Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Battle of The Java Sea

Val Poss - the President of the USS Houston Association asked me to respond to the letters of Johan VanLeer - who wants to get the Battle of The Java Sea (Feb 28, 1942) recognized with a TV special of some kind. His latest rebuff came from Michael Weiss who does Ollie North's War Stories. He's also been put off by The History Channel and A&E. I could have told him because I went through this a few years ago. Here is my response to Mr. VanLeer after reading his letters and rejections: I have read the letters... fox and etc. Ollie North had the same problem ...

All these PAMPERED broadcast types (sorry, Ollie has become one too) will NOT work without pristine footage from pristine cameras to do a story. Thus, the Alamo will never be covered by any WAR story TV makers because of no available footage (Seen any Alamo documentaries lately with contemporary footage?). Same with Java Sea .. Hey - You get your fleet sunk and lose all the original footage and nobody is going to remember you ... Why didn't you think to save the film from Winslow's 16mm film camera before you abandoned ship and went on to build the Bridge on The River Kwai? I have asked Otto Schwarz - (then a 17 year old sailor) who is now blind and in a VA nursing home ... "WHAT were you THINKING?" I talked to Windy Winslow - He had great footage of the battles up to Java Sea. Windy could shoot film because he had no battle station except to fly as a scout. The planes were destroyed when the concussion of the ship's 8" guns ripped the fabric off the wings as they hurried into action - unable to slow down to launch the airplane. He had the film in his stateroom safe ready to be developed, but unfortunately the Japanese had other plans and the film went down with the ship! Good grief! Ollie, A&E and The History Channel - There must have been plenty of opportunities to save that film and Otto (leaving the magazine of burning turret 2) and Windy, dodging a hail of bullets on the deck, never even TRIED!

A&E and History Channel gave me the same unblinking - unseeing response some years ago to Java Sea and The Houston Story... But, an added problem of this battle is that it was a multi-national force. The major story lines however -- always seem to cover "a ship" or "the US Fleet" or "the Dutch fleet" ... The magnitude of the total fleet loss - TOTAL fleet confrontation - is lost on people who are historical skimmers. EXCEPT.... me ... there is ME...
I believe in the media of EVERYMAN .. the WEB. SCREW Cable and the Networks...

I will be placing Java Sea and Houston films on DVD soon. (I admit to one big mistake - the original edits were never done to fit TV time constraints - and that has held them back somewhat). I will provide a copy to J Valerius/ Johan VanLeer if he'll make every effort to get these onto PUBLIC ACCESS TV (not same as Public TV... they have more flexibility but smaller market share per station .. usually only a city or a county where a cable service is employed .. and ... they accept DVD). Some of these PUBLIC Access stations also are able to move video over a network to something like a "user group" of Public Access / Educational Access stations..
One more thing...
I will also place the films on www.video.google.com for easy download to any computer. Then it is a matter of getting the word out. There will be a small fee to download this way, but google has the muscle to make the space for long format movies in this way. It looks like www.hungryflix.com is doing much the same thing and I will explore that too.
Those are my plans for early 2006 (sorry I said this in 2004 and 2005 too but I think I really mean it now). SCREW the networks. Hero's don't need actual film footage to be recognized.
Vic
www.me3tv.com www.usshouston.org www.ussocallahan.org
re: ca30ng@aol.com and jvalerius@verizon.net
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