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The Falaise Gap: the smell of death


Pre-flight superstitions
Ken Adam Artist
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And there was a tremendous spirit, you know. And the other thing one noticed, of course, that people had certain superstitions, and so on. I remember one Australian who used to vomit against the tailplane before we took off, it was a sort of thing… And, you know, I had a golden signet ring which was for my mother and my father made into a signet ring, and since I didn't believe in praying or anything like that, my thing was to turn the ring three times before take-off. So that was my superstition, you see. And very funny, I gave the ring to Letitzia when I met her, and she's still turning it three times when we take off in a plane.

Sir Kenneth Adam (1921-2016), OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam, was a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: World War II

Duration: 1 minute, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 15 August 2011