Stewart Honored at National Aviation HOF Event, Rich Little to Emcee

Ohio’s Springfield News-Sun reports that comedian Rich Little will serve as master of ceremonies for the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s “annual enshrinement ceremony” on Saturday, July 18th in Dayton, OH:

The event is scheduled to coordinate with the annual Vectren Dayton Air Show, to allow prominent aviators the opportunity to attend both the Dayton-based events.

The astronauts expected to attend on either or both of two nights of the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s celebration include Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Walter Cunningham, Jim Lovell, Frank Borman, Charlie Duke, Jim McDivitt, Vance Brand, Joe Engle, Harrison Schmitt, Gene Cernan, Fred Haise and Tom Stafford. The astronauts also are invited to July events in Washington to mark the 40th anniversary of Armstrong’s historic first steps on the moon.

The National Aviation Hall of Fame has scheduled its annual president’s dinner the night of Friday, July 17, at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. There, the organization plans to present the Milton Caniff “Spirit of Flight” award to the Apollo astronauts to honor their work in achieving moon landings and returning to Earth.

One of the honorees to be inducted is the late actor and World War II bomber pilot James Stewart who served as a colonel in the Army Air Corps during WW II. After the war he stayed on with the Air Force Reserves serving as a 1-star brigadier general, thus achieving “the highest active military rank of any actor in history” (IMDb.com), and he was also a highly-decorated officer during his military career.

While Stewart is of course remembered for his film and TV roles, he actually had quite a bit of voice acting work to his credit. According to IMDb.com, he was the narrator for several TV and film productions, had a cameo in an episode of the 1992 animated series Goof Troop, voiced Sheriff Wylie Burp in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991). He also performed on radio shows with such stars as Edgar Bergen, Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, and Lionel Barrymore. From 1953-54, he starred in the NBC radio western The Six Shooter, and even reprised his role as George Bailey in the 1947 Lux Radio Theater’s adaptation of It’s A Wonderful Life joined by many of his original co-stars from the classic Frank Capra film.

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