DC6 with The Monkees logo and big red guitar stenciled on the fuselage. On the flights, “We got high together,” remembers Tork. “We had this DC6, with this lounge in back. There were some reporters on the plane, so we would leave the reporters in front and go into the back and smoke it up.” 

Excerpt from 'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child by David Henderson

 

The Monkees Plane

Summer of Love tour

Jimi Hendrix tour plane

Photos from Micky Dolenz’s personal photos, called Micky’s Secret Snaps , taken during The Monkees’ 1967 tour, courtesy of    The Monkees Live Almanac

 

Facts About The Summer Of Love

Here’s what was happening in the music scene, as The Monkees embarked on their tour: 

Popular Culture in 1967

  • Monterey International Pop Music Festival in California features some of the 60's Icons including Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, The Steve Miller Band, Simon & Garfunkel and the Grateful Dead
  • The Beatles release Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of rock's most acclaimed albums.
  • The Beatles release "Magical Mystery Tour" LP
  • The Beatles release the double A-sided single with Penny Lane on one side and "Strawberry Fields Forever" on the other side.
  • John Lennon's gets his psychedelic painted Rolls Royce delivered
  • Elvis Presley Marries Priscilla on May 1st
  • Premiere of the musical Hair
  • Barbara Streisand performs in Central Park before 135,000
  • Otis Redding dies in a plane crash aged 26
  • Carrol Shelby Mustang GT-500 Fastback was released
  • The Musical "Hair" opens off-Broadway.

Popular Musicians

  • The Rolling Stones
  • The Supremes
  • The Beatles
  • The Doors
  • Bob Dylan
  • Aretha Franklin
  • The Grateful Dead
  • The Monkees
  • Elvis Presley
  • The Beach Boys
  • The Bee Gees
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Cream
  • Pink Floyd
  • Moody Blues
  • David Bowie

 

The Tour Plane Becomes An Air Tanker

 

N90739 

 

N90739 served as an air tanker, Tanker #68, which was painted on the tail when it was dismantled. After providing air tanker services for several years, it was dismantled in Redmond, OR. See more fascinating DC-6 photos taken by Ted Quackenbush.  

 

Preserving a DC-6

 

MotoArt purchased the plane in 2016. Because of its rich history during each phase of its long life, the entire team was excited to be a part of its preservation. The tail hangs in the studio (seen in the photo below of Dave Hall with a Stearman Wing Conference Table .)

  DC-6 in MotoArt Shop

 

Since 2001, MotoArt Studios has been handcrafting aviation art and decor pieces from their Southern California studio. Owner Dave Hall had created the first PlaneTag years before, out of a P-51 Mustang. It was hand cut, hand etched and something Hall cherished and still has. “This was something I made for myself. It struck me that other people like me would appreciate being able to own a piece of an amazing plane like the P-51 or The Monkees tour plane.”  Hall was correct. Since that time, thousands of PlaneTags have been handmade and sold. “MotoArt makes incredible furniture and art out of retired airplane parts. Those are out of reach for most people, including myself,” jokes Hall. “But anyone can own a PlaneTag from one of our amazing planes and give them as gifts or pass them down to the next generation.”

 

Rock N Roll Keepsake

 

DC6 luggage tag 

 

The DC-6 PlaneTag was first offered on the PlaneTags website in 2015 and continues to be a sought after aviation collectible, especially for those with a love of rock and roll music and the Summer of Love.


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