As pretty as the B-17 looks on the ground, she appears even more graceful in the air. In her prime, the tail wheel would be retracted, making her sleeker still. Rugged, dependable, forgiving, the Flying Fortress became synonymous with American air power over World War II Europe - much to the chagrin of B-24 Liberator crews, as the Fortress overshadowed their considerable contributions to the war effort.
Nevertheless, it was the B-17 that captured the imagination of the press and public. When the T.V. series Twelve O'clock High came out it cemented that hold on me as well.
I remember quite well being entranced by all the combat footage the show used as stock scene filler. Being all of 10 years old when it first aired (it ran from 1964 to mid-season 1967 when it was canceled) I wanted desperately to see all the airplanes in color, not knowing that much of the original combat footage was shot in black and white and tinted blue-ish in later seasons (the show was in black and white its first season).
Regardless, when we got our first color T.V. (1966, I think), I eagerly awaited the show that week so I could watch the B-17s in glorious color. I was utterly disappointed when the first episode shown was the one where Col Gallagher flies his silver P-51 on a mission and gets shot down over France. He then spends the next hour evading capture while finding his way back to England. No B-17s...no combat footage...just ersatz Southern California countryside and studio shots standing in for France. *Sigh*
It's amazing how impatient pre-teens can be. I thought the next week's episode would never come. Despite the tinted stock footage, the live shots with "Piccadilly Lily" were in color and I did enjoy that immensely.
I might consider buying the series on DVD, but I'm not ready to drop $260.00 for the complete set when I'm not sure it would hold up on adult viewing. Perhaps I should view it again on the Internet and decide what to do then....
I shot "Miss Angela" in flight over the Hawthorne Air Faire in August 2005.
"Salt River Cliffs" ©
2 months ago