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tv   WWII Films of the First Motion Picture Unit  CSPAN  October 8, 2017 4:30pm-5:39pm EDT

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>> during world war ii, the picture unit was comprised entirely of film industry professionals and many films included hollywood stars like james stewart and ronald reagan. american history tv, national archives motion picture specialist and heidi hellstrom show clips from these films made by the first motion picture unit efforts tohives preserve these films. the national archives hosted this hour-long event. >> today we are broadcasting live from the national archives building in washington, d.c. welcome. 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.
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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 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 the other to live captioning. today's program is entitled "world war ii and the first --ion it sure unit films."
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"world war ii and the first motion picture unit films." they work in the national archives motion picture preservation laboratory. they perform preservation work on motion pictures and records held at the national archives. before joining the 11th 2006, audrey worked with the film collection at a college. heidi completed her education at washington university, earning a masters in history with a certificate in archives and records management. it is a pleasure to have them return to highlight their work. please welcome our presenters audrey and heidi. [applause] audrey: hi. you will be able to find these
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complete films after. we worship -- we work in the lab. we are only touching on handful of these films today. an goal is to provide introduction to these fascinating films, to explain why making them was important to the war effort. berything you see today will available on the national archives youtube channel. so you can go find the complete films later. just a word about us. then we will go very quickly. we work in the motion picture preservation lab. we provide duplication and preservation services. that means we assess deterioration, make new film copies and digitize for access. if you want to know more, please check out the short video we made a a few years back which is available on the main page of our youtube channel.
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it is called "out of the dark." on to the main program. how did we end up with the first motion picture unit? after the bombing of pearl harbor there was an urgent need , to train millions of men very quickly. an effective and efficient method that could also be used for recruitment and morale. when the united states ramped up production of munitions and aircraft, the united states military turned to film to teach men now to use them. to me demand, and march 1942 the commander of 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, the army was only a branch. it depended on the army signal
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corps for their needs. they believed they needed their own film making unit. to promote itself as a distinct unit. the idea of the first major motion picture unit was born. they recruited members from the ranks of the studios. ronald reagan, william holden, clark table, whose films can be seeing today. the army-air force contracted warner others to make several films to serve their needs. at the top of the list was a recruitment film to recruit airmen to fly the 10th of thousands of airplanes. -- tens of thousands of planes rolling off a simply lines. lieutenant james stewart, you
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probably recognize him, was the perfect actor to play in the short film. he had enlisted in 1941. rejected forally being underweight, but he is said to have eaten spaghetti every day to serve his country. enlisted as a private, made full colonel by the end of the year. -- by the end of the war. stewart struggled to be assigned combat duty. he was understandably peeved when he received orders to make "winning your wings." it was so successful it garnered many new recruits. we see lieutenant james stewart in all of his folksy glory. ♪
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james stewart: well, hello. looks like i am back in the movies again, huh? as a matter of fact, i would like to do some talking. don't go away until i get this thing off. it is not like it a cinch or for me to talk to you because it is my favorite subject. the army air force. i cannot speak from long service
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-- long experience. i've only been in the service a year. but i've learned a lot about what the air force has to offer. that's what i want to talk to about. right now, the greatest mass globalization in the history of the world is taking place. men from farms, towns, single men, married then, brothers, sweethearts, businessmen, fathers and sons factory men, , students from high school and college, all over america, everywhere, they are mobilizing and 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. interceptors, light bombers, media mummers, rolling out of the factories. 65,000 fighting planes this year. 100,000 fighting planes next year.
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to keep them flying, 2 million men. now, that is where you come in. the army-air force needs 15,000 captains, 40,000 lieutenants, 35,000 flying sergeants. how about it? ♪ >> sorry. another of the warner brothers recruitment films was made before the motion picture was activated. "the rear gunner" was not released until 1943. the film stars burgess meredith. you might know him better as the penguin from batman and he is a prolific actor, theater actor, already been in an adaptation of "of mice and men" and of course, ronald reagan in the bottom
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right hand corner. the film emphasizes everyone has a role to play. it follows meredith's character as he learns his small stature is actually ideal for the position of rear gunner. rear gunner's -- ronald reagan was the chief personnel officer. in july of 1943, the first motion picture unit began production in in hollywood. the unit was mostly staffed by hollywood veterans, writers, producers, technicians, and actors. the unit operated like any hollywood studio with one major difference, all of its members were in uniform.
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it turned out to be a bit to run down for the purposes so they moved to another studio. it had joined the army signal cold core. legendary comedy producer and responsible for the "our gang" series. by march 1943, they reduced -- produce their first film which showed pilots examining their mistakes in the afterlife. in addition to the recruit and films, the first major motion picture unit was also in charge of overseeing combat motion. video shot by the combat cameramen was incorporated into the films and used for intelligence purposes. they had a very important job and they were on the front lines. is fromt extended clip
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a film the first motion picture unit's made about itself. the complete film is 20 minutes and can be found on our youtube channel. we will show you about six minutes today. shoot. sorry. >> well, the big day finally -- >> wait. sorry -- ♪ >> this is the first motion picture unit in california. here we produce inspirational films which graphically illustrate what we are fighting for, what we are fighting against, i and while we are fighting with. today we face a task of training men by the millions. ever-increasing numbers against the enemies. the maximum number of men and the minimum amount of time. to inspire lit as well as instruct. activating many specialized organizations such as this. mainly from the motion picture
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industry company men of the first motion picture unit. writers, directors, actors, electricians, cameramen, sound recorders. men carefully chosen from among the most efficient 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. first and foremost they are soldiers. they've got to do their job the army way. they have to be strictly g.i. from director to finished film, the course of the major motion richer film is charted by the office. the script is broken down, converted to men, money,
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materials. the production office coordinates and expedite the operations of many different departments that make up the first major motion picture unit. of all the weapons of world war ii none have proved more , effective than words. words are particularly potent when used by the major picture writer. this medium is one that is young, vital, compelling. one whose possibilities for visual education are endless. virtually unexplored. the soldier writers of the first motion picture unit work with collaborating agencies to receive effective structures. these are the sound stages of the first major motion picture unit. especially structured, soundproofed, it air-conditioned. covers an area of 78,000 square
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feet. on a single stage measuring 236 feet long and 46 feet wide, as many as four production units can operate simultaneously. here is one section where filming is about to begin on filming train project 226, training flight. final check and director calls. >> here we go. >> rolling. [bell rings] >> the art department shows how art changes to war. detailed sketches, architectural floor plans, blueprints. miniature models of sets built to scale. exact replicas and every respect.
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here is a model of the said you saw on stage five. in south africa. this precise preproduction planning in the art department saves precious man-hours and materials and allows training films that are economical as well as effective. here is another model of headquarters somewhere in the south pacific. one of the sets in 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. cigarette? >> thank you, sir. >> how was the flight over? p 40.ike the >> oh, you like the p 40? >> a nice airplane. >> maybe we can count on you not to shoot any down. >> i did not have any plans, sir. >> you mean jet pilots?
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>> i mean american pilots. men with as much enthusiasm for , but 40 as you have without the ability to tell a friend from an enemy. >> here, members of a bomber crew are in training project -- crash scenes in training project number 1010. emergency care of paratroop casualties. first, the makeup expert applies a foundation of heavy grease paint. then the other chemicals and strokes of a blending brush to make them look like this on the screen. narrator: not many months ago, narrator: not many months ago, these serious soldier artists were the merry men who put life and laughter in mickey mouse. today they turn their attention to technical things. things like torque and the
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trajectory of a bomb. the inner workings of flight instruments. things the student or men must know and the animated sequence of a training film can best help to teach him. minute mechanical details the camera cannot capture in actuality are authentically illustrated in the drawings of these artists. no matter how unusual the article or product needed for a film, the property man has to know where to get it or how to make it. the warehouse and museum houses thousands of assorted objects. at a moments notice he can provide a before bag, boomerang, pedestal, or bananas. >> in the clip you just watched, you heard instructional, -- you heard the types of films produced by the first motion picture unit described as
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instructional, operational, and inspirational and above everything the films were practical. addressing specific needs of the army-air force. one urgent problem in the pacific theater was some pilots inability 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 recently captured zero fighter as well as , lieutenant ronald reagan. you saw an excerpt but the real utility of the film comes from animated sequences pinpointing the differences between the p 40 and the zero, which i highlighted on the screen. these straight, educational sequences are company by a
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dramatic story, showing reagan really knowsr, who his stuff making an all too , common mistake. >> well, the big day finally came. the flyer was on his own. do not expect too much, lieutenant. not on your first day. what's up? see something? it's a plane all right. what sort of a plane do see? -- do you see? friend or enemy? p-40 or zero? well now is the time to remember , your recognition. it a deep radiator, round tail curving in knows? in-line engine? p-40. or does it have an oil cooler, air scoop, pointed tail, radial engine? if it has, then it is a zero. maybe come closer.
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[engine noise] start climbing, saunders. narrator: take another look. hold it, saunders. make sure. [gunfire] narrator: now, look at that plane. that is no zero. that is a p-40. good thing you missed. you would not want that on your conscience. look, it is coming back. would you like to take another shot at it?
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ok, we won't rub it in. you have got it coming to you. not waiting to get your recognition. >> i wish i could apologize from here. >> in the end, he vindicated himself following the , identification checklist and downing a zero. the copy that we scanned for 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 rigorous candidate officer school, he was -- he gained command of the major motion picture unit operating the first bombers to
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, england. he flew combat missions over germany, earning the air medal and distinguished iron cross. he returned and the footage from -- was used in films produced by clark gable. he also narrated a film recruiting men to be in the air force titled "wings up." ♪ >> one flying fortress. made of seattle 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. -- everything he has been taught has left him. [ominous music]
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♪ >> pity is they got through their objective. had to fight off half a dozen planes besides. now, they are lost on the way back. one week late. too bad. for our side. that plane was worth $350,000. i don't know what amount you would quote on the man. how much would you take for your life? what if this man get this job? isn't there an x-ray machine it -- that can look into a man and say "he will do." yes, there is such a machine that looks into man's mind, and finds themls adequate or wanting. it is called the air candidate school of the army air force and
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it is situated in florida. it stands for "i sustained the wings." these men and their minds, their -- and their discipline, the hope on which 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 to lead? where and how do we get those men? that is important enough to know. up" provides a view of a program explicitly designed to weed out the men who could not perform under the pressure of combat. in the next film, we can feel with the recruits were subjected to. >> still being processed. give your name. how is your mother? are a real estate agent?
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you are looking around as if you want to buy the place. you hit the bottom step. angle and 45 degree your head straight. jump. how old are you? 25 wrinkles under that gin? two? two more wrinkles for them? halt. get that chest up in the air. get it up. way up. get some wrinkles under that chin. more wrinkles. when i say jump, you say how high. jump. what did you come down for mr.? -- what did you come down for, mister? wipe that smile off your face? step on it. have you done? march. you are in it now. the next six weeks, every moment of your time is accounted for and arranged so you must hurry, hurry, hurry.
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you are about seven hours of sleep. you are lucky and a very bright student if you can manage five. you and a privilege to eat or drink in any public place. you cannot even go out of your room, not even into the hall to visit. >> hey, is this necessary? >> you know it is necessary, but it is not for you. you are too dignified. maybe you have your pride. ormaybe you have your pride. right, mister. just resign. nothing will happen to you. 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 -- you who 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.
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>> remember, clark gable would have undergone this kind of training himself. so, now i am going to hand it back to audrey to speak about the next couple of films. audrey: the next two films feature two parts of the same process. gathering and analyzing aerial photographic intelligence. you'll also notice they don't have very interesting titles. most do not have interesting titles because they were made for the general public. -- they were not made for the general public. they were made for internal use, so they tell us exactly what they are. the first is a process training program focusing on the names of the units that participate and the steps of the process. well parts of the film are while parts of the film are really dry, there is a
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strong attempt to overlay a storyline featuring a reconnaissance pilot seeing an old friend in the navy. you can see captain tim grover on the left, and then his friend in the middle. that is lieutenant colonel bolin bowen.tenant phil he serves as the audience surrogate. he listens as captain grover explains photographic intelligence for bombarded aviation. it also features a sherlock homes-type photo analyst. you see him in the last two stills. the basil rathbone series of sherlock holmes movies were being released at this time, so llusion was immediately identifiable and entertaining for the audiences of young trainees. a rising star with popularity growing and a cachet of productions in 1943. alan ladd was released from the
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military by the end of the year, and he returned to hollywood. you might know him best if you'd do not know him from the films he made at this time with veronica lake, from the western classic "shane" later on. in this clip, he demonstrates his sure liabilities as he makes an important -- his sherlock abilities as he makes an important discovery. >> i've noticed that one hamburg area is being covered exhaustively in reconnaissance. i am curious to know why. what are you fellows after? >> i can understand the flak in that area. what is it guarding? >> i've wondered about that myself. any ideas? >> noticed this shadow here? might be the top of a fence or a longwall. >> it's a roof, i think.
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it just doesn't make sense. >> any close from other intelligence sources? >> i checked all reports. refugees, travel lists. been no commando raids on hamburg yet, so there is no information from that source. i guess i better get going. >> i better not keep the colonel -- waiting period -- waiting. >> that's no pond. that's a drain for a water tunnel. >> look. here's the building.
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here's the drain. the building is shaped like this come along a narrow. >> i can see the other edge of the roof now, under camouflage. >> what sort of building view think it is? >> testing base. >> for submarines? >> that's right. >> captain smith. i've been waiting for you in navy. >> i'm sorry sir. >> it looks as though captain smith has got onto one of the vital plants we've been after. >> he has? what's that? >> a testing basin for submarines. and a wind tunnel for aircraft, under that camouflage. we never even thought of looking so far inland. they manufacture important new parts here and test them on a submarine in that basin. >> captain, i guess you will have to -- i guess i will have
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to forgive you for keeping me waiting. i see it all now, as if there were no camouflage there at all. >> well, what happened to the plant? 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. rather than focus on the details of the process, it seeks to tell viewers how they should feel about their work. the film stars a young bill holden as fighter pilot bill
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cummings. he is a superior pilot resentful when he is assigned to be a reconnaissance pilot rather than the fighter pilot position he expected. he views recon as being too far from the action, particularly after his father is killed in action and he wants nothing more than to get revenge by downing japanese planes. , lieutenant clip cummings gets a taste of the excitement he creates when on a routine run he is pursued by five japanese fighter planes. >> you are fed up to the ears, but there's nothing you can do about it. you do your job as well as you can. you fly that f5 on mission after mission. you fly the milk run, photograph
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jungles and beaches. from five miles up, they all look alike. the war seems far away. you realize that men are fighting and dying in those pictures you get. it seems as remote to you as if you'd read about it in the newspaper. more months pass. you are headed back. you've photographed it so many times you know it like the palm of your hand. but you've never seen an airplane there. as far as you are concerned, the run is still a waste of time. you are knocking off at 28,000 feet and getting close. you see trouble. drop your tanks. they don't want you to photograph that. why? your oxygen is gone. down you go.
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you can only stay conscious for 30 seconds at that ousted. your heart hammers. you fight to keep from blacking out. you are out of range. you still got a job to do. photograph that air drone below you. you had in. they are putting up everything that got. then you look down. there's nothing there. you can't figure it out. get in those clouds. >> the fighting scene concludes
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with lieutenant cummings is aiding the japanese planes and forcing one -- cummings is evading the japanese planes and forcing one to crash in the water. >> well, it came out all right. airdestruction of that jap fleet taught you your lesson because now you know that more and better aerial pictures will end the war just that much sooner. >> first lieutenant cummings, distinguished service cross. congratulations lieutenant cummings. >> thank you sir. you can say, and rightly so,
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that you are responsible for the destruction of 200 antiaircraft. your father would have been very proud of you -- 200 and any aircraft. -- 200 enemy0 and aircraft3. your father would have been very proud of you. >> thank you sir. >> brother, you've been to war. she wants to know what it was like. you will tell her someday. but right now you don't feel like talking. >> it wasn't so bad. wasn't bad at all. , i couldn't do it without this. >> the film you have just seen is fiction, of course.
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the part about my being a general's son and all that. but the adventures i went through our real. these are the two men who did the things on which the film is based. this is major alex gary, the most decorated recon pilot in our air forces. he is the one who forced it into the water. and this man spent 100 days in the jungle of new britain. they are home on leave. when that is over they will return to the south pacific. is there anything you would like to say gentleman? >> i'm not good at this. i get nervous. >> we would rather be in the south pacific. not as many automobiles and reckless drivers. >> lovely little ad on their. bill holdener filmed this short, he lost his own brother to the war. his brother was a navy fighter pilot killed in action.
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bill holden went on to film a string of hollywood classics in the 1950's, most notably "sunset "the bridge on the river quiet -- on the river kwai." the first motion picture unit also recognized the power of animation in making entertaining training films. trigger joe was a character introduced in the animated films. his voice was provided by mel blanc, probably doing contract work. the character was modeled after an actor famous for his brooklyn accent. he only appears briefly in position firing, which serves as a lesson in targeting the flexion for gunners. from the stills on stream -- on-screen, you can see it is a
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chemistry lesson training the gunner to anticipate the position of enemy fighter and accurately -- is a geometry training the gunner to anticipate the position of an enemy fighter. >> member these three points. shoot only when he is attacking you and in range. aim between the target and the tail of your bomber. angle andhe approach apply the correct flexion -- correct deflection. that's the story. think you can do it? >> certainly. give me a plane. >> freddie? -- ready? here he comes. well? >> it goes kind of fast, don't it? >> only a few seconds. >> house for a chance to
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practice on a few slower ones? >> ok, if you are sure you've got it straight. >> oh i've got it. >> here is a plane. >> welcome, first i figure it is an enemy plane. in this case, he is. next, is he attacking? he is turning in. i line up and wait for them to get in range. hold it, hold it. i've got a lot of figuring to do with this. i am going this way, he is coming this way. that's about 90 degrees, three of these things. i guess i can shoot. ok, let him come. hold it, hold it. that's two seconds. there, start them again. how did i do? >> didn't miss a thing.
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how about taking one full speed? >> ok, why not? he's enemy all right. looks like the same guy. maybe i will get him this time. now he is coming in. [indiscernible] look at the plane! >> it works. --l i'll be a sad sack of rats. ♪ >> trigger joe was very popular and effective. one film columnist celebrated the 12 minute motion picture that could replace 14 days of classroom training. the first motion picture unit
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produced a series of films starring the character. the production team included several men later of mga, who created mr. magoo, and one later with disney. a top the airmen how to survive after crashing in an extreme environment. in addition to land and live in the jungle, the first motion picture made films about surviving in the desert and arctic. the films aimed to show that with preparation and ingenuity come off like could survive in those environments until rescue. jungle looks so soft and easy from the b 25 upstairs. but now downstairs, the jungle looks very different. there's a five-man crew in it
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somewhere. this is sergeant mel ford, the gunner. just a kid who used to work in a flour mill in spokane, washington. never spent a day in the woods in his life. since all of them but the pilot bailed out together, there's a good chance of being heard is he yells. >> hello there! hello! >> no answer. not at first. but a little later, he years somebody else yelling. >> hey! >> and then he sees him, the , a steady, dependable guy who'd been a high school football coach before the war. a good man to have around in an emergency. >> hello there. >> hi. >> are you all right?
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>> ok, fine. >> sergeant ford is worried about losing his data about leaving his -- about leaving his chute in the tree, but it is ok. two more crewmembers, four out of five accounted for. they are pretty lucky to have landed close by. if not it would have taken a lot longer to get together. "land and live in the jungle" stars and actor who later costarred in "shane" with alan ladd as a man who forgets his training at almost every turn. his actions are contrasted throughout the film with his crew who are following procedure and are much better off as a result. >> they are looking ahead, playing it smart. while they are eating him a 10 miles away harrison is standing
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and ruling. egypt -- and drooling. anything a monkey will eat is good for a man. a simple jungle rule it took him two days to get. he is so busy stuffing himself he doesn't see trouble coming. storm clouds. as they pick their way down the shallow stream, one of the fastest and easiest ways to travel in the jungle if you can't find a trail. they don't waste any time getting too high ground. in the tropics, rain comes swiftly and heavily. streams may flood and a flash. -- floating in a flash. if it looks like rain, no time should be lost in providing shelter. you can build a lean to and a hurry. it should be set up with the wind at the rear and the polls should be fixed against a firm
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base, a heavy law will do. -- heavy log will do. for the floor, branches covered with sleeping bags. you can cover your lean to with a parachute. since it isn't completely waterproof, you should cover the parachute with leaves. banana leaves are best if you can find them. start at the bottom and work up, the way a house is shingled, so the rain will run off easily. harrison is cut short again was no time to rig up adequate protection. he could cover his shelter with the large leaves around him, but that might be using his head. a fire would be a big help. you would think he would know enough to strip the wet bark from the wood and whittle some dry shavings. naturally his fire is a great success.
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and so he sets and shivers and soaks, although with a little common sense, he too could have had a fire under cover, and he too could have been warm and dry. after the crew has located the plane with the help of a local village, they ultimately rescue harrison, who by that point has contracted malaria. ♪ >> and then when harrison is able to set up, the village throws a party for him. in a few days, harrison would be well enough to travel, and they would head for the coast to be picked up. well, that's it. you seem the jungle both ways.
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it can be tough, or it can be easy. tough if you don't know what you are doing and you haven't got your equipment, and a lot easier if you follow the book. you can live in the jungle, even alone, but you've got to be prepared for it. you can't be afraid. there's only one answer to fear, knowledge. ,o if you do land in the jungle then land and live. ♪ >> there at the end, he referenced doing things by the book. they actually did have a little book that showed how to survive in the desert, jungle, and the arctic. he also narrated "land and live in the desert," and served as a combat cameraman during the
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war. "wings for this man" is the first film about the tuskegee airmen. it frames african-american troops is a powerful weapon against the forces of the nazis and the japanese. the negro soldier was also shown to what soldiers to broaden the acceptance of african-americans in combat roles. it is likely that "wings for this man" was used in a similar way. the film, narrated by ronald reagan, details the training universitytuskegee and airfield that compared men to deploy as pilots in a segregated units of the army air forces. at several points in the film, acknowledges the racism that was faced by the airmen, noting that in order for the tuskegee training program to even exist, misunderstanding, distrust, and prejudice had to be cleared away. care of him the wharf -- here
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above the hills of alabama, these men are learning flight formations they will use one day to hunt down the japs. a year ago, this field began to train men for medium bombers. that too was a pioneer step. one thing it proved, you can't judge a man here by the color of his eyes or the shape of his nose. on the flight strip, you judge a man by the way he flies. to the the answer propaganda of the japs and not cease -- 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 b 40's, then striking with thunderbolts, then
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writing the mustangs -- then riding the mustangs. it was never easy for these men. they were pioneers, and no pioneer has it easy. they thought lies, they thought heartbreak -- they fought lies, they fought heartbreak, and they won. >> that was some of the combat footage that would have been captured by units trained by the first motion picture unit. the combat accomplishments of the tuskegee airmen helped pave the way for the integration of the u.s. armed forces by order of president truman in 1948. in this presentation, you have seen only a small slice of the first motion picture unit films held at the national archives. we are happy to bring it to you
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in honor of the air force's 70th anniversary as an independent branch of the u.s. military. i think the exact date on that was september 16. almost all the films we showed today are on youtube in their entirety, with "wings up" to be added soon. we are hoping to add more as they are to decide -- as they are digitized. you can also view them at the archives. if you are interested in reading more about the first motion picture unit, here are some articles we relied on in our research. doug cunningham is working on a book about the unit, and this court's -- and mark betan
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article is very informative. our presentation is going to be available online, see you don't need to write down the link right now. here is the address for the ittennal archives' unwr record blog, and our youtube channel where you can find more information about the films, both military and civilian, held at the national archives. and now i think we have some time for questions. >> thank you so much. that was so informative and interesting. i would invite anybody who is in our audience to come up here so you can get on camera. if you have any questions for our presenters, think about it. we ask that you use the
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microphone, or maybe we can repeat the question. in the meanwhile, i do have a question that came from our online audience. it kind of captured the imagination. he asks, did the first motion picture unit have a unit emblem patch -- emblem or patch? >> actually they did. it is viewable on the wikipedia page for the first motion picture unit. it is actually a little cartoon thing that looks like it was done by a disney animator. it looks kind of like doby from -- like dopey from "snow white " flying aven dwarfs plane. >> thank you. i'm impressed you had an answer for that right away.
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let me see if we have any more from our online audience. here want to ask questions? go ahead. was just wondered if there -- [no audio] is there anyon was film that would still be classified? i am not an expert investigation of information. my understanding is almost anything from world war ii at this point has been classified. there would still be exceptions for anything related to nuclear technology. at the time, there were a lot of things classified because one of the things they did was they had this full-scale model. there's a great film that shows how this is all done, and that film was classified. it is a full-scale model of japan that they would then make a film to prepare the pilot to
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go do their bombing run. they would have a little camera that would run over it to show them exactly where they needed to go. that would all be classified. >> great question. >> [inaudible] >> the question was whether the first motion picture unit would have sent people out to britain to capture films before america got into the war. the first motion picture unit itself would not have done that because it had not been formed yet, but many of the people who ultimately ended up in it may have worked newsreels,
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photographers, or other capacities where they would have been in europe capturing that footage as news film. it is very likely that there was some crossover there. >> if you are interested in military films about the battle of britain, there is part of the "why we fight" series produced by frank capra for the u.s. army signal corps. that is also the entire series available on youtube if you would like to view them. >> [inaudible] >> that is my understanding, that they were inspirational and motivational, and were widely viewed. >> if we could get a rather
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, how much combat footage is available from world war ii, and is it indexed by date, location, or unit? >> there is a whole series that corps.e signal what else? i am not the right person to ask this for sure. you can look for all of those descriptions available in our catalog. it is combat footage, but also just everything that they were filming. the raw footage for everything that the signal corps was filming. >> each branch of the military, their films would have ended up in a different record group. i think the marine corps is in record group 428 -- oh, 428 is navy.
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we work with all of these and get them confused. each branch of the military would have been collecting the films and would have ended up at the national archives under a different record group. there's a lot of different avenues you can go down to find the combat footage. >> and there is a lot. >> [inaudible] >> that was a question about the treatment of pows in the united
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states versus p w's in japan or germany -- versus pows in japan or germany. oh, as airmen. >> [inaudible] >> a really good question that i do not know the answer to. i'm sorry. >> [inaudible] >> it is a good question. i'm so sorry. >> [inaudible]
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>> the first motion picture unit the way that it was didn't exist after the war. all of the men that work there went back to their regular jobs. but the air force did continue to make films. it just wasn't in that exact place or in that particular formulation. but we work on air force films all the time. they continued, and they took very good care of their films too. all of the films are in good condition that we have to work on. did i repeat the question? u.s. if the first motion picture unit disbanded at the end of the war -- you asked if the first motion picture unit disbanded at the end of the war. i as far as i can tell, didn't find references to that unit after the war either.
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>> obviously since world war ii was all the way in europe, i know that -- [inaudible] -- was there a similar kind of unit in great britain -- [inaudible] question -- i actually don't know a lot about this -- was whether or not britain and the other allies had their own film units. the answer would be yes. what is the one we did a full restoration on for the 70th anniversary of d-day? right, true glory. we get a full digital restoration.
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that was a joint effort by the u.s. and its allies. also kind of famously the footage from d-day, we lost hours. most of the footage -- we lost ours. most of the footage we have from d-day are from our allies. it was really important to both document and for training and morale purposes. >> what do you think of technology that was developed maybe during world war ii for photography do you think is most important, if there was one? i am not sure what the most important would be. they developed a lot of gun cameras that would shoot in sync with the guns on the airplanes.
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that is the only piece of technology that i can run under reading about in my research -- that i can remember reading about in my research. but the motion picture unit related in with the moviemaking techniques to meet the needs of a military organization in a very entertaining and effective way. that is kind of the biggest innovation of the first motion picture unit. great, thank you so much. great questions that everybody had. the purpose of the know your records program is to teach you about the records we have here at the national archives and how to use them for research. i think this presentation has certainly fulfill this goal, and we thank you. if we did not get to your question, they have provided their humility dresses. if you can't remember -- there email addresses. you can also send it to our
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research staff. please know that this video recording, their presentation slides are available online on their youtube channel. on behalf of the national archives and our presenters, i want to thank you for joining us today. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] announcer: you're watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. announcer: c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1970 nine, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and
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is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. announcer: ohio state university history and sociology professor randolph roth talks to american history tv about the history of mass violence in america. he is the author of "american homicide," and spoke with us at the american historical association's annual meeting this past january. this is about 20 minutes. bill: we are joined by randolph roth, history professor at ohio state university, here to talk with us about mass violence and domestic violence. mass violence has a certain connotation today. how would it have been different in the 1850's? prof. roth: it was very different because in our past, mass killings q


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