APC On The Web


APC on the Web

References to the Army Pictorial Center can be hard to find on the Internet.  
There are also other web sites about combat photography and military film production.
Some of the names on Personnel Roster are linked to other web sites.  Here are a few other web pages that may interest you, but you may find the links no longer work:

"In 1942, the military came to town and turned the studio into the Army Pictorial Center. They cranked out training and propaganda films during WWII—giving such actors as Paul Newman and Jack Lemmon their first roles—and left behind a lead-lined, bomb-and-radar–proof recording booth that musicians still use when they want to achieve an eerie tone."  The Army days are briefly mentioned in this article, "How to Get To Sesame Street?" on the Time Out New York web page.  Click here.


"...the RKO studio crane in front of the building. Hill purchased it at an auction at the University of South Florida at Tampa. The United States Army Pictorial Center had given the crane to the university and said that it had been on some "famous movie," but they couldn't recall just which one."  Read about Martin Hill's eclectic collection of motion picture equipment.  Click here.

American Cinematographer Magazine featured reminiscences of cameramen at World War II's Signal Corps Photographic Center, in a tribute by cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld.   Click here to visit the ASC website.

"Since the Office of the Secretary of War did not have any still or motion picture facilities, the Army was designated as the only agency to store and release still and motion pictures to the news media and general public."  
The Army's website presents a History of Visual Information Records.  To visit the Army's website, click here  

The text from the Army page is presented on this APC website.  Click here.

The National Archives and Records Administration reports: 

The Army Pictorial Service (APS) administered all photographic matters for the Signal Corps which, as during World War I, was put in charge of all U.S. Army photography. The primary offices in the United States were the Signal Corps Photographic Center (SCPC) in Astoria, NY, and the Signal Corps Photographic Laboratory in Washington, DC. The SCPC was responsible for training combat photographers at its Photographic School, and for photographic research and development at its Pictorial Engineering and Research Laboratory. The SCPC trained a great variety of specialists besides photographers, among them camera repairmen, lab technicians, editors, and photo librarians.

During the first two years of the war, the Army's photographic activities suffered from administrative confusion, a lack of cooperation from Washington, a lack of prewar planning, and the fact that few people understood the photographic responsibilities of the Signal Corps. Furthermore, all parts of the War Department wanted different things: the Bureau of Public Relations wanted dramatic pictures for public release; training officers wanted visual aids; and field staff needed tactical photos for immediate strategic uses. The situation improved, and by the latter half of the war, better organization of Signal Corps photo units permitted easier coverage of the war on all fronts. Combat experience and better training also helped to improve the quality of U.S. Army photography.

By 1943, however, shortages of photographic supplies and APS Still Picture Library personnel necessitated culling the hundreds of thousands of pictures received. Pictures selected for retention had to meet a high standard for strategic, tactical, intelligence, instructional, informational, or historical value. By 1944, these standards were even more necessary, since over 10,000 combat photographs arrived at the library each month. By the end of the war, the library's holdings amounted to more than 500,000 images.

The prestige of Signal Corps photography increased steadily throughout the war. Better organization of Signal Corps photo units permitted easier coverage of the war on all fronts, and combat experience and improved training also helped to upgrade the quality of Army photography. Thus, by 1945, the true value of U.S. Army photography was recognized both within the military and by the general public. "Combat photographers served as the eyes of the public as well as the Army; millions of Americans at home would have had a very hazy idea of how and where the war was being waged if they had not had the benefit of the newsreels and still pictures that the combat cameramen furnished."

In its history of Vietnam, the National Archives and Records Administration reports: The operations and direction of the military photography was organized by the Army Pictorial Center (APC), which dispatched a series of teams for brief visits. These teams were organized into DASPO (Department of the Army Special Photo Office). DASPO rotated photographers into Vietnam for three-month tours of duty from a base in Hawaii. It wasn't long before the Marines sent their own photographers into the field, quickly followed by the Army and its 221st Signal Company. The DASPO and the 221st were considered the Army's elite photographic units. Smaller numbers of photographers worked for the Public Information Office (PIO), the Air Force and the Navy. The Air Force photographers assisted in aerial reconnaissance and documentation of bombing missions. The Navy photographers worked from the Combat Camera Group-Pacific (CCGPAC) photographing river patrols, counterguerrilla missions, and SEAL teams. The mission of DASPO was to provide a historical record of the war for the Pentagon archives. These photographers were not there as journalists, but rather to create a visual record of operations, equipment, and personnel. After the photographs were processed by the Pentagon, they were made available to military publications, the press, and the public at a photographic library at the Pentagon.

"One of the most significant pioneering studios was Lasky and Zukor’s Famous Players Film Company which officially opened its studios in September of 1920 at Pierce and Sixth Streets, now known as 35th Street and 35th Avenue in Astoria."  Read this article at the Queens Tribune online edition.

Skylighters, the web site of the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion offers an excellent column on Army filmmaking and combat photography, along with photos and other archival information and web links.

Newsday gives a little sketch on the history of the studio at Astoria A-to-Z

Kaufman-Astoria Studios lists all of the commercial films made at the studio before the Army acquired it in 1942 and after the Army closed in 1970.  See  Kaufman Astoria Studio Credits

The USS Lenawee (APA-195) served the United States Navy in three wars.  The ship is featured in the film "Operation King - 40th Infantry Division, 08/13/1951" produced with the services of Army Pictorial Center.

Army Pictorial Center - "Climb to Glory" a two-part B&W film that consists almost entirely of footage of the 10th Mountain Division in Italy during WWII, is listed on the website of the Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project.

Victoria E. Johnson's 1989 compilation, "Vietnam on Film and Television," includes "Vietnamese Training Report," a 1967 silent film collection given by Col. G.B. Jarrett,  Army Pictorial Center.

Tom Jennings includes some film reviews of Army films on his World Power Systems web site.

PBS gives the history of a documentary, "Memory of the Camps",  that included footage by cameramen for the Army Pictorial Service and was screened for the public on "Frontline."

The Long Island Film/TV Foundation gives capsule histories of film production, including the Astoria studio that was Army Pictorial Center.

You have to wonder about some web listings.  KeySpan Energy lists a table of special receptors included in a cogeneration modeling analysis that includes Army Pictorial Center!

"Vietnam", produced by Army Pictorial Center, is among the films listed in "THE DECILLIS COLLECTION: the Vietnam Conflict VIDEOS" at this De Anza College website.

Colonel Frank Capra and his "Why We Fight" film series are discussed in the Chicago Photographic Society's web page in "Tales of the Kodak Ektra.

A CitySearch web site for New York City gives an excellent account of what's happening now at Kaufman Astoria Studios, the former Army Pictorial Center.

The Long Island History web site gives an account, "In Queens, A Pioneering Studio"

The Internet Archive offers downloadable movies including "The Challenge of Ideas, (Part I) and (Part II), a 1961 production from the Army Pictorial Center featuring John Wayne, Edward R. Murrow and others discussing the ideological battle between U.S. and Soviet Union.

The site also lists several titles, including:

 "Combat America," a 1945 film that follows the Flying Fortress crews of the 351st Bombardment Group from the end of their training at a Colorado training field to actual combat over Germany.

"The Crime of Korea," a 1950 film about Korea in the tumultuous period between the end of World War II and the start of the Korean War.

"D-Day Minus One," a 1945 film record of the operations of the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions in the 1944 invasion of France.

"Divide and Conquer," a 1943 film from Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" series that s
hows the German invasion of Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France, including the evacuation of the British forces at Dunkirk.

Serving in the Army Pictorial Service in World War II, cameramen
Willard A. Trumble passed away in 1998.  You can find his obituary on the web.

When Army Pictorial Center was closed in 1970, Redstone Arsenal formally assumed the  functions of Army Pictorial Center on June 2, 1970.

Army Pictorial Center is the source of " Television in Army Training: Evaluation of 'Intensive' Television for Teaching Basic Electricity," a 1958 text by Joseph H. Kanner, Sanford Katz, and Peter B. Goldsmith, in the WESTERN HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION 222 THOMAS JEFFERSON LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS, 8001 NATURAL BRIDGE ROAD, ST. LOUIS, MO 63121, (314) 516-5143, whmc@umsl.edu

Other web sites for combat photography and military film productions include:
9th Combat Camera Unit

      Updated January 29, 2019.

Help Requested

Personnel Roster




APC on the Web

After APC

Other Photo Units