Gung Ho! The True Story of Carlson’s Makin Island Raiders (December 20, 1943)
Released December 20, 1943: (running time 1 hour and 26 minutes) Seven weeks after Pearl Harbor the Second Marine Raider Battalion was created to attack Pacific islands that were captured by the Japanese.
Produced by Walter Wanger
Directed by Ray Enright
Written by Lieutenant W.S. LeFracois, U.S.M.C., Lucien Hubbard and Joseph Hoffman
The Actors: Randolph Scott (Colonel Thorwald), Alan Curtis (John Harbison), Noah Beery Jr. (Corporal Kurt Richter), J. Carrol Naish (Lieutenant C.J. Cristoforos), Sam Levene (Leo 'Transport' Andreof), David Bruce (Larry O'Ryan), Richard Lane (Captain Dunphy), Walter Sande (‘Gunner’ McBride), Louis Jean Heydt (Lieutenant Roland Browning), Robert Mitchum ('Pig-Iron' Matthews), Rod Cameron (Rube Tedrow), Grace McDonald (Kathleen Corrigan), Milburn Stone (Commander Blake), Peter Coe (Kozzarowski), Harold Landon (Frankie Montana), Irving Bacon (Harry the hamburger man), Eddie Coke (Chief Clerk), Dudley Dickerson (mess boy), John Frazer (signal officer), Alex Havier (Filipino), Joe Haworth (singing marine), Bill Healy (marine Sergeant), Chet Huntley (narrator), John James (Buddy Andrews), Robert Kent (submarine navigator Robinson), Liparit (Japanese Dialogue), Clarence Lung (Japanese officer), Don McGill (clerk), Bernard Sell (helmsman), Nick Shaid (old guard), Carl Vernell (marine on submarine), Prince Waln (Japanese soldier), Bruce Wong (Japanese pilot)
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Fighting Men, Always Doing the Unexpected
I create web sites for a living, and have been honored to create a web site dedicated to WWII marines honoring the bloodiest battle that the U.S. Marines ever fought in at Tarawa Island in the Pacific, Tarawa, The Aftermath —».
This movie is also about a real event during the early days of WWII, tellling the story of Carlson’s Raiders, a group formed and trained by Marine Evans Carlson. Carlson fought against the Japanese as they were invading China in 1927-1929, years before the attack at Pearl Harbor.
From that experience he brought to his men the slogan, “Gung Ho!,” which in Chinese means Work - Harmony. Today we are accustomed to hearing about Seal Teams, Green Berets, and other special fighting forces. This might have been the first really special group of fighters in modern warfare.
A few weeks after Pearl Harbor, Carlson organized a small group of rough and tough misfits from within the Marine Raiders Battalians to carry out specially planned operations against special enemy targets, and their first mission was to knock out a critical communications link that the enemy had installed between Hawaii and Australia on Makin Island. This movie was released in 1943, while Wold War Two was still raging, and was designed in part to give encouragement to the folk back home as their young sons were fighting far, far away.
There are a couple of actors with bit parts that you don’t want to miss. The Marine doctor is played by Milburn Stone. He played Doc Adams on the long running cowboy television show, “ldqGunsmoke.” You will recognize his voice if not his face in this Marine epic.
The one other character that popped out for me was the hamburger joint owner, played by Irving Bacon. How the home scene has changed during war time! Today we are told to go shopping and spend money to support the war, so that tax revenue will go up and provide the funds for fighting. But during WWII Americans were taught to do without common items so that meat and milk could go instead to the fighting men. The first thing that was taken away from consumers was rubber that was suddenly needed for jeep tires and truck tires for the fighting forces.
When two of our Raiders go to the hamburger joint for a burger, Bacon reminds them that it is ‘Meatless Tuesday” and no one in America will eat meat on this day so that the extra beef can be sent to our troops fighting overseas.
Times sure have changed. Now meatless burgers made from plant based proteins are becoming popular in America, in ever increasing demand. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
David Bruce, Noah Beery Jr.
J. Carrol Naish
Louis Jean Heydt
Noah Beery Jr.
Noah Beery Jr., Grace McDonald
Randolph Scott, Sam Levine