The Big Picture
is available on DVD and Online!
National Archives and Records Administration has made individual
episodes of "The
Big Picture" available via Amazon. Episode DVDs can also be
copied for free by visitors to NARA's College Park, Maryland, facility.
And many complete episodes and clips have been posted on YouTube.
Jilly Dybka wrote, "There are a ton
of episodes of The Big Picture (and other Army Pictorial films) at the
Department of Defense FedFlix archive at
http://www.archives.gov/ where they can be downloaded for free by anyone."
Jilly has prepared a helpful list of links
to Big Picture titles.
Beginning in 1951, this ground-breaking series appeared at a
time when television news was in its infancy. Weekly episodes featured
current events (such as the progress of the Korean War), history and inside
looks at Army life. Professionally produced at the Army's full-service
motion picture studio, The Big Picture combined studio settings, location
photography and combat footage. The Army used its unique access to
bases around the world, cooperation of top commanders, availability of
skilled actors -- some of whom started their careers on the Astoria stage --
and a comprehensive library of Army film footage to present television
documentaries that rivaled anything then seen on the small screen.
Rita Baducci Pinchiaroli
was photographed at APC in February 1945.
Mobile Television Unit
In the early 1950s,
Signal Corps Pictorial Center was home to a mobile television unit evaluating
and demonstrating the potential use of this developing technology. Dick
Robinson and Edward
Boykin supply details and photographs.
Fred Harris remembers
"In typical Army fashion, the barracks we
slept in were NOT air conditioned, but the vehicles were to keep the tests
constant. WOW!" Fred Harris recalls
some of his assignments while at APC.
Television photographers and sound men
sought for interviews on PBS series
I'm working on a PBS series that focuses in
part on the Civil Rights Movement and I'll be producing a segment on how news
was gathered and disseminated during that time by photographers and sound men
who utilized "mobile" ENG technology before it was even identified as such.
Their heroic efforts brought the Civil Rights Movement into the homes of many
Americans who had little or no idea about what was going on in the South at that
time. I'd like to find any of those that remain and possible have them tell of
Editor's note: This may seem an odd request
on the APC website, but many of the military and civilian employees at Astoria
worked in the film and television industries before or after their time at APC,
this query seems intriguing. If you can provide information, write to the
daughter's memories of her dad at APC.
Norton S. Parker
Norton S. Parker's brother-in-law provides the
latest about Parker. We still would like to hear from anyone with
information about his
service at Army Pictorial Center.
Write to the webmaster.
"Is there a comprehensive list of when each episode
of The Big Picture was released?: asked John Simpson of Kennesaw, Georgia.
"I see on the website an occasional reference to episode so and so being in the
1962-63 season." The answer is a partial "yes." A compilation of
annual catalogs of episodes of The Big Picture lists production numbers, titles
and in many cases other information, but the list is still incomplete.
here to see the catalog.
Cameraman Bernard J.
"Did a SHAPIRO,BERNARD J. ever work as an Army
cameraman in Vietnam?" asked Roger Hawkins, formerly with the 221st Signal
Company (Photographic) in Vietnam. "Looking for a guy that filmed the
return of a rescued Air Force pilot." Shapiro is listed on our
Personnel Roster with Studio Branch, but we
don't have any more information. It you can answer the question, send an e-mail to the Webmaster.
TV host detained
Master Sergeant Stuart Queen is
detained and escorted from the set of The Big
Picture in an episode of the Army's weekly television program dramatizing
the Army's war gaming.
Peter Anderson asked, "I vaguely remember the host of 'The Big
Picture' being escorted from the set by military or Pentagon police, and the
episode going to commercials. Did this occur, and when and to whom if it did
occur?" Stephen Brittenham of Albuquerque supplied the answer, with a link to
YouTube. "I think this may be what he is referring to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eczdl5pBiFg&feature=related." This episode,
"The Aggressor," appears twice in The
Big Picture catalog at TV 362 and TV 555.
Cameras for atomic tests
Coverage of atomic tests in the 1950s was a classified
assignment for Army Pictorial Center personnel.
Ernest C. Baumert
helped make it a success. As chief of Maintenance and Engineering
Branch for APC, Baumert designed the remote, sequential camera array and
operated cameras at the tests.
The camera sets used to photograph atomic tests were assembled
Dale Young, who recorded narration for The Big Picture
and training films, recalls dating Jackie, secretary to post commander McCreary
in 1957. "Since I’m now 83, Jackie’s last name eludes me, and I’d be very
grateful if anyone can let me know what it was. If she’s still around I’d love
to get in touch with her."
See the Help page.
"... we shot many pieces of various films for the Big Picture on
the Sgt. Bilko sound stage." Fred Harris supplies some
This APC crew filming Dana Andrews on the Main Stage, included former
Marine Jerry J. Nugent who recalled, "I
had been hired as an assistant cameraman! That was the highlight of my life, as
I had long dreamed of working in a real studio, during “real” production work."
Nugent later was promoted to Motion Picture Cameraman.
made kinescope recordings ... and also a mobile unit that went out in the field
to show how and how not to use closed circuit TV and films from the electronic
media." Norman Roder is among the few alumni
have written to provide information about television at APC.
Norton S. Parker?
The questions about
Norton S. Parker
now include (1) does anyone have a photo of him and (2) did he serve as
commanding officer of Army Pictorial Center around 1952-1953?
supplied some information. See the Help page.
Retired Colonel Norman Saunders wrote
to add names to the Personnel Roster for Zack (Stan) Cherry, Jim
Willey, Bob Erwin, Major Carl Flint, and Jack Warner Jr.
died as an American, a happy teenager, and in FREEDOM." A Signal Corps
photograph leads to a poignant story of a little boy and answers a query on our
Help page. Read the story behind the photograph from Operation Mercy.
“Incredible, horrifying photos”
took pictures of conditions at Orthduf concentration camp while serving with the
69th Signal Battalion in 1945. Looking for those lost photos that he
sent home, his daughter was glad to learn something about the 69th
Signal Corps photographers in 1942's Class 3 at the Signal Corps
Photographic Center include Jackson B. Pokress, seated at
far right, and Jeffrey Lynn, standing third from left.
When the Army established the Signal Corps
Photographic Center at the former Paramount studio in Astoria in 1942, men with
experience in film and photography answered the call. But, according to Jackson
B. Pokress, who was among the first at the new Army post, “Those from Hollywood
got all the rank, New York guys got nothing.”
Part of the reason was that not too many
people except those from Hollywood had worked in the film industry. There
were many news photographers. “If you were from Hollywood, whatever you told
the Army, they believed it. There were guys running around with all kinds of
rank, but they didn’t know anything.”
Pokress adds names from the
early days to the Personnel Roster, such as cinematographer
Stanley Cortez, writer Mel Brooks, Danny Novak,
Bill Safron and Bill Beedle (later known as
Read Pokress' first-hand
memories of Astoria in 1942.
George M. Kotuby
typical of young GIs who served at Signal Corps Photographic Center,
shown here with the standard GI issue 4X5 Speed Graphic in 1947.
Kotuby wrote, "I was stationed at SCPC from December 1946 until
October 1948 when all the photo schools were moved to Ft Monmouth. I started as
a student, pulled from class about three weeks before completion and sent to
Ansco Corporation in Binghampton, NY, with three others. We were to be trained
in the new Ansco color process. I returned to SCPC to set up the first darkroom
color processing course and became the Senior Instructor in the Darkroom
Technician's School. I was a staff sergeant." Kotuby provided a
number of photos from his SCPC days. Click here to see more.
Albert E. Glocker
was a motion picture photographer who trained at the
Signal Corps Photographic Center Photo School in 1942 and went on to serve
in Combat Photo Unit 10 in the South Pacific. His daughter, Lynn Glocker,
tells the story and provides photos. Former First Lieutenant Don
Mittelstaedt describes how Combat Photo Unit 10 operated to produce
photos that became part of the Army's pictorial archives.
honed his talents as a film editor
in the Signal Corps beginning in 1942.
Like other GIs at
the studio, he went on to a successful civilian career, editing television
shows and also serving as president of the Motion Picture Editors Guild and
the American Cinema Editors.
Former Chief of Production Ray Nesbit supplied some interesting
names to the Personnel Roster, including actors Lloyd Battista
and Peter Bonerz, Director George Keathley and actors
Robert and Mary Ludlum, a decade before Bob began his Jason Bourne
"The supply sergeant would tell us in his gravelly voice, 'now youse
guys be sure to use plenty of fillum!'" Oliver Bryk
remembers off-duty photo training.
Paul Fanning had a varied and colorful career that
included time at Army Pictorial Center, according to Bernard S. Neville.
Stanley "Tim" Swed is identified by son Dennis.
Gary Crosby threw a temper tantrum on the APC main stage, Phil
Silvers yanked him to his feet, chewed him out for acting like a
baby and threatened to tell his dad, Bing Crosby.
ABC's senior Washington correspondent and former NBC newsman,
was a TV Division production specialist at Army Pictorial Center from 1961
to 1964, reported Ray Nesbit. If you
have information about APC alumni, send an e-mail to the
was one of many talented people who brought
their skills to Army Pictorial Center / Signal Corps Photographic Center, as
soldiers, civilian employees, or as well-known entertainers. Wayne
appeared as the host narrator of a 1967
episode of "The Big Picture," episode number TV-695 titled "A Nation Builds
Col. Melvin E. Gillette
happened to the plaque used in the dedication of the Sixth Army's
Gillette Photographic Center at the Presidio of San Francisco? Family of
Col. Melvin E. Gillette, the first commander of Army Pictorial
Center, would like to know. Read more about Col. Gillette.
Saturday, March 30, 2013 05:26:42 PM
main entrance to APC at night
was photographed by Bill Ricks,
who supplied a
few of his color slides from that era.
APC / SCPC
Yes, we still need
your help to answer the questions about SCPC/APC and films made
Jerry, the editor on "Public Shelter Living: The Story of
McManus the original Emmy, the model for television's top
See if you can answer any of the questions on the Help page.
Army Pictorial Center's former Building 13 is now the site of the Museum
of the Moving Image.
recently completed a stunning renovation, which was reviewed in the January
13, 2011, edition of
The Wall Street Journal.
As described on the museum's website, "The Museum of the Moving Image
advances the public understanding and appreciation of the art, history,
technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. It does so
by collecting, preserving, and providing access to moving-image related
artifacts, screening significant films and other moving-image works,
presenting exhibitions of artifacts, artworks, and interactive experiences,
and offering educational and interpretive programs to students, teachers,
and the general public."
When you're in
New York, be sure to visit:
MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE
36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106
718 777 6800
about what happened
1960 Hawaii tidal
Motion Picture Photographer SP4 Kenneth J. Moyer wonder if his film of the
destruction of Hilo, Hawaii, by a tidal wave in 1960 might be provided to the
museum in Hilo. See the Help page for more.
Yes, we still need
your help to answer the questions about SCPC/APC and films made
Researcher Jeff Grehan wrote to ask if
anyone had answered the query from an Italian documentary film
"Invasion of Poland,"
a Film Bulletin produced by Signal Corps Photographic Center.
Not yet, but it's never too late to submit an answer, to supply
one more piece to the incomplete jigsaw puzzle of APC's history.
See if you can answer any of the questions on the Help page.
Late: A handful of officers were on orders to APC when
New names on the
Upchurch was a lieutenant in the TV Division from 1956
to 1958, when he worked on the 26-show recruiting series, "Get
Set – Go," and presenting "TV in the Army" briefings at West
Point and Fort Devens.
Bill Proctor trained in the photo lab under William
Kintzler and also knew Sergeant Norman Parkhurst. He
lived in the barracks across the street from the studio. "When I shipped to Vietnam they gave me
an Elmo and I was assigned as a Combat Photographer while
Peter Sambogna was SP5 Sambogna when he worked in the
message center for Post Adjutant, Major Sara Benham, and
Sergeant Major Earl Ray, from
May 1961 to October 1963.
Charles I. Turner
the subject of a
query from Verona,
appeared in the
What happened to
T. West, who
wrote, "I was a
clerk in the
Adjutant's Office -
Burt - and
from April 1, 1964
until I left for
Flight School in
During that time I
met and made many
good friends. One of
them, Bruce Hugo,
had a comment posted
at the APC site for
quite some time. Now
I can no longer find
it and wondered what
happened to it?"
Hugo has a listing
that links to a
page featuring his
"Also, wanted to
let others know that
Joseph (Belton) Bihm,
who was a cameraman
at the APC from 1963
until around 1966
has recently passed
away from a brain
tumor just a week
before his 71st
Lloyd Battista and Peter Bonerz worked at APC's TV
Division in the 1960s. Battista, who subsequently appeared
in many films and television series, was an SP4 who worked in
the studio as a production specialist.
Ralph F. Magrino served as
fire chief at the Signal Corps Photographic Center from 1942 to
1944, reported his granddaughter, Betty Magrino English,
adding another name to the
Benfante is looking
for the 1959 film in
which he appeared
with Bob Craven.
Was 'The Big
escorted from the
set by military
Peter Anderson inquires.
LT Gordon A.
Benoit who served in Directors Branch around 1963 is the
subject of a query.
The film "Evolution
of the Attack Helicopter" is being sought by Historic Stock
Does anyone have knowledge or film
from a 1950s production, "Get Set, Go," or Thomas G.
Macaluso, who played the xylophone or marimba with a U. S.
Company is an
unusual topic for a
Help Request, but
Dr. Jack Binder,
archivist for the
Town of North
Poland," a Film
Bulletin produced by
is the topic of a
query for an Italian
also highlights the
availability of the
film on YouTube.
A 1957 photo shows
Colonel Ping-Tai Fei
Does anyone remember
a 1950s film on
conduct for captured
Do you know anyone
who served in Army
during the Cuban
Chief of Sound
Branch Tom Hanlon
Photos of Director
are still sought
both by us and by
another APC alumnus,
D. S. Ross.
An M1C Signal
is the subject of
a request from
Mary of Belgium.
Anthony Kelly, Louis Leinbecker and Albert Rielson
are sought for information about
Alexander J. Malashuk and a film that Malashuk shot in Hachioji,
Japan, on September 15, 1945.
Footage or photos of either the NORAD Band OR the Studio band
from the late 1960s is sought by the son of John Gates, one of
the bandsmen who appeared with the band in an episode of The Big
Can you help with this mystery? What was Nat Roger
Knaster doing as a photographer/foreign correspondent in places like
Madrid, Cairo and Italy during World War II. That's what his
nephew, Fred Schock wants to know.
War-time personal recordings for postal mail exchanges, and the
technology of kinescoping are topics sought by a free-lance writer
developing a book about rarely defined aspects of communications'
Col. James B. Buchanan a former newsreel cameraman?, asks the
curator of the Fox newsreel collection at the University of South
You can find films, photographs and other
records at the National Archives and Records Administration. The
collection is housed at NARA's College Park, Maryland, facility.
Visit the National Archives online at
Still reaching audiences: "The Big Picture" can be
seen on the Pentagon Channel.
episodes of The Big Picture are available at Amazon.com,
according to retired Master Sergeant Carl Mueller, who comments
on this groundbreaking television series.