1941 – Wo bitte geht's nach Hollywood (1979)

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1941 – Wo bitte geht’s nach Hollywood: Directed by Steven Spielberg. With Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, Lorraine Gary. Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.

“As outlandish and hysterical as the war insanity of 1941 may seem, the plot tracks almost exactly a real incident reported the night of Feb. 24, 1942, in Los Angeles that began when Navy intelligence reported an attack by unidentified objects on their radar could be expected within the next 10 hours. Early the morning of the 25, radar tracked objects 120 miles west of Los Angeles and a blackout was ordered, triggering a flood of reports about enemy planes. Planes wre reported by the coast artillery near Long Beach (25 of them at 12,000 feet). Four batteries of anti aircraft guns at Santa Monica opened fire on a balloon with a flare and all hell broke loose, with so much ack-ack and searchlights scanning the sky that utter confusion reigned for at least three hours with reports of swarms of planes (hundreds in some cases) flying in at every altitude imaginable. Some 1,440 rounds of ammunition were fired at airplanes that never dropped a single bomb. There were reports four enemy planes had been shot down, including one that supposedly landed in flames at a Hollywood intersection. If this all sounds familiar, read on. At dawn, the only damage found was caused by stray ack-ack fire and traffic wrecks during the blackout. The Navy said the next day there were no enemy planes. The Army interviewed people and decided there were at least one to five planes over LA. The War Department then announced the planes must have come from secret air fields in California or Mexico or from Japanese submarines. The next day the Los Angeles Times criticized the u0026quot;considerable public excitement and confusionu0026quot; caused by the alert that scared 2 million people. One California politician wanted to know if it was a calculated prank to move Californiau0026#39;s defense industries inland to other states. The Washington Post followed on Feb. 27 with condemnation of the militaryu0026#39;s stubborn silence on the issue and the New York Times jumped in on Feb. 28 by calling the entire episode u0026quot;incredibleu0026quot; and a display of u0026quot;expensive incompetence.u0026quot; The movie is a wonderful glimpse of this real hysteria, a real incident and with quotes pulled right out of newspaper articles. When Robert Stack wants to know u0026quot;where are the bombs?u0026quot; that is the same question the Air Force and Navy asked when reports came in about the thousands of planes attacking LA. All this information is available from government files on Air Force history from the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C. The Japanese, by the way never flew planes over LA, but did fly over Seattle, they said after the war. I LOVE 1941. It got everything absolutely right. Right down to Belushiu0026#39;s plane crashing into the street and crazies going off searching for hidden airfields near Bakersfield or Barstow or where ever. This was NOT a comedy. It was just about comical people. It should have won an Oscar for BEST DOCUMENTARY.”


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