tv [untitled] May 29, 2012 9:00pm-9:30pm EDT
politics and public affairs programming throughout the week and every weekend 48 hours of people and events telling the american story on american history tv. get our schedules and see past programs at our websites. and you can join in the conversation on social media sites. american history tv in primetime continues tomorrow night on c-span3. we start at 8:00 eastern with a look at the presidency and civil rights. we'll hear from historians, civil rights leader, and former white house staff members about civil rights policy from fdr's presidency to today. american history tv in primetime all week on c-span3. now three veterans of the army's 101st airborne division and a holocaust survivor on their experiences during world war ii. they're joined by two actors who appeared in the hbo mini series "band of brothers" which portrays the lives of the soldiers in the 101st airborne
division. the world war ii foundation hosted this event. it's about two hours and 10 minutes. ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming tonight. a special occasion here in boston. my name is tim gray. i'm the chairman of the world war ii foundation, which is a 50 c-3, organization. correct, mr. denning? b-17 pilot in world war ii. 33 missions. [ applause ] you do have to behave. this is not conan o'brien. so we have to keep everything pretty quiet and pretty -- pretty quiet. the 501c-3 world war ii foundation is dedicated to preserving the stories of the veterans of world war ii. we travel all over the world. some of you have seen the brochure that we had out front. we go to guadalcanal. we go to berlin. we go to normandy, spend a lot
of time in normandy. holland, belgium. we take veterans back to the places where they fought. many of you may not know that we're losing 1,000 world war ii veterans a day. 30,000 a month. and of the 16 million americans who served in world war ii there are only about 2.3 million left. so we're losing these guys rapidly. we're losing the stories and the lessons of freedom and preserving our freedom that they fought so hard for. so we welcome you tonight to this occasion. we have some thank yous. little things we have to get out of the way first before we get out the guys. and they're back there telling dirty jokes. so we're going to let them get that out of the way before they come out. but you know, first off the boston seaport hotel and their staff. we've had these events all over the country. and i can tell you honestly, there has not been a more helpful group of people putting this event together than the
seaport hotel staff. they have been just over the top with this. they recognize what the event's about. and they've been tremendous. and mariana akomando is the events coordinator here. and she -- if you're having an event coming up, say, you're having a wedding or something. i don't want to force the issue on anybody. but if you are having a wedding, this is the place to have it because they are just tremendous. i also want to thank tonight's event committee, mark romano, tom curry, mark bataglini and tom lyons, and thank you to senator scott brown, who was here earlier but had to go. he's got a full schedule tonight. so he was able to meet the veterans and greet them. some other people, george luz jr. george's dad was featured in band of brothers and george is my omar bradley. while i'm sitting there like eisenhower -- i don't smoke. but if i did smoke i'd be like -- george is the guy who calms me down and tells me, hey, everything's going to be okay, i'll take care of all the little details. and you need little details in
"operation overlord" and other things, the invasion of normandy. lou le doux from a.c. bats donated the bats out front that we're selling tonight. and we've really benefited from his involvement. he's a board member of the foundation. we have some silent action items. all the items out there that we're selling tonight raised money for the foundation and its mission so we can go to place like guadalcanal and normandy and take these veterans back and get their personal histories. there is no more incredible experience than walk the battlefield in belgium or in normandy with a veteran and their vivid recollection. any veteran who served in a war knows that they can recall pretty much everything about the battle they were in. and the world war ii veterans, even though they are getting older, their memories are quite vivid and it provides some great documentaries. and we're selling some of our emmy award-winning documentaries out there to benefit the foundation. big thank you to all the sponsors listed on tonight's program and all the volunteers who helped tonight.
we would also like to recognize some gentlemen this particular evening. randy webb and trey harrison. their team from source one distributors. in about two months we're dedicating a monument in normandy to major dick winters, who was the leader of the band of brothers. and major winters passed away last year. and unfortunately, his wife, ethel, just passed away yesterday. and this monument, when we approached major winters about the monument, he said, "i'm in favor of it under one condition. that you recognize every division that fought. every u.s. army division that fought on d-day." and on june 6th, in normandy with the help of kurt schilling who's ourn board, governor tom ridge and some others, we are going to be dedicating a 13-foot-high monument in the village of st. marie dumont recognizing not only major winters' contributions in that area but the contributions of all the american divisions who led the way on d-day. source one and circuit usa have agreed to be our title sponsor
just recently of the richard winters dedication. and if randy webb and trey harris could stand up, it means an awful lot to us. we'd like to recognize them for their -- [ applause ] the documentary part of the richard winters leadership project is being narrated by damian lewis, who played dick winters in "band of brothers." so that will be a special remembrance of major winters and his leadership of combat soldiers in world war ii. finally, we'd like to thank all the veterans who are here tonight not only from world war ii but all the wars and all those who helped preserve our freedom, and we'd like to ask you to please stand briefly so we can recognize the contributions you made to america. [ applause ]
it's always a thrill for me to watch the veterans of today interact with the veterans of world war ii. there's a mutual respect there. and i think a lot of us who haven't been in a war, and i haven't, don't understand. but there's a bond there that remains from generation to generation. you may see a few extra tv cameras here tonight. that's because c-span is here tonight taping this for a future national broadcast. so i need everybody on their best behavior. but we're happy that c-span is here and they recognize the contributions that the veterans make. so look for this in the near future on c-span. so welcome to c-span. okay. it's pretty much showtime at this point. but first, because we do have so many military folks here tonight, we always like to start out an event like this with the national anthem. so i would ask you all please to rise, and we'll play the national anthem and get on with our event. ♪
♪ >> okay. that, by the way, is a shot of overlooking omaha beach in normandy. it looks a little more peaceful than it did on june 6th, 1944. so i thank my editor and photographer, jim karpachek for putting that together. time now to meet the boys. wow. the boys. it's going to be a fun night. so if you like to laugh and
learn about history, then these are the guys that you want to hear it from. so i'm going to open up the magic door and see if the wizard is ready. babe went to the bathroom. [ laughter ] we will move on. he played joe liebgott in "band of brothers" and was recently seen in the popular tv show "white collar." direct from montreal, where he is on leave from the movie set. from the great country of scotland, where they all talk funny, mr. ross mccall. [ applause ] he plays frank percante in "band of brothers." in his younger days he also
appeared in the movie "hook," directed by steven spielberg, and "basketball diruariesdiarie guy by the name of leonardo dicaprio. he is a great writer, prosecution and actor. and despite the fact he's from new york city and a yankees fan, he is a good guy, too. mr. james madio. [ applause ] time now to meet our easy company veterans. he was wounded in episode 4 of "band of brothers," the "replacements" episode, coming to the aid of lieutenant robert brewer, who was shot in the neck outside of neunan, holland. please welcome easy company medic mr. al mampre. [ applause ]
our next veteran was an original taccoa man. he was wounded in carentan, france just after d-day. if you've seen the tv series, you remember the scene in carentan episode where the building he was clearing was hit by a mortar round. in fact, ross mccall, who played joe lieggott in the series came to his aid in the hbo series. he is from the great state of colorado and a big denver broncos fan. mr. ed tipper. [ applause ] hello, sir.
our final easy company veteran joining us tonight is simply known as babe. he joined easy as a replacement just after normandy and in time for operation market garden. in the tv series he bumped into another south philly guy named wild bill garn yooer, and the two have been best friends ever since. he was featured throughout the final seven episodes of "band of brothers." please welcome edward "babe" heffron from south philly. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you. >> our final guest tonight knows all too well the horror of war. he was 14 when the nazis entered his city of plotz, poland.
his mother, father, and younger brother were murdered in the tr treblinka concentration camp. he survived slave labor camps and finally a stay in the infamous auschwitz birkenau concentration camp. and he unfortunately has the tattoo on his arm to prove that. please welcome holocaust survivor mr. israel arbeiter. [ applause ] gentlemen, please be seated. have a seat. relax. this evening one of the interest things we like to do is encourage audience participation. so if you have a question about the series. if you have a question about what it was like to be in
auschwitz, we are going to be passing around a microphone tonight. and we encourage you to please ask questions. we want it, again, to be as interactive as possible because so many of you have seen the series. so many of you have read about auschwitz and the killing of over a million people in the most infamous concentration camp in world war ii. so we're going to start the panel off with a couple questions from the floor down here. and then please don't be shy. please raise your hand when we call for it, and we'll get some great audience participation from you guys tonight. so we're going to begin actually way question tonight for the actors. for jimmy madio and ross mccall. we've talked about this in the past, jimmy, ross, and i, about what it was like to play these men, these veterans, and what it took. and it took a lot more than people realize.
and these guys went through a boot camp. and they were put through a boot camp by dale dye, who played colonel sink in "band of brothers." and dale dye loves to put people through boot camps because dale dye was a highly decorated officer in vietnam. and he's also a very talented actor. so in order to play these guys they had to experience their own form of boot camp. and ross and jimmy, we'll start with ross, what was it like heading into this and your expectations and all of a sudden you realize, wow, this is a pretty serious thing we're doing? >> well, for me it was -- these guys are sick of hearing this. but being from the british isles, i didn't really know too much about boot camp. so when i was told i was going to boot camp, it kind of sounded like fun to me. and i guess the moment i realized that maybe this was going to be let's call it an enlightening moment in my life
was when i got a -- all the guys got a letter through the mail, and it was hand-typed, from captain dye. and it was dated 1940. and he was welcoming all of us to join this boot camp. and he told us what we were allowed to bring. and you know, i had my nikes ready. i had my sweat pants ready. and i was told to bring nothing except the uniform we'd be wearing and maybe one pair of sweats, i think. we weren't allowed any reading material except for religious reading material. obviously, this was before iphones and, you know, internet access everywhere you go. so we could hand-write letters. and that was basically it. we were told to bring one green towel. and i remember being kind of -- really? it has to be green? okay. and so i get to the studio. and still, you know, i'm aware
that we're going to training. i'm aware the shape we have to be in to match what these men were in. and i knew it was going to be a slog. but i had no idea it was going to be such a slog. and from day one i think within five minutes we were screamed at, yelled at, made to do push-ups in front of, you know, people we didn't know, newfound friends, new actors. i've got to do 20 push-ups in front of this kid? this is -- okay. and we did it. and everybody dug deep. and i've got to say, it turned out to be one of the most exhilarating and exciting experiences of my life. it was -- we always argue about this. some people say yeah, we're in boot camp for three months. we weren't. we were there for two weeks i think. >> 2 1/2. >> 2 1/2. >> 18 days. >> yeah. >> i know. >> maybe i just forgot a lot of it. >> yeah. i think so. three months.
i think 3 1/2 months. >> 18 months we were in boot camp. and it was amazing. and what was great about it was we all stayed in the period. we all stayed in our character names. in fact, a story that we've told many times is we didn't know any of the guys' real names for a good six months. i mean, i was calling jimmy perco for a good year after the show i think. >> maybe more. >> yeah. and so we were all in character. we all knew what we had to portray in these men. and we knew we had to do it justice. so there wasn't any laziness. there wasn't any whining. everybody dug deep. and it was hard. and from what i've heard, actor boot camp, you know, can be a little easygoing. dale dye, who's a dear, dear friend of ours now -- trust me, he wasn't then. but now. he tells it. he put us through our paces. i don't remember the last time i ran a mile and all of a sudden i'm asked to run five miles
every morning. and you know, back in those days we're all a little younger, we're all perhaps, you know, into smoking or drinking or whatever it was. and so we probably weren't the fittest that we could have been. and by god, they whipped us into shape pretty quickly. but also what it did for me was it put me in a mental space and it put me in a space of bonding the guys. and i've said this from day one of the shoot. the genius stroke that the producers made of our show is putting us in a boot camp because it made us tight and it made us a unit. and speaking to servicemen and women around the world since, that's one common factor i hear, is that boot camp just unites you. and that's what it did. it gave me ten immediate brothers. i mean 30 really. but there was ten close-knit guys from the show. and it bonded us to a place where we could be believable as
these good men. we could actually show the world what a tight unit these men were, what easy company was. and to me that was the genius stroke that our big boys pulled off. and i'm sure glad i went through it. and i would do another boot camp tomorrow. i really would. it was hard. we hit walls. it was painful at times. we were sleep deprived. but it was nothing. and we knew it was not a scratch on what these men we were about to portray had gone through. and so with that in our heads we knuckled down and did it. and i'll be forever grateful. there's my story. >> jimmy? >> yeah. i echo a lot that ross said. >> don't because that would be boring. >> yeah, it would. but what -- first off it's -- and i speak for ross in this. it's tough for us to sit up here and babe and these men have heard us many times. it's tough for us to sit up here
with these guys and tell you about our boot camp. i mean, let me -- i like to let them talk first. this is the first time you've done this. so it's -- you know, it's actor's boot camp. but it was something really special. he mentioned 20 push-ups. i don't think i've ever done 20. i remember it being more like 50 each time we hit the deck because i was always in trouble. but it -- and i snuck a camera on. i didn't bring my green towel but i did sneak a camera. but you know, i came from, you know, the streets of the bronx. and you know, we had our own little concrete world going there. so i had no idea what i was in for when i got off that bus. and when we landed, they sort of put us in a hangar. they shaved our heads. well, not shaved. but they gave us haircuts from the era. and they gave us a big green bag.
that was -- i'm not even kidding. the bag was the size of me. and it was just a couple of toiletries, you know, towels and socks and whatever you need to live by. and then they threw us on a bus. and like he said, we didn't know anybody's name. and i just remember getting off that bus. and a lot of people have heard this story, the ludzes. a lot of people have heard this. a few people i've met quite a few times here. we got off the bus. nobody really spoke on the bus. everybody was really like what's going on? we didn't expect this like okay, i don't know who you are, i just got a haircut, i'm on a bus, i don't have my foerngs i have a green bag, now what's going on? now i start to go okay, i thought i'm filming a show. i'm used to like, you know, the perks. and i just get off -- i remember getting off that bus and someone came up to me and he singled me out right away when we all started getting in a line. he ran right up to me, made a
beeline know, and he said, "oh, we got a short guy in our platoon." and he started screaming in my face. "get in line, shorty!" and i just remember going, hey, buddy, listen, no one speaks to me like that. i'm from the bronx. i got a napoleon's complex, and you're about to see it. but for some reason, i don't know what, it made me -- and i didn't answer him. and he goes get down and give me 20. >> and you did. >> i'm like, 20? i'll give you those on one hand, buddy. what do you need? you need 50 of these? we all bonded at that moment. but ross was saying we had to jog five miles. we had to jog -- and forgive me, guys. i know you did a lot more than this. cover your ears. we jogged five miles before we even ate anything. do you remember that? >> yeah. >> we got up and jogged five miles. then we ate. i was like, wait a minute, are you going to feed us? >> 25 miles we jogged. >> we did currahee three times a day. and then we did some weapons
training, some maneuvers and all that stuff. but you know, it was very smart on, you know, tom and steven and the company's to sort of set that up to make it work that way because when you actually got to filming, these directors would come up to you and they would say to you, okay, so you play percante. and they were all great, the directors. so listen, you're cold, you're home sick, you're hungry, and you know, you're tired. and you would just say, okay. roll the camera because i'm cold, i'm home sick, i'm hungry -- roll the camera, why don't you? you're going to get what you need. so it got to that point. and boot camp built that. >> and they also trained us to a way that could at any point during the series say hey, you know what? throw a hand grenade or reload your m-1 or -- you know, they would give you a direction that if you didn't have training you would have to bring somebody in to do. it was just smart. they never cut in for anybody else reloading.
it was all us. >> i'll give you a quick example of us, and i'm sure you want to get to these guys. later on on the episode you showed up on set and i remember one of the directors coming up to me. like i said, she all were fantastic. they said percante. i said yes. they go that's your squad? i said yeah, that's my squad. they said okay, here's where my cameras-r here's the hedge, where where you're going to go and bring these guys. and you just have to go where yours cameras and and he said right there. where are they? they're there, they're -- okay. is this barn in your shot? and they would say yeah, i'm seeing everything, the barn. and i'd say i'm not going behind a hedge. there's a barn right here. i'm not going to go behind trees. a hedge. they'd be like oh, you're right. most of them knew stuff like that. but it just -- sometimes you had to sort of say hey, i think this might work a little bit, i'm going to get in trouble if i don't open my mouth. and the big guys see that i did it. so yeah. you had that sort of thing going on. >> i have a question for al
mampre. al, when someone says you guys are heroes, i know the first reaction right down the line in most veterans that i've ever talked to, when someone says that you guys are heroes, you always say the heroes are the guys who never came home. the guys who were buried over in margrauten, in the normandy american cemetery and in belgium and luxembourg, those are the heroes of world war ii. how often do you think about those guys who never came home? >> well, i -- actually, after the war i went back to school and i put the war behind me and went on with my life. and i didn't really start thinking about fellas that we left behind and my fellas that are still here until just recently when i'd pretty well retired. and i began attending some of these kinds of affairs. and i began to realize that there was a whole part of my life that i'd sort of forgotten. anac