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Classic Wings Magazine Luftwaffe Resource Center WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific
Final Cut-The Post War B-17 Flying Fortress and Survivors - 5th Edition


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:32 pm 
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http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/george-clooney-catch-22-tv-series-1202617092/


Last edited by TBDude on Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:40 pm 
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Clooney? :(

The only way I'm watching is if Stoney's doing the flying. :drink3:

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:03 pm 
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I can't believe it was 49 years ago i was hired by Frank Tallman to fly in the movie, where does the time go. I'll give this one a pass.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:11 pm 
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I predict....





(wait for it)




a BOMB.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:43 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:20 pm 
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CGI...anti-military theme....sounds like the network news. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:59 pm 
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I predict the following:
It'll be better written than the Buck Henry movie (which made a serious left turn with the source book and went into places the book never did)
It won't possibly look as good as the other film, though.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:18 pm 
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Having worked on Catch 22, the best thing about it was I got to fly a B-25 and got paid to do it. I didn't like the movie., the best part was the starting scene. If anybody would like to read my 80's story about it I can post it.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:19 pm 
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Stoney wrote:
Having worked on Catch 22, the best thing about it was I got to fly a B-25 and got paid to do it. I didn't like the movie., the best part was the starting scene. If anybody would like to read my 80's story about it I can post it.

Oh yes!
I would love to read that story.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:59 pm 
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Lon Moer wrote:
Stoney wrote:
Having worked on Catch 22, the best thing about it was I got to fly a B-25 and got paid to do it. I didn't like the movie., the best part was the starting scene. If anybody would like to read my 80's story about it I can post it.

Oh yes!
I would love to read that story.

Me too, please post!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:04 am 
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I don't think the book translated well into that film, despite a marvelous cast and director and all those fantastic B-25s.

Very doubtful that a new adaptation will do better, but if someone wants to try I'm game to try to watch it.

Clooney's not so bad. I did like the live TV version of Fail Safe he did. Google says that was way back in 2000. Wow. Doesn't seem that long ago.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:51 am 
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As bad as some people here think it could be, it will prob be better then 98% of the programming out there today!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:03 pm 
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This was written in 1983

MITCHELLS OVER MEXICO

or 130 combat free hours in a B-25 over the Sea of Cortez

written and photos by L.P."Stoney" Stonich

"It's a Catch-22 situation". How many times have you heard
that phrase? How many of you remember reading the satire
"Catch-22" by Joseph Heller, based on a B-25 squadron in
the Mediterranean in WW II. Paramount Studios made a movie
based on this novel in 1969.

The movie started in total darkness with only a dog
barking in the distance...then a B-25 ENGINE STARTS!!! The
scene lightens as sixteen B-25's taxi out to the runway
and make a mass takeoff, never again will that fight
sequence be repeated. Sixteen B-25's in four diamonds in
diamond, on their bomb run, the bomb bay doors open and
128 bombs plunge down in to the Sea of Cortez. All this
under the flying leadership of the late Frank Tallman.

It's summer, 1968, and my flying career consists of flight
instructing at Fullerton, CA. with slightly over 1,000
hours. A friend of mine called to tell me that some B-25's
were being readied for a movie at Orange County Airport at
Tallmantz Aviation (Tallmantz was a partnership between
Paul Mantz and Frank Tallman). I immediately went there to
see about flying in the movie. There I talked to the Chief
Pilot, Jim Appleby, and filled out an application, I was
told that other phrase we hear all the time "Don't call
us, We'll call you".

So I waited for that call..and waited..until one day my
friend called to say he had just been hired as a mechanic
for the movie. Apprehension got the better of me, so I
returned to Tallmantz and let Appleby know that I was
still very interested in flying for them. Two more weeks
of waiting and then they called: report to the hangar
Monday, Dec. 2, 1968!

That Monday morning there were ten of us at the Tallmantz
Hangar. Two Captains and ten Co-pilots. Chief Pilot Jim
Appleby and V.P. for Flight Operation, Frank Pine, were in
charge of the weeks activities: ground school and flight
training. What a shock going from a 160 h.p Apache to a
1,700 h.p. per engine, over 15 ton airplane! After filling
out more paperwork for Paramount Studios, we completed our
training and stood by for our departure date for Mexico.

It wasn't easy to get this many airplanes together for a
movie. When Tallmantz Aviation got the contract, They had
to go out and find all these airplanes. They came from as
far away as Long Island, NY. (a 3,000 mile ferry trip).
Others came from Grey Bull, WY., Buckeye, AZ., Houston,
TX., Champaign, IL. and forest fire tanker bases all over
the western U.S. They also had to be made ferryable to get
them to southern California. Finding flyable airplanes was
difficult enough, then came the many little jobs to make
them look the part. This required some engine changes,
replacing hoses and cockpit glass, getting bomb bay doors
to work, finding turrets and guns to go in them, and other
"wartime" fixtures for airplanes 25 years old, a tough
job, but the mechanics at Tallmantz Aviation were up to
it.

On New Years Day, 1969 I was part of the second flight of
B-25's to be flown from Orange County Airport to San
Carlos Bay, Mexico. Many of us had not flown formation
before and forming up over the Pacific Ocean south of
Newport Beach, CA. had its share of trills and excitement.
Getting those "ponderous beauties", as Frank Tallman
called them, to stay 100 feet apart for three and half
hours wasn't easy. From the ground the sight must have
seemed hilarious..from the cockpit, hair-raising. We had
an intermediate stop for customs and immigrations at
Hermosillo, Mexico.

Paramount Studios had cut down all the organ cactus for a
mile around to prepare this shooting location. They
constructed a 6000' X 200' runway, with a perimeter
taxiway and a hard stand for each airplane. It was very
well built..the bad part was that it was surrounded on
three sides by mountains, that meant we always had to land
from the sea and takeoff towards it and no matter which
way the wind blew, it was always a crosswind. All
airplanes arrived without incident.

Paramount also built a "base" at the site with a hospital,
a large brick house, mess hall, control tower, bomb dump
and enough pyramid tents to house the entire cast and
crew. Fortunately we didn't have to live in them, the
local motel was bad enough. The location was detailed
right down to the comm wire running to the squadron
commander's office. You would swear you were somewhere in
the Mediterranean during WW II. My Marine Corps rifleman
days were partially spent in Sicily and Sardinia and this
"base" could easily have been in either of those places
during the war.

After our debriefing we looked up the crews from the first
flight of six airplanes that arrived the day before, they
were suffering the aftermath of drinking too much Tequila
on New Year's Eve in Mexico. Fortunately no one landed in
jail, but in some cases it was close!

The next day we reported out at the "base" for duty. By
act of Paramount, I was commissioned a First Lieutenant,
USAAF, my highest rank in the Corps was Corporal. We were
issued uniforms and leather flying jackets with the
Squadron insignia patch on it: a naked, long-haired lady
riding a diving bomb and holding a spear in her right
hand.

The special effects department did wonders making the
airplanes look war weary. Oil and paint were splashed over
them, nose art sanded to made it look like they had flown
many missions. We did have to change one thing: we had to
clean the windows - no one would go into "combat" with
dirty windows! Most of the airplanes had names; Free, Fast
& Ready, Luscious Lulu, Berlin Express, Dumbo, Denver
Dumper, Booby Trap, Hot Pants, Annzas, Laden Maiden,
Superman, Vestal Virgin, aBOMBinable Snowman and the one I
flew the most, Passionate Paulette.

Each day we had a pilots meeting to brief on the flying
for the day, weather and assign duties for the non-flyers.
Tallmantz had a Cessna 310 that did a mail run to Los
Angels each day with the film shot the day before, it
would pick up the processed film and any high priority
cargo and return to the "base". If we had no duties that
day we would play volleyball, cards or lounge on the
beach, the triangular fins in San Carlos Bay kept us out
of the water.

Our formations were flown stacked up and we used right
echelon, diamond, diamonds in diamond and diamond echelon.
Normally we landed out of a right echelon with the leader
breaking over the numbers and spacing ourselves about
2000' in trail.

One day when I was flying #4, I saw #3 hit the wake of #2
and go sliding out to the right. #3 corrected back to the
left and hit the wake again, this time sliding to the left
and aimed right at the control tower. He only missed it by
raising his left wing. After we landed we heard what it
was like from the view point of one of our pilots at the
base of the tower. "I watched it coming at me and was
dumbfounded. The pilot saw that he might hit the tower and
lifted the left wing, then I was knocked to the ground by
a little feller and he left foot prints on my chest..just
like in the cartoons". The pilot speaking was 6'5" and
265lbs.

There were other incidents while filming the movie, some
funny, some almost tragic, and one fatality. One day we
were flying across the field at low level as background
for a scene when we were told to go away for awhile as
they made some setup changes. Seven airplane in trail and
looking for adventure. We found it in the form of a sports
fishing boat. We went by a guy on this boat three times at
about fifteen feet, the first time he was waving, the
second time he shook his fist at us and the third time it
looked like he had a shotgun. On landing the lead airplane
had a rip in his elevator fabric that we assumed came from
the poles that hold the fishing lines out from the boat,
because the first two times we went by in front of him and
the last time we hopped over the top.

Another day the scene called for Frank Tallman to cut a
plastic dummy in half with a Stinson L-5. The dummy was
standing on a swimming raft so Frank had to fly about 5
feet off the water. They shot the scene a couple of times
and then an "insurance" shot. This time the hand of the
dummy got wedged between the horizontal stabilizer and
elevator. Frank didn't have any elevator control, but did
his usual fine job of flying and landed safely.

The fatality was the second unit director who was also the
aerial cameraman. I was flying #11 in a twelve ship
formation, three in echelon, echelons in trail at 4000'.
The nose of the camera plane had a specially built glass
insert that allowed unobstructed 180o viewing and this
setup, perfected by Paul Mantz, made Tallmantz Aviation
the leader in aviation photo planes at the time. The twin
tails of the B-25 made another great area for unobstructed
filming if eight inches were removed from the rear
fuselage at the tail gunners position, making a two by
four foot opening to mount a camera in. The cameraman was
using the rear fuselage opening and fell out into the Gulf
of California.

The most dangerous part the rest of us had in the movie
was the mass takeoff. Sixteen airplanes lined up on the
runway, all at 30" of manifold pressure, then releasing
brakes at one to two second intervals and go to max power.
This scene was used at the beginning of the movie. Can you
imagine the wake turbulence. We did this four times, on
the first two I was number two and the turbulence wasn't
bad. On the third, we were number nine and the turbulence
was terrible. We found ourselves drifting left towards the
next plane to takeoff, with both of us on the control we
couldn't stop this left drift. Then we hit the turbulence
going the other way and shot to the right, what a ride. On
the fourth one we were number sixteen and had a runaway
propeller right after the gear came up, it was caused by a
prop governor failure. After landing we found out a B-25
will not taxi on one engine. You can turn into the dead
engine, but with no nose wheel steering that all you can
do. Another area that calls for special handling on the
B-25 is the touchy brakes.

Of the eighteen B-25's in "Catch-22", most were TB-25Js.
These had been through the Hayes Conversion after WW II
which eliminated all the combat equipment on them and they
were used as multi-engine trainers by the USAF. After
being surplus by the Air Force, they went on serving as
Corporate airplanes or Borate Bombers until being grounded
by the US Forestry Service. After the filming was
completed, Paramount asked Tallmantz Aviation to sell the
airplanes for them. The studio owned fourteen, Tallmantz
owned three, and the eighteenth that had so much corrosion
it had to ferried in with the gear down was destroyed for
the movie. The asking price was $6-7,000 each, at the time
price seemed ridiculously high.

Flying the B-25 in 1969 was a big thrill for me and it
still is even with another 14,000 plus hours behind me. It
started my love of warbirds. Since then I have crewed on a
P-51 at the Reno Air Races (Race 2, flown by Bob Love,
owned by Jack Hovey), owned my SNJ-5 for 13 years (it has
the "Catch-22" insignia on it), flown other warbirds and
some heavy iron like the PV-2D, DC-3, DC-4, DC-8, DC-10,
B-737, B-747, but there's a soft spot in my heart for the
heaviest feeling of them all, the B-25.

Where are they now, the seventeen B-25s that came back
from Mexico are listed in the latest Warbirds World Wide
Directory.

N10V "Berlin Express" is now with the EAA at Oshkosh, WI.

N1042B to Aces High Ltd. North Weald, UK as "Dolly".

N10564 NASM, Washington-Dullas Airport.

N1203 One of the Tallmantz glass nose photo planes crashed
in Columbia.

N2849G Tom Reilly, Kissimmee, FL.

N3174G March AFB CA.

N3507G "Passionate Paulette" Grissom AFB IN.

N3699G changed to N30801 Challenge Publications, Van Nuys,
CA. as "Executive Sweet".

N7681C to the movie "Hannover Street" as "Amazing Andrea"
destroyed in hangar fire, Musee de Air, Le Bourget,
France.

N7687C "Tokyo Express" sold at the Harry Doan auction.

N8195H to Mike Pupich Van Nuys, CA. as "Heavenly Body".

N9115Z to the movie "Hannover Street" now at the RAF
Museum, Hendon, UK.

N9451Z "Dumbo" to Malmstrom AFB MT.

N9452Z to Maxwell AFB AL.

N9456Z Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, Middletown, PA. as
"Briefing Time".

N9494Z "Laden Maiden" to the movie "Hannover Street" as
"Gorgeous George-Ann". To be rebuilt by Visionair.

N9856C with Aero Traders, Chino, CA. as "Pacific
Princess".

Dedicated to those who have "gone west" Frank Tallman,
Frank Pine, Tom Mooney W.G.F.P., Skip March, Bill Reid,
Bill Fritz, and to all the rest who helped make
"Catch-22", for me, a truly memorable aviation event.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:28 pm 
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I had the pleasure of flying N1042B many years after the movie was filmed. It had a regular glass nose, but we also had the Tallmantz camera nose available for switchout. We flew it as “Pacific Prowler” before it was sold a few years ago to Scott Glover at Mid America Flight Museum in Mt Pleasant, Texas. She now has new nose art and is named “For God and Country”. Also is polished to the brightest shine possible. She found a good home. The B25 is great fun to fly and taxiing, well, not so much. The brakes are what make the old saying true,” If you can taxi the beast, you can pass the type ride.” It was an honor to fly this particular B25 due to the history of who flew it and the 88 or so movies that it was used as a camera platform. It also shot the original Disney 360 Degree movie shown at Disney World for years. 9 cameras arranged in a circular fashion on a platform were lowered on a boom out of the bombbay and shot the action while flying low over the various scenes. Great memories!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:12 pm 
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Thanks for posting your story Stoney! :drink3:

Stoney wrote:
<> Since then I have crewed on a
P-51 at the Reno Air Races (Race 2, flown by Bob Love,
owned by Jack Hovey), <>.


I'm leaning on the propeller. :wink:

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