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B-17 "Mary Ann"

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Anthony J. Mireles
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2006/05/13 00:59:09 (permalink)
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B-17 "Mary Ann"

Does anybody know the AAF serial number of the early model B-17 that appears in the 1943 Warner Bros. motion picture "Air Force" as the "Mary Ann"?  Thanks. Tony Mireles
Alex Smart
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/13 17:46:58 (permalink)
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Hi Tony,
 
From the Film a/c number given as "05564"But as it was made in war time ......
 
Have the video and that was in the title along with the film stars names, John Garfield, Gig Young, Hary Carey, George Tobias Arthur Kennedy James Brown and John Ridgely.
Aircraft in film had the large number "10" on each side of the nose and on the tail above which was the serial number.
""Mary Ann " was on the nose and also in front of the greyed out star in Blue circle on the fuselage side.
Film was called "Air Force".
hope that someone can place a picture or two of her here for us.
 
All for now.
 
Alex
 
Anthony J. Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/13 19:38:14 (permalink)
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Thanks a million for the reply Alex Smart.  I always appreciate the help.

Yup, got the movie here at home too.  Seen it a hundred times since I first viewed it as a child in the early 1970s (Did the title "Air Force" make it into my post? I had to edit it into the post because I had forgot to name the picture in my initial post).  The film was actually influential in getting me involved in aviation.  One problem though: 40-5564 is not a legit B-17C (or B-17D) serial number.  Checked Joe Baugher, checked "B-17 Nose Art Directory", checked the master B-17 serial number index in the book "B-17 Flying Fortress In Detail and Scale."  No dice.  The number provided on the opening credits of the film (40-5564) is not legit.  Hence the original post. 

A film trivia web site states that the B-17 Mary Ann from the movie had been lost in combat a few weeks after the film wrapped up.  I find this incredibly hard to believe.  It is clearly marked as a stateside B-17 with those big numbers on the nose.  Could have been lost while on a stateside mission.  Can't find evidence of it in my vast WWII AAF aviation accident data base.  Airplane appears to be a B-17C (lack of cowl flaps).  I have record of three B-17C airplanes lost to fatal accidents in the states.  All three before the movie was in the can.  Don't know about non-fatals.  Hard to believe that the AAF would actually ship it overseas after the movie wrapped in 1943.  Still looking for help.  And Alex, say hi to Tex Rader for me when you see him.  Thanks a lot.  Tony Mireles. 
Anthony J. Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/14 01:14:36 (permalink)
+1 (1)
And all three of my dogs can do the "Mr. Moto" trick just like the B-17 crew's mascot dog "Tripoli" as seen in the movie.
 
Tony Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/25 20:57:19 (permalink)
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Director Howard Hawks took a lot of crap for the scene where the dying airman goes through the startup and takeoff procedure with his chums. He was criticized for it being unrealistic and too "Hollywood."
 
Hawks was hurt. He flew during World War I and saw that happen one time. That's why he included it in the picture. Truth stranger than fiction.

David Wilma
Son of 1LT Francis R. "Dick" Wilma (1920-2005)
Air Transport Command, Chabua, India, '44 - '45
www.DavidWilma.com
Anthony J. Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/25 21:30:39 (permalink)
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Interesting story.  Thanks for sharing it with us.
 
Still looking for the AAF serial number for "Mary Ann."  Then we can solve this one once and for all.
 
I still find it very hard to believe that the AAF would ship that old B-17 overseas (and lose it in "combat") when they were churning out thousands of new warplanes and transports in the U.S. factories in 1943.  This "Mary Ann" topic was floating around the Heavy Bomber section recently.  Still looking for help. 
 
Thanks for the story.
 
Tony Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/28 08:26:01 (permalink)
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undefined


Hi Tony, and All,

Bear with me as I am new to this site and am still navigating my way around here.

I think I have something that might interest you on The "Mary Ann". If you have not seen this site nor its pictures you might want to take a look at this.

44056.htm
Address:
http://www.b-26marauderarchive.org/DA/DA440/44056.htm
Changed:7:26 PM on Saturday, May 1, 1999

I am not sure if one can read the serial numbers on The Mary Ann, (I would have to blow up the pic) but there are several pictures as well as accounts of a couple of men who flew her many times.

By the way, she was referred to as K9X while in service.

One last thing, not sure about the validity of the most recent news I have, but I need to check the sources to see if the story is indeed true. Supposedly The Mary Ann is being restored in NY by some restoration foundation. If it's true, which I hope it is, It would be great. I didn't like the last pic I saw of her. She wasn't demolished, however, it didn't leave me with a good feeling either.

If you happen to come across any other information, I too would appreciate it.

Will check out the other boards as well!

Hope this helped a bit!

In her namesake,(obviously)
Mary Ann


Anthony J. Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/28 09:18:26 (permalink)
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Mary Ann,
 
Thanks for your interest in our vexing problem concerning the Boeing B-17C airplane featured in the 1943 Warner Brothers Motion Picture "Air Force."  The airplane pictured in the link that you have provided is a Martin B-26.  We are looking for the serial number of a B-17C, an early model of the famous B-17 four-engine bomber.  There were not too many B-17C airplanes produced.  The way I think that I am going to solve this issue is by tracking and recording all the histories of every B-17C airframe and try to determine the identity of the "Mary Ann" B-17 through the process of elimination.  Still a couple of holes in that idea, but it is worth a try.  I (and others) have been trying to solve this one for a while.  Thanks for your help.  And good luck with the Martin B-26 named "Mary Ann."  Tony Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/28 09:41:27 (permalink)
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undefined

Hi Tony,

The odd thing is my query was under B17. Hmm, the other information I was researching IS for the B17 by the name of Mary Ann, yes, the same one depicted in the movie "Air Force".

I have a listing of those who were converted from a C to a D. The field was narrowed down.

Sorry for the earlier mistake, as I too am on the same hunt as you and others out here. I should know better than to hunt for anything when I am tired. grrrrrrrr.

Ok, let me check my other sources and I will post what I have later on.

By the way, what confuses me is the timeline that the C's were converted to D's.

When the movie was made, the aircraft in the movie is a C. That much I can tell.

Ok, so we are on the same page after all, searching for the same B17, and with only a few serial numbers, we should get to the bottom of this.

Would be my luck to find another plane with the same name. So much for the ole war names huh?

Count me in. I have been trying to find this plane for years! Matter of fact, some who have argued the point with me, seem to think the movie was sheer propaganda, and that the B17 known as The Mary Ann never really existed.

Mary Ann~next time I will read when wide awake! Off to re-check my resourses.
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/28 10:04:17 (permalink)
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Tony, In my opinion, you are missing the obvious.....In the book "Defenders Of Liberty", there is a photo of a YB-17 with the number 11 on the nose....I have a hunch, the aircraft was from the 2nd BG.  Which YB-17 had the number 10.

36-149/161 Boeing Y1B-17
c/n 1973/1985
149 w/o Dec 11, 1942.
150 w/o Dec 30, 1942.
151 w/o Jan 15, 1943.
152 w/o Apr 13, 1943
153 w/o Jun 22, 1943.
154 w/o Jan 15, 1943.
155 w/o Jan 29, 1943.
156 w/o Apr 2, 1942.
157 crashed east of San Jacnito, CA Dec 18, 1940.
158 w/o Dec 18, 1942.
159 w/o Jan 15, 1943.
160 w/o Jan 5, 1943.
161 w/o Dec 18, 1942.

There is a photo of 36-150, and the crew,  according to the caption under the photo which says it was the first YB-17 delivered to the 2nd BG.

Of course, the serial numbers were not delivered in the sequence mfg.

Also, There is a list on page 80 of the aforementioned Defenders Of Liberty, which lists the pilots assigned to the Group's YB-17s and which  shows A/C 10 as Lt Col Robin Olds.
 
Jim :-)

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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/28 11:13:25 (permalink)
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I know this is kind of obvious, but have you checked the credits at the end of the film? While I'm sure it won't say exactly where the A/C came from, it might thank the "brave men of..." or give a name or two of the service men associated with the making of the film.

Check out the thread: "Mary Ann" in Heavy and Very Heavy Bombers.

Longwood721's father was in the film. He might be able to shed some light on the unit(s) involved.

Happy Hunting,

Ken

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Anthony J. Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/28 13:17:10 (permalink)
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I'm not sure how obvious it is that "Mary Ann", the star of the motion picture "Air Force", is a Y1B-17.  I am open minded, so let's take a good and critical look.  It is my assertion that there is no way that the aircraft in question is a Y1B-17.  Let's look at some hard evidence. The nose of a Y1B-17 is configured totally different, especially the placement of the windows.  On Page 33 of "Bomber Command" by Jeffery Ethell a photo of the "Mary Ann" clearly indicates that the airplane is a B-17C model.  Ethell says that it is a "D" model, but the photo clearly shows an aircraft with the "C" style nose and cowlings (with no cowl flaps).  I've seen the film "Air Force" at least 100 times since 1974.  I own several copies of it on video tape and I screened the film as late as two weeks ago.  The airplane featured in the movie is not a Y1B-17 though.  Let's look at some more detailed evidence to back up my assertion (and that of others).  The Y1B-17 type airplane had a bulging waist, radio and ventral gun positions and the different nose window configuration as indicated above.  Additionally, and more importantly, the Y1B-17 had a fuselage cut out under the forward part of the nose for the bombardier glass panel.  It is a unique feature that breaks up the fuselage profile and cannot be mistaken from any angle.  The Y1B-17 had a "four panel" forward windscreen, as opposed to two large panels on the B-17B and up.  The B-17C had the two panel forward windscreen, flat panel waist windows, conventional B-17 type radio hatch, a ventral tub gun postion and cowlings with no cowl flaps.  All of these B-17C features (and none of the Y1B-17 features) are clearly evident on the aircraft in the motion picture.  Sure all of these "B-17C" features could be retro-fitted onto a Y1B-17, but how likely is that really?  I have a photo of Y1B-17 number "10" as it appeared on the Good Will Trip to Buenos Aires.  It is not the same airplane as the one featured in the film.  This photo can be found on page 17 of "Flying Fortress" by Edward Jablonski and in "Mission with LeMay" by Gen. Curtiss E. LeMay.  The airplane in question (the "Mary Ann") could be a B-17B model retrofitted to "C" configuration, but again I doubt it.  So I respectfully disagree, the airplane "Mary Ann" is certainly not a Y1B-17 (and probably not a B-17B).  I'll be the first one to eat my words if I am wrong, but the evidence indicated in the thirteen seperate B-17 reference books that are in front of me right now and the actual airplane in the motion picture (which is running on my VCR right now this very moment) indicate (to me at least) that the airplane in question is a B-17C and definitely not a Y1B-17.  Take a look at the movie and forget about what number is painted on the nose of the airplane.  This, of course, could be all cleared up if we can find the correct serial number. 

Now, for the sake of discussion, let's assume that you are correct in your suggestion that the airplane might be a Y1B-17.  If that were in fact the case, it would be even more unlikely that the airplane would be shipped to the Pacific Theater in 1943 to be used as a transport let alone as a bomber on a combat mission.  Now I know that Eddie Rickenbacker went down in the Pacific in an early model B-17, but it was probably not the "Mary Ann" (my opinion).  Also, the photo in Jeff Ethell's book indicates that the photo of the "Mary Ann" was shot on 6 April 1943.  Ethell was a pretty good historian, so I'll bet that the date on his photo is probably correct. 

What I find incredible is this: How can a motion picture trivia guy know more about this than the hundreds of dedicated Army Air Forces experts and enthusiasts with their thousands of years of research experience who frequent this and other forums?  How can he dig up more than we can with the vast resources at our disposal?  The truth can be ascertained with the correct serial number.  It has to exist somewhere or some old guy somewhere knows the truth.  I have about 40 years left in me to find the truth.  And I will.  Thanks and keep digging and we'll eventually solve this one.  Tony Mireles.
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/28 13:40:03 (permalink)
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Tony....THIS iI can vouch for....in the Movie "1941" the aircraft is 44-83514, otherwise kown as "Sentitmental Journey" which is assigned to the AZ Wing CAF....I happen to know, as shortly after I joined the AZ Wing, I was invited to assist in flying 44-83514 back to Mesa, AZ from Long Beach.
 
I flew on an Air West DC-9 along with Jim Orton and Bob Deford who were the two pilots. We stopped off at Chino, Ca, before continueing on to Mesa.  It was the first of many trips I made in SJ to airshows, and the first time I had flown in a B-17 since WW II.
 
I did not mean anything other than the 2nd BG was the first to be equipped with the B-17, and the number 10 was mentioned in the Defenders of Liberty.
 
Jim :-)   Life Member CAF

James S. Peters Sr. T/Sgt B-17 Flt Engr, 27 missions 99 BG, 348BS, 5th Wing, 15th AAF Tortorella, (Foggia#2), Italy My Tour was from 12/03/44-06/19/45 M/Sgt USAF (Retired)
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/28 13:48:47 (permalink)
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No problem.  Didn't mean to club you over the head with all that, but the ship is not a Y1B-17.  Just having fun putting it out there.  See you on the flight line chief.
 
Tony Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/28 14:01:19 (permalink)
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Hi Tony
YB-17 36-155 was "BB 10" Maj. Olds Flagship of the 2nd BG in 1937
here is a complete Times Magazin Article from 1943 about Mary Ann

CU Hartmut

Ken a B24 Fan
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/28 18:17:51 (permalink)
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Hago,

I don't mean to split hairs here, but I'm pretty sure the attachment is in fact a Boeing advertisement that probably appeared in Time and not an article.

Enjoyed seeing it. Mary Ann seemed to be famous in her time.

Ken

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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/29 00:17:16 (permalink)
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undefined


Tony,

I have a question for you, or er, rather a favor to ask?

I cannot find my copy of Air Force. Guaranteed my son has it. (he's an AC buff, has all the models)

Although I have seen the movie hundreds of times, I do know the credits at the end say quite a bit.
I cannot recall every detail in the credits..(I'm not that good!)

Would it be too much for me to ask you to type the credits pertaining to the Mary Ann out here?

If it's a royal pain for you, I will certainly understand.

Thanks and have more info coming up as soon as I finish reading about the supposed refurbishing of Mary Ann. (checking my sources before printing since I am in NY where it is supposed to be taking place!)

Thank you, in advance, whichever you decide I will respect your decision.

Mary Ann


Anthony J. Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/29 00:32:10 (permalink)
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Mary Ann,
 
I will help you if I can.  The only credit about the airplane that I can recall is the bogus serial number.  05564 I think it is.  If you need anything in particular, let me know and I'll help if I can. 
Tony Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/29 00:46:59 (permalink)
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You ever look at the "The Internet Movie Database"...
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0035616/
 











Air Force (1943)




Directed by
Howard Hawks

Writing credits
Dudley Nichols (original screenplay)
 (more)

Mike W
Anthony J. Mireles
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RE: B-17 "Mary Ann" 2006/05/29 00:56:30 (permalink)
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Thanks Mike,
 
Mary Ann,
 
The credits appear at the front of the movie; there is a scrolling dialogue at the end of the movie discussing the war effort and the servicemen fighting the war.  The only mention of the aircraft in the opening credits is the bogus serial number.  That serial is 05564.  We have found that it is ficticious.  We are still looking. The link provided by Mike F5G6 has a listing of the actors and such I think, if it is the one I visited recently.  Good Luck and keep us posted if you dig up anything.
 
Tony Mireles 
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