The Flight Fantastic
It may just be one of the artsiest sports or the sportiest forms of art which most of us take for granted. Yet, while seeing "The Flight Fantastic" we are all reminded of what an incredible undertaking the art of trapeze really is. If you're my age you just may have had the luck to see "The Gaonas: The First Family of the Flying Trapeze" as a glassy-eyed child sitting in the audience of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
"The Flight Fantastic" takes a first hand look at the family from Mexico and its stars: Tito, Chela, Richie, and Armando; all trained by their father Victor, a one ring "Casting Trapeze Clown" who performed tricks and stunts about 10 feet off the ground. Thankfully for us, there is "trapeze-ology" in the DNA of his family.
The love of the art and the history of the Gaona family is a genuine example of what family love is all about, and how they are there for each other. The story is told with wonderful interviews with each of their seven children, and their father; the viewer is taken on a "greatest show on earth" journey of how this family flew to stardom. "The Flight Fantastic" features wonderful 8mm archival footage, and other clips from film and TV, along with photos telling their story. Why does so much footage exist? As circus children the Gaona family experienced travel around the world, making their marks in the sky under the big top. Their happiness shows as they documented it all.
"The Flight Fantastic" also shows where the Gaonas all ended up, and how they are passing the art of Trapeze along to others; real estate agents, computer technicians, fans, waitresses, children with disabilities, and more. (You may even see a few familiar name actors in their Los Angeles classroom in the sky.)
I am most impressed with the camaraderie the Gaonas share with other Trapeze families, even performers who have out "tricked" them once their light started to fade.
Although trying to follow the large wide path of all the journeys the Gaonas have taken, as well as where they all live today (let's face it, there are a lot of them) everyone will have their favorite. I especially love the personality of spitfire Chela, the only female family member to take to the air.
"The Flight Fantastic" may not seem interesting to everyone, but it really opens one's eyes to the historical importance of how this immigrant family effected the circus life and entertainment of the world from the late 1950s to the early '90s and beyond. Chalk up your hands, climb the tall ladder, swing, break, leap, flip and let its passion catch you. You will not be disappointed.