Ron Rozewski's
Memories of APC

Ron Rozewski wrote, "I worked in the animation department at the Center in 1962, John Kennedy was my Commander in Chief. I was only a lowly PFC and got  crappy jobs like working on animation cels for training and equipment films. Ironically I had been trained at Ft. Monmouth signal school as an Audio Specialist; it was my training at the Cleveland Institute of Art prior to military service that landed me in the animation department.

"We enlisted men had our own barracks directly across the street from the Center and right in a residential area. The subway was very near and I would be in Times Square in a flash.

"President Kennedy had recently formed Special Forces, largely unknown at the time. A team of Special Forces soldiers was at the center making a film and I started to hang around with them, taking them into the city and showing them the sights. One of my new friends was a medic  and I was thoroughly impressed with the training they received.  I got word that they were looking for men to become part of Special Forces so I went to Ft. Hamilton in Brooklyn for two day's of testing. I qualified and was off to Ft. Benning, GA, and jump school, from there to Special Forces Training Center at Ft. Bragg NC. where I trained as a Demolitionist (121 Combat Engineer). After completing Branch Training I was assigned to the 5th Special Forces unit. Still alive and kicking at 75!

"Though my time at the center was relatively short it was a major influence on the rest of my life."

Ron noted his career change from APC to Special Forces had an ironic twist.  "I volunteered for Special Forces because it offered the opportunity to become a medic a number of steps below being a doctor but the training involved medical procedures ranging from treating gunshot wounds, diseases, and even baby deliveries! The irony was that I ended up becoming a demolitionist!

"One of my childhood heroes was Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) and I was thrilled when I learned that the APC was formerly a Paramount studio and that some of the Tarzan films were made there. one of the sound stages was supposedly a cover for the pool used for the swimming scenes! I suspect this was just a tale to impress me in 1962 as the Wiki link below does not mention Weissmuller.

"Note: Military personnel always entered the building from a door on the side street."

"I hope the immense collection of films  from the APC has been preserved.*  Part of my training as an Audio Specialist included working with 35mm cameras and the audio equipment for sound on film. We would film short movies in a classroom studio setup at Ft. Monmouth. But the fun part came when we would go to Asbury Park N.J. in full dress uniforms as a film crew and conduct interviews with passerby's. We would take turns, directing, running the camera, recording, and of course interviewing. Some of those films were doozies and would still be quite entertaining, way better than some of the "man on the street' stuff one sees on TV.

"Audio Specialist training had only two class cycles a year with about a dozen of us being trained. I recall going to a building where the films were stored and there were a lot of them. I have no idea of how far back they went in time. Although I suspect they were likely discarded.  I guess what you're doing is a form of genealogy for the APC 'family'.  Thanks for that.

"PS: The APC had a great cafeteria and there was never any KP!"


*(Editor's Note:  Whether the film collection at the Army Motion Picture Depository at Army Pictorial Center has been preserved is a question of interest to APC alumni.  When the studio closed in 1970, the collection of film prints was rendered (destroyed) to recover the silver, but that doesn't mean the original negatives were destroyed.  Some of the footage found its way to the National Archives and has subsequently been digitized, so it turns up on YouTube.  Episodes of "The Big Picture" can be found there.  Presumably any classified footage is in the hands of the Army.  However, nothing could equal that central repository of original negatives (including combat footage) and completed films.)




Posted April 4, 2015, updated October 24, 2019.


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