References to the Army
Pictorial Center can be hard to find on the Internet.
There are also other web sites about combat photography and military film
Some of the names on
Personnel Roster are linked to other web
sites. Here are a few other web pages that
may interest you, but you may find the links no longer work:
"In 1942, the military came to
town and turned the studio into the Army Pictorial Center. They cranked out
training and propaganda films during WWII—giving such actors as Paul Newman
and Jack Lemmon their first roles—and left behind a lead-lined,
bomb-and-radar–proof recording booth that musicians still use when they want
to achieve an eerie tone." The
Army days are briefly mentioned in this article, "How to Get To Sesame
Street?" on the Time Out New York web page. Click here.
American Cinematographer Magazine featured
reminiscences of cameramen at World War II's Signal Corps Photographic Center,
in a tribute by cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld. Click
here to visit the ASC website.
"Since the Office of the Secretary of War did not have any still or motion
picture facilities, the Army was designated as the only agency to store and
release still and motion pictures to the news media and general public."
The Army's website presents a History of Visual Information Records. To
visit the Army's website, click here
The text from the Army page is presented on this APC website. Click here.
"...the RKO studio crane in front of the
building. Hill purchased it at an auction at the University of South Florida at
Tampa. The United States Army Pictorial Center had given the crane to the
university and said that it had been on some "famous movie," but they
couldn't recall just which one." Read
about Martin Hill's eclectic collection of motion picture equipment. Click
"One of the most significant pioneering studios was Lasky and Zukor’s
Famous Players Film Company which officially opened its studios in September of
1920 at Pierce and Sixth Streets, now known as 35th Street and 35th Avenue in
this article at the Queens Tribune online edition.
Archives and Records Administration reports:
The Army Pictorial Service (APS) administered all
photographic matters for the Signal Corps which, as during World War I, was put
in charge of all U.S. Army photography. The primary offices in the United States
were the Signal Corps Photographic Center (SCPC) in Astoria, NY, and the Signal
Corps Photographic Laboratory in Washington, DC. The SCPC was responsible for
training combat photographers at its Photographic School, and for photographic
research and development at its Pictorial Engineering and Research Laboratory.
The SCPC trained a great variety of specialists besides photographers, among
them camera repairmen, lab technicians, editors, and photo librarians.
During the first two years of the war, the Army's
photographic activities suffered from administrative confusion, a lack of
cooperation from Washington, a lack of prewar planning, and the fact that few
people understood the photographic responsibilities of the Signal Corps.
Furthermore, all parts of the War Department wanted different things: the Bureau
of Public Relations wanted dramatic pictures for public release; training
officers wanted visual aids; and field staff needed tactical photos for
immediate strategic uses. The situation improved, and by the latter half of the
war, better organization of Signal Corps photo units permitted easier coverage
of the war on all fronts. Combat experience and better training also helped to
improve the quality of U.S. Army photography.
By 1943, however, shortages of photographic supplies
and APS Still Picture Library personnel necessitated culling the hundreds of
thousands of pictures received. Pictures selected for retention had to meet a
high standard for strategic, tactical, intelligence, instructional,
informational, or historical value. By 1944, these standards were even more
necessary, since over 10,000 combat photographs arrived at the library each
month. By the end of the war, the library's holdings amounted to more than
The prestige of Signal Corps photography increased
steadily throughout the war. Better organization of Signal Corps photo units
permitted easier coverage of the war on all fronts, and combat experience and
improved training also helped to upgrade the quality of Army photography. Thus,
by 1945, the true value of U.S. Army photography was recognized both within the
military and by the general public. "Combat photographers served as the
eyes of the public as well as the Army; millions of Americans at home would have
had a very hazy idea of how and where the war was being waged if they had not
had the benefit of the newsreels and still pictures that the combat cameramen
In its history of
Vietnam, the National Archives and Records Administration reports: The
operations and direction of the military photography was organized by the Army
Pictorial Center (APC), which dispatched a series of teams for brief visits.
These teams were organized into DASPO (Department of the Army Special Photo
Office). DASPO rotated photographers into Vietnam for three-month tours of duty
from a base in Hawaii. It wasn't long before the Marines sent their own
photographers into the field, quickly followed by the Army and its 221st Signal
Company. The DASPO and the 221st were considered the Army's elite photographic
units. Smaller numbers of photographers worked for the Public Information Office
(PIO), the Air Force and the Navy. The Air Force photographers assisted in
aerial reconnaissance and documentation of bombing missions. The Navy
photographers worked from the Combat Camera Group-Pacific (CCGPAC) photographing
river patrols, counterguerrilla missions, and SEAL teams. The mission of DASPO
was to provide a historical record of the war for the Pentagon archives. These
photographers were not there as journalists, but rather to create a visual
record of operations, equipment, and personnel. After the photographs were
processed by the Pentagon, they were made available to military publications,
the press, and the public at a photographic library at the Pentagon.
the web site of the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion offers an excellent column
on Army filmmaking and combat photography, along with photos and other archival
information and web links.
|Newsday gives a little sketch on
the history of the studio at Astoria
||Tom Jennings includes
some film reviews of Army films on his World Power Systems web site.
||Colonel Frank Capra and his
"Why We Fight" film series are discussed in the Chicago Photographic
Society's web page in "Tales
of the Kodak Ektra.
|Walter Rosemblum mentions he was
attached as a still photographer to the Army Pictorial Service in his "V-Mail
from Walter Rosemblum" on the New Deal Network web site.
||PBS gives the history of a
of the Camps", that included footage by cameramen for the Army
Pictorial Service and was screened for the public on "Frontline."
CitySearch web site for New York City gives an excellent account of what's
happening now at Kaufman Astoria Studios, the former Army Pictorial
||Serving in the Army Pictorial
Service in World War II, cameramen Willard
A. Trumble passed away in 1998. You can find his obituary on the web.
lists all of the commercial films made at the studio before the Army
acquired it in 1942 and after the Army closed in 1970. See Kaufman
Astoria Studio Credits
Island Film/TV Foundation gives capsule histories of film production,
including the Astoria studio that was Army Pictorial Center.
Island History web site gives an account, "In Queens, A
Army Pictorial Center was closed in 1970, Redstone Arsenal formally
assumed the functions of Army Pictorial Center on June 2, 1970.
USS Lenawee (APA-195) served the United
States Navy in three wars. The ship is featured in the film
"Operation King - 40th Infantry Division, 08/13/1951" produced
with the services of Army Pictorial Center.
have to wonder about some web listings. KeySpan Energy lists a table
of special receptors included in a cogeneration modeling analysis that
includes Army Pictorial Center!
Internet Archive offers downloadable movies including "The
Challenge of Ideas, (Part I) and (Part II), a 1961 production from the
Army Pictorial Center featuring John Wayne, Edward R. Murrow and others
discussing the ideological battle between U.S. and Soviet Union.
The site also lists
several titles, including:
America," a 1945 film that follows the Flying Fortress crews of the
351st Bombardment Group from the end of their training at a Colorado
training field to actual combat over Germany.
"The Crime of Korea,"
a 1950 film about Korea in the tumultuous period between the end of World
War II and the start of the Korean War.
One," a 1945 film record of the operations of the U.S. 82nd and 101st
Airborne Divisions in the 1944 invasion of France.
"Divide and Conquer," a 1943 film from Frank Capra's "Why
We Fight" series that shows
the German invasion of Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France,
including the evacuation of the British forces at Dunkirk.
Pictorial Center is the source of " Television in Army Training:
Evaluation of 'Intensive' Television for Teaching Basic Electricity,"
a 1958 text by Joseph H. Kanner, Sanford Katz, and Peter B. Goldsmith, in
the WESTERN HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPT
COLLECTION 222 THOMAS JEFFERSON LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST.
LOUIS, 8001 NATURAL BRIDGE ROAD, ST. LOUIS, MO 63121, (314) 516-5143, email@example.com
Pictorial Center - "Climb to Glory" a two-part
B&W film that consists almost entirely of footage of the 10th Mountain
Division in Italy during WWII, is listed on the website of the Alpenglow
Ski Mountaineering History Project.
E. Johnson's 1989 compilation, "Vietnam on Film and Television,"
includes "Vietnamese Training Report," a 1967 silent film
collection given by Col. G.B. Jarrett, Army Pictorial Center.
produced by Army Pictorial Center, is among the films listed in "THE
DECILLIS COLLECTION: the Vietnam Conflict VIDEOS" at this De Anza
web sites for combat photography and military film productions include: