The producers of Pan Am have pulled out all the stops to tell a story about the glamorous jet age of the ’60s, but one thing you won’t see on the ABC drama are cigarettes between the fingers of those young and attractive stewardesses.
Producers admitted that ABC-Disney nixed the use of tobacco by key stars like Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie, despite the fact that smoking was de rigueur on flights – and throughout the terminal – in those days. In contrast, cigarettes are featured liberally on AMC’s Mad Men, which also takes place in the ’60s. Cigarettes even show up in the pilot of The Playboy Club, NBC’s drama set in the ’60s: Star Eddie Cibrian is seen holding one.
“It’s understandable,” Executive Producer Tommy Schlamme told EW. “It’s an enormous impressionable element. It’s the one revisionist cheat.” Some background actors will be seen holding cigarettes on and off the planes, Schlamme said, but not the stars when the drama debuts Sept. 25.
Schlamme noted that he faced the same restrictions when he produced Life on Mars for ABC in 2008. It was a cop show based in the ’70s when cigarettes were commonplace on the job but Schlamme couldn’t have his cops huffing and puffing because of limitations set forth by the network.
Ironically, the jet set drama from Nancy Hult Ganis, who was a former Pan Am stewardess, has already made plans to introduce an African American flight attendant sometime later this season even though the mile-high jobs were exclusively awarded to white women in the early days. The first black stewardess didn’t appear on a flight until the mid-60s, Schlamme admitted.