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From: (CDB100620)
Subject: Re: color V B&W
Date: 22 Mar 1998

5th Air Force began using color film in the fall of 1943, mainly because the
black and white film in gun cameras couldn't handle the contrast between bright
sky and dark jungle, so much of the film shot by a gun camera would be either
too dark to see anything or too washed out to see anything.  Color had similar
problems, but at least you could tell if an e/a was on fire or not, and whether
the fire grew as the plane dove toward the ground.
Color film wasn't always available, and developing it was a sort of
rough-and-ready affair.  A few days after a reel was developed, often all the
colors would have faded to a brownish yellow, but by then it didn't matter, the
mission having been assessed, reports written, and the film was tossed in a box
and forgotten.

Dick Bong had color film in his gun camera when he flew his last mission with
the 49FG in November, 1943.  There was no air opposition, so Bong circled up
above the twin volcanos brooding over Simpson Harbor and dove between them
aiming right at the main street of Rabaul city.  He flatted-hatted straight
down the main drag about 10 feet off the ground at 300 per, his wingman tucked
in close and wondering what this lunatic was up to.  The gun camera film showed
pedestrians scrambling wildly out of the way, trucks careening off the road,
and some joker in a yukata on a second story balcony smoking a cigarette, arms
resting on the balustrade and looking  *down* at Bong's P-38 as it hurtled
toward him,  just as calm as a cucumber.  A genuine Kodak moment.  Dunno
whatever happened to that film.  It got roars of laughter when it was shown to
the mob at Dobo, and multiple request to "Run it again!"

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