Like a plane-load of other folks, New Yorker Mark Malkoff has tickets for a 7:15 AirTran flight from LaGuardia to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Monday morning.
Unlike those other travelers, however, Malkoff intends to stay on the very same flight for the next 30 days as the comic and filmmaker attempts to break a Guinness Book of World Records continuous flight record and conquer his fear of flying.
This is just the latest in a series of humorous, headline-grabbing endurance stunts “The Colbert Report” comic has attempted. Last year, he lived for a week in a sample apartment at a Paramus. N.J. IKEA. And in 2007, he attempted to order drinks at 171 Starbucks in Manhattan in a single day.
Malkoff will also be trying out the airline’s just installed, much-hyped WiFi service on board as he flies to up to 12 cities each day. At night, he’ll sleep on board the plane at its hub here in Atlanta.
“I discovered that I’m small enough to fit in the overhead compartment,” Malkoff told us. “That could come in handy at night. I checked with my doctor about any health risks associated with doing this. He told me there were none. I may need to find a new doctor.”
Malkoff’s wife Christine will fly to see him on the weekends. With fresh clothes. Which brings us to the obvious.
“Since I’m going to be shooting video and asking passengers for advice, I want to be hygienic,” Malkoff allowed. “I’m not quite sure how I’m going to accomplish that though. I’m only bringing some toiletries, a pillow and some clothes. I haven’t quite figured it all out yet.”
Food will be another challenge for the vegetarian since Malkoff’s goal is not to leave the airplane or the tarmac.
Meanwhile, the filmmaker and an editing team will be assembling online videos of Malkoff’s adventures to be posted on markonairtran.com (you can also follow his updates via Twitter).
“This should be quite the adventure,” he assured us. “AirTran has proven it really has a sense of humor about all this. I’ll happily fly wherever they decide to put me on the flights too. But if they want to put me up in business class, I won’t complain!”
Remembrances of Rachel
Even at Rachel Rosen Lehmann’s funeral on Sunday at Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Buckhead, friends and family of the 105-year-old continued to learn more about her fascinating, long life. For example, the tireless volunteer for the Fox Theatre and the Atlanta Opera has seat no. BB65 permanently named for her at the Fox.
During the hour-long service, Lehmann’s rabbi, family and friends evoked both tears and laughs as they shared stories about our former reader who famously scored a date with bowler Bill Hargrove, a fellow centenarian, after reading about him in the AJC.
Recalled Atlanta Opera finance director Paul Melroy, who began his association with the Opera the better part of 20 years ago by approving credit card ticket sales with Lehmann.
Said Melroy: “Only Rachel could get away with telling patrons, ‘Darling, you spent too much over the holidays. Your card’s declined. Do you have another?’ ”
Her great niece New York actress Didi Conn (who is perhaps best known by two generations of movie fans for playing “Beauty School Dropout” Frenchy in “Grease”) recalled a conversation with Lehmann as she was preparing for her first date with Hargrove in 2005.
” ‘At my age, I don’t often go out with an older man,” Conn recounted Lehmann telling her. “Should I call him Bill, Mr. Hargrove or Daddy?’ ”
As one of the oldest residents at Atlanta’s Zaban Tower retirement community, Conn once observed a friend introduce Lehmann to her mother, a reluctant new Zaban resident.
Remembered Conn: “She told Rachel, ‘You’re going to be seeing a lot more of my mother now.’ Rachel’s reply? ‘Why? Is she about to undress?’ ”
Glancing down at the World War II Womens Army Corps sergeant’s flag-draped casket, Conn tearfully finished her remarks by whispering ”Sleep well” to her “Auntie Rachel.”
Actor Andy Griffith is 83. Actor Edward Woodward (”The Equalizer”) is 79. Singer Pat Boone is 75.Actor Morgan Freeman is 72. Actor Rene Auberjonois (”Benson,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) is 69. Guitarist Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones is 62. Actor Jonathan Pryce (”Evita”) is 62. Actor Powers Boothe is 61. Country singer Ronnie Dunn of Brooks and Dunn is 56. Model Heidi Klum is 36. Singer Alanis Morissette is 35. TV host Damien Fahey (MTV’s “Total Request Live”) is 29. Singer Brandi Carlile is 28.
Contributing: News Services.
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