As I mentioned in an earlier post last weekend I starting watching the classic 1952 TV series Victory at Sea for the first time.
That might be a bit of a surprise to some of you, both my grey beard and the fact that my father served in the Pacific in World War 2 would suggest that this would be something that I had seen long ago, but the series premiered 11 years before I was born and by the early 70’s it was only on sporadically on UHF stations in the very early AM if at all. I knew the famous title card but had never actually watched the series, Watching the series this weekend I’m glad I waited because my adult eyes can appreciate things that I might have missed in my youth. Here are ten paragraphs to explain what I saw.
The first thing you notice is the spectacular sound track from the NBC Symphony Orchestra. The idea today that a network would have a symphony orchestra would surprise some and it disbanded just a few years later as the age of rock took hold but the soundtrack from this show is rightly still purchased as some of the best quality work of its type ever made.
Even more foreign in this day and age is the fact that this show was made in cooperation with the US Navy and is unabashedly pro-allied and pro-American. The show was praised by the New York Times, The New Yorker and Harpers Magazine and won a slew of Broadcast awards. Today no such documentary of it’s type would win awards or be praised by any member of the MSM it celebrated the struggle of a Transgender trisexual taking on the US armed forces that dared deny them the right the right to be classified as a cabbage.
The use of archive and newsreel footage and captured footage was astounding and brought the first of the great documentary series to life in a way that no amount of today’s cgi car. These are real people living, struggling fighting and dying on the screen and it’s audience were the people who did the actual living, struggling, fighting and dying and their families.
Another interesting facet of the show is the overall paucity of narration in each episode. Don’t get me wrong the story is told but in each 26 minute show more than half of it you don’t hear the excellent dramatic narration, you simply see the images and hear the orchestra play in the background establishing the situation and the mood while the actual war footage from all sides tell the story as it is.
This highlights another strength of the series. This series was only a few years removed from the actual fighting. Most of the soldiers displayed on the screen were not only still alive but in their late 20’s or 30’s at the time of broadcast. Thus any attempt at BS or to sugar coat what had happened, what they had done or what they went through would be instantly called out. Fortunately this series was made in a age when the standards of history were still those of Albert Bushnell Heart rather than Howard Zinn and the goal was to record history rather than rewrite it.
From that last paragraph our friends of the left who have never seen it might presume that this series is all about the glory of war, far from it, this series very vividly displays the costs of war and the price that is paid in fighting it. You see the wrecked planes, the destruction and most of all the dead and the wounded. Death and suffering is the constant companion of the story and there is so shortage of the bodies of the slain, some of them as they are slain, some as they burn, some as their bodies are buffeted by the waves of the beach other as the scream in pain wounded. The realty of war is death and this series acknowledges that while Victory was necessary and desirable it came with a cost
This illustrates another difference between the two Americas that exist today. We live in an age where comfortable college snowflakes can’t tolerate the sight of a speaker they disagree with without counseling and coloring books to deal with being triggered. Many if not most of the people on the screen are of the same age or young. Yet they and their families were the primary viewer of the series. Even more so picture if you lost a son, a father, a friend or a cousin during the war and seeing what could be your friend, your father, your brother or child on the screen dead or dying. The snowflakes of today would melt away but these people lived in an age where death was a reality and faith was their companion. I’m sure many had a natural fear of death but they didn’t let that fear overwhelm them any more than the fighting men on the screen.
There is also a rather laudable focus on both manufacturing and the logistics of war. The priorities of the landing craft over a destroyer, the vitality of the freighter who carries the tanks, the shells and the food over the battleship or airplane that might look impressive but is just a hunk of metal without the ammo to shoot or the oil to propel it. The production of the home front and the bravery of the merchant marine or the incredible work of the combat battalions are often ignored as they don’t convey glory but they are given their full due here.
There is a fair amount of the mention of God, biblical quotes all over the show. It’s a reminder of where the western world in general and the country in particular was and what gave it the strength to do on in the face of the horrible sacrifices.
If you’ve ever wondered why our enemies have invested so much into the environmental movement and destroying Judeo Christian Culture this show makes you understand. It is the oil that makes a war machine work and food that feeds it and a culture that is willing to make sacrifices that sustains it. Anything you can do to slow down or cut off that supply of oil or food, from a regulation prohibiting exploration or fracking to a law protecting a fish to spreading fears about GMO’s to funding college departments to teach that western civilization and judeo christian cultures are evil insist that God is a myth serves to weaken the free world before a shot is even fired.