David Emerson


David Emerson served at Army Pictorial Center in 1969.  He wrote:

 I participated in location film projects to D.C.  and to the north shore of Long Island.  Also, I was part of a 5-man crew that went to Vietnam to do a documentary on transportation operations for the Transportation Corps.  The director on that project was a fantastic civilian contract director, Bob Strovink.  During that Vietnam project we shot from helicopters, boats on the Saigon River and then went up to Cam Ranh Bay. 

 The other names I remember are Lee Ivey (Roy Lee Ivey).   Lee was assigned to APC and he and I remain great friends to this day.  Lee lives in Charleston, S.C.  Another great friend is Max Levy, and I saw Max's name on the APC roster.  Max and family live in San Diego.  Another name is Bill Kelly.  I think Bill was a Captain when we met.  He and I became pretty good friends while we were both there, but lost track in subsequent years.  Bill's wife's name was Janet.

 I grew up in Los Angeles, and when I was a college boy I worked for George Stevens on his last film as a mailroom guy and general all-around delivery boy for him.  I learned of APC from him and the fact that several great Hollywood film directors and contemporaries of Mr. Stevens, e.g., Frank Capra, William Wyler, John Huston, etc., were given commissions in the Signal Corps to create films that would compete with the powerful films the Nazis were doing with Leni Riefenstahl in particular. 

 After I got out of the service, I wanted to meet William Wyler, even if just to introduce myself and say "hello".   Through my Mom and a friend of hers I was able to do this.  Mr. Wyler was retired by then, and I spent about an hour talking to him in his office at Columbia studios.  Very cool experience.  My other goal was to meet Frank Capra, but he wasn't well at the time and I did not succeed in this.

 Anyway, there are so many compelling stories involving APC throughout its history, short-lived as it was.  I had no idea that APC closed shop shortly after I left...I leaned of this just a few short years ago. 

 I enlisted with the goal of getting to the Pic Center.  After OCS I was assigned to the 35th Combat Engineer Battalion as Comm Officer in Vietnam.  I reported in to Group HQ in Qui Nhon 2 days into the Tet Offensive; made my way to the unit about 30 miles to the west.  After about 3 weeks the entire battalion shipped out for Da Nang and I spent 10 months there, near the foot of the Hai Van Pass, 10 or so miles north of Da Nang.  With about 30 days left on my tour the battalion shipped out to Binh Thuy in the Delta.

 In September of '68, just before a typhoon his us at our base camp at the north end of Da Nang Bay, I typed up my request to Signal OPO to be assigned to the Pic Center on my return Stateside.  They granted it, and I got my orders three weeks later...amazing; and I was very happy about this.

 I do not have any photos.  All my photos (thousands) were lost in the Oakland Hill/Berkeley firestorm of 1991.   And I donít have any unusual stories, really.  Sorry, no real compelling story I can think of.


David Emerson, d.emerson@emerson-it.com, July 2019.


(Posted July 10, 2019.)



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