The Hunters

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The Hunters

SabreJet Classics 14-1

The following information and a great batch of photos was received from a couple of sources regarding the making of the motion picture "The Hunters", Starring Robert Mitchum and Robert Wagner.

from Frank Meyer

The movie was accomplished at Williams AFB, not Nellis. The movie preview was on a Saturday evening and the movie producer presented a color TV to George Panas, who flew as "Cleve Seville" in the film. During the preview, Robert Mitchum had to leave due to a sickness in his family. Being current in the C-47, John Lowery and I flew Mrs. Mitchum and son to Los Angeles.

from Dale Boggie

Dale not only flew in the movie as "Ed Pell", he also filled us in with an extraordinary amount of detail, including a big batch of color slides of happenings during the filming.

"The F-86 crews came from Williams AFB, from the 3527th and 3528th CCTS. Capt. George Panas of the 3527th was the designated leader of the F-86F continegent. He flew most of the scenes as "Cleve Seville".

The F-84F "MiGs" came from Luke AFB, home of the 3600th CCTWg. Capt. Joe `Turkey' Turner flew most of the scenes as the North Korean `ace' - "Casey Jones". The C-130A cameia ship was from the 772nd TCS at Ardmore AFB, and was flown by Capt. Matt Biggs, Jr..

All the aerial dog fight scenes and maneuvers were shot against big cloud buildups off shore from Palm Beach, Florida. But the takeoffs and landings were filmed at an old auxialliary field in the desert south of Luke.

It was here that "K-13" was built. I don't know of any other bases that were used in the filming. The Hollywood people did a really good job out in the desert making it look like a real rice paddy. Somewhere they found a couple of water buffalo look-alikes. All the filming was done in February 1958.

We never saw any of the actors in Palm Beach. I never personally saw any of the actors but understood that Mitchum, Wagner, and Richard Egan, "Col. Imil", did come to Luke to be filmed getting into and out of the F-86s, sitting in the cockpit, etc., but I didn't see them. Most of their appearances were in the studio in mockups and setups where they could project moving clouds behind them or other action on process screens.

There was one problem with the F-84F "MiGs". When the F-84F "MiGs" deployed from Luke to Palm Beach, they'd al-ready been painted a flat pale blue/grey - with big red stars painted on the tail, just like the Russian insignia. And after all, the MiG was made in Russia and we were Cold War antagonists.

This caused quite stir when they landed to refuel enroute, Air Police being called out, etc.. So when they flew back to Luke after filming, they painted a large black `USAF' on the fuselage. All the paint was temporary stuff and easily removed when the filming was over.

A personal note concerning Joe Turner, "Casey Jones" in the movie. I ran into him at a Daedalian Convention several years later. He asked me whatever happened to that cute blonde I'd been dating in Palm Beach. I replied that we'd been married for 35 years! When I got home after the convention and told my wife about meeting Turner, Sharon said - "You dunderhead! We've been married for 40 years and last week was our anniversary, which you completely forgot!" As we used to say in Korea, I was in `deep Kimshi."


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