Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yesterday, The Elder; Today, Junior

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., that is. Yes, the handsome Anglophile actor (handsome even when he was extremely elderly).

Y'know about his other career? WW II U. S. Navy officer -- and father of the Beach Jumpers, a psyops team that would fake landings, diverting enemy resources away from the actual invasion site...and onto themselves!*

To judge from his awards and the Wikipedia article, he wasn't content to be a behind-the-scenes idea man, either.

Sure, he and his father were Hollywood actors; they smoked, drank and had interesting marital histories...but they were something more than that, too.
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* The Army had their own version, a corps of artists and fashion designers and sound-effects guys...who would go out and pretend to be a hundred times their number, impersonating officers and spreading disinformation, as close to the other side as they could manage, armed with inflatable tanks, a bulldozer to make track marks, and a great big PA system to make all the right sounds.

7 comments:

docjim505 said...

That was back in the day when Hollywood types weren't ashamed to wear the uniform for more than one take.

NAVIGATOR said...

FYI

LCDR FAIRBANKS WAS THE NAVIGATOR OF THE HEAVY CRUISER WICHITA THAT WAS PART OF THE COVERING FORCE IN JULY 1942 OF THE ILL FATED CONVOY PQ-17 HE WROTE IN HIS DIARY OF HIS AND THE CREW'S DISGUST OVER
THE PUSILLANIMOUS ABANDONMENT OF THE MERCHANTMEN BY ITS WARSHIP ESCORT WHICH WAS ORDERED FROM LONDON AND RESULTED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CONVOY

Bubblehead Les. said...

I've always admired all those Hollywood Actors from the "Golden Age" who served in WW2. People like David Niven, Jimmy Stewart, Robert Montgomery, Tony Curtis, Eddie Arnold, Clark Gable, Lee Marvin (who was Machine Gunned on Saipan and nearly died), and others too numerous to name.

Compare and Contrast that with Today's "Hollywood" Actors who signed up to Serve after 9/11....

Anonymous said...

It makes me think of a plot for a time-travel novel where a tour operator offers movie fans the chance to go back in time to the twenties to give fanboys and fangirls the chance to meet their idols. What could possibly go wrong?

Mike James

Stretch said...

Mr. Fairbanks was in D.C. for an award ceremony. My sister crossed his path in the lobby of the Willard Hotel. He held a door for her and said "After you, my dear." smiled and winked.

She maintains that was the best sexual experience she ever had.

Drang said...

Anyone remember the interview where the talking head tries to get Eddie Arnold to talk about his Navy Cross.
"We picked a couple of Marines who were in the drink."
"How many?"
"Well, a few."
"Twenty-five! You went back twice!"
"Yeah, well, you do what you have to..."

And don't forget Staff Sergeants Charlton Heston and Walter Matthau.

Drang said...

Ahem. Eddie Albert, not Eddie Arnold.