"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
 
"Wing and a Prayer" 
                   The Story of Carrier X
If you haven't seen this Hollywood classic in a while, it may be time to give it another viewing. Released in 1944, and filled with plenty of wartime cliche's, it is still a throughly enjoyable film for Naval Aviation enthusiasts and flight gear collectors. The plot is a fictionalized account of the Battle of Midway and events preceding it. The cast has a mixture of well know stars and lesser know supporting actors and the special effects are what you would expect of this vintage. What you may not be aware of is that most of it was filmed aboard U.S.S. Yorktown during her shakedown cruise in early 1943. One can only imagine what "Jocko" Clarke must have thought of all this nonsense at the time! Official period Navy footage is mixed in with that shot for the film. The planes are real (from Carrier Air Group Five) and the carrier deck activity ( for the most part) is real. Note the scene where one of the SB2Cs crashes on take-off. Their performance was so poor that "Jocko" refused to go into combat with them and had them replaced by SBDs. The actor's "costumes" consist of Navy issue uniforms, flight clothing and equipment with many close ups that show the details and is 100% authentic. If only they had filmed it in color!
Do yourself a favor, pick up a copy, and use your DVD player's pause and slow motion features to enjoy the many closeups of flight helmets and goggles. Check out the screen captures below.