Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tom Jones - former CEO of Northrop, Lifelong Friend to Johnny Myers

Director RJ McHatton with Tom Jones

Director RJ McHatton with Tom Jones

Tom Jones was very clear. He did not want to talk about anything where he wasn’t actually there. Tom said that he would be happy to talk about John Myers because he was a “Friend for Life.” Tom Jones has led a very interesting life, including many years as CEO of Northrop Grumman. But today we were there to interview Tom about his good friend Johnny Myers for our new documentary “The Flying Man–The Life and Times of Johnny Myers.” I was hoping that Tom would be able to give us some insight into Johnny Myers’ years working for Northrop. But it is easy to forget that Johnny Myers lived to be way over 90 years old. Tom really didn’t want to talk about those days. He wanted to talk about John Myers, the man. Tom said that he couldn’t pinpoint the first time he met John Myers because he seemed that they had lived their whole life as friends. John and Tom were in many clubs and organizations together. We talked about how John used to go to the Country Club a lot but that he did not play golf. John wanted to see his friends. Tom talked about how much John loved his wife Lucia. He said that Lucia was a beautiful and wonderful wife to John Myers. Tom told me some great stories about John Myers and how he was truly a remarkable human being. Tom said that John Myers was a gentleman, a person with impecable integrity and strong will. Tom said that John Myers was the kind of man you looked up to, someone who always had a great attitude about life and was always looking for ways to help others. I could tell that Tom Jone was a life-long friend of John Myers and that they both had some common traits – including kindness and respect for others. I really enjoyed my interview with Tom Jones. He is a real nice man.

Eric Rhoads - Personal Jet and Helicopter Pilot for Johnny Myers

Eric Rhoads w RJ

Director RJ McHatton with pilot Eric Rhoads

Eric Rhoads

Eric Rhoads is a lucky guy. He was hired to be the personal jet and helicopter pilot for the legendary aviator and businessman Johnny Myers. We drove down to Redondo Beach to meet with Eric for our new documentary “The Flying Man” about the Life and Times of Johnny Myers. Eric sat down and started grinning as he remembered “Myers” as he called him. Eric first met John Myers about three years before he died, when Eric was hired to be his pilot. Over the years they became good friends. Eric said that his life was changed for the better because of the wisdom and character and integrity he learned from John Myers. Eric said that “Myers” was a “hand-shake” type of a guy. Someone who was bigger than life, someone who once he became your friend, you could count on being a friend for life. Eric talked about John’s love for the outdoors and for his dog Gus. He told great stories about flying with John Myers and Gus. He said that John Myers might not be well known in the general population community, but that among the pilot friends he knew, John Myers was a true to life hero. Eric said that everywhere he went, he saw how people lit up with enthusiasm when they met John Myers. Eric said that John was well respected among people all around the world. Eric talked about when he flew with John to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. when they introduced the P-61 Black Widow Night Fighter that John Myers was the original test pilot. He talked about the man he was fortunate to call friend. Eric talked about his many tripw with John Myers up to the Flying M Ranch in Merced, where John ran a real cattle ranch. He said that John Myers loved cattle and ranching. We talked about John Myers love for boating up at Big Bear and his joy for driving fast cars. Overall Eric kept talking about the wisdom and integrity and character of John Myers. He talked about the good friendships that John Myers had built up over a lifetime well into his 90s. He talked about the last time John Myers flew a helicopter and how thrilling it was to see the master fly it perfectly. I could tell that Eric enjoyed his time with John Myers and that he would never forget the lessons he learned from that tall man with the dog.

Peter Allen - Morgan Stanley, Close friend of John Myers

Peter Allen with director RJ McHatton

Peter Allen with director RJ McHatton

Peter Allen

Over fifteen years ago, Peter Allen became good friends with Lou Myers and his father John. They did a lot of outdoors adventures together. When Lou Myers passed away, it was only natural that Peter Allen would become even closer to John Myers. We met Peter Allen at the California Club in downtown Los Angeles. The California Club has tremendous history and it was a big part of John Myers life. He had a lot of friends there. We were there to interview Peter Allen for our new documentary “The Flying Man” about the Life and Times of Johnny Myers. Peter told us some great stories about John Myers and about his great wisdom and positive outlook on life. John Myers had a genuine charisma about him. People always liked John Myers because he was a gentle giant of a man. Someone with humility, with kindness, with a great instinct about people. Peter Allen told us about some of his great trips with John Myers over the years. About John’s love for his dog Gus, and for aviation. Peter was the last person to see John alive. I really appreciate the hospitality and generosity Peter gave to us during our interview.