New York, NY and Hollywood, CA (PRWEB) April 29, 2009
Hollywood's American Legion Post 43 rolled out the red carpet this week for the stars of the world's largest production - a film on the invasion of Normandy, "The Americans On D-Day." Just under 100 people, mostly veterans, gathered at the 80-year old building in Hollywood to see the debut of a first of its kind film, now available on DVD Online (see details below).
Film Director Richard D. Lanni, who returns to New York today (Wednesday) to appear on the Joey Reynolds Show, WOR AM, New York, (10:00 PM EST) told the Hollywood American Legion audience, "I am honored to be here in America to salute U.S. soldiers on this 65th anniversary and to show our film that captures an accurate and powerful illustration of D-Day."
"It's great to see friends and veterans of the world's most intense and largest production," said Morton (Mort) Schecter, Northridge, CA, who brought his son, and nine-year old grandson, who led the mostly veteran attended ceremony in the flag salute and pledge of allegiance.
"When we flew over the English Channel, there were a million ships in the water, and I have yet to meet any of those guys who were on those ships," said 85-year old retired U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Schecter, Northridge, CA, who flew as a United States Army Air Corps tail gunner in a B-24 Liberator warplane, the most produced U.S. military aircraft during World War II. He was assigned to the 467th Bomb Crew and 791st Bomb Squadron in England. "I'm lucky to still be here, because on the second day we had to abort our mission, and ended up crash-landing in a field with six 1,000 pound bombs onboard," he said. Schecter said he had an angel on his shoulder that day, and still has his list of the missions he flew.
Schecter, who flew 35 missions out of England, is amongst the American Veteran heroes attending the premiere. He was assigned to the same division as Actor Jimmy Stewart. "Actor Jimmy Stewart was in our division, and he flew 28 missions. He entered the service as a buck private and when he died he was a General," he said. "He used to visit veterans hospitals and the American Legion often."
Also attending from Europe and the UK were film star Ellwood von Seibold, who has spent the last five years giving tours in Normandy. "D-Day became a focus point of my interest in life, and I decided to live a dream and move to France and take people all around these areas," explained Seibold. "And the producer and director of WW2-Reflections said 'why don't we put one of your tours on film in Normandy'."
"The Americans On D-Day provides an exciting insight into one of the most pivotal events of the 20th century," said Captain Dale Dye, who was a drilled sergeant in Vietnam and told the crowd. "I don't need a microphone. I'm really proud to have a hand in this effort and film that provides a foxhole-level view of what happened in Normandy on June 6, 1944."
"I've seen a lot of tour videos that purport to give viewers an insight into what gallant Americans endured and accomplished on D-Day, but this one really hits the mark. The Americans On D-Day provides a stirring, GI-level look at one of the most momentous battles of World War II," explained Dye.
After the viewing several veterans including surviving Normandy vets were speechless and had tears in their eyes after seeing the film. "I lost a lot of friends and would rather not talk about it," said one WW II Vet of the 81st Airborne, as he exited the building.
"2,000 D-Day Soldiers are dying at an alarming rate each month," Producer Richard Lanni told WOR AM News Talk Radio Host Joey Reynolds during his first visit earlier this month. Tonight he plans to share his tour of duty, which included new veteran interviews, museum visits and reactions from veterans from New Orleans to Los Angeles wrapping up his one month media and fact-finding tour in America.
WOR's Historian Albert Wunsch, and Producer Myra Chanin will join Lanni to talk about the making of the film, which is a first of a series on this 65th Anniversary year of D-Day in Normandy. The European film premiere is set for May 7th, Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France and it is the film debut of the French language version of The Americans on D-Day.
It is WW2-Reflections' first tour film for its parent company, Labyrinth Media & Publishing Ltd. of Dublin, Ireland. Labyrinth specializes in WW II battlefield tour DVDS for the U.S. Market. The film is now on sale at the official website: http://www.TheAmericansOnDDay.com.
Other veterans attending the event were Earl Norwood and Howard Manoian. Manoian will be honored by the French Government in Normandy on June 6, 2009, the 65th anniversary of D-Day.
The Hollywood premiere also featured reenactment of WW II soldiers and paratroopers from the National Historical Society and Gina Elise, the Pin-Up For Vets nonprofit Calendar Girl. Elise, nicknamed "The Betty Grable of a new generation" and "The Calendar Angel" sold her T-Shirts and Calendars at American Legion Hall to raise funds. Elise, who has donated $20,000 to aid veteran hospital patients, has received numerous community awards for her volunteer work. "I want to raise $20,000 for veterans this year," said Elise, who has made countless personal visits to ill and injured veterans in hospitals and facilities across the country. She was featured on Fox News last January.
Editor's note: To obtain a media preview copy of The Americans on D-Day or for media interviews in New York contact Aida Mayo or George Mc Quade, call 818-340-5300, or email: Publicity (at) mayocommunications (dot) com or visit: http://www.TheAmericansOnDDay.com. Lanni will be in New York until May 1st, 5:00 PM. Please call to arrange for media interviews.