Monday, April 30, 2007

Pete Wilson and Ray Bain

This past weekend we had the pleasure of meeting Pete Wilson and Ray Bain.
Our team traveled to New Jersey.

We arrived in Newark late Friday night. On Saturday morning we drove to meet Pete Wilson and his wife. Pete was an armorer in the 354th. He shed some new light on the ammunition and the P-51s. We are grateful that Pete had kept so much memorabilia. He also told us of his successful career as a high school coach. It was a very fun and productive meeting.

Although we wanted to spend more time with Pete and his wife, we had to get on the road.
After the interview, we drove to Philadelphia. We arrived there in the evening and spent time with some friends who live in the area.
On Sunday, Ray Bain took the four of us out to brunch at a restaurant at the golf course where he plays golf three or four times a week. It was fun getting to know him before we started the interview.

At his home we spent a few hours interviewing him about his time in WWII. He told us about his time as a POW.

He also had some great memorabilia, including his flight jacket. Ray told us the story behind the naming of his airplane. His airplane was named “Scatterbain.”
He told us that there was a very popular song in the late 1930’s called “Scatterbrain”. He had asked for the word “Scatterbrain”, but as a joke the painter painted “Scatterbain” instead. I think it is a very clever name.
On all my trips I take along an ipod with hundreds of radio shows from the 1930’s and 1940’s. I love listening to these shows right before I go to sleep. I had a feeling that somewhere on the ipod I would find a recording of the song.
It only took about an hour to locate the “Scatterbrain” song. It was on several episodes of "The Benny Goodman Show" in 1939. Click on the next icon to hear the clip.

It has been so inspiring and uplifting to meet these men and their wives. Most of these couples have been married for over 60 years. They are still so active with either working, playing golf, painting or other activities.
(It is not exaggerating to say most of these guys twice my age are in better shape than I am. I need to get to the gym.)

We flew back to Los Angeles early this morning. Luckily my boss let me have off Friday and Monday for our documentary. So it’s back to my day job tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

An Exciting Weekend

April 24, 2007

Our trip to the “Aces of the 354th Fighter Group” symposium at the Travis Air Force base was very exciting. We were very happy to see and talk with Ken Dahlberg, General Michael Rogers, Lowell Brueland and Clayton Kelly Gross again. We had not seen them since we started shooting our documentary in September of last year.

Jim Hughes and his wife were there in the audience and we were able to chat with them briefly before the event.

We met Dick Asbury, another 354th Ace, and hope to interview him at his house in the next few months.

It was great to see such a large turn-out to hear these men speak about their time in the 354th.

One of the highlights of our trip was when we met and interviewed Roberta Ryan Roddy whose father, Lt. Edward Ryan, named his plane after her. He died before ever meeting his daughter. She had the chance to meet and talk with these aces. Some of the men had known and flew with her father. We were very lucky and thankful that Mary Jane Curry arranged our meeting!

Our next trip is set for next weekend! We will travel to the East Coast and interview Ray Bain and Pete Wilson.

Take a look at some photos from our trip.

Friday, April 20, 2007

WW II Aces Symposium

Our team is off to Northern California to attend a 354th Fighter Group Aces Symposium on April 22, 2007. It should be a fun trip. It is being held at Travis Air Force Base. We hope to see some of the men from the 354th that we have interviewed over the last six months and some new ones.

If you are going to be at the event this Sunday please come up and introduce yourselves. We are hoping some of the other men from the 354th will want to be interviewed by us for the documentary!

We have another busy few weeks ahead of us. Next weekend we travel east to meet Pete Wilson, an armorer from the 356th Fighter Squadron, and Ray Bain, a pilot from the Group. in May we will travel to Arizona for another interview! It is going to be very busy.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Will Louie and Family

April 1 - March ended up being one of the busiest months for the "Heroes" team! We had a great trip to Salt Lake City and met Will Louie of the 356th Fighter Squadron. He is the man who painted the ANGEL FROM HELL artwork on Bill Perkins' plane 63 years ago!

Our team had a wonderful time meeting Will and his family. The day after our interview, Will took us up to the top of the mountains near a local ski resort he had designed. What a view!

Take a look at some of the photos from our trip to Utah.