What do you do after you've achieved your lifelong dream? The Lawnchair Pilot is a feature-film documentary that attempts to discover the true-story of urban legend Larry Walters, a Vietnam vet who in 1982 attached 42 helium-filled weather balloons to a Sears lawnchair and floated up 16,000 feet above Los Angeles. After being spotted by a TWA pilot, Larry shot out a a few balloons with his pellet gun and then crash landed in power lines. Miraculously, Larry survived, and his adventure quickly captured the imagination of the world. For Larry, this flight was the realization of a 25-year boyhood dream, for which he risked everything. For a moment, he was on top of the world, and appeared on Letterman, and became engaged to his long time girlfriend, Carol. However, after the limelight faded, his life took a series of unfortunate turns. His relationship came to an end, and 11 years after his flight, on October 6, 1993, Larry hiked into the Los Angeles National Forest and shot himself in the heart.
While researching this documentary, the filmmakers gained access to never before seen archival material, including Larry's journals and never before seen 35mm footage of Larry's original flight. The footage had been sitting in a co-worker's garage for over 32 years. With interviews with family members, coworkers, and even the TWA pilot who spotted Larry in the sky, "Larry's Lawnchair" attempts to put the pieces of Larry's life story back together; what we find is an uplifting yet tragic story of a man who lived his life long dream, but couldn't live without it.
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