Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday's Film Adaptions: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Ted W Lawson

Ted W. Lawson’s classic Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo appears in an enhanced reprint edition on the sixtieth anniversary of the Doolittle Raid on Japan. “One of the worst feelings about that time,” Ted W. Lawson writes, “was that there was no tangible enemy. It was like being slugged with a single punch in a dark room, and having no way of knowing where to slug back.” He added, “And, too, there was a helpless, filled-up, want-to-do-something feeling that [the Japanese] weren’t coming—that we’d have to go all the way over there to punch back and get even.”

Lawson gives a vivid eyewitness account of the unorthodox assignment that eighty five intrepid volunteer airmen—the “Tokyo Raiders”—under the command of celebrated flier James H. Doolittle executed in April 1942. The plan called for sixteen B-25 twin-engine medium bombers of the Army Air Corps to take off from the aircraft carrier Hornet, bomb industrial targets in Japan, and land at airfields in China. While the raid came off flawlessly, completely surprising the enemy, a shortage of fuel caused by an early departure, bad weather, and darkness took a heavy toll of the raiders. For many, the escape from China proved a greater ordeal. Peter B. Mersky provides new information on the genesis of the raid, places it in the context of the early operations against Japan, and updates Ted Lawson’s biography.

General Jimmy Doolittle trains American troops for the first airborne attacks on Japan.

Release Date: November 15, 1944
Release Time: 138 minutes

Van Johnson as Lieutenant Ted W. Lawson
Robert Walker as Corporal David Thatcher
Tim Murdock as Lt. Dean Davenport
Don DeFore as Lt. Charles McClure
Herbert Gunn as Lt. Bob Clever (as Gordon McDonald)
Phyllis Thaxter as Ellen Lawson
Stephen McNally as Lt. Thomas "Doc" White (as Horace McNally)
Spencer Tracy as Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle
John R. Reilly as Lt. Jacob "Shorty" Manch
Robert Mitchum as Lt. Bob Gray
Scott McKay as Captain David M. "Davey" Jones
Donald Curtis as Lt. Randall
Louis Jean Heydt as Navy Lieutenant Henry Miller
William "Bill" Phillips as Lt. Don Smith
Douglas Cowan as Lt. Everett "Brick" Holstrom
Paul Langton as Captain "Ski" York
Leon Ames as Lt. Jurika
Bill Williams as Bud Felton
Robert Bice as "Jig" White
Hsin Kung as Dr. Chung (as Dr. Hsin Kung)
Benson Fong as Young Dr. Chung
Ching Wah Lee as Guerilla Charlie
Alan Napier as Mr. Parker
Ann Shoemaker as Mrs. Parker
Dorothy Morris as Jane (as Dorothy Ruth Morris)
Jacqueline White as Emmy York
Selena Royle as Mrs. Reynolds
John Dehner as Lieutenant Commander (uncredited)
Blake Edwards as Lt. Smith's Crewman (uncredited)

1944 Academy Awards
Robert Surtees, Harold Hal Rosson - Best Black and White Cinematography - Nominated
Arnold A. Gillespie, Donald Jahraus, Warren Newcombe, Douglas Shearer - Best Special Effects - Won

Author Bio:
Ted W. Lawson (1917-1992) was a native of California. He joined the Army Air Corps while working for the Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica and received his wings in November 1940. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for a secret mission that evolved into the raid on Tokyo in April 1942. Random House published his account of the raid, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, in 1943. Lawson subsequently served as a technical adviser to MGM during the making of the popular wartime movie based on his book. After retiring from military service in 1945, he reentered private industry and worked on several projects that involved aircraft and space programs.




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