“in the heat of battle, the short man from eastern finland climbed on top of a massive soviet tank. before setting it on fire with a molotov cocktail, he knocked on the crew hatch door and shouted, ‘open up, ivan – death is knocking!’”
The Disastrous Production of Howard Hughes’ 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Disney’s 1954 production of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues by Richard Fleischer has long been the definitive cinematic version of the story. But it was not the first to enter production. In 1946, famous billionaire Howard Hughes attempted to make the film, following “The Outlaw” which would become his final completed film as director. The production would become one of Hollywood’s greatest disasters, taking the lives of over 90 actors and crew, costing nearly half a billion dollars (adjusted for inflation), destroying an entire island, and almost causing a third world war.
As the second world war drew to a close, Hughes was setting his sights on what he intended to be his magnum opus. Verne’s book had long been an inspiration to Hughes, in part inspiring his ventures into nautical enterprises, including the construction of the “Mahogany Mackerel,” one of the largest ships ever to sail. A party was held to mark the start of production at one of Hughes’ seaside homes outside of San Francisco (the mansion is now the home of director David Fincher), and was sadly marred when a drunken Hughes began shooting into the air with his crossbow and killed an albatross, which fell into the punch bowl.
The party featured the intended stars of the film, actors Gene Kelly, Gregory Peck, and Orson Welles who would portray Captain Nemo. It was an early blow to the film when all three actors departed the production on its first day due to infighting over an unsuccessful orgy the prior week. This caused a massive production delay during which Hughes bought up over 50 warehouses (including the world’s largest building at the time) to hold the sets and specially built water tanks until casting was replenished.
Two of these warehouses burned down (including the world’s largest building fire at the time), destroying the sets which then had to be rebuilt. By the time Hughes decided to cast unknown actors in the lead roles, ten more major set pieces had rotted away delaying the production further. Finally in October of 1948 the new sets and all actors were in place on the luxurious island of Bikini Atoll. The crew was to arrive at the shooting location on October 26th but was delayed by weather. This turned out to be a good thing as the United States conducted an unannounced nuclear test on October 27th, annihilating the island and the sets completely. The island is still not inhabitable to this day, and Howard Hughes, who owned the island, was compensated only $212 (adjusted for inflation) for his losses by the government.
Undeterred, Hughes began again with fresh sets, and new actors as the previous group had long since departed by 1950. This time, production finally began and footage was shot. It was never developed however because despite the expenditure of $800,000 (adjusted for inflation) on pyrotechnics for the first scenes shot, nobody had thought to temperature-protect the film canisters, which were opened at the lab and found to have melted completely into what amounted to large plastic hockey pucks. Hughes filmed the scene again, at the same cost, and then a third time when he was not satisfied with a background extra’s hair. This new footage too was lost when it was captured by rebellious 1950s teenagers who held it for ransom. They asked only $50 (adjusted for inflation) but Hughes refused to pay on principle.
The actors and crew were even more upset than Hughes that their work had been for nothing and so began the “Leagues Riots” of 1951. What sets remained were once more burned down, this time in protest. The lead actors were rehearsing in the sets at the time and all died of smoke inhalation. Hughes was also injured in an unrelated accident on the same day when he flew an experimental plane on its first test flight. He managed to steer the wayward jet back to his own property but missed the runway and instead crashed into another set, which had already been rigged for pyrotechnics the previous night, resulting in the loss of the set, pyro, plane, Hughes left pinky toe, and over 30 million dollars in production costs (adjusted for inflation).
Then the real problems began.
Hughes replaced the lead actor with Sam Normanjensen, once thought to be an great star on the rise. Unfortunately he was also a serial killer known then as the Sherman Oaks Ripper. He had killed 17 actors before he was cast, and filmed for only two weeks before he slaughtered and ate the spleen of one of his co-stars. Hughes was exonerated of any negligence but only after 50 million dollars (adjusted for inflation) in court fees and settlements with the actors family, one member of which visited the set on a later filming day to fire his pistol randomly at the remaining cast in anger, killing two more, wounding Hughes who lost his right testicle, and destroying a filming balloon that was the largest air vehicle ever built at the time (adjusted for inflation).
It was then that the Verne family withdrew their rights from the plagued production. Another legal battle cost in the millions, and by the time it was over in 1952, the sets had once again rotted away and had to be rebuilt. By that time, the Disney production was under way and Hughes spent millions more to spy on and sabotage the rival production. Several Disney employees fell victims to car bombs, others to arsenic poisoning, and one to auto-erotic asphyxiation, but Hughes was not considered responsible for that particular event. Walt Disney, of course, declared war.
The “War Between The Sets” began in 1953 as Hughes forces were driven off by Disney’s hired guns, the Mouseketeers which in those days were a fully armed paramilitary force. This skirmish took seven lives, but it was only the beginning. Hughes used his government contracts to secure two bombers and arms weighing in excess of 500 tons, all of which were dropped on Disney owned installations. Disney’s retaliation was severe. Hughes hotels burned days after, there were so many fires that Vegas and LA were both lit as bright as daylight even at midnight from the blazes. Hughes responded with bombings and drone strikes, with “drone strikes” in 1953 referring to dropping bees on ones enemy. One such strike which killed Disney’s allergic son, Walt Disney III (There was no Walt Disney II as Walt felt that talent skipped a generation). The conflict at one point threatened to spill over into Russia’s Southern American interests, leading the president to demand Hughes back down before turning the cold war into a nuclear conflict.
By the time a truce was called, Disney’s film was in theaters and Hughes was ready to call it a loss. He became reclusive and wasn’t seen much in public from that time on. Disney continued to be one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, and remains the producer of the most definitive adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
The book has not been adapted since, but David Fincher’s new version begins filming next week on a budget over 200 million dollars. Sadly, the production has already seen its first fatality, when fireworks during the production party at Fincher’s San Francisco home went astray and killed an albatross.
We at FIJMU wish Fincher the best of luck on his upcoming production. He’s going to need it.
May 25, 1917 - First Largescale Strategic Bomber Attack as German Gothas Bomb Kent
Pictured - A Gotha G.IV.
Germany inaugurated a new type of war on May 25, 1917. Twenty-three mammoth German Gotha G.IV bombers took off from airfields in Belgium, headed for England. The first largescale strategic bombing of history took place. In hindsight, the German attack does not look impressive - because of cloud coverage, only two German bombers actually reached England, dropping their bombs over Kent rather than the intended target London.
Yet these two machines inflicted more damage than any Zeppelin had every done. Loaded with high-explosive bombs, the Gothas killed almost one hundred people. Sixteen Canadian soldiers died when their training camp at Shorncliffe was hit. At Folkstone, civilians were the victims: sixteen men, thirty women, twenty-five children. Ninety-five dead altogether and a further 192 wounded. Strategic bombing did not reach the heights it did in World War II, but a new threshold of war had been passed. Britain and France would retaliate. “The ancient Jehovah is still abroad,” wrote Albert Einstein to a friend in Holland, “alas he slays the innocent along with the guilty, whom he strikes so fearsomely blind that they can feel no sense of guilt.”
Impression of a Ki-51 “Sonia” kamikaze on the hull of County-class heavy cruiser HMS Sussex. The Sonia (reported as a Val, as often happened), is said to have hit the water before hitting the hull, probably losing its bomb in the process.
On 26 July 1945, her Task Force was attacked by two bombers acting as “Kamikaze” suicide weapons. One made an imprint on the side of the HMS Sussex, from which it could be identified as a Mitsubishi Ki-51 “Sonia”.
On 23 October,
2002 a group of Chechen separatist including dozens of female suicide bombers
took 900 hostages in Moscow Dubrovka Theater. The hostage crisis lasted three
days and ended with death of 130 hostages.
bombing (27 December, 2002)
On 27 December,
2002 three suicide bombers run two vehicle into the government headquarters in
Grozny, Chechnya. 48 people died on the scene, other 23 succumbed their wounds in
hospital. Suicide bombers were a father and his underage son and daughter.
village truck bombing (12 May, 2003)
On 12 May, 2003
three suicide bombers, including two females, run a vehicle into Federal
Security Service headquarters, in Znamenskoye village, Chechnya. The attack
took lives of 59 people most of whom were civilians.
bombing (14 May, 2003)
more than 150
On 14 May, 2003
two female suicide bombers blew themselves up during religious celebration in Iliskhan-Yurt
village, Chechnya.30 people died, more than 150 were injured.
A DFW C.V., of the type that shot down the French bombers on February 11.
February 11 1917, Maizeville–Military aviation was one of the new weapons of the war, and one of its newest innovations was flying at night. While obviously essentially useless for reconnaissance, it was useful for bombing, as aircraft were less likely to be intercepted at night, though at the cost of reduced accuracy. Zeppelins generally tried to raid Britain at night, though the British, thanks to searchlights and incendiary ammunition, had recently had some success in shooting them down. Fixed-wing bombers, on the other hand, moving much faster and presenting a smaller target, had yet to be intercepted at night.
This changed on the night of February 11, when a German fighter destroyed two French bombers on landing approach to the airfield and Maizeville. This was the first example of a plane shooting down another plane at night in world history.
Free French Air Force’s Dewoitine D.520s over southern France, (probably) late summer of 1944.
The Dewoitine D.520 was the French Air Force’s best single engine fighter at the outbreak of WWII. Slightly slower than the German Bf 109, it was however more maneuverable, and in greater numbers it could have caused a lot of headaches to the Luftwaffe, but as it were, of the 246 produced by May of 1940, only 34 D.520 were among the 609 front line fighters available to face the 3500 Luftwaffe aircraft. By the end of the French Campaign, 437 had been built of which 106 had been lost in combat, claiming in turn 108 kills and 39 probable. The surviving aircraft would be used by the German, Italian, Bulgarian and Vichy Air Forces and see combat against the Allies in Italy, the Eastern Front, North Africa and Syria.
In the summer of 1944, when the Allies invaded the south of France and rapidly moved north, a number of D.520s, in use by the Germans as trainers, were captured and formed the base of two fighter-bomber groups of the Free French Air Force: GCB II/18 ‘Saintonge’ and GCB I/18 ‘Vendée’.
Albeit still wearing a German camo scheme, the Dewoitine D.520 was once again flying French colours in combat with both groups flying in support of FFI units in southern France, and later against the German Atlantic pockets.
Junkers Ju 87 ‘Sturzkampfflugzeug’ - Top favorite Luftwaffe planes [6/10]
The Junkers Ju 87, was designed by Hermann Pohlmann, the Stuka first flew in 1935 and made its combat debut in 1936 as part of the Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.
The aircraft was easily recognisable by its inverted gull wings and fixed spatted undercarriage, upon the leading edges of its faired maingear legs were mounted the Jericho-Trompete (“Jericho Trumpet”) wailing sirens, becoming the propaganda symbol of German air power and the blitzkrieg victories of 1939–1942. The Stuka’s design included several innovative features, including automatic pull-up dive brakes under both wings to ensure that the aircraft recovered from its attack dive even if the pilot blacked out from the high acceleration.
Although sturdy, accurate, and very effective against ground targets, the Ju 87, like many other dive bombers of the war, was vulnerable to modern fighter aircraft. Its flaws became apparent during the Battle of Britain; poor manoeuvrability and a lack of both speed and defensive armament meant that the Stuka required heavy fighter escort to operate effectively.
The Stuka operated with further success after the Battle of Britain, and its potency as a precision ground-attack aircraft became valuable to German forces in the Balkans Campaign, the African and Mediterranean theaters and the early stages of the Eastern Front campaigns where Soviet fighter resistance was disorganised and in short supply.
Once the Luftwaffe had lost air superiority on all fronts, the Ju 87 once again became an easy target for enemy fighter aircraft. In spite of this, because there was no better replacement, the type continued to be produced until 1944. By the end of the conflict, the Stuka had been largely replaced by ground-attack versions of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, but was still in use until the last days of the war. An estimated 6,500 Ju 87s of all versions were built between 1936 and August 1944.
Some notable airmen flew the Ju 87. Oberst Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the most successful Stuka ace and the most highly decorated German serviceman of the Second World War. The vast majority of German ground attack aces flew this aircraft at some point in their careers.
a/n;;whoa look who’s come back from the dead several days late - cough.coughcoughcough. :“) lolol hello, please enjoy this sloppy drabble. -Admin Kura
warnings;;a very rude Min Suga, excuse u sir
"One more step, Min Yoongi. One more step, and I’ll…” Your short-lived threat is brought to an abrupt stop, choking back a panicked breath when you feel the blades skid and stutter below you; the man in question has pointedly slid one pace away from you, lazy grin on his lips, and thus loosening your icy grip on his jacket.
You right yourself, lips pressed into a line, free hand burrowed into the railing beside you in a death grip to keep yourself from pitching face-first into the ice, or most likely humiliating yourself to the point you’d refuse to be seen again. “Please, Yoongi,” you whine instead, slumping sulkily in your spot at the wall as he steadily begins to skate away from you, into the crowd of other people who effortlessly slide across the floor. “I’m gonna–"
Nothing more needs to be said when you find yourself tipping off-kilter and nearly falling flat on your already very bruised, poor ass, arms coiled around the safety railing like iron. This whole mess was your idea, you want to snap, fingers and nose pink and numb from the chill in the air, but you stop yourself; Yoongi’s grin has widened considerably as he returns to your side and you wonder what had brought him to such sadistic behavior.
"You having some trouble, f/n?” he asks with faux surprise, removing one hand from his pocket to wiggle his fingers mockingly at you. You reach out a shaky arm, fingertips only inches away from his own – but you give up on any prospect of balance, returning to your curled safespace position at the wall with pursed lips and narrowed eyes.
Satan’s spawn. This is not in authentic Christmas spirit and I will have your name engraved into my tombstone if I crack my head open on the ice. Watch yourself, son.
With a sharp exhale, you manage with minimum success to clamber to your feet. A less stubborn side of you wishes to throw in a pout, a childish plead for him to assist you in your plight, but your pride instead forces a deadpanned scowl of utter loathing at Yoongi – who is supposed to apparently be your boyfriend, by the way.
You still don’t have any idea how that phenomenon occurred.
“Fine,” you grit out, turning your nose up in the air sharply enough to stun your balance. “Who cares? Who needs Min Yoongi? I’ll learn how to skate on my own and come to–"
You can’t even finish, because you tip backward after taking a particularly bold step across the shavings of ice. Before you can utter out a shriek of surprise, a hand has wrapped around your wrist, cool fingers digging into the skin there.
Your breath catches in your throat when you see Yoongi above you, looking so irritatingly smug that you almost want to shove him away and allow yourself to crash down onto the hard surface beneath you. You refrain from doing so for fear of paralyzingly yourself at such a young age, biting back a curse when Yoongi clicks his tongue in a chastising manner and pulls you upright, hands steadying you at the waist.
"You really can’t do anything without me, can you?” he coos, making you scoff and jerk your head away from him defiantly. “You’re gonna hurt yourself, pabo – looks like I’ll have to keep an eye on you.” And even though he sighs in exasperation, he’s smiling crookedly at you and he looks infuriatingly attractive while doing it.
Biting your tongue, you allow him to grasp your forearm and lead you around the loop, your skates shaky and skittering across the ice, but with him keeping you steady. In spite of your childish anger at your boyfriend, you feel secure and your heartbeat has calmed considerably – you no longer feel the fear of falling to your imminent doom. You fight down your stubborn pride and mumble bitterly, “Thank you, Yoongi."
He merely hums, the free hand that isn’t clasped firmly around your arm shoved casually into the pocket of his bomber. The two of you continue to slowly make your way around the rink, steadily growing accustomed to the blades on your feet with the help of Yoongi.
After some time, he notices the pale, brisk pink of your nose and cheeks that is beginning to grow in opacity, and he can’t help but feel an itching urge to tease you.
Your noise of shock and surprise is worth it. You are broken out of your stupor of complete and utter focus when you feel a pair of lips beginning to pepper kisses all over your face – it warms your cold lips and cheekbones but that doesn’t make it any less startling.
Yoongi gives you one last small peck on the nose before pulling your head down to his shoulder, arm curled around your waist and leading you securely on the ice.
Your face seems even more flushed than before, but this time in embarrassment. You can feel the smugness radiating off of your boyfriend, and it makes you bow your head, burying your face in his neck with a grumble.