The Flying Detective: The True Story

Presenting Producer: The Edson & District Historical Society

If you have seen The Flying Detective by Brent Felzien, you may have been whisked away on a fun and fantastical adventure across an Alberta of yesteryear. But did you know the play was based on a real-life story?

The real story is just as exciting and unbelievable as the play, which made it an exciting challenge for the playwright to tackle. While some historical changes were made for the sake of staging a dramatic and fun-filled theatre production, it’s important to remember the real individuals who made history back in 1919.

The following historical recount of the events surrounding this aerial manhunt is supplied by The Galloway Museum in Edson, Alberta. We encourage you to stop in and visit the museum on your travels to learn more about the famed manhunt as well as the rich history surrounding the Edson area.

Download the PDF document here. (737 kb)

In addition, the Edmonton Police Service commisioned a comic book adaptation of the story as part of their “Legacy of Hereos” series. That comic can be read here.

We also encourage everyone to visit for more on the many history-making adventures of aviation legend Wilfrid “Wop” May, incuding his famed fight with the Red Baron as well many others. They also have an entire page dedicated to the manhunt, including some great photos.

Some other fantastic and in-depth resources on Wop May and his many adventures are the books written by his son, Denny Reid May, who is the premiere source on all information regarding Wop May and his legacy. Some of these books will be available to purchase after performances of The Flying Detective.

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