Reginald Denny (1891-1967)

The "Dennyplane"

A Shop on Hollywood Boulevard


Reginald Denny's Hobby Shop, Hollywood Boulevard, 1961

Photo : Pete Soule - Click Image to Enlarge

After forming Reginald Denny Industries in 1934, Denny began selling his models at this location in 1935 (On the North side of Hollywood Boulevard, visible just as you exited the Hollywood Freeway off ramp). He also sold them though Jay's Models on Melrose (just south of Hollywood) and nationally, by mail order


Reginald Denny at his Hobby Shop, Hollywood Boulevard

Photo : Righter Family Archives - Click Image to Enlarge

In 1938 Denny bought the rights to an engine design from Walter Righter, manufacturing and selling it as the "Dennymite". Denny kept the shop open until around 1963 when it was sold to "Colonel Tom's" further south in West Los Angeles.

Sadly, all traces have now disappeared

A recent eMail from Kent Fletcher relates the following information...

"Thought I would offer a little more info on the shop. I grew up in Hollywood at 1954 Taft Avenue. If you can use a mapblast or similar utility, you'll see that Taft is the next street east of Van Ness (as in your "NOW" picture), and 1954 is two blocks north. Needless to say, I spent quite a number of hours in R.D.'s shop. My uncle had also hung out there when he was a kid in the 40's.

Your statement that the shop was sold in 1963 seems to be at odds with my memory. I was born in 1956, and remember visiting and buying models and other gear at the shop until I was at LEAST 10, more like 12 or 13. I also seem to remember that the shop moved a couple of blocks east, at or near Western Avenue, but can't remember whether it remained on Hollywood Blvd or moved to Sunset Blvd (which is 2 blocks sout of Hollywood Blvd).

The shop had a thriving business in ALL kinds of models; it also stocked model rocketry and slot car merchandise, and had quite a large slot car raceway, with something like 6 or 8 lanes. Kids brought in their slots and controllers and fed coins into the meters to activate the lane they raced on!

Now, it is possible that the shop was under different ownership at that point, but it was DEFINITELY still called Reginald Denny's. Not only that, but the ceiling was filled with flying models suspended on wires. the range and size of these models was fantastic, including multi engined, etc. The one that sticks in my mind the most had a wing span that must have been at least 5 feet, a seaplane with pusher props. I also recall a flying model of the original Flying Wing aircraft.

I don't remember exactly when the shop closed, but I spent many hundreds of hours in the place, it was a great escape for a kid!."

Reg Denny Jr. comments...Reginald Denny Industries began business in 1935, was a corporation, controlling interest of which was owned by The Whittier Company. In 1939 "The Industries" became insolvent so dad and Paul Whittier were ousted, the Whittier Co. taking control and leasing the business including the corporate name "Reginald Denny Industries" to Pete Veer (spelling)? Later, I don't recall the timing, Pete Veer purchased "The Industries" including the name. Pete and his son operated the business for many years, than at some time apparently sold it.

When Kent's uncle frequented the shop, it was most probably owned by the Whittier company being leased to, and operated by Pete Veer. During Kent's time "The Industries" was probably both owned and operated by Pete Veer and his son. I have no idea when the shop was sold by the Veer's, but 1963 could have been the year. I however, question this.

Dad died as a result of a long series of illnesses, while visiting relatives in England in 1967. During a period when he was in the hospital, I recall him phoning "The Industries" talking I think, with Pete Veer's son to purchase a model as a gift for a healthcare worker at the hospital. This must have been no earlier than 1965 or 66. Apparently Pete Veer's son still owned the industries then, or at least still was employed there.


Pictures, Planes and Persistence

This Mechanix Illustrated article continues here

Jim Dunkin - Click Image to Enlarge


Reginald Denny in his workroom

Photo : Jim Dunkin - Click Image to Enlarge

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Reginald Denny in his workroom

Photo : Jim Dunkin - Click Image to Enlarge

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Denny's balsawood workshop

Photo : Jim Dunkin - Click Image to Enlarge

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A craftsman at work

Photo : Denny Family Archives - Click Image to Enlarge


Test Flight

Photo : Denny Family Archives - Click Image to Enlarge


...but not always an airplane modeller

Photo : Denny Family Archives - Click Image to Enlarge

The Dennyplane

also seen as the 'Denny Plane'


Robert Mongomery and his 'personalised' "Dennyplane"

Photo : Denny Family Archives


Robert Mongomery and his 'personalised' "Dennyplane"

Photo : Denny Family Archives - Click Image to Enlarge

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Robert Mongomery and his 'personalised' "Dennyplane"

Photo : Denny Family Archives - Click Image to Enlarge

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Robert Mongomery's 'personalised' "Dennyplane"

Photo : Denny Family Archives - Click Image to Enlarge

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Reg Denny Jr. notes: ...I hadn't ever seen these photos of Bob Montgomery and the "Dennyplane" which was built for him. In fact, this is the first I've seen of that beautiful model since I went with dad to deliver it.

That plane was perfect in every detail. A great example of the art of model building to perfection. It may have even had an interior. I occasionally ponder what happened to it. I wonder if it still exists in some hidden corner of this world? [R.D. Jr, April 18, 2003]


"Dennyplane", 1937

Photo : Jim Dunkin - Click Image to Enlarge

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"Dennyplane", 1937

Photo : Jim Dunkin - Click Image to Enlarge

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"Dennyplane", 1937

Photo : Jim Dunkin - Click Image to Enlarge

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The "Dennyplane" by Pete Soule

The sale of model aircraft to 'kids' (say males 10 to 20 years) was based primarily on true models of existing airplanes. Comet, a manufacturer in Chicago, had over 200 people in assembling the kit parts and stuffing them in boxes in the late 30's. Most of these were quite small, spans less than 24" and low cost.

The standard fare for model magazines - led by the publisher of sensational magazines Bernarr McFadden - nearly always had a plan featured that was bases on some existing aircraft. They were all rubber-powered. The minute there were contests (excepting 'scale') no one building a model of an existing aircraft had a remote chance of winning.

The aerodynamics at low speeds are in many ways profoundly different from those of man carrying machines and the stability requirements are totally different (principally strong stability on all axes for free flight and for full size aircraft neutral on lateral, weak directional and moderate longitudinal stability).

The performance based model, exemplified by the famous "Wakefield Cup" (from Lord Wakefield of the UK) and the string of world championships in the 30's developed a special kind of model. But these were all rubber powered, difficult to get a "real airplane" performance look with a burst of rubber power.

The Dennyplane is a not a performance based aircraft -- it looks like a real plane -- but big enough to be a good flier and take advantage of the internal combustion engine introduced in 1929 but popularized by the American Bill Brown (from Philadelphia) in 1934 with mass production and marketing. ($21.50!!! BIG bucks) -- gas engine won the nationals in 1933 -- this changed everything for the people -- at least the well-to-do in the depression 30's -- that wanted a big model that looked like something.

Flights as long as you wanted - just add more gas, so chasing became the time limit. There was a burst of these aircraft as soon as the Brown Jr. came on the market. For contests gas engines were put in a different class in 1934 and the engine run was limited to various times - less than a minute... 20 seconds just before WWII -- for international contests it is now 5 seconds. But these aircraft look like no full scale airplane.

The rubber powered Denny models were a compromise -- they sort-of looked like a real plane but the model itself was designed to fly well at the expense of not looking "exactly" like some famous aircraft.


FairChild 24 G : An insiration for the "Dennyplane"?

Manufactured by the Fairchild Airplane Manufacturing Corporation in Hagerstown, Md., ninety Model 24G and twenty-five Model 24H were sold right up to the time of the Pearl Harbor attack and for a short time after the war. Production ceased in 1947. The sleek H model was powered by an in-line, 150 hp Ranger; the stubbier G model by a seven-cylinder Warner Scarab radial engine producing 145 hp. ...more

Reg Denny Jr. notes: The "Dennyplane" was definitely inspired by a full sized aircraft. The design was based upon planes owned by a friend of Dad's, Cecil Smallwood who had a flying service operated from Clover field, now Santa Monica Airport. This I believe was a 1935 to 1937 Fairchild.

Flying the "Dennyplane", 1938

The following is sequence of images most probably taken from a 16mm film of the event by Reginald Denny. Location probably 'Mines Field', Los Angeles.

Can anyone confirm this location by the buildings shown in the 2nd and better still the 3rd image?






Turn and Return




Landing approach



The "Dennyplane"

By Dee B. Matthews with text and photos by Larry Kruse


The "Dennyplane"

Model Aviation, Jan 1977


The "Dennyplane" p1

Model Aviation, Jan 1977


The "Dennyplane" p2

Model Aviation, Jan 1977


The "Dennyplane" p5

Model Aviation, Jan 1977


The "Dennyplane" p6

Model Aviation, Jan 1977


The "Dennyplane" pp3 & 4

Model Aviation, Jan 1977

Download as 2 x A4 pages p1 [2.2Mb] and p2 [2.4Mb]
or as 1 x A3 [4.4Mb] full page


Power Talk, by Bill Dean, Feb., 1952


Power Talk, by Bill Dean, Feb., 1952


Four Decades of Radio Controlling Aircraft, A Summary

VMAA Newsletter, April, 1978

Dr. Naughton,

Thanks very much for you kind reply to my e-mail. Here is some rather "sketchy" information, some of which you may find interesting.

I am now seventy years old, and was a young child when Reginald Denny Industries was formed in 1935.

To my knowledge, the Industries produced one free flight gasolene powered model aircraft. This I believe was designed using the Fairchild 24 model G as a design guide. I am however, not certain of this. This plane was powered by the "Dennymite" engine built by Walter Righter, Burbank, California.

Your web site shows a "Denny Jr." I recall the exact plane shown in your photo, but thought this was a less detailed light version of the "Dennyplane", using non pigmented dope.

The white colored "Dennyplane" shown in the 1937 advertizement in your site, was built I believe, as a gift to actor Robert Montgomery. To my knowledge this plane was never flown by Robert Montgomery, but was displayed in his home.

The Industries also manufactured and sold a kit for a rubber band "wind up" plane called the Denny "Bullet". This as the name implies, was a fast low wing plane which really didn't have much endurance, but was fast, while airborne.

Reginald Denny Jr.

On Mon, Feb., 11, 2002, Reginald Denny Jr. wrote to this site with regard to the page on his father.

"This is a complete bit of nostalgic trivia which has been researched, compiled and published pertaining to my father and Radioplane Co. It's more complete in some respects than what I have. Thanks very much, to whomever has taken time to research and publish this."


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