Florida Humanities Council six-part series Florida: Then and Now
I came across an article in the Northwest Florida Daily News about the Florida Humanities Council six-part series, "Florida: Then and Now". In the second installment yesterday, the lecture shared the stories about four Hollywood productions filmed at Eglin AFB and surrounding Okaloosa County.
Held at the Heritage Museum in Valparaiso, FL Eglin Air Force Base historians Clay T. McCutchan and Robert B. Kane reviewed the productions of "Thirty Seconds over Tokyo," "12 O'clock High," "Dr. Strangelove" and "Green Berets" - which were filmed in our area.
In the Peter Sellers' classic, "Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," when Maj. T.J. "King" Kong rode a nuclear bomb into the coast line of the Soviet Union, he is actually riding through the Desin Pass. The sands of Destin, Florida's East Pass were so white (and still are!) that they easily passed for Russian snow. (Which immediately gives me the idea to dress my kids up in winter clothes and head out to the pass to take "snowy" Christmas pictures.)
Duke Field, was used in "12 O'clock High," where Mr. McCutchan said the director spent hundreds of hours searching for airfields that could mimic the cracked, grassy asphalt of a World War II English airfield. He filmed the first 15 minutes at Duke.
"They went out to Duke and they built a complete little English base," McCutchan said.
He talked about the cast that had to act in coats and scarves in the middle of May and the local inns where the cast and crew slept.
The Doolittle Raiders were featured in "Thirty Seconds over Tokyo". In one scene, they donned Navy caps.
"They went up on the flight deck without their hats so they grabbed any hat they could, and most of those hats are Navy hats," said McCutchan.
I hate I missed this lecture, but I will be sure to be at the next installment. It will be this Dec. 3 on Florida Holidays. It will be held at the Northwest Florida State College K-Gallery. For more information, visit www.heritage-museum.org. Here is a pdf of the slide show used at the Eglin Air Force Base In The Movies Lecture.