Magic Lantern Video & Book Store

First Motion Picture Unit

The F.M.P.U. Story

F.M.P.U. personnel
movie star soldiers

F.M.P.U. Animation Dept.

F.M.P.U. Aviation Dept.

Combat Camera Units

        insignia of the U.S.A.A.C. First Motion Picture Unit               books & videos

F.M.P.U. film list

F.M.P.U. photo gallery

        Though generally known as the 'First Motion Picture Unit', or F.M.P.U., the unit was formed in 1942 as the 18th Air Force Base Unit of the U.S. Army Air Corps, to produce training films, morale films, and propaganda films. The operation was eventually located at Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, California, which was called 'Fort Roach'; the abbreviation F.M.P.U. was/is pronounced 'fum-poo'.

        Soon after the United States was propelled into active engagement in World War II, General 'Hap' Arnold, then head of the Army Air Force, saw the need to make films for training and for morale & propaganda, and he asked Warner Bros. studio head Jack L. Warner for help. Warner took Owen Crump with him to Washington DC, and the deal was struck.
        The first F.M.P.U. production, "Winning Your Wings", was made at Warner's studio in Burbank, for the purpose of getting much-needed enlistments; the short film was released theatrically in May 1942, and is credited with 150,000 new recruits. Warner made the old Vitagraph studio in East Hollywood available, and new personnel were rapidly brought on board; a great many were exempted from the same basic training as other recruits, which made sense since most were seasoned Hollywood professionals. They soon outgrew the Vitagraph facility and moved to larger but still-cramped space in Hollywood.

        While on business at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in Culver City, Crump noticed the idle Hal Roach Studio nearby – Roach had been called to active duty and the studio shut down – and Warner made a deal with Roach to move F.M.P.U. to the empty Roach lot, leasing the property for a mere dollar. (This turned out to be an excellent move by Roach: aside from the tax benefits, the studio was in better physical shape when F.M.P.U. shut down at the end of the war than it was when the Army took over.)
        Early arrivals assigned to F.M.P.U. were bivouaced nearby at a Boy Scout camp in the Baldwin Hills and in tents on the athletic field at the Pacific Military Academy in Palms, until arrangements could be made for other housing.

        The First Motion Picture Unit produced 400 films during the war, as well as millions of feet of film and still photos taken on the battlefields of Asia, Africa and Europe by the small Combat Camera Units. Some of the more notable films made by F.M.P.U. were William Wyler's "The Memphis Belle" and Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" series.
        At its largest complement, F.M.P.U. had 1,110 personnel, not counting Combat Camera teams in the field, or technical experts on temporary assignment.
        During 1982, the remaining/surviving members of F.M.P.U. received local and national media attention on the 60th anniversary of the unit's founding.

AeroFiles F.M.P.U. page
California Military Museum F.M.P.U. page
Intl. Combat Camera Assn.
F.M.P.U. / Fort Roach listing at G.I. Search
'United States Army Air Forces in World War II' tribute site
First Motion Picture Unit entry at Wikipedia
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has next to nothing about F.M.P.U.

War [& Anti-War] Movies Film Festival at Magic Lantern
War Movies Film Festival - World War II Pages
World War 2 History Info website

History of Hal Roach Studios  "A History of The Hal Roach Studios" [2005]
by Richard Lewis Ward

S.I.U. Press 9x6 pb [8/2006] for $16.88
S.I.U. Press 9¼x6¼ hardcover [3/2005] out of print/used

Magic Lantern's Hal Roach [1892-1992] Page
Magic Lantern's Studios Pages / Hal Roach Studios [1914-63] section

Additions or corrections to this F.M.P.U. page can be reported
to G.E. Nordell via email

Hal Roach Studios from the air [circa 1930]         U.S.A.A.F. Fort Roach Admin Building during World War II {note sign on roof}

F.M.P.U.  Personnel

Gen. Henry H. 'Hap' Arnold: credits at IMDb
World War II Diaries • A&E/Biography "Hap Arnold: The Sky Warrior" video

Col. Roy M. Jones, F.M.P.U. Commander.

Col. Earl Alexander McClintock, F.M.P.U. Commander (14 Nov to 7 Dec 1944): credits at IMDb

Col. J.K. McDuffie, F.M.P.U. Commander. (Dec 1944 to April 1945)

Col. Owen Crump [1903-98], F.M.P.U. Commander: credits at IMDb

Col. William Keighley [1889-1984]: credits at IMDb

LtCol. Jack L. Warner [1892-1978], F.M.P.U. Commander
bio page • 1965 autobio • 1990 bio
see also Magic Lantern's Warner Bros. Studios Page / Moguls & Execs

LtCol. Daniel A. McGovern [USAF Ret.]: credits at IMDb

Hal Roach[1892-1992] Page
IMDb listing • Wikipedia

LtCol. George Stevens [1904-75], Special Coverage Motion Picture Unit: credits at IMDb
Collection at AMPAS Herrick Library

Major Hyde

Major Roy Seawright, Special Photo Effects

Maj. William Wyler, director: credits at IMDb • official website
Wyler's wartime drama "The Best Years of Our Lives" [1946]
videos/used | DVD for $12.99 | full credits at IMDb

Maj. John Huston [1906-87] Page
credits at IMDb • Wikipedia

Capt. Robert L. Bendick, combat cameraman: credits at IMDb
Capt. Everett W. Cole.
Capt. Edwin 'Eddie' Gilbert [1907-76], writer: credits at IMDb
Capt. Oren W. Haglund: credits at IMDb
Capt. William Moody.
Capt. Dr. Pokorny, post physician

1Lt. Edward Anhalt, writer [1914-2000]: credits at IMDb
Lt. Wallace Bartosz.
Lt. Leon Becker, sound
1Lt. Bynum
Lt. Harry Harris, editorial.
1Lt. M.E. Hopt
1Lt. Irving Kumin.
Lt. William T. Orr [1917-2002], public relations: credits at IMDb
1Lt. Harold J. Tannenbaum [1897-1943], cinematographer: credits at IMDb


{honorary member} Col. Frank Capra [1897-1991]
of the U.S. Army Signal Corps
'Why We Fight' series [1943-45]: see below

The Capra Touch book by Matthew C. Gunter  
"The Capra Touch: A Study of the Director's Hollywood
Classics and War Documentaries, 1934-1945" [2011]
by Matthew C. Gunter

Mcfarland & Co. pb [8/2011] for $45.00

{honorary member} studio fire chief Joseph A. Bernard [1892-1985]


Leonardo 'Len' Aaron: co-founder of The Aaron Brothers Art Marts [est. 1946]


PFC Gilbert Neil 'Gil' Amelio [1904-?], Special Photo Effects.
REQUEST June 2006 from F.M.P.U. member Gil Amelio (Col. U.S.A.F., Ret.)
He is working on his memoirs and wants a copy (transferred to tape?)
of F.M.P.U.'s Oscar-nominated docu-feature "Resisting Enemy Interrogation" [1944].
If you can help him with this, contact him directly by email.


James? Anderson, writer of "Air Power & Armies"


Sgt. Eugene P. Araiza.


PFC John E. Barber.


Richard Barr


Cpl. Jack D. Barrett.


Peter Basch, still photographer


Sgt. Peter W. Beachley.


SSgt. Carl A. Beier, Jr: credits at IMDb


Sgt. Eugene L. Bennett.


Sgt. William C. Bernds, sound: credits at IMDb


Cpl. John Beal - nee Alexander Bliedung [1909-97]: credits at IMDb


Pvt. William Binder, photographer


MSgt. Raymond Q. Boltz, Jr: credits at IMDb


Cpl. Augustus Borneman.


PFC Jack G. Brown


Ralph Byrd [1909-52]: credits at IMDb


Dann Cahn, editor credits at IMDb


Sgt. Frank Centore [1920-74].


Cpl. Vincent F. Cerrito.


TSgt. Joseph E. Clark


William H. Clothier [1903-96], cinematographer: credits at IMDb


David Conover [1919-83], still photographer.
who is credited with the discovery of Marilyn Monroe {story at 'Immortal Marilyn' website}


PFC Murl S. Cook.


SSgt. Irving Cooklin.


SSgt. Frank F. Cory


Lee Crawford.


PFC Lowell N. Dalton


Pvt. Richard DeMille [1922-2009]: credits at IMDb
adopted son/nephew of producer-director Cecil B. DeMille


Sgt. Alvin M. Denniston


SSgt. Edward L. Donelson


John Cromwell Dutton


SSgt. Robert G. Elliott, photographer


Pvt. Ray Erlenborn, sound effects


Cpl. Ralph B. Erwin


Cpl. John P. Eustis

                              F    G            

SSgt. Werner Fahl


Cpl. Dominick W. Ferrari


SSgt. Paul B. Fisher


Sgt. Melvin Fizdale


Pvt. Charlie Foy


Stanley Frazen, editor: credits at IMDb


Joel Freeman


PFC Nathan L. Frisbie


Arthur Gardner, assistant producer: credits at IMDb
later co-founder of Levy-Gardner-Laven


Johnny Gill
later founded Gill's Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Farmer's Market


Sgt. Clifford W. Grant [1905-73], model-maker [1942-45].

                              H    I    J            

TSgt. Eugene P. Hackley


SSgt. Emil C. Hansen, Jr


Sgt. Raymond H. Harteau


Charles Nedwin "Ned" Hockman, camera: credits at IMDb


Pvt. Wayne R. Hoffman


Marhilde M. Hoffmann, clerk?


Sgt. Garland S. Hopkins


A.E. Hotchner, writer: : new memoir [11/2002] for $17.47 • credits at IMDb


George Hurrell [1904-92], still photographer
credits at IMDb • fansite • official website • portfolio site
article on Hurrell in July 2007 Atlantic Monthly


Sgt. Robert Jackson


SSgt. Theodore H. Karpowicz


SSgt. George E. Kearns


DeForest Kelley [1920-99]: credits at IMDb


TSgt. Leon S. Klatzkin


Sgt. Don V. Kloepfel, camera


Sgt. Alvin M. Kohrs


Norman Krasna [1909-84], writer: credits at IMDb


MSgt. Henry E. Krupa


TSgt. Raymond Kwiatkowski

                              L    M            

Arnold Laven: credits at IMDb
later co-founder of Levy-Gardner-Laven


Harold Levenson [1919-93]


Pvt. Hal Levy


Jules V. Levy [1923-2003], producer: credits at IMDb
later co-founder of Levy-Gardner-Laven


SSgt. Arthur J. Lorimer


MSgt. Kenneth H. Lundquist


MSgt. Joel A. Malone [1916-1993], writer: credits at IMDb


SSgt. Morton M. Matlaf


'Snuffy' McGill, camera


MSgt. Harold Medford


Donald Meyer [b. 1919]


SSgt. William D. Moore


SSgt. Paul A. Mysch

                              N    O    P            

TSgt. Bernard D. Nesius


Sgt. Jack H. Nicholson


SSgt. Edward E. Nordell [1916-91], props


Cpl. George P. O'Brien


Arthur Orloff, writer


Larry Ornstein


Bob Overbeck /nm0653808/


Sgt. Francis A. Panette


SSgt. Lester Ramsey


PFC Frederick J. Roessler


Sgt. David Rose [1909-90], composer: credits at IMDb


Stanley Rubin: UCLA Bruin article • credits at IMDb


Sgt. Walter S. Rybaski


William Sackheim, producer


SSgt. Guy C. Scarpitta [1915-78], editor: credits at IMDb


TSgt. Joseph Schare, projectionist


SSgt. Jules Schermer
Schermer Collection at AMPAS Herrick Library


SSgt. Jay A. Schlein [1914-64]
Schlein F.M.P.U. Collection at AMPAS Herrick Library


SSgt. Paul A. Schori


Harold Schroeder


Sgt. William B. Shanks


MSgt. George J. Siegel


Sgt. Gerald M. Singer, NCOIC Editorial Equipment.


Sgt. ‘Stinky’ Staunch, lab tech at Warner Bros.
{was elevated to Warrant Officer and placed in charge of the men of F.M.P.U. in 1942}


John Sturges

                              T    U    V            

Sgt. Charles Tannen


Don Taylor, director


SSgt. Richard M. Taylor


SSgt. Howard M. Teasley


SSgt. Paul E. Tescher


Wayne Thiebaud [b. 1920]


MSgt. Edward L. Thompson


[blacklistee] Bernard Vorhaus [1904-2000], director
browse books • movie credits • page at B.F.I. ScreenOnline • Wikipedia

Saved from Oblivion autobiography of Bernard Vorhaus  
"Saved From Oblivion: The Autobiography of Bernard Vorhaus" [2000]
Scarecrow Press 8¾x5¾ hardcover [12/2000] for $42.00

                              W    Y            

writer Sgt. Malvin D. Wald [1917-2008]: credits at IMDb


Pvt. Barnitz G. Walker


Irving Wallace, writer


PFC George S. Watson


Howard Weeks


Cpl. Alan C. Weinberger


Joseph Westheimer [1916-98], cinematographer


writer Max Wilk [1920-2011]: credits at IMDb


Cpl. James O. Wilson


Sgt. Hank Yeske, personnel

Movie Star Soldiers
The list immediately below is of movie actors known to have served at F.M.P.U.
There is now an expanded list of Movie Star Soldiers (and Others) on another page, with U.S. & British & German actors,
directors, studio heads, and even politicians who served in World War I, World War II, and the wars in Korea and VietNam.


Sgt. Lee J. Cobb [1911-76]: credits at IMDb

Maj. Clark Gable [1901-60]
Magic Lantern's Clark Gable Page

2Lt. Van Heflin - nee Emmett Evan Heflin, Jr. [1910-71]: credits at IMDb

Capt. William Holden [1918-81]: credits at IMDb

Sgt. Arthur Kennedy [1914-90]: credits at IMDb

Sgt. Alan Ladd [1913-64]: credits at IMDb

George Montgomery [1916-2000]: credits at IMDb

Cpl. Barry Nelson - nee Robert H. Nielsen: credits at IMDb

Sgt. Edmond O'Brien: credits at IMDb

Don Porter

Capt. Ronald Reagan [1911-2004], adjutant
U.S.A.F. Museum page on Reagan's military career
Spirit of America Bookstore's Ronald Reagan Page

Sgt. George Reeves: credits at IMDb

Kent Smith: credits at IMDb

Capt. Robert Sterling: credits at IMDb

Craig Stevens [1918-2000]: credits at IMDb

Animation  Dept.
Magic Lantern's Animation Pages


Jules Engel [1909-2003]: credits at IMDb

Maj. Theodor Geisel [1904-91], Dept. Commander
{later/better known as Dr. Seuss}


Ernie Arcello.

Sgt. Gustavo Arriola, cartoonist
bio • 'Gordo' comic strip pb

Xavier Atencio: credits at IMDb

Ed Becker.

PFC William R. 'Bill' Boschι [1922-90]: credits at IMDb

Ralph Chadwick.

Art Cruickshank [1918-83], camera operator: credits at IMDb

Ozzie Evans.

Ray Fahringer, animator: credits at IMDb

Juanita Fernandez, civilian artist illustrator.

Sherman Glas: credits at IMDb

Robert Givens: credits at IMDb

Manny Gonzales.

Bill Higgins.

Lee Hill.

[blacklistee] John Hubley [1914-77]
PBS special • Digital Media FX article • credits at IMDb

Rudolf Ising [1903-92], producer/director: credits at IMDb

Chuck Jones {as Warner Bros. employee}: 1940s credits at IMDb

Sam Katz.

Van Kaufman, illustrator [d. 1994]
later worked at Fitz-Art

John Kelley.

Herb Klynn [1917-99]: credits at IMDb

Rudy Larriva: credits at IMDb

Monroe Leung.

Bob McIntosh: credits at IMDb

Boots Marino.

Cpl. Norman McCabe, animator: credits at IMDb

Phil Monroe [1916-88], animator: credits at IMDb

Stanley C. 'Frank' Onaitis [1918-99]: credits at IMDb

Amby Paliwoda [1909-99]: credits at IMDb

Willis Pyle: credits at IMDb

Herb Rothwill: credits at IMDb

Don Ruch, animator [d. 2001]: credits at IMDb

Gil Rugg, animator: credits at IMDb

Dave Salcwas.

Ted Sally.

Jack Schnerk, animator: credits at IMDb

[blacklistee] William 'Bill' Scott: credits at IMDb
later partner in Jay Ward Productions, Inc. {Rocky & Bullwinkle, etc.} from 1959 to 1969

Russ Smiley.

Joe Smith.

Frank Thomas [1912-2004]: official website • credits at IMDb

Dick Thompson, animator [1914-98]: credits at IMDb

Ralph Tiller.

Ross Wetzel.

Bernie Wolf, animator: credits at IMDb

Aviation  Dept.

Col. Paul Mantz [1903-65], F.M.P.U. Commander: credits at IMDb • Wikipedia
Hollywood Pilot Paul Mantz paperback cover  
"Hollywood Pilot: The Biography of Paul Mantz" [1967]
by Don Dwiggins, Foreword by Lowell Thomas

Doubleday 8¼x5½ hardcover [1967] out of print/used
Frank Tallman [1919-78], pilot: credits at IMDb
TallMantz Aviation [1961-86] Collection at AMPAS Herrick Library

Elmer G. Dyer [1892-1970], pilot
Dyer Collection at AMPAS Herrick Library

Capt. Dutton C. Dutton, pilot: news clipping

Capt. Floyd Nolta, Operations Officer + pilot

Motion Picture Pilots Assn.


Aviation  Detail  at  Van  Nuys  Airport
aviation detail personnel of F.M.P.U. at Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles during World War II
The PNG-file original of this cropped & re-sized photograph was contributed by Heather Z., the granddaughter of Cpl. Wennersten,
second from left in the back row; these men are the Aircraft Dept. crew assigned to Van Nuys Airport as part of F.M.P.U.;
the date is uncertain (the Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft in the distance were manufactured from 1941 to 1945).
The names are handwritten on the back of the original, and include both aircraft mechanics and camera operators.

Standing, from left to right:
Hassler from Long Beach, CA
Cpl. Kenneth R. Wennersten
TSgt. William G. Westwood of St. Petersburg, Florida
Lapp from Chicago
Cpl. Joseph E. Buchanan from Chicago
unidentified 'Hollywood man'
William Williams from Los Angeles
Hanson from Los Angeles
Canfield from Los Angeles
         Front row, from left to right:
PFC Lowell N. Dalton from Detroit, Michigan
Mark Gruber from Cass City, Michigan
Dan Yates from Pittsburgh, PA
SSgt. Anthony G. Riccobono of Detroit, Michigan
Cpl. William K. Flanders from Lyons, Georgia
Oscar Schindler from Los Angeles

aviation detail personnel of F.M.P.U. at Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles in March 1944
Another photograph contributed by Heather Z., cropped & re-sized; these men are the Aircraft Dept. crew assigned to Van Nuys Airport as part
of F.M.P.U.; the date is March 1944; the bomber converted for aerial photography is a Douglas A-20 Havoc. The officers in front are mostly pilots,
the other men include both aircraft mechanics and camera operators. The names are handwritten on the back of the original.

Front row, kneeling, from left to right:
Capt. Gibbons, senior command pilot
Capt. Dutton C. Dutton, pilot
2Lt. Richardson, Airport Operations Officer
1Lt. Witney, Engineering Officer + pilot
Major Clarke, Commanding Officer + pilot
1Lt. Carothers, Asst. Engineering Officer + pilot
2Lt. Radler, Weights & Balance Officer + pilot
2Lt. Filbert, Supply Officer
Capt. Floyd Nolta, Operations Officer + pilot
         Second row, standing, from left to right:
SSgt. Theodore H. Karpowicz
Sgt. Eugene L. Bennett?
Sgt. Francis A. Panetta?
TSgt. Raymond Kwiatkowski
Sgt. Alvin M. Kohrs?
Sgt. Walter S. Rybaski
PFC Lowell N. Dalton
Mark Gruber
Cpl. William K. Flanders
         Third row, standing, from left to right:
SSgt. Anthony G. Riccobono
Sgt. William B. Shanks
PFC Murl S. Cook?
SSgt. Emil C. Hansen, Jr.?
Cpl. Kenneth R. Wennersten
Cpl. Joseph E. Buchanan
Sgt. Eugene P. Araiza?
TSgt. William G. Westwood

Missing from photo: Capt. Herbinger, Asst C.O. + pilot; 2Lt. Briant, pilot; and enlisted personnel Clark, Sgt. Alvin M. Denniston,
Cpl. Ralph B. Erwin, SSgt. Werner Fahl, Gianetti, MSgt. Henry E. Krupa, Lupp, Mills, TSgt. Bernard D. Nesius, and Shugart

1st  Combat  Camera  Unit - 15th Air Force
The 450th Bomb Group Memorial Association website has a photo gallery for the 1st Combat Camera Unit.

Capt. David A. Thomas.
Lt. Charles S. Gekler.
2Lt. Sherwood A. Mark.
PFC George K. Kouklis, Jr. .
Sgt James B. Newton.
TSgt Anthony A. Russo.
Albert V. 'Al' Saldarini [b. 1921].
SSgt William J. Skeehan.


3rd  Combat  Camera  Unit - 8th Air Force [1943-45]

SSgt. Donald P. Gladu [1920-99], photographer.


4th  Combat  Camera  Unit - in Europe and Occupied Germany
After VE-Day, Gen. 'Hap' Arnold ordered Col. Owen Crump to document the bomb damage in Germany; the task fell to the 4th C.C.U.,
who took advantage of Occupation rules and filmed captured Hermann Gφring, the death camps, anything & everything – in color!
The hundreds of hours of film exposed as part of 'Special Film Project 186' has never been shown because the Army Air Force
balked at the $1 million estimated cost to produce a series of documentary motion pictures. {See recent details below.}

Robert Wolber, cameraman


6th  Combat  Camera  Unit - in the South Pacific, 1942-1945


9th  Combat  Camera  Unit - of 6th A.D.G. in Egypt & Italy
Steven Brown's photo gallery of the 9th Combat Camera Unit

Capt. John D. Craig, Commanding Officer.

Lt. Robert 'Rocky' Byrnes.

Capt. Victor E. Clark, Jr. {ret'd 1975 as LtCol}
wartime memories of Vic Clark {29KB .doc file} text courtesy of son Joe Clark

{ofcr} Andrew J. 'Andy' McIntire [1903-70], cinematographer: credits at IMDb

James Bray.

Ken Chaney, combat cameraman: credits at IMDb

Sgt. Gene L. Davis.

Sgt. Whitfield P. Davis: credits at IMDb

Sgt. Frank W. Goetz.

Jerry Joswick. (from Chicago, Illinois), combat cameraman

Sgt. Alex Kushner.

SSgt. Henry J. 'Hank' Ludwin.

Cpl. Sydney Mandler [1923-97].
photo of Cpl. Mandler in uniform {in new window} contributed by Wesley Mandler

Sgt. Joe Nagy.

SSgt. Milton Rosenblatt.

SSgt. Emery Simmons.


10th  Combat  Camera  Detachment - in India  [est. Nov 1942]

Capt. Clifford M. Shirpser, Commanding Officer [d. 1977]
credits at IMDb • photo gallery

Cpl. Norman Delair

Edward Evans

Lt. Irving A. Greenspan

SSgt. William Gross.

TSgt. Irving B. Libott: credits at IMDb

SSgt. Michael Slifka: credits at IMDb

SSgt. Raymond Sonnestein.


16th  Combat  Camera  Unit - in China

PFC Johnny F. Klock.

Cpl. Zane Mann: credits at IMDb

TSgt. Herbert Morrison [1924-2004].

TSgt. Wm. 'Bill' Rogister.

Books  &  Videos

Wartime American Animated Short Films  "Doing Their Bit: Wartime American Animated Short Films,
1939–1945" [1987]
by Michael S. Shull & David E. Wilt

McFarland & Co. 9x6 pb [4/2004] for $38.50
McFarland & Co. 9½x6½ hardcover [10/87] out of print/used
Armed With Cameras  "Armed With Cameras: The American Military Photographers
of World War II" [1993]
by Peter Maslowski

Free Press 9x6 pb [12/93] for $20.00
Free Press hardcover [10/93] out of print/used
When The Stars Went To War book by Roy Hoopes  "When The Stars Went To War: Hollywood & World War II" [1994]
by Roy Hoopes

Random House 9½x6½ hardcover [12/94] out of print/many used
Chapter 8 specifically addresses the service of eight movie stars who served in the military: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Robert Montgomery, James Stewart, Sterling Hayden, Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power & Wayne Morris – but other stars (male and female) are mentioned throughout the book.
Battle Eye   "Battle Eye: A History of American Combat Photography" [1996]
by Norman B. Moyes

Michael Friedman Publng pb [6/96] out of print/used
Gun Camera Footage  "Gun Camera Footage Of World War II" [1999]
by L. Douglas Keeney

Avion Park pb [4/99] out of print/used
Shooting War Combat Cameramen documentaryby Richard Schickel  "Shooting War: World War II Combat Cameramen" TV documentary
{DreamWorks/A.B.C. Dec 2000]
Written & directed by Richard Schickel

Universal DVD [5/2004] for $17.99
full credits from IMDb
Gun Camera  "Gun Camera - World War II: Photography from Allied Fighters & Bombers Over Occupied Europe" [2001]
by L. Douglas Keeney

Motorbooks Intl 10x10¼ pb [1/2001] for $17.47
Out There in the Dark novel by Wesley Strick  "Out There In The Dark" [2006 novel] by Wesley Strick
Hollywood in the late Thirties: B-actor Harley Hayden begins dating the daughter of the head of Superior Studios, who hires ex-cop detective Mike Roarke to check Harley's background. Refugee German director Dieter Seife (name changed to Derek Sykes) is asked to star Hayden in his next film; Dieter wants a better actor, so Hayden hires Roarke to investigate Dieter. War breaks out and both Harley and 'Derek' are drafted to work at the Army's First Motion Picture Unit in Culver City.
St. Martin/Thomas Dunne 8¼x6 hardcover [2/2006] out of print/used

Military Intelligence and You!  "Military Intelligence and You!" [Pax Americana Pictures Oct 2006]
A parody of WWII training films, such as those made by F.M.P.U., constructed by combining 60-year-old government footage with modern high-definition video.
Co-produced, written & directed by Dale Kutzera; starring Patrick Muldoon, Elizabeth Bennett, Mackenzie Astin, John Rixey Moore, Eric Jungmann, with archival footage of William Holden, Alan Ladd, Arthur Kennedy & Ronald Reagan • full credits from IMDb
Echo Bridge Home Ent. b&w DVD [5/2008] for $12.99
official movie site {broken 2014} • watch official trailer [2:51] at YouTube

Reel Story Military Film Production During WWII video  "The Reel Story: Military Film Production During WWII and Combat Cameramen"
120-minute DVD contains "The Army Photographer" Signal Corps training film for combat cameramen; "First Motion Picture Unit, Army Air Forces" [FMPU 1943] 21-minute b&w docu- mentary; "Movies At War" [War Dept. 1944] 10-minute documentary about distribution of movies to servicemen around the world during WWII; and "Outstanding Film Footage of World War II" [U.S. Navy] silent battle footage shot by Navy, Marine Corps & Coast Guard combat cameramen
purchase new DVD-R [undated] for $29.95 via Amazon third party
purchase all-regions DVD from producer/filmmakers [undated] for $29.95
Movie Studios of Culver City book by Julie Lugo Cerra & Marc Wanamaker  
"Movie Studios of Culver City (Images of America)" [2011]
by Julie Lugo Cerra & Marc Wanamaker

Arcadia Publng 9¼x6½ pb [3/2011] for $14.95
Five Came Back / Hollywood & the Second World War book by Mark Harris  "Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and The Second World War - John Ford, George Stevens, John Huston, William Wyler, Frank Capra" [2014]
by Mark Harris

Kindle Edition from Penguin Group [2/2014] for $11.99
Penguin Press 9¼x6 hardcover [2/2014] for $20.18
World War II Magazine [est. 1986] from Primedia
World War II Magazine
6 issues/year for $30.00

magazine website

World War II History Magazine from Sovereign Homestead Media
World War II History

12 issues/year for $14.95

magazine website

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Partial  F.M.P.U.  Filmography

screen shot of the F.M.P.U. color credit logo {provided by Florian Schmidlechner}

F.M.P.U. entries at Internet Movie Database
U.S. Army Air Forces entries at Internet Movie Database


"Winning Your Wings" [May 1942 theatrical short]
"Learn & Live" [1943]
"Camouflage" [1944 color cartoon]
"Ditching: Before & After" [1943]
"Cadet Classification" [1943] narrated by Ronald Reagan
"Wings Up" [May 1943 theatrical short]
"Jap Zero" [1943]
"Three Cadets" [1943]
"First Motion Picture Unit" [1943 b&w documentary]
"Resisting Enemy Interrogation" [Aug 1944] {Oscar nominated}


"Combat America" [U.S.A.A.F. Sept 1944]
Combat America documentary by 1Lt. Clark Gable  62-minute Technicolor documentary made by then-Lieutenant Clark Gable featuring the men of the U.S.A.A.F. 351st Bombardment Group between combat missions over Germany from an R.A.F. base in England. Post-production was done by Gable on assignment at F.M.P.U. / Fort Roach. Produced, directed & narrated by and starring 1Lt. Clark Gable; cameos by Gen. 'Hap' Arnold & Bob Hope
Alpha Video 102-min. DVD [6/2009] for $7.98
Periscope Film 110-min. Deluxe Edition DVD [4/2007] for $24.99
Good Times Video b&w DVD [5/2001] out of prodn/used
full credits at IMDb • movie entry at Wikipedia
hour-long online version at YouTube


"The Memphis Belle: A Story of A Flying Fortress"
[Paramount theatrical release April 1944]
Memphis Belle 1944 movie  Directed by William Wyler; cinematography by 1Lt. Harold J. Tannenbaum; listed on National Film Directory (2001)
Platinum color DVD [11/2001] for $6.99
Timeless color VHS [3/2000] for $12.99
Tapeworm color VHS [12/99] out of stock/used
Tapeworm color VHS [11/90] out of stock/used
full credits at IMDb
Memphis Belle 1990 remake  
1990 remake [Warner Bros.]
Warner color DVD [5/98] for $9.88
Warner color VHS [5/95] out of prodn/many used
Varese soundtrack CD [10/90] for $16.98
full credits at IMDb
Memphis Belle B-17 Flying Fortress  "Memphis Belle: Biography of A B-17 Flying Fortress" [2001]
by Brent William Perkins

Schiffer Publng 11x8½ hardcover [1/2001] not available at Amazon
SS's 'Memphis Belle' movies fansite
Memphis Belle B-17 Flying Fortress official website
restored Liberty Belle B-17 Flying Fortress of Atlanta, Georgia


"Land and Live In The Jungle" [1944]
"Land and Live In The Desert" [1945]
"Target Tokyo" [1945]

"Time To Kill" 23-minute short [1945] /tt0418240/
cast includes George Reeves, Barry Nelson, Don Taylor, DeForest Kelley & Betty White

"Target For Today" { no longer available from Antiquary Video }
"Operation of The Bombsight"
"Mental Attitude of The Soldier"
"How To Survive In The Arctic"


"Special Film Project 186" [never produced]
After VE-Day, Gen. 'Hap' Arnold ordered F.M.P.U.'s Col. Owen Crump to document the bomb damage in Germany; the task fell to the 4th C.C.U., who took advantage of Occupation rules and filmed captured Hermann Gφring, the death camps, anything & everything – in color! The hundreds of hours of film exposed as part of 'Special Film Project 186' has never been shown because the Army Air Force balked at the $1 million cost estimated to produce a series of documentary motion pictures.

The company Motion Video, Inc. in Pennsylvania attempted to make a documentary called 'The Story of Special Film Project 186' about "the biggest color film project
of World War II – and the biggest unseen film of all time". The company appears to be defunct (and website broken) but their online promo is still there.
promo short [2min 50sec] for "The Story of Special Film Project 186"


Complete Uncensored Private Snafu  "The Complete Uncensored Private Snafu: Cartoons
From World War II" [1943-46]

Starring Mel Blanc {voice}; produced by F.M.P.U.; directors include
animators Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Frank Tashlin & Bob Clampett
Image Ent. color/b&w DVD [12/2006] for $8.99
Pvt. Snafu entry at Wikipedia

"Hollywood Commandoes" [AMC tv special May 1997]
Co-produced, written & directed by Gregory Orr; hosted by Ron Reagan
video/DVD not available; full credits from IMDb


"Why We Fight" Series [1943-45]
Why We Fight series   Produced for showing to new recruits and also released to theaters. Produced & co-directed by Frank Capra [1897-1991] and co-directed by Anatole Litvak [1902-74] & Anthony Veiller [1903-65] for the U.S. Army Signal Corps; listed in National Film Registry (2000)
Gaiam Americas DVD boxed set [2/2009] 4 disks for $9.98
Goodtimes DVD boxed set [3/2001] 4 disks out of prodn/used
Rhino b&w VHS boxed set [8/98] 7 tapes for $37.98
1: Prelude to War [1943] full credits from IMDb
2: The Nazis Strike [1943] full credits from IMDb
—  Episodes 1 & 2: DVD for $4.98 • VHS out of prodn/used
3: Divide & Conquer [1943] full credits from IMDb
4: The Battle of Britain [1943] full credits from IMDb
—  Episodes 3 & 4: DVD for $4.98 • VHS out of prodn/used
5: The Battle of Russia [1943] full credits from IMDb
—  Episode 5: DVD for $4.98 • VHS out of prodn/used
6: The Battle of China [1944] full credits from IMDb
7: War Comes To America [1945] full credits from IMDb
—  Episodes 6 & 7: DVD for $4.98 • VHS out of prodn/used

Photograph  &  Artifact  Gallery
If you can identify anyone in these photos or documents, please let the webmaster know

F.M.P.U. studio camera crew in 1944, personnel identities unknown
click for larger view {in new window}
           publicity photograph of F.M.P.U. 'camera jeep', probably as used in Combat Camera Units

F.M.P.U. Editorial Department group photograph, on the front steps of the Hal Roach Studios Administrration Building (date unknown)
click for larger view {in new window}

'Contact Magazine' dated December 1942, cover photo (and story?) about F.M.P.U.            matchbook cover from F.M.P.U.            unsigned F.M.P.U. Special Orders document of June 1943, page 1            unsigned F.M.P.U. Special Orders document of June 1943, page 2

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