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From 1950 to 1963, the U.S. Army produced THE BIG PICTURE television show. Part history lesson, part recruiting tool and part propaganda, the show was widely embraced by the public. The show chronicled nearly every aspect of the U.S. military's history and Cold War capabilities. —Pilot TV Network
My brother and I were a couple of those kids who set an alarm to get up in time to see "The Big Picture" on Saturday morning in the 1960's. We really thought we were getting the real story on the US Army and it's exploits in various wars up through the Korean War. We loved playing with our large collection toy soldiers to refight the battles we saw on the show. At the time we didn't even realize some of the battle footage even came from Hollywood movies like "They Came to Cordura" which jumped out to us when we saw that movie on TV after watching "The Big Picture". A few years ago I borrowed a set of DVD's from the local library of the show and saw them in quite a different light now in my 60's. Yes, it was definitely a propaganda show for the Army, and some of the episodes were quite poignant, particularly one focused on Major General Dean who was captured by the North Koreans and eventually early in the war and was eventually awarded the Medal of Honor. He was interviewed at length and he was apparently still suffering from the mental and emotional strain of his ordeal as evidenced by his difficulty understanding some questions and struggling to articulate his answers. Rather than a dispassionate and careful examination of military history like more recent TV history series, this show is more an artifact of it's time and place in America in the depths of the Cold War and broadcast to a population made up of millions of WWII veterans like our father and their Baby Boomer offspring.
- Nov 24, 2020
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