Flying Blind

Institute History


It is the fall of 1965. The first dark images of American helicopters hovering over Asia come floating across the TV screens of a nation. The shaggy-haired British invasion has just burst upon these shores. It is the time of L.B.J., black power, and the plaintive voice of Bob Dylan. From the looks of things the whole world is about to come unglued. This fall, hope and promise fill the air. It's an exciting time to be a kid—that is, unless you are poor, male and draft age.

Eddie Panvini is just such a kid. Born and raised in the mean streets of Philly, Eddie is a fighter and a dreamer. While other eighteen-year-old kids stand on the corner and talk about the past, Eddie jumps into the future. His girlfriend, Donna, sees marrying him as her ticket out, but Eddie smells freedom in the things that are happening out there, beyond the neighborhood. Eddie also believes that his foothold on that freedom is the battered 35mm camera that he wears constantly around his neck. Eddie has a vision. All he needs is to convince the world of that fact.

Eddie's world is a tough world. His young mother can't afford to send him to art school for the training he wants. Her live-in boyfriend refuses to help. Donna sees his obsession as a rival for her love. The guys on the corner think he's strange. But dreams die hard. Eddie applies to the art school as if he could go. He takes pictures on the street whenever his job as a messenger allows. He spills his guts out to anyone who will listen. He starts to look and act like the other young rebels of the time. But, the walls of neighborhood are high and if he's going to break out, he'll need help. it comes in the form of a beautiful young art student. Her name is Ramona. In a short while she becomes Eddie's friend, his guide and his lover.

Along with Larry, her cool, mysterious friend, Ramona introduces Eddie to the brave new world of pot, coffee houses, rock 'n' roll and the art school. Eddie makes his leap into this exciting world with only one foot, however. His love for Donna and the neighborhood hold him back. He starts leading a double life. This is all right with Ramona who likes the excitement of it. But the tension, fueled by the growing war which beats in the background, starts to get to Eddie.

Eddie and Joey, his best friend, go for their draft physicals. When they both pass, Joey signs up, shocking Eddie. Donna starts getting suspicious about where Eddie spends his time and Eddie is forced to introduce the two women. To his dismay, the girls become friends. This strange quartet of Ramona, Eddie, Donna and Larry drift through the wild new scene while Eddie struggles to make sense of it all. The energy and excitement make his photographs stronger. People start to notice. Suddenly, his dream seems close to reality.


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