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tv   WWII Films of the First Motion Picture Unit  CSPAN  October 14, 2017 8:25am-9:36am EDT

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featured hollywood stars like james stewart, ronald reagan, clark gable and more. tv, on american history national archives specialists show clips of some films and discussed the work of the motion picture unit and the effort to preserve the films. the national archives hosted this hour-long event. >> welcome, everybody. today, we are broadcasting live from the national archives building in washington, d.c. welcome. so glad you are here with us either on-site or online on youtube. before we begin i would like to give you some instructions on how to participate. for those of you have joined us on-site, welcome. we will take your questions. we ask that you hold on to them until the end of the
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presentation. if you can, please use the microphones so we can capture your voice online. for those of you watching online, you can ask questions. log into the chat feature of this youtube channel and type your questions in. i will then ask the questions at the end of the session. you will find to hotlinks. one will take you to presentation slides and the other to live captioning. today's program is entitled world war ii and the first unit picture films with specialists. they work in the national archives motion picture preservation laboratory. they perform conservation and preservation work on motion pictures and records held at the
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national archives. before joining the lab in 2006, audrey worked with the film museum at at the bowdoin college. heidi completed her education at washington university, earning a masters in history with a certificate in archives and records management. works in the lab since it is 2009. a pleasure to have them return to highlight their work. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our presenters audrey and heidi. works [applause] >> thank you. hi. today, we will share films of the army air force teacher units. picture unition
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made hundreds of films and we are touching on a handful today. our goal is to provide an introduction to a group of fascinating films to explain why making them was important to the war effort. everything you see today will be available on the national archives youtube channel in a catalog so you can find complete films later. us, we work in the motion picture preservation provide preservation into vocation services to all of the archives. that means we assess films for deterioration and we make new copies if necessary and we digitize for access. if you want to know more, check out this short video we made a a few years back which is available on the main page of our youtube channel. on to the main program. how did we end up with the first motion picture unit? after the bombing of pearl
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harbor and the united states entry into world war ii, there was an urgent need to train millions of men very quickly. film number one, education had been proven to be an effective and efficient method that could also be used for recruitment and morel purposes. when the united states ramped up production of munitions and aircraft, the united states military turned to film to teach men how to use them. demand in march of 1942, the commander army air forces devised a plan with jack warner of warner bros. studios to create a separate filmmaking unit for the army and air force. remember, at the start of the war, the air force was only a itnch of the army and depended on the army signal corps for filmmaking needs. the general believed they needed their own film making unit. it
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depended on the army signalin oa distinct units, so the idea of the first major motion picture unit was born. over three years, the first motion picture unit had over hundreds of films and recruited members from the ranks of the studios. notably stars such as ronald reagan, william holden, clark gable, whose films can be seeing today. the army-air force contracted warner bros. to make several films to serve their needs. at the top of the list was a recruitment film called "winning your wings," that would recruit airmen to fly the 10th of -- tens of thousands of airplanes. lieutenant james stewart, you probably recognize him, was the act in thert to film. he had enlisted in 1941. enlisted as a private, made full colonel by the end of the year. stuart struggled to be assigned combat duty.
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he was understandably peeved when he received orders to make "winning your wings." importancen the film and he got on board. it was so successful it resulted in hundreds of new recruits. our clip today is from the opening of ", winning your wings" where we see lieutenant james stewart. ♪
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james stewart: well, hello. looks like i am back in the movies again, huh? as a matter of fact, i like to do some talking. don't go away until i get this thing off. i want to speak of my favorite subject, the army air force. i cannot speak from long service . i've only been in the service one year, but i have learned a lot about with the service has
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to offer. right now, the greatest mass mobilization in the history of the world is taking place. towns,m cities, farms, married men, single men, brothers, sweethearts, businessmen, people from the factories, students from high school and college, everyone from everywhere they are mobilizing in joining up. this war we are fighting today, tomorrow, and the next day, until we win is a war of the air. the whole world knows that. our factories know that. so interceptors, light bombers, are rolling out of those factories. 65,000 fighting planes this year. 100,000 fighting planes next year. to keep them flying, 2 million men. now, that is where you come in. the army-air force needs 15,000
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captains, 40,000 lieutenants, 35,000 flying sergeants. how about it? ♪ >> sorry. another the warner brothers recruitment films was made before the motion picture was activated was not released until 1943. this film stars burgess meredith. you might know him better as the penguin from batman and he is a prolific actor, theater actor, he had already been innate prominent role in the adaptation of "of mice and men" and of course, ronald reagan in the bottom right hand corner. the film emphasizes everyone as a role to play. it follows meredith's character
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as he learns his small stature is actually ideal for the position of rear gunner. most of those as red gunners and doubles came in roles. ronald reagan was the chief personnel officer. in july of 1942, the first motion picture unit began production in hollywood. the unit was mostly staffed by hollywood veterans, writers, producers, technicians, and actors. as you can see in this still, the unit operated like any hollywood studio with one major difference, all of its members were in uniform. the first film of the unit turned out to be a bit to run down for the purposes so they moved to another studio. they had joined the army signal legendary also a
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comedy producer and responsible for the "our gang" series. by march 1943, the first motion picture unit for the "our gang" series. produced their first film which showed pilots examining their mistakes in the afterlife. this is important that we are not going into too much say, but in addition to the recruitment films, the first major motion picture unit was also in charge overseeing combat motion in the units and it was incorporated into the films and used for intelligence purposes. they had a very important job and on the front lines. filmnext clip is from a made about the motion picture unit. the film is 20 minutes and can be found on our youtube channel. we will show you about six minutes today. ♪ >> well, the big day finally --
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[no audio] >> sorry. ♪ force'sis the army air first motion picture unit in california. here we produce inspirational films which graphically illustrate what we are fighting for, what we are fighting against and what we are fighting with. today, the army air forces bases a task of training men by the millions. ismand and maintain it, it always having ever-increasing numbers against the enemies. the maximum number of men and the minimum amount of time and to inspire them, as well as instruct them. activating many specialized organizations such as this. mainly from the motion picture industry come the men of the motion picture unit.
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firstthey are writers, directors, actors, electricians, cameramen, sound recorders. men carefully chosen from among the most proficient film technicians available. men with long years of training in the art and science of major motion pictures. while they are making pictures for the army, the army is making soldiers of them. they are specialists, yes, but first and foremost, they are soldiers. they've got to do their job the army way. they have to be strictly g.i. from directive to finished film, the course of the major motion picture project is set by the production office. here, the script is broken down, converted to minutes by men, money and materials. the production office coordinates and expedite the operations of many different
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departments that make up the first major motion picture unit. of all the weapons of world war ii, none has proved more effective than words. words are particularly potent when used by the major picture writer. his medium is a young, vital and compelling force, one whose possibilities for visual education are endless. virtually unexplored. these writers work in close ngc'st with collaborating -- agencies to secure information throughout the country. these structures are the soundstages of the first major motion picture unit. especially designed and structured for film purposes, soundproofed, air-conditioned, and they cover an area of 78,000 square feet. on a single stage measuring 236 has long, 60 feet high, it
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plenty of space so separate production units can operate simultaneously. here's one section of stage five, where filming is about to begin on filming train project to 26, instrument flight. final check and director calls. >> quiet, please. here we go. rolling. [ bell rings] >> quiet. the art department is an example of how the art of peace turns to ardmore. they translate training film scripts into practical terms of sketches, architectural floor plans, blueprints. often, they make up miniature models of sets built to scale. they are exact replicas and in every respect. here is a model from stage five,
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set in south africa. this preplanning saves precious man-hours and materials and enables the first motion picture unit to turnset in south africas that are economical as well as effective. here is another model of headquarters somewhere in the south pacific. one of the sets and project 10-24. recognition of the japanese zero fighter. >> reporting for duty, sir. >> glad to have you with us, lieutenant. >> glad to be here, major. >> we could certainly use you. sit down. cigarette? >> thank you, sir. >> how was the flight over? >> i made it, sir with the p 40. >> you like the p 40. >> yes, sir. a nice airplane. >> good. maybe we can count on you not to shoot any down. >> i did not have any plans, sir. >> that has been done, you know. >> you mean jet pilots? >> i mean american pilots. men with as much enthusiasm for the p 40 as you have, what the
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inability to tell a friend from an enemy. men>> here, members of a bomber crew are being made up for crash scenes in filming project emergency care of paratroop 10-10. casualties. first, there is a foundation of heavy grease paint. and then with other chemicals and strokes of a blending brush , he makes them look like this on the screen. narrator: not many months ago, these serious soldier artists were the very men who put life and laughter in mickey mouse. today, they had turned their attention to technical things. things like the trajectory of a bomb, the innerworkings of flight instruments. things the student airman must know and the animated sequence of a training film can teach.
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complex operations or minute mechanical details the camera areot capture in actuality authentically illustrated in the drawings of these artists. famed for his resourcefulness as the motion picture property men. no matter how unusual the article or product needed for a film, the property man has to fr know where to get it or how to make it. his department to with the warehouse and museum houses thousands of assorted objects. at a moments notice, he can provide a b-4 bag, a boomerang pedestal, or bananas. , a >> in the clip you just watched, you heard the types of films reduced by the first motion picture unit described as instructional, operational, inspirational and above everything the films were practical, addressing specific needs of the army-air force. one urgent problem in the
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pacific theater was some pilots failure to tell the difference between japanese and american airplanes, leading to incidents of friendly fire. the solution was recognition of the japanese fighter. the film starred a recent japanese fighter, as well as lieutenant ronald reagan. you sought a short clip in the excerpt but the real utility of first the film comes from animated sequences showing the differences, which i highlighted on the screen. these sequences are accompanied by a dramatic story, showing reagan's character, who thinks he knows his stuff, making in all too common mistake. ♪ >> the big day finally came. he was on his own.
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he was keyed up, wouldn't you be? do not expect too much, lieutenant. not on your first day. say something? a plane, all right. what sort? friend or enemy? p-40 or zero? now is the time to remember your recognition. radiator roundp tail, curved at the nose in-line , engine? then it is a p-40, or doesn't have an oil cooler and air scoop? radial engine? if it has, then it is a zero. hard to tell from here. maybe you can come closer. [engine noise] hard to tell from here.
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take another look. make sure. [engine noise] [shooting] [engine noise] >> now look at that plane. that is no zero. that is a p-40. how do you think he missed? look, it is coming back. would you like to take another shot at it? >> rub it in. >> you have got it coming to you. >> wish i could apologize from here. shot at it?>> in the end, he vid
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himself following the identification checklist laid out by the film and downing a zero. copy we scanned from that comes from the ronald reagan library. another famous face in the motion picture unit was clark gable, who joined to honor his late wife carole lombard who had recently died in a plane wreck. after completing the air force is rigorous candidate officer school, he received command of the six major motion unit, operating the first bombers to england. he earned an intermittent and distinguished flying cross. he returned to hollywood to edit the film shot overseas and the footage was used in a number of first unit motion picture films, most notably one produced by
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gable. he was also called upon to narrate a film recruiting men to be in the air force titled "wings up." ♪ >> one flying fortress. now visiting the pacific. pretty, isn't it? it has been flying for 3000 miles. unfortunately, it is lost. it is this man's fault. his nerve is gone. everything he has taught has left him. [ominous music] ♪ >> pity is they got through their objective. had to fight off half a dozen
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planes besides. now, they are lost on the way back. one week late. the chain. too bad. for our side. that plane was worth $350,000. i do not know what amount you would put on the man. how much would you take for your life? why did this man get your job? isn't there an x-ray machine it can look into a man and say -- "he will do." yes, there is such a machine that looks into man's mind, hearts and souls, and find them adequate. it is the army air force academy situated in florida. -- i sustain the wings. these men and their minds, their
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discipline on the hope that we will always keep them flying. how does this school test these men? how does it expose those who must not lead and teach those who can tell lead? where do we get those men? that is important enough to know. >> this film provides an overview of a program explicitly designed to weed out the men who could not perform under the pressure of combat. in the next clip, we can see what some of the recruits were subjected to. >> still the same day they are being processed, what is your name? look at, mr., here it comes. you are a real estate agent, mr. question mark when you hit that bottom step, your shoulders are back, and your hat is straight. jump. how old are you?
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you get 25 wrinkles under that chin. you have a girl? two? two more wrinkles for them? get that chest up in the air, get it up. way up. more wrinkles. when i tell you to jump, i want you to jump this high. what did you come down for mr.? wipe that smile off your face? through and on the ground. step on it. doubletime. halt. you are in it now, mr.. for the next six weeks until you are upperclassman, you move only at doubletime. west point is not harder. every waking minute is accounted for and deliberately arranged so you must hurry, hurry, hurry. you are allowed seven hours sleep. you will be lucky and a bright student if he can manage you are five. not privileged to eat or drink in any public place. you cannot even go out of your room to visit. hey, is this necessary?
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maybe you are not the kind of person who commends himself to this is a plan. you know it is necessary, but it is not for you. you are too dignified. or maybe you have your pride. that is all right, mr.. just resign. nothing will happen to. you will go back to your old rank. nobody will hold it against you, unless you hold it against yourself. but we want to find out now whether you have been picked to command can learn to obey. the soldier who cannot stand up under strict regulations, discipline, and restrictions, cannot discipline himself or others. this is where we must find out. not here when all these lives are involved. >> remember, clark gable would have undergone this kind of training himself.
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now i will hand it back to audrey. audrey: the next two films feature two parts of the same process. now i will hand it back to audrey. gathering and analyzing aerial photograph intelligence. you will notice they don't have very interesting titles. most of these films to not have interesting titles because they were made for internal use, so they tell us exactly what they are. the first is a process training film that focuses on the steps and process and names of units that participate. while parts of the film are really dry, there is a strong attempt to overlay a storyline featuring a reconnaissance pilot seen an old friend to service in the navy. in the top right-hand, you can see captain tim grover on the left, and his friend in the middle. he serves as the audience
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surrogate who listens as captain grover explains photographic intelligence. photographic intelligence for bombarded aviation also features a captain who is a sherlock homes-type photo analyst. you see him in the last two stills with his pipe and magnifying glass. the basil rathbone series of sherlock holmes movies were being released at this time, so it would've been identifiable and entertaining for the audience of young trainees. when the film was made, the actor was a rising star with popularity growing and a cachet of productions before he joined the army that hit screens in 1943. he was released from the military by the end of the year, and return to hollywood. you might know him best if you'd do not know him from this he was in the western classic "shane"
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later on in the 1950's. the first clip, somebody demonstrates his last sherlock abilities as the investigator reads the photographs and makes an important discovery. >> just a moment, captain. excuse me. i noticed hamburg area is being one covered exhaustively. i am curious to know why. what are you after? i can't understand the blacked out area. what is it guarding? >> i wondered about that myself. any ideas? >> you notice this shadow here? >> might be the top of a fence or a long wall. >> it is a roof, i think. sometimes empty, sometimes full. >> just doesn't make sense. >> any clues from other intelligence sources? >> no. i checked underground, refugees,
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people in other territory reports. there's no information from that source. i guess i better get going. >> i better not keep the colonel waiting. >> no. >> wait a minute! look here. what do you make this? >> looks like another shadow for only this one is not in line with the first one. >> you don't suppose -- >> of course! it is a roof, too. >> you mean all one building extending to the pond? >> what is the matter with me? that is no pond, that is a drain. >> for what? water tunnels -- >> water tunnels. look. here is the building. here is the drain. it is shaped like this, long and narrow. >> i can see the other edge of the roof now, under camouflage. what sort of building do think
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it is question mark >> a testing base. -- think it is? >> a testing base. >> for submarines? >> that's right. >> captain smith. >> just a moment. >> i have been waiting for you in navy. >> i'm sorry, sir. >> sir, it looks like captain smith caught onto something we have been after. >> what is that? >> a testing base for submarines. same principle as a wind tunnel for aircraft. >> a submarine testing plant that far from the harbor? we never thought of looking so far inland. they manufacture important new parts here and test them on the submarine in that base. >> well, captain, i will have to forgive you for keeping me waiting. >> i should have figured it out long ago. i see it all now. as it there were no camouflage their it all -- there at all.
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>> well, what happened? >> i have been waterlogged long enough. did they get it? >> they blew it to hell and gone. ♪ >> the second film is what the first motion picture unit would describe as inspirational. with the first being instructional. rather than focus on the details of the process, the reconnaissance pilot seeks to tell viewers how they should feel about their work. as film stars a young actor a son of the air force pilot and lieutenant cummings is a superior pilot and as a son of resentful and he is assigned to be recognizance pilot rather than a fighter pilot as he expected.
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he views it as being too far from the action, particularly after his father was killed in action and yet that point once was that the more than to get revenge by downing japanese planes. in our first clip, lieutenant cummings gets a taste of the excitement he craves when he is pursued by five japanese zero fighter planes. >> now a full-fledged photo joe and the main gripes you. you are fed up to the ears, but nothing you can do about it. you do your job is well and is -- and you keep your beef to yourself. you fly that milk run to korea. you photograph jungles and beaches, but a tree is a tree and san is a beach and from five miles up, they look alike. the war seems far away. you realize men are fighting and dying in the pictures you get.
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it seems as remote to you as if you read about it in the newspaper. more months pass. more months past. you have photographed it so many times you know it like the palm of your hand but you have never seen an airplane there. as far she concerned it is a waste of time. you are knocking off at 350 miles an hour and 28,000 feet. and you see trouble. 5-0.trol, a you drop your tanks. they do not want you to photograph that air drum. why? your oxygen is gone. down you go. without oxygen, you can only stay conscious for 30 seconds. your heart hammers. you try to keep from lacking -- from blacking out.
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you have a job to do. photograph that aerodrome below you. get your camera. put up everything you've got. your camera is running. you look down. there is nothing they are. -- there is nothing there. you can't figure it out. get in those clouds! >> the exciting scene concludes with lieutenant cummings leading -- evading the japanese planes and causing one of them to crash into the water, which fills them with pride by gets them grounded.
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his determination to complete his mission despite being under attack actually resulted in 200 downed planes. >> it came out all right. the destruction of that japanese air flight time you your lesson. now you know the war will end that much sooner. >> first lieutenant cummings, distinguished service cross. >> congratulations, lieutenant cummings. you can say you were responsible for the destruction of 200 enemy aircraft. your father would've been very proud of you. >> yes, sir. >> you have been on 52 missions.
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now they are going to send you home to instruct. think of the yarns you can spill to your kids. because, brother, you have been to war. >> she wants to know what it was like. you will tell her, someday. but right now you do not feel like talking. >> wasn't so bad. >> it was not bad at all. of course, what would i do without this? ♪ > narrator: the film you have seen just now is fiction, of course. but the adventures i went through were real. these are the two men who did the things on which it was based. this is the most decorated recon pilot.
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he forced the japanese plane into the water. 100 days in the jungles. they are home on leave and then they will return to the south pacific. is there anything you would to say to them? >> i'm not good at this, i get nervous. >> not as many automobiles or reckless drivers. in the south pacific. >> a lovely little ad-on their. -- add-on there. a year after this, he lost his own brother to the war. his brother was a navy fighter pilot killed in action. bill holden went on to film a string of classics, most notably [sunsetted boulevard." -- most notably "sunset boulevard." and "bridge on the river
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kwai." the first motion picture unit also recognized the power of animation. trigger joe was an animated character with voice provided by mel blanc, probably doing contract work. trigger joe only appears briefly in a lesson for gunners. you can see much of the film is a geometry lesson and training gunners to anticipate the position of an enemy fighter and accurately target it. in the following clip, we see trigger joe putting his training to work.
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[video clip] >> remember these three points, shooting only when he is attacking you and is in range. aim between the target and the tail of your bombers. estimate the approach angle and apply the correct deflection. that is the story. think you can do it? >> certainly. give me a plane. >> ready? here he comes. well? >> goes kind of fast, don't it? >> only a few seconds. >> how about some practice on a few slower ones. >> if you're sure >> oh, i got it. >> here is the plane.
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>> first i see if it is an enemy plane, i attack it. not yet, but he looks suspicious. line-up and wait for him to get in range. there he is. hold it! hold it! i have a lot of figuring. i am going this way, he is going this way. 90 degrees. in range. i guess i can shoot. ok, let him come. hold it, that is to seconds. -- two seconds. now he is back here. right there. start him again! how did i do? >> didn't miss a thing. how about taking one full speed? >> ok, why not? first i got to identify him. he's enemy, all right. looks like he is an enemy, all
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right. looks like the same guy. maybe i will get him this time. approach the tail, -- [gunfire] >> trigger! look at the plane. >> it works. i'll be a sad sack of -- ♪ >> trigger joe was very popular and effective. one film columnist celebrated the picture that could replace
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14 days and 12 minutes. the production team included actors later with upa, the home of mr. mcgill and frank -- the home of mr. magoo, and frank thomas. there were also lay him to and live in the jungle, which teach men how to survive in the jungle, desert, and other environments until rescued. with preparation and ingenuity, flight crews could u survive. [video clip] >> the jungle. it looked so soft and easy from maybe-25 upstairs. but downstairs it looks very different. there is a five-man crew in it somewhere. >> this is sergeant ford, a gunner. used to work in spokane, washington.
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never spent a day in the woods. since all except him and the pilot bailed out together, there is a good chance of being hurt if he yells. >> hello! hello! >> no answer. not at first. a little later he hears somebody else. >> hey, no! >> then he season. -- then he seems them. the navigator. a steady, dependable guy who was a high school football coach before the war. a good man to have around in an emergency. >> hello there. >> how are you, are you all right? >> ok, fine. >> sergeant ford is about aboutworried leaving his parachute in the treetop. >> he feels it will be a good marker for a searching plane to
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spot. four out of five accounted for. they are lucky to have land close by. if not, it would've taken a lot longer to get together. >> "land and live in the jungle" was about being stuck in the jungle, some following procedure and one not. his situation is contrasted with that of his crew who are following procedure are much better off. [video clip] itlooking ahead, playing smart. while they are eating, 10 miles away harrison is standing and drooling. he drools four minutes. anything a monkey will eat is good for a man. a simple jungle rule it took him
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two days to get. he is so busy he does not see trouble coming. storm clouds. the crew sees them though, and they are picking their way downstream, one of the fastest, easiest ways to travel. they do not waste any time getting to high ground. in the tropics steams flood in a -- streams flood in a flash. if it looks like rain, no time should be lost providing shelter. you can build aileen-two -- you can coverto and you it with a parachute. since it is not completely
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waterproof you should cover the parachute with banana leaves which are best if you can find them. start at the bottom in work up so the rain will run off easily. harrison is caught short with no time to rig up adequate protection. he could cover his shelter with large leaves but that might be using his head. a fire would be a big help. you would think you would not to strip know enough the wet bark from his one or whittle some dry shavings. naturally, his fire is a great success. and so he sits and shivers and soaks. although with a little common sense, he too could've had a fire under cover in and he, too,
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could have been warm and dry. >> after the crew has located the plane, with the hope of the -- help of the local village they ultimately rescue harrison who has at that point contracted malaria. [video clip] >> the village throws a party for him. in a few days, harrison will be well enough to travel and head for the coast where they will be picked up. ♪ >> well, that is it. that is the works. you have seen the jungle book -- both ways. it can be tough or easy. tough if you do not know what you are doing and have not got your equipment. a lot easier if you follow the. -- the book.
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you can live in the jungle, even alone and like it. but you have to be prepared and you cannot he afraid. there is only one answer to fear. knowledge. so if you do land in the jungle, then land and live. ♪ >> there again, the van heflin referenced doing things by the book and pay did have a little book on how to survive in the jungle and the arctic. van heflin served as a combat cameramen during the war. >> "wings for this man" is thefirst film about tuskegee airmen.
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the negro soldier was also shown to white soldier. at several points in the film, in the knowledge is the racism faced by the air men, noting in order for the tuskegee training program to even exist miss understandings distrust and prejudiced had to be cleared away. clip] these in addition to
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fighter groups, this began to train men for medium bombers. that too was a pioneer. step. it proved you cannot judge a man here by the color of his eyes are the shape of his notice. -- or the shape of his nose. you judge him by the way he flies. here is the answer. here's the answer to the propaganda of the japs and nazis. here is the answer. wings for this man. here is the answer. wings for these americans. squadron after squadron out of tuskegee. flying p-40's and striking with p-47's and riding the mustangs. it was never easy for these men. they were pioneers, yet no pioneer has it easy. they fought lies, heartbreak, they won.
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now they fight the enemy. on his own soil. [gunfire] >> that was some of the combat footage that would have been captured by units trained by the first motion picture unit unit. the accomplishments of the tuskegee airmen helped make way for the integration by order of president truman in 1956. -- in 1948. in this presentation you have only seen a small part of what is held at the national archive. it is the 70th anniversary of the unit. the exact date was september 16. almost all of the films we
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on youtube ande -- in their entirety. we hope to be adding more as we digitize. you can also visit the research room at our facility in college park. if there is a reference copy you can view it that day, if there is not yet a reference copy will be scanned by the researchers and made available. if you are interested in reading more, here is an article we rely ied on in our research. doug cunningham is working on a book about the unit and mark betancourt has a book that is engaging that is available online currently. there is also a documentary made in 1977 that is a really good -- made in 1997 that is a really good overview of the unit. our presentation will be available online so it you can
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come find it and get all of this information off of that. here's the address for the national archive and our youtube channel where you can find more information about the films both military and civilian held at the national archive. now we have some time for questions. thank you so much. >> that was so informative and interesting. i invite anybody who is in our audience, let me, pierce liking it on-camera. anybody with this in the theater if you have any questions, think about it. we ask you to use the microphone or maybe we can read the questions. in the meanwhile i have a
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question that came from our online audience and it kind of captured my imagination. he asked, did the first major motion picture have a patch for the unit? >> yes. it is on wikipedia. it is a little cartoon that looks like it was done by a disney animator. it looks like snow white and the seven dorms. -- and the seven dwarfs. he is piloting a little fighter plane. i do not know if it was a patch bed it was an insignia that was adopted. and they had a motto that was "we kill 'em, with fil-m." >> that was good, i'm glad you had an answer so fast! anyone else?
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>> [indiscernible] [inaudible] >> the question was, were there any classified films? i am not an expert in the closet -- in green classification. almost everything from world war ii and has been declassified. there would be exceptions related to nuclear technology. ofthe time, there are a lot things classified because one of the things they did is that they a full-scaled model. there is a great film that shows how -- that film is classified. they had a full-scale model of japan that they would make a film to prepare the pilots to go do a bombing run. they would have a little camera that would run over it to show exactly where they needed to go. that is all declassified now. great question.
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>> [inaudible] before america got involved, did they create films during the -- the battle of britain -- [inaudible] was this unit together at that point? >> the question is whether the first motion picture unit unit would have sent people out to britain to capture films before america got into war? the first motion picture unit would not have done that because it had not been film jet but -- been formed yet, but some of the people may have worked as newsreel photographers or another capacities where they would have been in europe capturing that footage of news
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films so it is very likely. there was some crossover. >> if you are interested in military films for the battle of britain there is the "why we fight" series created by frank capra for the army signal division. it is available on our youtube channel if you like to view them. >> [inaudible] >> i can't say for sure but that was my impression, they were sort of motivational and widely used. ok, a broad question. let's see how you can do. off-topic but how much combat footage is available from world war ii and indexed by date, location, or unit?
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>> so, there is a full series. 1-11 adc. that would be signal corps. rg-111 is signal corps. i'm not the right person to ask. they are all described. you can look for the descriptions and our catalog. combat footage and everything they were filming. the raw footage for everything the signal corps was filming. >> there are different record groups. the marine corps i think has record 428. 428 is navy. guard.s coast >> sorry. >> we get them confused each branch of the military was collecting films and they would've ended up at the national archives.
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there are a lot of different record groups. >> and there is a lot. >> [inaudible] >> i am sorry. that was a question about the treatment of the pows in the united states versus in japan or germany. >> as airman. >> as airmen.
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>> [inaudible] >> a really good question i do not know the answer to. sorry. >> [inaudible] >> so sorry. maybe someone else could answer that. >> [inaudible] >> we certainly -- did not exist after the war because hal roach came back. he started making films again.
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all of the men who worked there went back to their regular jobs but the air force did continue to make films. it was just not in that exact place or that particular formulation. but they continued with air force films and they took very good care of their film so all of the films are generally in very good condition. you asked if the first major motion picture unit disbanded at the end of the war. >> i know they were also known as the base unit but as far as i can tell, i did not find references to that unit after the war. >> so obviously, in europe i know that -- [indiscernible] -- [inaudible]
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>> so the question, i actually do not know a lot about this. the question was about whether britain and the allied countries had their own film units. the answer would be yes. we have the one we did a full restoration on. 70th anniversary of d-day. "true glory." a full digital restoration, a combined effort of the u.s. and its allies. also famously, the footage from d day is actually not footage that we shot. it is that we got copies from.
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our allies. so they did have their own. it was important to both document and training and morale purposes. >> sorry. ofwhat do you think technology that was developed during world war ii for photography do you think is most important, if there was one? >> really hard question. >> i am not sure what the most important would be. the question is, yeah, they developed a lot of done cameras -- gun cameras that they would shoot in sync with the guns on the airplanes. that is the only piece of technology i can remember reading about in my research by the first motion picture unit really did -- they innovated with healthy used techniques -- how to use the techniques
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with movie making to me the -- meet the needs of the military organization and a very entertaining and effective way and that is kind of the biggest innovation of the motion picture unit. >> great. thank you so much. great questions. the purpose of the new record program is to teach you about the records programs and teach you how to use some. i think this presentation has fulfilled that goal. thank you. so, if we did not get to your question if you can't remember, you can please note this video recording is available online on the youtube channel. on behalf of the national
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archives i want to thank you for joining us today. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] this weekend on american history tv on c-span 3. today, at 6 p.m. eastern on the civil war. keelly, author of "for their own cause" on southern morale after black troops were assigned to guard confederate prisoners. >> one might assume that is why they chose these black troops, because in the mid-19th century most people did believe black men were not talented or brave enough to fight. lectures inn history, middle tennessee state university professor ashley riley souza on native americans
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and trade in 19th-century california. >> the indian men are cowboys and they are dressed like a ma riachi band. that kind of shows you the value that missionaries placed oinn the work these cowboys did. they were allowed to ride horses , for been to indians and secondly they dressed pretty nice. >> and sunday at 7 p.m. on oral history, we continue our series on photojournalists with david velde as, the former director of the white house photo office under president george h.w. bush. >-- david valdez. >> if i say something about his hair and his hair looks nice, no one will ever believe this was not set up. i just took the photo. and wound up running two full pages in life magazine and, then over the next 20 years or so,it
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was classic moments in life. in 2011, it was selected in the issue on the best photos in "life" magazine for the past 75 years. >> american history tv, all weekend, every weekend only on c-span 3. >> everything was devastating for him at the end. he was really isolated and alone. >> sunday night on q&a, author and professor emeritus at amherst college -- and his biography " gorbachev." >> he trusted the russian, soviet people. he trusted them to follow him where they had never gone before. that is to democratize their country in a few short years. he trusted them to follow him as he moved the country toward a market economy from a command economy. he trusted them to follow him and trust him as he made peace
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against the ancient enemy, the united states. so, he trusted them too much it turned out. >> sunday night at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a. >> since 2011, architect and preservationist has been visiting and compiling a data base of former slave dwellings in the united states. her work includes architectural documentation, photography, interpretation and preservation of slave history. up next, on american art facts, -- artifacts, we travel to southern virginia near the north carolina border to visit the former brandon plantation and learn about her saving slave houses project. she is joined by several archeologists. and a team who came along to document the plantation with a series of 3-d laser scans.


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