Flying Tigers Jackets from the 1942 film

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Havana, May 11, 2006.

  1. Havana

    Havana One of the Regulars

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    I finally got to see one of my favorite old films, The Flying Tigers with John Wayne, on DVD recently. This is the first time I have really been able to see a truly sharp version of the film. I paid close attention to the jackets and saw that like the real Flying Tigers the actors wore a variety of interesting jackets both leather and fabric. John Wayne's A-2 didn't appear to be like any issued A-2 that I have seen. It didn't have snaps on the collar but had a single snap at the top and bottom of the storm flap. The snap heads were exposed through the front pocket flaps. It clearly had an interior pocket but no handwarmers. Two other characters wore identical jackets but one had a fur collar sewn on. From observing the creases and arm wrinkles, I would guess these were made of horsehide or cowhide. One character also wore a plain cuffed civilian motorcycle jacket. This variety of jackets seems to match the photos I have seen of the real Flying Tigers. The Tigers were issued an early version of the G-1, the M-422, but these came late and most didn't make it to the pilots' hands before the AVG Tigers disbanded. For the most part, they provided their own jackets which were A-2's, Navy M-422's and any number of civilian jackets. Has anybody here made a replica Flying Tigers jacket? Any comments on the film?
    http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e397/templr/cap074.jpg
    http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e397/templr/cap093.jpg
    http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e397/templr/9425092f.jpg
    http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e397/templr/cap091.jpg
    http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e397/templr/cap078.jpg
     
  2. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    Re the funky jackets, remember that it's just movie wardrobe - nobody at the time *cared* about accuracy the way that we do!

    Pretty enjoyable film, though.

    Speaking of John Wayne, I saw a new 90-minute episode of American Masters on PBS last night about the fascinating joint career of Wayne and director John Ford (they made something like 14 or 17 films together). This show is a must-see for anyone into westerns, Wayne, Ford, and old Hollywood. Great insights, great interviews, and great sequences from some mega-great films... Highly recommended!
     
  3. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Yes, there were some Hollywood liberties in the wardrobe but, the real AVG did wear a lot of weird things… they took what ever they were given! They were lucky to get the proper parts for their P-40’s! Yes, accuracy wasn’t something on the list for most films of the war years but, the brave men of the “American Volunteer Group” wore what ever they could.

    I for one love that photo of “The Duke” in a double breasted Palm Beach suit! I love how he just ditched the suit coat, and then threw on the leather helmet, goggles and the leather flight coat.

    The first time I saw it was a very bad colorized one on VHS. I’d love to see a nice clean crisp black and white copy!

    =WR=
     
  4. Absinthe_1900

    Absinthe_1900 One Too Many

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  5. Havana

    Havana One of the Regulars

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    I see Absinthe has an eye for rare planes! I think that prototype turns up in several Republic movies and serials through the 50's. I think they eventually cut it up and made a set out of it but I could be wrong. I think they did an amazing job with the P-40 mockups and model photography. I'd rather see the skillful use of model planes over a modern CGI cartoon (Pearl Harbor) any day.
     
  6. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    What I'm I supposed to see on the first link? I'm not seeing anything...

    It's been a few years since I saw that movie, but I could swear there were a few P-40's in there... at least some real footage of some. [huh] What planes did they use if they weren't early model P-40's?

    =WR=
     
  7. Absinthe_1900

    Absinthe_1900 One Too Many

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    You have to scroll down to Capelis on that first link.

    The P-40s used on the ground were studio mock-ups, supposedly Curtiss supplied some landing gear & propellors, but whole P-40s were out of the question at that stage of the war. (The same landing gear and props were said to be re-used in Tora Tora Tora)
     
  8. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Well, I saw the twin engine plane, but was the first link to the planes they used in place of the P-40's?

    It makes sense that the movie industry would get no P-40's in 1942, the US needed all the P-40's they could spare for duty.

    =WR=
     
  9. Absinthe_1900

    Absinthe_1900 One Too Many

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    The first link was for the odd looking twin used in the movie, (And a few other films as well) The history of that strange bird was quite interesting.

    Some of the other early W.W. II films had to make due with models, and other obsolete aircraft like the B-18 Bolo, and a couple of early B-17's, until production got really ramped up.

    It's hard to imagine today, just how tight things were that first year of the war.
     
  10. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Oh, ok, I got ya! That is such an interesting plane!

    Not only was production low, the Government was not cool with movies showing off they're new planes that were considered classified in the early stages of the war.

    =WR=
     
  11. Maj.Nick Danger

    Maj.Nick Danger I'll Lock Up

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    The A.V.G.

    The volunteers were a military secret and had to travel under false credentials posing as teachers, missionaries, and etc. It would follow that U.S. issued uniform items would be forbidden. Uniforms were provided by the Chinese airforce, but a flight jacket could have very well been any sort of private purchase style. At least early on, until the Japanese figured out that it was us.
     
  12. SGB

    SGB One of the Regulars

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  13. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    You know, that's what I was thinking! It makes total sense!;)

    =WR=
     
  14. HermannHKG

    HermannHKG New in Town

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    The Flying Tigers

    Ah yes, John Wayne's the guy who beat the Japs all by himself on the silver screen.

    From
    The Flying Tigers,
    Flying Leathernecks,
    Sands of Iwo Jima,
    In Harm's Way,
    Back to Bataan,
    They Were Expendable,
    and The Fighting Seabees, to name but a few.

    GUNG hO !


    HermannHKG
     
  15. jake431

    jake431 Practically Family

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    Almost 50% of the AVG group came from the Navy (or Marines) and many of them took their Navy issue flight jackets (either M-422 or M-422a models). A lot of the gear the AVG wound up with was navy. Even after the AVG became the CATF, then part of the 14th AF, there was still a lot of in theatre stuff, including putting mouton collars on their A-2's - although I've only seen that in photos done by guys in Europe. There are a few books on the subject that show how prevalent the navy flight jackets were. Pretty ubiquitous. In any event, seeing as how it wasn't until 1991 the members of the AVG even got veterans benefits (they were classified as Mercenaries, which, strictly speaking, they were, but still), it's not surprising that in 1942 they would not be portrayed in US military livery - even aside from Hollywood costuming departments not caring at the time.

    -Jake
     
  16. jake431

    jake431 Practically Family

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    It's too bad he couldn't man up and really fight like many other actors did. Gimme Jimmy Stewart any day. Hell even Clark Gable went on combat missions, and he was what, 42, 43 at the time?

    -Jake
     
  17. Havana

    Havana One of the Regulars

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    Not to go too far off topic here but Wayne's wartime record should be made clear. He was within draft age (34) at the time of Pearl Harbor but was classified 3-A (deferred for family dependency -- he was divorced with four children). He also had a severe knee injury from his football days. Wayne was eventually reclassified as a 2-A (deferred in the national interest). He first acheived his super star status in making these gung-ho wartime films and there was no way that the War Department was going risk having him killed in action. It was decided, and I think rightly so, that he served the cause better by appearing in inspiring pro-war films. In later his later years, Wayne often lamented be stuck in the 2A classification. I think he's still a hero and no less of a hero than those who served because he was an outspoken pro-America, pro-military and pro-veteran advocate his whole life (especially during the dark Vietnam years). He was the only actor ever awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for service to his country and won the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest award given to a civilian.
     
  18. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Well, James Stewart did do some great things for the war department. He made some short films with the AAF that helped in recruiting.

    Clark Gable was with the 8th for a little bit... not for very long at all.

    =WR=
     
  19. CiscoKid

    CiscoKid New in Town

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    Very cool discussion on the AVG. I watched "The Flying Tigers" a couple of months ago, courtesy of netflix, and noticed some of the same things in wardrobe. Still, classic John Wayne and it's an interesting film historically in spite of its flaws.
     
  20. DiabolicalAngel

    DiabolicalAngel One of the Regulars

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    The AVG was the best $8 million the Chinese Govt. spent during the war I was told.

    Big respect to the Flying Tigers and John Wayne !! :eusa_clap
     

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