...Some "Tora" Movie Facts-

"Tora Tora Tora" won the Hollywood Oscar for Special Effects in 1970.

Charles Wheeler, the film's cinematographer, was nominated for an Oscar.


The 30+ "Japanese" airplanes flying in the movie were converted AT-6 "Texan" and BT-13 American trainers

rebuilt at a cost of about $30,000 each. They were later sold at auction for $1,500 or so apiece, and most of them

are still flying in private hands. The "Zeros," were AT-6's, the dive bombers, "Vals," were BT-13's, and the

torpedo- and level bombers, "Kates," consisted of AT-6 fronts and wings and BT-13 tails. Many of the

replica Japanese aircraft are today owned by members of the Confederate Air Force, an organization that

specializes in re-enactments and aircraft preservation. One of the B-17's shown in the film was later fully

restored and is currently on display at the Yankee Air Force museum in Ypsilanti, MI.


The "one wheel up" emergency landing by a B-17 seen in the movie was an unplanned accident during filming when the right landing gear would not go down. A film crew with a 16 mm movie camera was rushed out to the runway to record the emergency landing on the main HNL runway and was subsequently used in the final film

release as "bonus" action sequence. The B-17 was repaired and after the filming ended went back to forest-fire-bombing duty. Many of the replica Japanese planes were also used in the filming of 

Midway (1976), The Final Countdown (1980) and Pearl Harbor (2001).

TORA, TORA, TORA!

(I Saw Pearl Harbor Bombed in '69)

While 1969 was a big year in the American Rock 'n' Roll scene, I was out at Barbers Point

Naval Air Station on the 20th Century Fox set where "Tora, Tora, Tora" was being filmed.

An airfield full of P-40 Warhawks, B-17 Flying Fortress Bombers, Japanese Zero's and Val's…

Ironically, many today think Barbers Point was attacked in 1941 but actually it was the Ewa

Marine Corps Field that was attacked, and Ewa Field was continuously strafed by Japanese planes on their way to and from Pearl Harbor. Barbers Point Naval Air Station was opened AFTER

December 7, 1941. Computer generated aircraft was NOT an option in 1969, so a fully operational air fleet of vintage planes was assembled from all over the world to make the movie as REAL as possible...AND I was there with my nice new Nikkormat FTN and some 35 mm rolls of Kodak film as the "Japanese planes" rev'ed up to fly out and Bomb Pearl Harbor!

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It's 1969,   NOT 1941...