I lived in Ciudad Bolivar - an hour's flightfrom Canaima - during the early 1950s. My husband was a bush pilot. Our playground was Canaima. I knew Jungle Rudy, but Charlie Baughan was my close friend. My husband, Frank Lazzari, and Charlie met when they both flew for TACA Airlines.
I met Jungle Rudy in 1953 when he served as the Camp Manager at Canaima,the exotic beach resort in Venezuela. I've read Jan Brokken's book about him. There is some truth about his being an early part of the development of the first camp at Canaima, but Jungle Rudy did not discover the beach nor develop the site as a camp for tourists. The actual discoverer and founder of Canaima belongs to Amercan Charlie Baughan from Harolsen,Georgia. It is so stated on his grave stone in Canaima.Charlie also gave the name of Canaima to his paradise. Rudy came along later.
In Brokken's book, he writes about Charlie and his background - which is fairly close to the truth, but Brokken identifies Jungle Rudy as the person who built the first camp there. That is not true. Jungle Rudy built the second camp. It is called Ucaima and is high, behind the falls - up river. His body is buried by the side of a foot path that leads to his dirt airstrip.
Charlie Baughan's buried with his wife, Mary, in a grave near the paved airstrip at Canaima. It is not the air strip we landed on 60 years ago. Mary and Charlie were killed in a plane crash in 1956. Their grave has always been covered with jungle vines when I have been there. The grave is next to Alejandro Laime's, another one of Charlie's famous assitants. There are no markers to the graves and they are very hard to locate.
Brokken's account,at best,is based on third party information probably heard from JR's daughters. I met Gaby, one of his daughters, in 2004 when we exchanged photos; I had many of her father taken in 1953, long before JR was married, and she had one of Charlie which she gave to me.
Xlibris recently published my book, Blue Skies, Green Hell, all about those glorious and adventurous days I spent as a bush pilot's wife in Venezuela. The true story about my friends, Mary and Charlie Baughan, is told in Chapter 18. The photo Gaby gave me is in my book.
I do hope Charlie get's the recognition in the film that he didn't get in Jan Brokken's book. He deserves it all.